Basil the Mini

Miata’s at the Gap 2011

Miata’s at the Gap 2011 – Fontana area, NC.

So it was the time again to see old friends (and new ones!) and get the cobweb out of the suspension and give her a good go in the 300+ turns on highway 129.  This time, it would be Ginger and I and we had a basic agenda to follow getting there.  Unfortunately it did take us some time – longer than expected.  We hit Dahlonega, GA around 1230pm to grab some incredible lunch at Smokin’ Gold BBQ and dived into some amazing burnt ends. YummY!

From there we head out with full bellies and head 2.5 hours north (way too long of a drive) to Sylva, NA to hit Heinzelmännchen Brewery.  Heinzelmännchen is a very small micro brewery run by Dieter and his wife and they make some tasty liquid vivations from the hops side (i.e. beer).  I found these guys by accident a couple years ago by having a pull at the Fontana resort bar where they had some selections on tap.  We were the only ones in there and had some of their Roktoberfest (a deep amber ale, sweet, and malty with a slightly hoppy finish) and gently got hammered as we stumbled back to our cabins at the time.  So this was Ginger’s first visit here and I wanted to get a growler and grabbed their Dunkel for the weekend.  With growler in hand, we head off for another 45 min trip west.

We arrived at Fontana around 4ish and found minimal Miata activity for a Friday, but enjoyed the low traffic.  We checked in and promptly saw everyone.  As before, our other family member is Kyle Bowker and this time we were very excited that he was bringing with him his girlfriend Olivia.  We enjoyed hanging with them very much and really the event itself just became lost and we just wanted to hang with friends.  We also saw Josy and Missy Haskins and their new baby girl (cutie!), Crabby Bill and wife, Noah, May and Bacon (cutest dog on the planet!), Bryan, and the usual crew.  I did one run on the dragon with Bill and had a blast with him – he really is my yang (don’t go there Bill!).  Saw a few accidents, but for the most part  – everyone behaved.  Highlight of the trip was doing the annual jump into Fontana lake and into below 40 degree lake water where the chill immediately shuts your system down within seconds so you need to make it back to the boat dock asap.  This was Ginger’s first time and she was quite shocked.

All in all – another GREAT time and looking forward to cooler weather and a run in the fall.

Father’s Day Project

I love being in the driver’s seat.  In fact, I love being at the controls and having fell awareness with speed, engine RPM, water temp, oil pressure, you name it.  You see, I am a gauge freak by nature.  Even from the first car I owned, I always found a creative way to enhance the cockpit by adding a gauge or two to monitor some kind of vital read out.  Many of my friends to this day still give me grief for installing a 12v analog clock in a few of my cars in the past, but I love it.  It brings me back to my VW days when at the time, gauges were all the rage (3 in a row mind you) with the A1 and A2 GTi/Scirocco chassis.

Fast forward some 20 years and I am now fully involved with the Mazda Miata – an automobile that I am one with and drive the snot out of when I have a chance.  My 1995 Miata has a nod to my past with a set of 3 just below the radio and the 1992 Miata has a new set of AWD Gauge Faces in the perfect color of pinkish purple.  WHAT!?  Yes, pinkish purple.  This is not my Miata, but Ginger’s and she wanted some color added to the interior.  So a quick call was made to a good friend of mine in Japan (Makoto Nakamura) and a set of hand made gauge faces were ordered in US Domestic MPH.

I am very familiar with these gauge faces and know Ryoichi Dewa (the artist for AWD) through a few emails and finally meeting him in Japan a few years ago.  Super nice guy, BIG Beetles fan and plays some mean guitar.  I also respect the guy as a business man – only making a few sets a month and not in mass production.  I will always support Mr Dewa and appreciate the hard work that he puts into each gauge set he makes.