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Dead Bugs

Date: Saturday, August 22, 2015
Time: 8:00 PM
Place: Greg’s Gas Plus
Attending: Brian & Donna Bogardus, Larry & Rita Garner, Jill & Alan Johnson, Trudy & Hal Scott, Karol & Dennis Mason and guest Jamie S___________i.

Less than half of last year’s total of 13 cars showed up for this years edition of the Bug Splat run. And it would have been even less if not for the fact we had a Miata owner up this way on a business trip who happened to check the web site. Was the number of participants low because of the past few years lack of actual bugs or the slightly later start time. I’m betting it was really the fact that there wasn’t a meal preceding the drive. The larger turn outs previously were because some people have come just for the eating part and only joined me on the drive so as to not appear impolite all the while hoping against hope not to win the so ugly it’s beautiful ginormous trophy….

This years later start time and more rural, easier to run loop did produce more bugs, but only slightly more. There were still thousands of little white puff marks of really small insects covering the fronts of the cars, but this time there were a few interesting splats and a few actual recognizable bug remains.

Taking home the BBT (Biggest Bug Trophy) were the Masons with what appeared to be a 1/2 long bug of some kind neatly caught in the seam between of the bottom of the nose of the their car and the Garage Vary Front Lip Spoiler.1 I awarded myself and Donna the most bugs (probably helped I was in front of the caravan), Hal & Trudy snagged the cleanest car award, while closest to the dot went to our guest from the Tampa area, Jamie S___________i.2

As to not lower the self esteem of anyone who didn’t win a “real” prize, I handed out a 2″ to 3″ plastic replica of an insect of no known actual species, lovingly hand decorated in a far eastern country using lead based paint to everyone who came out, so no one went home without something. I even gave one out to each of the two folks who showed up at the end, just to eat ice cream. John & Jackie Nichols got one and so too did ex-member Ernie Bloom, who of all the Sonics in all the towns in the CSRA, stopped at this one.

1. There was some grumbling by the un-lip spoilered that that might have given the Masons an advantage. Judges disallowed the protest under Rule #34b: Any permanently attached body modification, that has been specifically designed for a Miata, is deemed acceptable in the counting of bugs and the spats of their demise.

2. I asked Jamie his last name at both the beginning and end of the event. At the Sonic, not sure if I heard right, I asked for a spelling and he just shrugged and said don’t worry about. His vague story of work in the area seemed suspicious too. A couple people asked him about it and got the same answer: “The company I work for sent me up here to help a company in Edgefield do some testing. Whatever your story, thanks for coming and I hope you enjoyed the little plastic, safe for ages 8 and up, dart board. I also hope you remember to remove the green Avery dot from the front of your car.

2014 Bug Splat

2014 Bug Splat

When Donna and I ate at the Apizza di Napoli a week or so before the Bug Splat I told the owner that we would be there at 6:30 the following Saturday night and would probably bring about 15-20 people.

It dawned on me the day before the event that I had 6:00PM listed as the start time on the Club’s Calendar, so I called the restaurant just before I left work and spoke to one of the women who work there and said that the arrival time was really 6:00 not the previously stated 6:30 and that there would be 15 people, plus or minus 5.

Little did I know, that when relayed to the owner, the message became plus or minus 5 people would be attending. They tried to call me back at work for clarification, but I had already left. The owner is friends with the Prez so he called Larry and Larry told him it would be a lot more like 20 people showing up.

They set up three tables, two with 6 and one with 8, but that couldn’t contain us. We ended up filling nearly every table in the joint (except for the big one behind us that was reserved for a birthday party) and a couple booths as well with the 34(1) Club members who showed up.

On the drive our conga line of Miatas stretched as far as the eye could see. But most of the time I could only see about half of them in the rearview mirror because of all the turns and curves in the roads making it hard to ensure we were not losing anyone. Amazingly enough we stayed pretty much together for the whole 34 miles, through 18 turns (4 of them lefts) and 8 traffic lights with only an occasional non-Miata getting in line with us. The evening sky turned pretty colored and the temperature eased into the lower 80’s making for a very pleasant drive overall. The only thing that was not up to snuff about the rally was the lack of bugs.

I’ve lamented the lack of real bugs and/or their splats for the last few years and maybe this is just the old timer in me that thinks, “Back in my day the bugs were bigger and more plentiful,” but when the Biggest Bug Trophy goes to someone that has the 3/16″ long carcass of a mayfly stuck to their headlight, that would look small if it was stuck to the trophy itself (2), then the Miata Insect Killing World is going to heck in a hand basket.

The judging for Most, Fewest and Closest to the Dot prizes were based on the amount and location of nothing more than the small white puffs left behind by passing through a cloud of unseen and unknown species. Bob & Pat Tarrant won the Fewest Bug prize because their car was white making the little puffs seem nonexistent. Larry & Rita Garner nabbed the Most Bugs prize by virtue of their dark Montego Blue color car. Sue & Dave Woomer had a white puff smack in the middle of the green Avery dot on the nose of their car thereby taking home the Closest to the Dot Prize. The Woomers were also the owners of that small mayfly and as such have the honor of displaying the Biggest Bug Trophy on their fireplace mantle until next year.

Next year I am going to look into hiring some kids with a pickup truck to drive the route a few minutes ahead of us and have them toss handfuls of crickets and grasshoppers in the grass at certain intervals and maybe one or two Elephant Beetles for good measure.

1. That number is a guess from President Garner and does not reflect an actual count. I was told 13 cars did the drive, but this hearsay and not an actual count either. Let’s do some cipherin’ and see if we can make the math work. Assuming there were 13 cars on the drive that meant 25 people (one car had just a driver) dining. There were 2 couples in their OTMs as their Miatas were down for maintenance, this makes 29. There was another couple who dined only and then went home, making 31 people. But one car was a late arrival, so subtract 2, giving us only 29 Miatanites who ate at the restaurant. Not 34, but that’s closer than my guess of, “a lot.”

2. This in no way should be taken that I’m diminishing the skill and effort of the driver and navigator of said winning car in plucking this obviously very scarce insect from the air.

All Hail Dave Winkler, Slayer of Relatively Big Bugs

Big Bug Slayer

2013 Bug Splat Rally Wrap Up
Congratulations to Dave Winkler for taking home the coveted Big Bug Trophy. Ernie Bloom snagged the Closest To The Dot award, while the Garners got the Most Bugs prize and the Woomers were bestowed the Fewest Bug prize.

Also joining Donna and I on the drive were Kurt & Karen Breitinger, Linda & Mark Hoelper, Dennis & Karol Mason and former members David & Devona Eastman. Tom & Sue Varallo joined us for the meal portion of the event, but I wouldn’t let them compete as I felt the Chrysler minivan they were driving would give them a slight advantage.

Last night’s event was the 10th or 12th* Master’s Miata Club Bug Splat that Donna and I have organized and while it won’t go down in history as a very buggy event, I predict it will be the most remembered.

We start the route at the south end of Whiskey Road in Aiken at the Red Bowl and finish up on the south end of Martintown Road in North Augusta at a Sonic. Both ends of the trip are definitely “in town”, but in between I try and get as rural as possible, both to avoid traffic and to increase insect impact chances.

Usually there are about 6 cars that show up, including us, so I printed out 8 maps in a fit of optimism. I should printed at least one more. We had nine cars run the route, but no worries, the maps are usually not used at all because Donna and I in the Emperor lead the train of cars along the route.

About half way through the trip, in the middle of a 3 mile section of a very backroad road I had to slow way down as there was a stopped vehicle in our travel lane. The 9 Miatas that started at about a 1/4 mile long line quickly tightened up because of the obstruction. As I got closer I could see that it was a PT Cruiser convertible with its top down. There was a man standing on the back seat facing the side of the road. At first I thought he was looking for a stray dog or something, so I checked the oncoming lane and proceeded to pass. As I started around I realized I was wrong, he was letting loose a mighty stream of urine out onto the side of the road.

Yes, you read that right, while his wife, girlfriend, possibly date sat in the passenger seat he decided to stand in the back of a PT Cruiser convertible and relieve himself.

*Maybe Dave will confirm the number for me, by counting the names “engraved” on the trophy and adding one.

Bug Splat Wrap

As they did last year, the insects mostly stayed away from our Miatas.* The Closest to the Spot was a very small black smudge of undetermined bug (DNA results pending), the Cleanest Car was a tough call as nearly everyone qualified and because of that the Dirtiest Car Award was presented to the car that was the dirtiest at the start of the drive.

Photos provided by the Biggest Bug Champion for 2012 Rita & Larry Garner:

*I need to check with an entomologist at a local university and see if there is an optimal time of year and time of day for insect activity to insure we get a large insect turn out for next year’s event.

Bugless Splat Rally

Attending: Larry Garner, Denny Smith, the Nicholls, the Haffs, the Wilmoths and the Bogardi.

For only the sec­ond time in its 13 year his­tory no one went home with the Biggest Bug tro­phy. I skipped 2002 for some rea­son and this year, no one hit a bug, let alone a big one. In an effort to make sure they didn’t take home the tro­phy, one mem­ber wrote the word bug on the green Avery dot on another car and another mem­ber, a past win­ner, said even if he did actu­ally win the tro­phy, his wife would not let him back in the house with it. So, await­ing next year’s run, the tro­phy sits in a place of honor at our house; on top of the water heater in the laun­dry room at the back of the garage.