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2019 Bug Splat Summary

This is not an actual photo of the number of cars that showed up to kill bugs, but it felt that way to the organizers…who at the start were way too busy handing out dot stickers and route maps and removing any previous bug splats off the noses of cars and then again at the end with judging and handing out prizes to take any photos, so if you did take pictures, could you kindly email them to masters.miata.club@gmail.com, so I can add them to this post.

When: Saturday, August 17, 2019
Where: Greg’s Gas Plus, Sonic and the dark back roads of South Carolina in between
Attending: Sarah Acord, Donna & Brian Bogardus, Don & Kaye Boltz, Ellie & David Brock, Pat Charlotte, Shirley & Mike Dyer, Brenda Hays & Guest1, Glen Link & Deb Tonini, Dennis & Karol Mason, Trudy & Hal Scott, Stacey & Cindy Timmerman, Margie & Bill Vandermaas, Ralf & Annie Wilms and Sue & Dave Woomer.

There were 3 cars already parked in the usual spot by the time we arrived at Greg’s Gas Plus.2 And soon after Miatas started rolling in. And rolling in. And rolling in. Quickly we filled the left side of the parking lot. They still kept coming and now they were lined up in a double row on the left side of the building. It has been a few years since we have had this large a turnout. Departure time was set for 8:15 and just about the time everyone were heading towards their cars to leave, an 18-wheeled behemoth inched its way into the parking lot to fill up the business’s gas tanks leaving barely room for the first 4 or 5 cars to get out.

Consequently, when we did leave, where we normally lead the troops, Donna and I ended up about car number #4. Cars #5 & 6 were not too far behind us, but after that the next 8 had to wait a bit to leave the start point as random OTMs3 came along on SC230. We were not too worried as I had gone over the route with several people and we did hand out a copy of the map for the technical 6 right turn route. When the light rain started after about 10 miles of the first leg, most everyone shrugged it off, but it started to come down a little harder as each of the next few miles were driven. When we got to the turn onto SC23 we caught car #2 with it’s roof up already and could see car #3 pulled over and raising theirs. A little further down the road we found the lead car pulled over and car #2 pulled over with them. So now Donna and I were in our usual spot, in front, with the rest of the 13 cars stretched back beyond our visible horizon. About then the rain tapered off to nothing and nearly all the folks who stopped to put their tops up, just left them up rather than stop again.

The rain, besides the damp car interiors and occupants, had little effect on the overall outcome of the Bug Splatting Contest because it seems that most of the insects came out of hiding after the rain stopped. At turn No. 4 onto Sweetwater in Car #10, the Timmermans, noticed that the cars ahead of him continued on straight. I guess the lead car of that, as it turns out 4 car group, either missed my briefing or didn’t look at the map or both and they all went the more pedestrian and 2 mile longer route to end up at the Sonic with everyone else.

The big, and I mean literally big, winners of the night were the Dyers as they claimed the beautiful Biggest Bug Trophy to take home with them. There were a couple other cars who had very similar sized splats on the front, but Mike & Shirley also had a quarter-sized, still twitching, partially flattened mayfly on the lower bumper that put them over the top. Glenn and Deb earned the Fewest Bug honors by arriving at the finish with as clean a car as when they started and if I didn’t know it was impossible, I would swear they must have activated a Star Trek-like front shield. The Vandermaas’s, er, Vandermaases, oh never mind, Margie and Bill did a direct flight path crossing with a formation of miniature housefly looking insects to take home the Most Bugs prize. Trudy and Hal Scott were awarded the Closest to the Dot prize for there own squashed mayfly that was within a couple inches of their green Avery dot.

Because the Rally Masters had a little bit too much fun in the Dollar Store there were also four Door Prizes up for grabs for the rest of the folks who didn’t claim any of the “major” prizes of the night. The Timmermans took home a pack of edible glowing worms.4 The Boltzes left with a wooden 3-D puzzle of a spider that they didn’t have before. The Brocks were the lucky recipients of a Matchbox-sized Chip Foose modified VW Beetle. And Ms. Acord received a possible cheat for a biggest bug win next year with a prize that consisted of life-size plastic Palmetto Bug dining on a fried egg.5

New Member Pat Charlotte’s Photos:

Dave & Sue Woomer’s Photos:

10 Governors,  6   7  8 Miatas

Edgefield Cruise-In on the Square

Members Attending: Ralf & Annie Wilms, Tom Varallo, Stacey & Cindy Timmerman, Dennis & Karol Mason, Brian & Donna Bogardus, David Adcock and Sarah Acord.
Guests Attending: Pat Charlotte

After Rally Master Stacey gave his Driver’s Meeting there were seven cars ready to roll. We were missing the Masons though. Soon, the texts rolled in that they were a little late getting going and would meet us in Edgefield. Over a half dozen Miatas set out on a zig-zaggy route through the back roads of Edgefield County that only a person who grew up around there would know, fortunately Stacey was just that person.

When we got to downtown Edgefield, Stacey directed the larger half of the cars to a spot close to the square for parking. Ralf, Annie, Sarah, David and Pat were going to leave after the breakfast. The three of us whom agreed to be in the “show” were directed to a spot, just off the square and right next to our breakfast spot, the Park Row Market.

In typical Club fashion, we dragged three of the 4 tables outside on the sidewalk together so we could chat, eat and chat some more. The Masons showed up after everyone had finished eating and soon after we pretty much started to split up to walk the square and ogle the cars.

Thanks for setting this up Mr. Timmerman, let’s do this again next year.

Apologies to the Wilms as I forgot them in the original posting. It is not like their car was discrete and forgettable, it is YELLOW and I didn’t spent 15-20 minutes discussing Oregon with Ralf, it is just that there is a hole in my head where the rain gets in…

2019 Peach Parade Report

Members Attending: Stacey & Cindy Timmerman, Sarah Acord, Larry & Rita Garner, Margie & Bill Vandermaas, Dennis & Karol Mason, Brian & Donna Bogardus and Glenn Link.

We had 7 cars parked out front of the Airport Grill for breakfast. The 12 of us did as usual and made ourselves at home by rearranging the furniture to line up about 4 tables in a row to eat at. Our orders were taken in the semi-random order of our arrival and the food was delivered in a different semi-random order which was in no relation to when the orders were placed. But, as always, this is not a problem for the Club because the conversation and flowing coffee kept us entertained. The inexpensive and delicious food, plus the capability of the folks there to put up with us, places the Airport Grill at the top of the Masters Miata Club’s Mom & Pop Breakfast spots. Glen and the Garners had other commitments, so they did not join us after breakfast for the drive or the parade.

Stacey had plotted out a different loop for this year’s pre-parade drive and at first it seemed like we were just heading straight to the parade start, only to pass right through the cute little town of Trenton and head east and who knows what other direction to zip around among the local peach orchards. Even though I’m familiar to a lot of roads in the area there were at least a few times I though we turned the wrong way. The Vandermaases probably knew where there were the whole time because at one point we drove right by their house. He ended our drive at the usual Ebenezer Church so we could find out our place in the parade line up. At this point, Sarah parted ways with us to head back home.

Even though Stacey was in communication with the organizers, when he asked our line up number we weren’t on the list. It was determined that they would just add us to the end of the parade. They did have mercy on us though as they vowed to put us at least in front of the horses… Even though we caught a break with the weather, it was only in the 80’s as opposed to the typical 90’s, Donna and I ran our A/C along the 9/10 of a mile route. For all you statistic junkies out there it took us just less than an hour to drive the parade, so our average speed was pretty close 1.0 MPH. During the trip we never left 1st gear, I depressed the clutch pedal roughly 3.8 millions times and we tossed 8 pounds of candy to an adoring crowd.

Afterwards we all found a place to park and headed into the fray of people, port-a-potties, speakers, bands, food vendors and craft booths.

Shealy’s Lunch Drive

Members Attending: Brian & Donna Bogardus, Larry & Rita Garner, Dennis & Karol Mason and Hal & Trudy Scott

There were 4 almost entirely gray scale flavored Miatas gathered at the almost entirely re-branded Sprint quick stop for Saturday’s Drive-Eat-Drive event. They only thing that remains of the previous Greg’s Gas Plus is just the big giant sign out by the street. The assembled consisted of the Masons who were there in their Sparkling Black NC, the Garners who were there in their Brilliant Black NC, the Scotts who were there in their Galaxy Gray NC and the Bogarduses were there in their Sunlight Silver NB with a touch of blue.

The Garners were the Rally Masters and lead car. They took a right out of the parking lot and off we went north on SC230. Determined not to have any Interstate miles on the trip, they set up their GPS to plot a route. After several miles of not being able to get the GPS to find our lunch destination, Shealy’s Bar-B-Que in Batesburg-Leesville, they broke out the phone and Google had no problem plotting a course. Well they must have had “shortest route” selected as an option because about 90% of the way there, it popped us off the main road onto a little dirt road over some railroad tracks. Less than 50 yards ahead was a stop sign, so we figured it must be paved at that point. Nope. But after another 1/2 mile of driving down what seemed to be farm paths through rows of peach trees we turned right onto blacktop and the road the restaurant was on.

With a bit more than 3 miles to go, Brian & Donna in Car #3, inexplicably lost forward momentum. The car hiccuped, the CEL came on and while the engine was still running, there was no power to be had. They coasted to a stop at a wide shady spot along the road. Car #4, Dennis & Karol, slowed and pulled in behind them. Brian unlatched the hood and while Dennis was under there looking for anything obvious he went to the trunk and got out a Bluetooth OBD II dongle. We called ahead to the two leading cars to let then know what happened. Almost to the BBQ place, they both turned around and soon there were 4 Miatas parked along the road. Brian had the dongle, but the app to use with it was no longer loaded on his phone, so he attempted to download it.

Someone suggested it was bad gas, they had purchased a couple gallons at Sprint. Probably not as Larry & Rita’s car wasn’t acting up, they had bought gas at the Sprint too. After more than a few minutes of not finding anything obvious under the hood, someone asked Brian to start it up to see what the engine was doing. The car fired right up, and when he mashed the go pedal a few times, the car responded as it should. It was decided to see if their car would make the last three miles to Shealy’s. It did. Still no app download.

Because Shealy’s is a buffet, Brian always feels as if he doesn’t polish off 2 heaping plates of food he hasn’t gotten his money’s worth and based on a quick sample of the dining room, he’s not the only one. As the rate of food consumption, as well as the conversation, at the table waned every one started making after lunch plans. Of course, the other three couples offered to follow the Bogarduses home to make sure they made it, but they declined. They knew the trick, if the car acted up again, stop, set a spell, and try again. There was still no app download.

Wouldn’t you know it, but just a touch more than a mile from their home, the car started to stutter again. Brian pushed the clutch in and coasted a bit hoping to make it around the next corner where there was place to pull off. Realizing they were going to be a bit short, he down shifted to second and eased the clutch out. The engine returned to normal. The two of them held their breath and tried to levitate off the seats to lessen to load so they could make it home. They did.

After they got home, the Torque Light app Brian was trying to get, ever since the Miata first stalled, finally downloaded. His phone was set to auto update its apps and in the phone’s infinite wisdom would not let him add a new app until the 5 that needed updating were through. Once the car cooled off he ran the code – P0340: Camshaft Angle (or Position) Sensor circuit malfunction. A quick search of the Miata.net forums let him know that a failing cam position sensor will generate the symptoms they had. When it gets hot it acts up, then when it cools off it might work fine (for a while.)

Brian did a search and none of the auto parts stores in the area (at least according to their web sites) had a one of these beauties in stock, so he thought he would have to order one. It was then, that he remembered he had an extra one of these items in the garage. It was a left over from a couple years ago when he was having issues with their old Garnet Red NB. Turns out he did, so Brian swapped it out and he’ll see how it one goes.

Steeplechase Wrap Up

Seeing as it was just going to be Donna and I attending the Steepelchase, we concocted a plan to just walk over. This would make getting out at the end of the day much quicker, there would be no car to have to drive out one of the only three exits, along with the other 10,000 vehicles at 4:15 PM after the last race.

That plan promptly fell apart on Thursday afternoon when we realized that our Little Red Academy Sports Wagon was over 50% full with just our small gas grill in it. After stacking the two small chairs on top of the grill (the other two, optimistically for guests, would be carried by the person not dragging the wagon) there wasn’t any room left over to take all the other items we needed. There was still a tray of chicken shishkabobs, a bag of hot dogs, cookies, brownies, and chip & dip, and another bag with the tablecloth, condiments, paper plates, bowls, and utensils. Don’t even think about adding the styrofoam cooler with ice and drinks on top of that.

Plan B was implemented. On race day, Brian packed up the gas grill, the 4 chairs and the bag with the tablecloth, condiments, paper plates, bowls, and utensils into the Big Red Mini Cooper Wagon and drove over right at 9:00 AM, when the gates opened. He parked the car and walked the mile home. At 11:00 AM we walked over with cooler and food in the Little Red Academy Sports Wagon. Then maybe after the 4th race they would pack everything into the Big Red Mini Cooper Wagon and drive out the gate with maybe tens of cars.

After we walked over and set everything up, we started eating. Hard not to, with the once or twice a year treat of chips and dip staring right at us. Didn’t help that the tent next door was grilling chicken on their grill. After our pre-meal we walked over towards the finish line to the rail side spot of the company (ASCO) we used to work at, to bring them some of Donna’s chocolate cookies in trade for a drink and to sample some of their bountiful spread. When we got back to spot #471, its owner Tom Varallo, was next door chatting up with the the chicken grilling crew. He talked with us a bit and said he’d probably be done working somewhere between 2 & 3:00 PM and would stop back over for a longer visit. We promised to save him some chicken and a hot dog.

The rest of this timeline and details are hazy, might be old age or it might have been the Moscow Mule I got at the ASCO spot, but two women popped into our rail side spot and asked if we knew a so and so. They were supposed to meet them at spot 471. We of course didn’t because as far as we knew we were the only ones from the Club coming, so we told them maybe they got the number wrong. They hustled off texting madly.

A minute or two later a couple showed up and said their names were Renee and Allen. They had run into this nice man called Tom and explained that they had purchased Guarantor tickets to the VIP tent but were supposed meet someone, but those folks couldn’t get in to the VIP tent. Tom, knowing it was just Donna and I at his spot, told them to meet their friends at #471. At this point in the story we said, “I think they were just here.” “Two women, one older than the other?” we asked. “Yes” We said, “They just went that way maybe you can catch them.” But they didn’t.

Sometime after the first race, two women did show up, a mother, Shirley and her daughter, Kate. The daughter is Renee’s dressage instructor and was accompanied by her boyfriend Eric. They brought with them a couple kinds of chips, a couple kinds of dip and some potent potables. We welcomed them to stay. Eric and Allen were sent across the street to their truck to get some more chairs. Then another mother/daughter team joined our group, Randy and Katelyn. At this point I’m not sure which duo was the one that showed up first. The second pair brought some chicken wings and cookies to add to the smorgasbord. After the second race, Donna and Renee walked across the street to get a cooler that had wine and cookies out of their truck (stuff the guys should have brought.)

This is where Plan B dematerialized. We were having too good of a time and the weather was too nice to go home early, so Donna and I stayed with our new found friends until all 6 races were through. Everyone pitched in to cleanup and started packing up. Renee and Allen left. Randy and Katelyn drifted off. Finally then Shirley, Kate and Eric left, leaving Donna and I to wait out the thinning crowd. To kill some time waiting for the roads to clear we made a loop of the inside of the track stopping in at the ASCO tent again for a few minutes. We then tried to stop in at Donna’s Yoga teachers spot to say hello again, but they had already gone.

I guess because this was (supposedly) a Masters Miata Club event, I should mention that Chip Cunningham dropped in for a bit of a chit chat and Tom Varallo did make it back in the afternoon, not to eat though as he was still driving around on a golf cart solving event issues.