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Upcoming Events

Mar
23
Sat
8:00 am 2019 Optimist’s Club Pancake Bre... @ Sprint (formerly Greg's Gas +)
2019 Optimist’s Club Pancake Bre... @ Sprint (formerly Greg's Gas +)
Mar 23 @ 8:00 am – 9:30 am
2019 Optimist's Club Pancake Breakfast @ Sprint (formerly Greg's Gas +)
Meet up at 8:00 at Greg’s Gas Plus, 1295 W Martintown Road, North Augusta (Interstate 20, SC Exit 1 – map) then take a short drive to the Holy Trinity Lutheran Church at 1002 Carolina[...]
9:00 am Aiken Spring Steeplechase @ Bruce's Field
Aiken Spring Steeplechase @ Bruce's Field
Mar 23 @ 9:00 am – 4:00 pm
Aiken Spring Steeplechase @ Bruce's Field
Tom and Sue Varallo have offered the Miata Club the use of their inside rail spot (#471) for the 53rd running of the Aiken Spring Steeplechase, as Tom will be, as usual, helping put on[...]
Apr
4
Thu
6:30 pm April Dinner Meeting @ Pot Smoker BBQ
April Dinner Meeting @ Pot Smoker BBQ
Apr 4 @ 6:30 pm – 8:00 pm
Where: Pot Smoker BBQ, 340 Edgefield Road, North Augusta, SC 29841 – map www.thepotsmokerbbq.com This the monthly dinner meeting of the premier Miata Club in the CSRA. Come out and have some eats with fellow[...]
Apr
20
Sat
11:00 am Club Spring Picnic @ Outing Club
Club Spring Picnic @ Outing Club
Apr 20 @ 11:00 am – 3:00 pm
Location: The Outing Club in Aiken, SC. The Outing Club is located, appropriately enough, on Outing Club Rd which is off the 118 By-pass about 2 miles from USC Aiken. The entrance gate (33.595227, -81.762587)[...]

Recent Posts

Breakfast at Auten’s

Members Attending: Rolf & Annie Wilms, Tom Varallo, Kurt Breitinger and Donna & Brian Bogardus

When the Bogarduses led a group to Deals Gap last fall the trip up was foggy, rainy and misty, when they led a group to Greenwood to see a car collection it was foggy and misty, so why would the weather for this morning’s breakfast drive be anything but cloudy and misty. At least it was not foggy nor rainy and it was warm enough for 2 of the 3 cars who took the round about way to Auten’s, to do it with the top down. The Wilms and Mr. Varallo, who live in the Aiken area, took the easy way out and instead of driving to North Augusta just to turn around and drive back, met the other 5 at the restaurant. The food was good and plentiful, the coffee was tasty and promptly refilled and the conversation varied and spirited.

10 Cool Miatas & A Cool Pickup Go See 30 Cool Cars

Members Attending: Brian & Donna Bogardus, Trudy & Hal Scott, Dennis Mason, Glenn Link & Deb Tonini, Kurt Breitinger, Stacey & Cindy Timmerman, Don & Kaye Boltz, Daryl Shipman, Ralf & Annie Wilms, Mike & Shirley Dyer and Jennie & Thomas Hodges plus grandson Caleb & friend.

When we rolled out of Greg’s Gas Plus at 11:30 for the drive to Greenwood we were 8 Miatas strong. We also had an OTM bringing up the rear, a Ram pickup truck, because Caleb and his friend refused to ride in the trunk of Jennie’s Mazdaspeed Miata. The Wilms’ got a late start and met us at the lunch spot and Daryl Shipman met us in Greenwood.

The drive started cloudy and a bit chilly so everyone’s top was firmly in the up and locked position. The fog was supposed to break near midday, so we hoped to be able to put the tops down part way to Greenwood, instead, the further north we got, the thicker the fog became. Amazingly enough our practically mile long conga line of cars remained intact on the back road drive, until we got into the Saturday afternoon traffic on the US25 bypass around Greenwood. The left turn into our lunch spot was the trickiest part of the drive and true to form, we lost one car, temporarily, in the maneuver.

On the recommendation of Mr. Shipman, lunch was at a place called Migs Pizza Castle and it turned out perfectly in nearly every way. You ordered at the counter, so no waiting to be seated and can I get you drinks, etc. It was crowded so we sat where we fit, no rearranging the furniture into one long “last supper” style table. The food was actually quite good and the service was fast, I’d be willing to bet this is the first time in history that 20 people from this Miata Club got out of a restaurant in an hour.

Knowing the trouble we had getting into lunch, with the left turn needed,  it would be impossible to get eleven vehicles in row, so Brian made sure everyone knew the short route to meet up with the Corvette Club just short of our final destination. When we got to the correct Greenwood High School parking lot we found not many Vettes and a whole lot of pickup trunks and SUVs. Quite a few of them were coming with more than two guests. It was suggested that anyone who could, carpool, so as to not overwhelm the quiet subdivison we were headed to. It helped some, but we still lined the street in front of the Von Seleens.

Arranged up the driveway hill to Hartmut’s two garages were a series of Porsche automobiles to boggle the mind. From the amazing 911R, to an 80’s cool slant nose 930 Turbo Convertible, to the insane 911GT2 RS, to the bonkers hybrid 918 Spyder, to my favorite, the 1969 911S in Cream with a brown interior. At the end of the driveway was the Lava Orange 911GT3 RS that came to Deals Gap with us in November. There was also the relatively sedate late model 911GTS and LeMans race car in street car clothing, a Carrera GT.

All these cars fit in the one garage at the top of the hill, with the red and yellow tiled floor and one wall covered with trophy cases filled with awards from car show and racetracks across America. The two car garage attached to the house held the “pedestrian” family cars, a Porsche Macan SUV (the GTS version) and an S Class Mercedes Benz (the AMG version of course.)

If that wasn’t enough, we then packed up and drove a couple miles cross town to visit Hartmut’s other garage where he keeps his more eclectic collection of cars. There were a little over 20 cars parked cheek by jowl and ran the gamut from a 1959 Corvette race car to a McLaren 650s Spider, a 1963 Porsche 356C to a Spyker C8, including the first car he bought when he came to America, a 1970 Mustang Boss 302. The last photo below is a 90° panorama I took from the front left corner, how many cars can you identify?

Free Coffee or Brian & Donna Buy Some Friends

Members Attending: (from left to right) John Haff, Dennis Mason, Larry Garner, Rita Garner, Trudy Scott, Victor Yu, Brian Bogardus, Tom Varallo, Hal Scott, Kurt Breitinger, Karen Breitinger, Karol Mason, and Donna Bogardus

For the past 5 years Donna and I have participated in something called the Moss Motoring Challenge, where we cavort around taking pictures of our Miata with one of us holding a catalog cover while stopped near some sign or some “destination.”

Three years ago one of the challenges was “Coffee Shop with a Friend” which we had procrastinated on all year. So on the last Saturday of 2015, we set up a Club event and advertised free coffee to anyone who would come out and have their picture taken with us. David Adcock and Larry & Rita came out to Ridgecrest Coffee Bar in Aiken.

This year, 2018, when we saw “Coffee with a Friend” on the list of challenges we knew we were going to intentionally procrastinate until the last Saturday of the year and make it another Club event. Our previous spot, Ridgecrest Coffee Bar, had shutdown earlier in the year, so we needed a new meeting spot. Then we remembered the Inner Bean Cafe in Augusta, from a Hal & Trudy breakfast event a couple years ago.

Thanks to all who came out.

Tales of the Dragon

Members Attending: Brian & Donna Bogardus, Rite & Larry Garner, Dennis & Karol Mason, Trudy & Hal Scott and Tom Varallo.
Guests Attending: Hartmut Von Seleen

Friday: Tom had invited some members of the Greenwood Corvette Club to come along and it turned out that only one could join us. They would not be driving a Corvette and they would be meeting us at the McDonald’s in Elberton. Needless to say, Mr. Von Seleen’s Lava Orange 911 GT3 RS was easy to spot in lot.

In spite of the gloomy forecast, two of the five Miatas started the drive with their tops down. Our second spot of the morning was in Elberton and we almost made it before the rain started. Fortunately a VFW Hall with a covered entrance popped up at just the right time to save us.

We scrubbed the usual visit to the “Stonehenge of Georgia” because of the rain and everyone had already been there except Hartmut, no problem, he was more interested in driving, so that’s what we did. The next real stop was for lunch in Highlands at the Sports Page. On the way out of town, we blew by a set of cars parked near Bridal Falls taking photos. There was actually a decent amount of water coming over the falls this times, but they have put up barriers so you can longer park underneath.

At our next stop at the little gas station at the beginning of the fabulous Wyah Road, who should go by but the same trio of young bloods from Bridal Falls. There was a 1st gen MR2 followed by a Volvo C30 Polestar and a Fiat 500 Abarth. We waved as they went by and figured we’d never see them again, but a few miles down the road there was an 18-wheeler stopping traffic as it negotiated a sharp corner, so there they were. For the next 5 miles or so we hung around not too far behind them through the twisty parts. Eventually their youth and greater feeling of immortality led them to disappear from us off the front.

After driving the 200 miles to get Robbinsville, no one wanted to drive the 50 extra miles total to do a Dragon run, except for our Porsche driver and me. So instead of the two of us driving, I asked if I could ride along with him. “Sure,” he said. While the cost of the Porsche was roughly equivalent to the cost of all of our 5 Miatas put together, he promptly justified the high cost of the car to me by demonstrating how it would feel to do the trip in a low flying Blue Angels jet.

Saturday: I always plan a very early run through the Gap on these trips up here to avoid the traffic that eventually clogs the 318 turns later in the day. Usually I only get one other car to get up and go early, but this year everyone was up to a morning drive. Our early wake up was rewarded by a clean run through the Tail of the Dragon going north and almost unimpeded going back south. After the northbound run as we were stopped at the parking area, Dennis asked Hartmut if it would be okay if he rode the southbound trip with him, “Of course,” came the reply. On the way back, we stopped at the dam overlook to chat with several “kids” that were enjoying the same roads we were, as part of a Tougefest. At the Crossroads of Time we decided to head back to Robbinsville the long way so we could take the great drive of NC28 along the Cheoah Lake.

By the time we got back to the hotel we were about an hour behind the day’s schedule, but it actually worked in our favor because by then the early morning foggy middle 30’s had become mostly sunny middle 40’s making tops go down for the more hardy of our group. Our first stop at the Bojangles in Murphy is usually just a quick in and out, but it somehow turned into a full fledged meal stop. Once again the delay worked to our favor by allowing the temperature to warm up a little bit more. At the Hiawassee Dam Overlook, I asked if it was OK if we skipped the usual stop at The Field of the Woods because everyone had already been there except Hartmut, no problem, he was more interested in driving, so that’s what we did.

At lunch the weather was pleasant enough that we could dine outside at the Telico Grains Bakery. The return leg over the Cherohala Skyway went back & forth from nice to interminable, as we would get a clear run for a mile or two and get saddled with some knucklehead traveling 25 MPH. For a while there it seemed like we would never make it back to North Carolina because as soon as a slow poke pulled into an overlook another similar vehicle would exit the other side. It is never usually this busy on the Skyway, but I have to chalk it up to our slightly later time of day, but mostly it had to be the leaves and weather. Somebody let the word out that the fall color was later this year and we can vouch for the veracity of this statement, it most definitely was the best leaves I can remember for the first weekend in November.

Sunday: The Scotts were the first to head out on their way to Asheville. Brian & Donna left next with Tom in tow, right after we had to get the front desk to wake up some knucklehead who parked his truck with trailer behind a row of cars blocking us in. I don’t know when the rest left. I’m not sure which way the Masons planned on going home, but I know the Garners were going home via Helen, GA. If I had to guess, I’d bet Hartmut took that 911 GTS R3 back for one more run through the Gap before making his way back home to Greenwood.

Fall Steeplechase Report

MMC Steeplechase HQ

Attending: Karol & Dennis Mason, Donna & Brian Bogardus and Jennie & Thomas Hodges. With a guest appearance from Tom Varallo and a special drive-by appearance from Chip Cunningham.

Tom had set up an awning and a table the night before when he was over at the track finishing up for his Sertoma duties for the big day. The Hodges pulled into the driveway of the Bogardus Estate a few minutes early and the Masons pulled in 20 minutes later.  As with any Club event, even the ones not involving Miatas, there were several minutes spent standing around and chatting about how everyone’s Trust Funds were performing and which local gala charity balls we would be attending this particular season.

The three guys hopped into the Mason’s truck to drive over to the field and set up the second awning and the grills, plus unload the coolers and decorations. On the way over, Dennis apologized for their late arrival and blamed it on Karol. The three ladies walked the short mile over to the track, and while I was not there, I bet Karol blamed their late arrival on Dennis.

The weather was forecast for cool and cloudy, giving way to mostly sunny and warmer. The clouds missed the memo and hung around, low and gray all day except for maybe three or four 10 minute intervals. While almost everyone was dressed for the cool start, we really weren’t prepared to spend all day that way. Add in some fairly steady 10-15 MPH winds and the only time we were warm were those few minutes of sun or when we were standing really close to the small charcoal grill the Mason’s had brought.

Between the first and second races, a gust of wind picked up the Mason’s awning and sent it airborne. It was an amazing spectacle. It looked like a cross between a huge metal spider and a monster from the Cloverfield universe as it flipped and fluttered across the the two empty spaces next to us and landed feet down on top of the Honda minivan in the third spot. Somehow it managed not to scrape the vehicle at all. The only real damage done was to the now bent and slightly broken awning and the psyche of a small girl from the landing spot of said awning. We are pretty sure she didn’t get hit by the awning, but she was so scared that she cried in her mother’s arms for the next 15-20 minutes.

We re-propped the damaged awning back up and several next-door neighbors asked if we wanted some stakes to keep it in place. We politely declined as we actually did have them, but somehow the three heads of the set-up guys never thought to put them in, even though it was already quite breezy and Tom’s awning, which we put it up right next to, was obviously staked in. The women chastised the men about their bone-headed oversight and the men tried to deflect by telling them that it was obviously the women’s fault because they didn’t tell them to put the stakes in. One thing is sure though, there will be one woman in the set-up truck next time…

Because Mr. Varallo’s spot in the fall is on the outside rail right after a fence, we get a first hand view of the most exciting part of the steeplechase experience, jumping. And it really is fun to be up front for all that action until, in the third (or might have been the fourth) race, a horse and jockey takes a somersault 20 feet from where you are standing. The medical teams, both human and animal, were on scene within moments. The jockey bounced up fairly quickly, but horse did not. They held it down for about 5 anxious minutes while it was checked over, before he was let up and was walked off. Phew.

There was just one more bit of excitement left for our six participants on this day. The truck riders and walkers home arrived at Boardman Road at about the same time and when Donna entered the code on the remote garage door opener – it didn’t open. Thinking she may have fat fingered a number, she tried again. It didn’t open. She waited about 15 seconds, cycled the cover open and then closed before trying the code again. Still nothing. Brian then tried it and got the same no response. We even told Jennie and let her try. Time for Plan B, open a regular person styled door with a key. Well, Brian carried his Miata key chain but it has no house key. Donna’s key chain does have a house key, but she didn’t take her purse, it was inside the house. Spare key hidden outside somewhere? Nope (that is a whole other story.) Fortunately a local locksmith was happy to come out and do the rescue.

One last lesson learned on Saturday, Brian needs to bring his real camera to these kinds of events, the cellphone just doesn’t cut it.