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10 Years Ago – February 2004

MMM…Time

Date: Saturday, February 21, 2004
Place: Zaxby‘s, Evans, GA
Members Attending: Brian & Donna Bogardus, Lee & Beverly Casey, Ray Cullen, Carol Haff, Dave Harp, John & Jackie Nicholls and Earl Shimel.
Guests Attending: Charleen Luther.

We were blessed with actual spring-like (read normal) weather for a change today, so much so that a drive was called for. Because of where we were in Evans the easiest thing to do would be to just take the Bug Splat route and go up and over the dam and then zip back in to Georgia. This is a nice little drive and it would be totally different this time because, one, it would be light out so you could see the sights and two, no bugs to wipe off the front bumper at the finish.

At the end of the loop in the Dairy Queen parking lot, a movement was started by Donna to go get ribs at Tony Roma’s. Most folks agreed that this was a good idea. Dave headed home though as Shirlene had other plans for him. The Casey‘s also declined as they also had other plans. We tried calling ahead for reservations, but Tony Roma’s doesn’t do that on weekends. Of the five cars going no one could agree on the best route. Considering the time and our location we all agreed it wouldn’t be wise to try and caravan over, so we all headed off in different directions together.

When we did get there, we were told it was a 40 minute wait. Here is where Earl bailed on us, he is just now getting back to driving after hip surgery and it was starting to bother him. Turned out is was more like an hour wait, but us and the hundreds of other there felt it was worth it. Between the seven of us we consumed 4 appetizers, 3 garden salads, half a dozen small loaves of bread, 4 slabs of ribs, 8 sides and innumerable glasses of tea, water and Serria Mist. And to keep our trim youthful appearances intact we declined dessert.

10 Years Ago- January 2004

11th Anniversary Dinner

Date: Saturday, January 31, 2004
Place: North Augusta Country Club
Members Attending: Brian & Donna Bogardus, Karen & Kurt Breitinger, Miller Butler & Gail Shaw-Butler, Tony & Mary Cappucci, Jim & Judy Creer, Margaret & Ray Cullen, Ferris & Leroy Delionbach, Carol & John Haff, Jackie & John Nichols, Burt & Malissia Sasser, Jean & Russ Schwalbert, Anne & Bob Smith, Denny Smith, Cindy & Stacey Timmerman, Becky & Richard Welling, Rudy Wilmoth, Dave & Bobbie Winkler and Anita & Henry Wylds.
Guests Attending: Patti Latezia and Donna Wallace.

We had a great turn out for the anniversary dinner, then again we always do. If there is anything we like to do besides drive Miatas, it is eat a big ol‘ meal and talk about them. Miatas weren‘t the only topic of discussion tonight, as it was less than a week since the area‘s ice storm, so there were plenty of trees down/no power/no Speed Channel horror stories.

Tonight was the official re-emergence debut of the Club‘s 50-50 raffle and Jim Creer sold a passel of tickets. I don’t remember the exact total collected, Rudy was the big winner, but it was more than enough to cover his and Patti’s meal. We used the same tickets to raffle off the center pieces from the tables when the night was through.

Big thanks to Jackie Nicholls (and John too) for throwing this fantastic dinner together for us.

10 Years Ago – December 2003

Holiday Extravaganza

Date: Saturday December 6, 2003
Place: Sno Cap, Augusta Golf & Gardens, 228 Old Mill Road
Members Attending: Lots of Members
Treasurer‘s Report: Lots of Money

The crowd slowly gathered at the Sno-Cap, where soft drinks were ordered, snack foods were consumed (even though later that evening there would be food aplenty) and conversations developed. Brian attempted a meeting in the noisy confines of the small dining room, but was mostly unsuccessful. On the evening previous, the Bogarduses had pre-run the light tour route and were unhappy with its quality, so they suggested viewing Easter Seals Fantasy of Lights Tour. There was an admission charge to see the lights, so Brian thought he would get Assistant Treasurer, Jackie, to write a check for everyone’s entry.

After a short drive to the Augusta Golf and Gardens, we parked our line of Miatas all in a row. At the entry station, Brian asked did they take checks? Nope. Credit cards? Nope. It was then that a couple couples begged off claiming it was too cold or they were too infirm to walk around looking at lights. The rest of the group anted up the $4 entry fee and went inside. This display used to be in Pendelton-King Park and was drive-thru exhibit, but now in this smaller local, the amount of lights on display seemed a lot greater. There was a refreshment stand about halfway through where we stopped and bought some hot chocolate and cookies to nourish and warm our bones. When we finished the tour we headed out to Martinez in small groups.

Much to the chagrin of the hostess, and the delight of the guests, our host had parked POS on the front lawn and strung it with lights making a festive landmark for us to find their house with. As usual the Haff’s put on a sumptuous spread of vittles for our dining pleasure. And as usual, in true holiday tradition I ate too much food (and I bet I wasn’t the only one.) The gift exchange was fun as always, with a nice mix of gag and useful gifts. I didn’t get to take home the gift I really wanted, a talking air pressure gage, but at least I didn’t get stuck with a floozie (or a leopard fur steering wheel cover.)

10 Years Ago – October 2003

Foraging For Fall Foliage

Date: Saturday, October 25, 2003
Place: Billy’s Super Store, Trenton, SC
Members Attending: Brian & Donna Bogardus, Margaret & Ray Cullen, Carol & John Haff, Bob & Ann Smith and Stacey Timmerman.

The morning sky presented us with a sunrise of beauty and color as the group came together at Billy Bob‘s in Trenton. As per the usual with these trips, the morning chill kept some tops up until after the usual Cracker Barrel breakfast/brunch. What was unusual was the Cracker Barrel we visited, a new one in Greenwood, SC. The trip to it wasn’t nearly as long as to the ones in Greenville or Anderson. What wasn’t unusual was even though it didn’t take very long to seat us it still ended up being nearly 2 hours from arriving to leaving their parking lot.

After an intermediate stop at a nondescript convenience store at a nondescript Interstate exit for leg stretching, fluid extraction & replacement, etc. we arrived at Caesar’s head around 12:30. We obviously weren’t the only people in the area who thought this was a good place to be, the Park Ranger told us the parking lot was full and to go back and park along the road. The place was crowded but it didn’t seem packed. We eyed the view from the overlook for a bit and then all made the trip down to what was labeled as Devil’s Kitchen to look back up at the head.

After getting are fill of “colorful” leaves, we headed back down the mountain to check out the Pumkintown Opry building on SC 11. Every year before, we have passed by this interesting, but empty building. This year it showed signs of life. Inside there now was a real estate office and a little deli/restaurant, plus upstairs was a gift shop selling country craft stuff. Because the route home took us through Nowheresville and Bittytown, GA we thought that we should eat lunch here before starting back. It was pretty much like expected, standard roadside fare. They did open up the top floor of the dining room just for us though, so we could all sit together.

Not too long after leaving the lunch spot, John called ahead on the radio to ask if anyone lost a cell phone. John had seen a phone spinning in the lane as he passed over it. It was Stacey’s, he‘d put it down on the boot while doing something else and forgot about it as we drove off. We all pulled over and waited until he retrieved it. When Stacey got back to the phone it was in 3 pieces; handset, battery & battery cover. He put it back together and it still worked. A Timex phone?

As we split up at Pollard’s Corner, to head home in our separate directions, the sky was giving an encore performance of the morning’s visuals.

10 Years Ago – September 2003

Master’s At The Gap 2

Date: Friday-Sunday, September 12-15, 2003
Place: Robbinsville, NC
Members Attending: Barbara & John Battles, Brian & Donna Bogardus, Karen & Kurt Breitinger and Carol & John Haff.

Car #1, the Bogardi, left the GA Welcome Center alone, but that was expected. They met car #2, the Haffs, at the Publix Shopping Center on Fury’s Ferry Road as expected. Car #3, the Breitingers, weren’t there, but that was not unexpected as they said they might be a little late. Cars 1 and 2 stopped at Hardees in McCormick, until Car #3, Kurt and Karen, arrived. Next stop was Walhalla where John requested refueling, as gas is a bit cheaper there than in the mountains proper.

We lunched in our usual Sportsman Cafe in Highlands where the sandwiches are fat, but the seating is thin. Outside of Cashiers, John took us on a nice little back road called Wayah Bald Road up to US74/19, instead of the normal SC28. Cool road with a lot of twisty bits, tree lined stretches and almost no traffic. We pulled into the Microtel around 5 PM. About an hour later, car # 4, with John & Barbara Battles inside arrived. Shortly after, the 8 of us dined at the new Mexican place in Robbinsville where the food was ample and the communications insufficient. By the end of the meal it was almost dark and no one wanted to attack the dragon, but we did want to go chase the sunset. Off our 4 cars went to the Cherohala Skyway. When we stopped at the third overlook the Battles never materialized. Turns out they were low on gas and turned around. The sunset never really materialized either, but no regrets as it was a beautiful evening to be out.

Saturday morning arrived early because we wanted to beat the weekend traffic to the gap and chase the sunrise. We left the hotel a little after 7 and all the motorcyclists were still in their tents at the Crossroads of Time when we flew past at 7:25. Didn’t really keep track, but we figure we made 7 of the 11 miles northbound into Tennessee unimpeded before we had to slow down for a couple of pickup trucks.

While we were parked in the gravel lot at the end of the run, a truck loaded with house trusses went by headed towards North Carolina. We knew he would take a while, so we waited about 15 minutes before starting our trip back. We sailed up the hill and took another break at the dam overlook for a photo op. While we were there, a Chevy Suburban went by so we waited another 20 minutes before continuing. When we did leave, we made it all the way back to the NC state line before we caught the Suburban or about 10 miles at speed. The Crossroads of Time was open when we got back and some of the cyclists were stirring. While we were inside looking at the T-shirts and stickers and such, John noticed out the window a semi hauling a bulldozer with a wide load escort car go by heading into the gap. We all breathed a sigh of relief because we would have hated to come up on that truck from either direction in the gap.

From there we headed to the corn maze in Andrews. I have to admit it was more fun than I had thought. It was a real study in human nature too. The men all navigated by maps and keeping track of where we were on the map. This worked well in the first, easier, part of the maze. In the second half we got to turned around and knew we were in trouble when we stumbled onto the same marker number for the second time. The guys threw up their hands and just followed Karen. She never looked at the map. Using “women’s intuition” plus some sort of internal Global Positioning System, she led us right out.

Our group was scheduled to meet the Battles at a restaurant in Telico Plains at 1:00 PM and it was already noon. Because there aren’t many ways to get there from Andrews, we thought for sure it would take too long and we would miss them. On the 4-lane it was no problem, but when we got to the 2-lane back roads we were held up a couple of times by slow vehicles. Still we made pretty good time and arrived at Cardin’s about 1:15. As we pulled into the lot, John and Barbara came in right behind us from the other direction, perfect. The setting is magnificent and the food is good, but service is lacking and what there is, is slow. Donna ordered soup and it was served with a teaspoon. After a request to find a bigger spoon was made, our waitress came back and said she couldn’t find any. John Haff’s and my sweet potato fries were cold. They did heat them up and then took them off the check, but too late. Next year we’ll have to find an alternative lunch location.

After lunch we all drove together back to Robbinsville via the Cherohala Skyway, with a 10 mile side trip to ogle the Bald River Falls. Next on the agenda was a pottery shop that Karen had requested we visit. We were too far away and too close to their 5:00 PM closing to make it, so we visited a different pottery place in Robbinsville. Probably not as nice, but it was the best we could come up with.

By now it was after 5:00 PM and after covering more than 200 mountain miles since 7:00 AM, some of us were toast. But not Kurt and John, so they headed off to drive the dragon one more time. Three quarters of the group had dinner at another new place in Robbinsville, the Sweet Magnolia Diner, while Brian & Donna begged off, claiming not hungry because of too big a lunch.

Sunday morning the Bogardi went south and east to SC, the Haffs & Breitingers went south and west to GA and the Battles went way east to drive some of the Blueridge Parkway before heading home.