Congratulations to Paul, Doreen, Dan and Nancy on the selection of their twin Miatas as the March Miatas of the Month!
Our friends and neighbors, Dan and Nancy Lewis, are equally proud owners of a 1999 10AE. Both cars aptly named, Rocken99 and Dan's 10AM, have similar modifications but are subtly different and unique. In September, 2002 we attended the Miata rally in Virginia. It was our first all Miata event which turned out to be a great experience. If you have not attended one just imagine three hundred Miatas in one place at the same time for a week. The selection included M1's and M2's, from completely stock to totally modified. We also met many proud Miata owners and enjoyed sharing stories about each others Miata experiences.
One of the events was a Miata only night at the drive-in, featuring Vin Diesel. As we tooled down I64, not sure of our directions, I noticed a yellow 2002 Miata in my rear view mirror. As "Woodstock" flew by us his GPS unit glowed in the twilight. I decided he was the guy to follow and told my wife to hang on. Nancy was driving the other twin and stayed locked on my bumper. The three of us, Woodstock, Rocken99, and Dan's10AM convoyed to the drive-in where 250 Miatas gathered to watch Vin Disel in "Triple X". Needless to say, there was more attention paid to the Miatas then the feature movie. We pulled into our spots and proceeded to introduce ourselves to "Woodstock" thanking him for the use of his GPS and getting us there on time. We talked about the ride and checked each others car out from top to bottom. The remaining three days found us looking for each other and sharing Miata experiences. The highlight of the trip was having the "Twins" finish second and third in the Shine and Show event. Towards the end of the rally "Woodstock" asked if we had traveled to Deals Gap. That's how we learned about the "Tail of the Dragon" and decided then to plan a trip for 2003.
We mapped out our route over the next six months and made the necessary hotel reservations.
I plugged Shirley into the dash. Oh, I forgot to mention that after learning about Woodstock's GPS unit I purchased one and promptly named her Shirley. We left New York on Wednesday at 6AM and arrived in Virginia around 6PM. The next day started early at the entrance to Skyline Drive. The following twelve hours were and, still today, the best ride we have ever experienced. We drove to the end of Skyline Drive and entered the Blue Ridge Mountain Parkway on our way to the "Tale of the Dragon". The views on both Skyline Drive and the Parkway are breathtaking. As we traveled through the Blue Ridge Mountains listening to John Denver's" Rocky Mountain High", we encountered deer, wild turkey, eagles, and black bears in Lewis Mountain. Dan and Nancy failed to tell us they owned a mountain with real live bears!
We exited the Parkway and headed to the next motel in Wilkesboro, N.C. We left early Friday morning heading North, destination, Robbinsville, N.C. and the infamous, "Tail of the Dragon". It was a long day as we drove through the mountains trying to avoid the truck ladened highways and traffic jams. We happened to stop on the Indian Reservation at a Trading Post to use the rest rooms and get a cold drink. A elderly native American Indian commented as we parked in front of the store, "Are they twins?" We had experienced many similar comments on our journey. A guy in Virginia wanted to know, " Was it buy one, get one free?". We arrived in Robbinsville around 3PM. As we drove through the town it was apparent that we had entered "Miataville". Every lodging facility was booked with Miata or motorcycle owners. The streets presented one Miata after the other which required a constant wave of the hand or belch from the Crazy Red Italian air horns. It was a hoot.
checked into the Blue Waters Mountain Lodge in the middle of the Smokey Mountains
with Santeetlah Lake directly across the road. Another breathtaking view!
Doreen and Nancy wanted to unpack and relax. Dan and I wanted to make our maiden run through the GAP. We had to remind the ladies that this part of the trip was all about the car. Oh, another thing I failed to mention was the trade off Dan and I agreed to while planning the trip. After the GAP we were headed to Kiawah Island and the beach per the ladies. As we headed towards the Dragon the adrenaline began to flow. I read about the 318 curves in 11 miles, but was not prepared for what lied ahead. Needless to say it was a ride that cannot be shared or expressed by words. Well, maybe one, "UNBELIEVABLE". My appreciation for the ride and handling of our Miatas increased ten fold as we maneuvered the 318 curves and 11 miles of the Dragon. Over the next two days we ran the Dragon and enjoyed the lodge and the multitude of Miata owners that converged on the tiny hamlet of Robbinsville NC.
Sunday found Dan and I making a solo run in Rocken99 back to Tellico Plains, TN. to retrieve a folder that I left at a Texaco station the day before. We ran the Cherohala, a spectacular 120 mile ride through the Great Smokey Mountains, the day before and stopped at the station to get directions. Shirley had taken the day off. The information in the folder wasn't that important but it gave us an excuse to run the Dragon one more time. It was early, around 8AM when we entered the Dragon. We were taking our time encountering a few pickup's and motorcycles. After going through a very tight switch back curve I checked the rear view and could only see a black hood with two silver stripes. Behind him were three more Miatas I stepped up the pace only to have the Miata train get closer to my bumper. Dan and I were maneuvering the curves faster than we had on any previous run. It was very exhilarating, but at the first open area I pulled to the right and let the boys go by. That was our best run through the Dragon.
Monday morning found us checking out of the lodge and heading south, destination Kiawah Island, SC, 425 miles to go. We arrived in Kiawah around 6PM and checked into our condo. The ladies reminded us that it was now, "All about the beach". After four relaxing days on the beach we checked out of Kiawah on Friday and headed north towards Myrtle Beach. After a night". in North Carolina we continued through Virginia Beach crossing over the Chesapeake Bay Bridge. Shirley guided us into Delaware and suggested we take the Cape May Ferry to save time. This was my first driving experience where I had two ladies telling me where to go, Doreen and Shirley. We debarked from the ferry in Cape May, NJ around 5PM. Up to this point Shirley was very helpful. By the time we found a place to spend the night Shirley and I were not speaking. If you have ever driven in New Jersey at 11PM on a Saturday night you know what I mean. If Shirley told me one more time that I was off route and she was recalculating I was going to lock her in the trunk.
We found our way back to New York on Sunday. Grand total 10 days and 2850 miles. We had a great time and highly recommend it. We are already planning the next trip for 2004. Dan and I are wondering what the trade off will be. We both agree, as long as we are in our Miatas it doesn't matter. To us it's always, "All about the car."
and Doreen Rockenstyre & Dan
and Nancy Lewis
Voorheesville, New York
Will you be next?