Tech Column – by Ken Schiess

As we approach Tech Day it seemed appropriate to write about some of the challenges one could encounter with the NC model.

First is the top. As the NC’s age, (the newest now 5 years old and the oldest 15) tops begin to reach end of life, especially if they have been exposed to the weather. Originally they came with either vinyl or canvas tops, depending on the model. Accordingly, replacement tops are available in both vinyl and fabric. Vinyl tops are priced in a range from $300 and fabric tops are a bit more ($660 by Robbins from Moss Motors). Both have DOT approved glass rear windows with electric defrosters.  This does not strike me as a DIY project. I’d suggest speaking to Paul Reinmann (who has had his replaced) and Luis Rivera, Service Manager at Hendrick Stevenson Mazda for installation suggestions.

The second issue is getting water in the car or in the trunk from clogged drains that should take the water that enters between the roof and the car body behind the windows. Once clogged these are a real pain to clean, so the simple solution is to keep them clean. Whenever the car has been left outside (especially where there are pine needles and/or small-leaved trees), vacuum the drains out.  If it’s too late for that, I’d recommend talking to Luis about using Tech Day to access the drains. That will likely require removal of the plastic panel behind the seats unless he has a trick or special tool that you could use.

Beyond that, the Miata MX5 doesn’t seem to have any major issues or even very annoying little issues.  Keep it clean and it will continue to look great, and keeping the oil clean will help it run seemingly forever.

President’s Message – March 2020

Welcome to March! After enjoying an extra day in February due to leap year, March is going to be a busy month. It begins with Election day on March 3, after which there will undoubtedly be eight more months of non-stop political ads. We anticipate the beginning of daylight savings time on March 8, the festivities associated with St. Patrick’s Day on March 17 and the arrival of spring on March 20.

The CFMC has a busy month as well. We’ll have our rescheduled Tech Day on Saturday March 14 at Stevenson-Hendrick Mazda and a club outing, hosted by Tom and Bettie Anne West, on Thursday March 26 to Moore’s Creek battlefield. April will bring our quarterly meeting, for which we still need a member to host and arrange the venue for the meeting. Starting in May, we’ll hit full stride of club events for the remainder of 2020.

Please see the Activities Chart in this month’s Ragtop Tales for information on upcoming activities.

For those remaining months of 2020 without an event, please consider hosting an activity. For ideas or suggestions, contact our Activities chair Tom Pane at toe45@aol.com. As of February, we have 33 paid 2020 memberships (60-65 individuals) for our CFMC. I hope to see each member at one of our great events this year. Remember, the CFMC is your club. If you have ideas for how we can be a better club, suggestions for club involvement, events or activities, don’t hesitate to send those to me at (rcarmike@aol.com)) or any other officer, Activities director Tom Pane (toe45@aol.com) or Secretary Kevin Perham (kperham@deloitte.com). Your thoughts and ideas are always welcome and your input is important in helping to identify interesting and worthwhile events and activities for our club.

In the meantime, let’s look forward to March “going out like a lamb” and the anticipation of many great Miata-type days and our CFMC adventures ahead!

Zoom-Zoom!

Tech Column by Ken Schiess

In March of 2017, I was complaining about a vibration between 45 and 55 mph. I had put the wheels on the balancing machine during tech day and discovered that two of the wheels appeared to be out of round or slightly bent. I proceeded to have them straightened by Stevenson Mazda (thanks Howard) – which, by the way, was cheaper with the club discount than if I’d taken them to the wheel guy myself.

The straightening seemed to work but there was some concern that the Falken-Z912 tires may have worn unevenly. Since I knew I was about to need tires anyway because the Falkens were 19,000 miles old and the wear bars were becoming visible. They had been a great performance tire, very sticky and very responsive. But I don’t tend to drive aggressively so I was looking for an improvement in wear, ride, and especially noise.

Howard (Stevenson Mazda) hooked me up with a full set of General Altimax RT 43 Grand Touring tires for my Grand Touring Miata.  He was able to beat the Tire Rack price, so I was thrilled. That was 33 months and about 10,000 miles ago. I can tell you that the Altimax RT 43 tires are a lot quieter, a little softer ride, slightly less responsive (but my driving style isn’t especially aggressive, so I don’t care). They make driving the car more enjoyable for my copilot without diminishing my fun quotient.  At 10,000 miles they still look very good so I’m guessing that they will last longer than the 19,000 miles the Falkens turned in.

Ken Schiess

President’s Message – February 2020

Well the New Year and decade certainly are off to a quick start!  I hope all your New Year’s resolutions are as well.  The CFMC started 2020 with our annual holiday party and meeting on January 5th at the Circa 1922 restaurant.  Almost 50 club members enjoyed great food, fun and fellowship, all culminating in a very entertaining “Yankee Swap” gift exchange.  Our thanks go to Leon and Beth Rooks, our hosts, for a wonderful and enjoyable evening and to Gina Schiess for the exciting “Yankee Swap”.

The annual meeting discussion centered on our 2020 club activities and our members’ election of the President and Treasurer (Mary Sue Wahl) for term extensions and new terms for our Activities Director (Tom Pane) and Ragtop Tales Editor (Gina Schiess).  We thank Paul Reinmann, outgoing Activities Director, for his service and support of our club during his tenure.  The terms for Vice President (Bill Bertrand and Jo Ann Craig), Secretary (Kevin Perham) and Membership Chair (Trudy Williamson) continue through 2020.

Member support and service to our club are necessary to ensure our continued, successful existence.  The willingness of our officers and committee chairs to serve and

support the CFMC is extremely important and very much appreciated.

The Bitty and Beaus socials will continue, but beginning in 2020, they will be on the second Saturday of the month.  Our next club event will be our annual Tech Day at Stevenson/Hendrick Mazda on February 22, hosted by Paul Reinmann.  While the details and specifics of Tech Day have not been finalized, we expect another great day of member and dealership staff interaction. More details will be provided to those who have indicated they will be attending.

As discussed at our annual meeting, the club’s business meetings for 2020 will be held in April and November. There are two events for May so please check out the Activities column in this issue of the Ragtop Tales for those and other 2020 planned events.  We still have months needing activities and hosts so please consider providing this service to our members.

The New Year has blessed us with several days of beautiful, warm Miata-type weather. Hopefully you have had the opportunity to enjoy these glorious winter top-down days.

Obviously cold weather is still with us, but we have a lot to look forward to—spring is only 48 days away!  I look forward to seeing you soon. Zoom-Zoom!

Ron Carmichael

President’s Message – January 2020

Happy New Year!  I hope everyone enjoyed a joyous holiday.   Believe it or not, we’re ushering in a new year and a new decade!  This gives us time to reflect on times past but also focus on the opportunities that lie ahead.  We will be celebrating our CFMC Holiday party and annual meeting on January 5, 2020 at the Circa 1922 restaurant in Wilmington.  Thanks to our hosts, Leon and Beth Rooks, for coordinating this year’s event.  The evening’s events will include great food, fun and fellowship with our members, and our famous “Yankee swap” gift exchange.  We also hope to finalize the list of events and activities for the New Year.  Some members have already stepped up to host events for 2020 and I encourage other members to consider hosting an activity for one of the remaining months.  In other business, the nominating committee will present, and members will vote on, the nominees and candidates for the positions of President, Treasurer, Editor, and Activities Committee chair for 2020-2021.

The beginning of a new year provides us with the opportunity to set goals for our Club for the upcoming months.  Some of the items I would encourage the CFMC to focus on in 2020 include:

  1. How to integrate our CFMC communication tools, the Ragtop Tales, our website and our Facebook page, to coordinate and complement our outreach to members and others.  This could include a survey of our membership on the types of information we would like to include in each communication tool.
  2. Continue to build our relationship with the new staff at Stevenson-Hendrick Mazda and identify partnering opportunities for events and activities.
  3. Continue to identify efforts that encourage and assist members in participating and contributing to our Club through things like volunteering for events, activities, special committees and other ways of supporting our Club.

I look forward to another great year for the CFMC, our 27th as a Club.  Let’s remember to be grateful for all the blessings and freedoms we enjoy, thank those who make those possible, and take advantage of the opportunities we are given and use those to be of service to others.

My best wishes to you and your families for a safe, happy and healthy New Year.

Zoom-Zoom!

Ron Carmichael

President’s Message – December 2019

I hope that everyone enjoyed a safe and happy Thanksgiving. It is hard to believe, but 2019 is rapidly coming to a close! While this year has certainly flown by, we’ve enjoyed another successful year at the Cape Fear Miata Club.
We have shared fun and friendship with our fellow members on a number of exciting and enjoyable activities and events. And 2020 promises to be another great year for the CFMC.

We had over 30 members attend our November 16 business meeting, hosted by Bill Bertrand and Jo Ann Craig. We were very fortunate to have Luis Rivera, Service Manager at Stevenson/Hendrick Mazda, attend our meeting. Luis highlighted his career with the Hendrick Auto group, discussed some of the changes at the dealership and shared his interest and commitment to work with the CFMC on many cooperative activities. We appreciate Luis taking time from his busy schedule to visit and meet our club members and we look forward to working with him and the Stevenson/Hendrick staff.

We will wrap up our 2019 activities with a December 6 trip to the Carolina Opry Christmas show in Myrtle Beach hosted by Don and Mary Sue Wahl. Following the show, we’ll enjoy a holiday dinner at the Parson’s Table restaurant in Little River.  And don’t forget our Holiday Party and annual meeting on Sunday January 5th at the Circa 22 Restaurant in Wilmington, coordinated by Beth and Leon Rooks. See more details elsewhere in the edition of the Ragtop Tales.

As I’ve discussed for several months, at our November 16 meeting we began efforts at identifying our 2020 events. Lots of great ideas were suggested and the Activities Committee will be collecting and finalizing our 2020
activities and events list for our members to approve at our January 2020 annual meeting. Please get your event suggestions to Paul Reinmann at pfreinmann@charter.net. Our monthly activities are the lifeblood of our club
and it is important that we maintain interesting and fun events for our members. On that note, we need our members to not only participate, but also host events. I encourage you to consider hosting a CFMC event in 2020. As I also mentioned at our November 16 meeting, our 2020 nominating committee of Ken Schiess, Judy Judson and Leon Rooks will be soliciting nominees for the positions of Ragtop Tales Editor and the Activities Committee
Chairperson. In addition, the two year terms of the existing President and Treasurer positions expire at the end of 2019. Our club bylaws call for solicitation among our members of interest in these two expiring officer positions. Please see one of the nominating committee members if you are interested in being considered for any of these positions. Members will vote on the nominees at the January 5th business meeting.

Finally, I want to wish every member and their families a safe and joyous holiday season and a happy and healthy 2020! Please remember our military men and women and their families this year during the holidays, especially those who are far from home. We could not enjoy the blessings we have without their service and sacrifice which make our freedoms possible. I look forward to sharing many enjoyable events with the CFMC members in 2020!
Zoom-Zoom!

Ron Carmichael

President’s Message – November 2019

Even though our summer heat refused to realize it was October, Fall days have finally arrived and we are starting to plan, prepare, or at least acknowledge, the rapidly approaching holidays. We started October with an absolutely fabulous trip to the Outer Banks hosted by Jenny and Sean Hsu. As described in the attached article, CFMC members enjoyed three days of beautiful weather, great venues, local cuisine, good friends and fellowship.
Thanks to Jenny and Sean for planning and organizing such an outstanding trip!

With 2019 flying by, we are now beginning to focus on our Club’s activities for 2020. Our upcoming November 16 business meeting is hosted by Jo- Ann Craig and Bill Bertrand. Please see more information on the meeting in the edition of the Ragtop Tales. Make sure you notify Jo-Ann Craig by November 2 if you are planning on attending the meeting. As I’ve mentioned numerous times, one of our agenda items will include a discussion of possible CFMC activities for the upcoming year. Please send your thoughts and ideas for possible 2020 events to Paul Reinmann pfreinmann@charter.net or bring those with you to the meeting. Regarding 2020 trips, Judy and I have received confirmations of interest from 13 members (7 cars) who have responded to our planned Spring Mountain Adventure in May 2020. We are again including the article about the trip in this month’s Ragtop Tales. It is not too late to join in if you are interested in participating. Please let us know at rcarmike@aol.com ASAP so we can advise the hotels of the number of needed rooms. More information on lodging reservations will be forthcoming in the coming weeks.

Also, Mary Sue and Don Wahl will host our December event at the Carolina Opry followed by dinner. More details are included in the activities column of this issue. Finally, let’s all remember that Veteran’s Day is November 11. Please make a point to thank our veterans, and their families, for the service, commitment and sacrifices they’ve made and continue to make for all of us. Just imagine, being away from your family for months on end, especially during the holidays. Veterans and service members deserve our continuing support! Also, I want to wish all of our members and their families a safe and blessed Thanksgiving. And before you winterize that Miata, enjoy a few more beautiful top-down days here in Southeastern North Carolina.
Zoom-Zoom!

Ron Carmichael

President’s Message, October 2019

Fall has arrived! After an unusually warm summer, we are happy to see the cooler nights and days of autumn. We ended September with a fun trip to the International Bluegrass Music Association’s World of Bluegrass in Raleigh. John and Peggy Harris were our hosts and we enjoyed a weekend of great music and entertainment. Thanks to John and Peggy for arranging this fabulous trip.

We immediately move into October with our Down East/Outer Banks trip hosted by Jenny and Sean Hsu. This
promises to be an outstanding trip with eight couples currently signed up to participate.

Please remember our Quarterly business meeting on November 16 at Elizabeth’s Pizza in Wilmington. One element of the November meeting will be a discussion of potential trips for 2020. Please send your thoughts and ideas
for possible events/trips to Paul Reinmann at pfreinmann@charter.net.

We’ll close up the year with a trip to the Carolina Opry Christmas show. Please see the activities column for specifics on each of these events. I call your attention to the “Save the Date” column in this month’s newsletter. Judy and I
will be hosting a 2020 Miata Spring Mountain Adventure in May. We are blocking rooms at the trip lodging venues so please see the column for specifics on this upcoming trip and how to reply regarding your interest in participating.

An update on some of the new staff at Stevenson-Hendrick Mazda was included in the September Ragtop Tales. On September 18, Paul Reinmann and I met with Luis Rivera, Service Manager at Stevenson-Hendrick Mazda to familiarize him with the Cape Fear Miata Club. Luis graciously gave us a significant amount of his time to learn about the CFMC and tell us about the new dealership plans. We also discussed the Club’s past relationship with
Stevenson Mazda and some of the perks that the dealership provided to the CFMC. Any continuation or modification of perks previously provided by Stevenson Mazda to CFMC will have to be reviewed and evaluated by the new
owners and management. Changes in the previous CFMC’s member discount amount and Tech Day format can be expected. Luis indicated his desire to continue the new dealership’s relationship with the CFMC, and he will be discussing possible joint efforts, some level of discount for CFMC members, and the feasibility of some type of technical support event with the new management. We will be sharing this information with all members as soon as possible.

Get out and enjoy our beautiful fall weather. I hope to see you at our upcoming CFMC events!
Zoom-Zoom!

President’s Message – September 2019

Welcome to September! Our Labor Day celebrations remind us fall is just around the corner. As we reluctantly say goodbye to summer, we need to remember that we’re heading for the peak portion of our hurricane season. As I mentioned last year, it is the perfect time to make sure that we have our hurricane preparedness plans in place and
ready to be implemented if needed. And as we found out last year, it can and does happen. So please double-check your preparedness plans.

We have some great CFMC activities planned as we ease into fall. Peggy and John Harris are hosting a trip to the International Bluegrass Music Association event in Raleigh September 27-29. Jenny and Sean Hsu have a fabulous trip to the Outer Banks planned for October 2-4.

Our next business meeting, hosted by Jo Ann Craig and Bill Bertrand, is planned for Saturday, November 16 at Elizabeth’s Pizza Restaurant in Wilmington. And we will wrap up 2019 with a Christmas time event in December hosted by Mary Sue and Don Wahl. See more details about these events in this edition of the Ragtop Tales.

As I mentioned at our April quarterly meeting, our November meeting will focus on planning for our 2020 CFMC activities and events. Between now and the November meeting, I encourage all members to identify possible
Club events and activities and forward those to Paul Reinmann, Activities Committee chair at pfreinmann@charter.net. The Activities committee, and members, will present the potential 2020 events for discussion at the meeting. The goal is to develop a list of monthly 2020 activities and hosts, between our
November business meeting and our annual business meeting in January 2020. The list of activities and hosts will be presented to the CFMC membership at our annual meeting. This will enable all members to know what activities
and events are planned and schedule these on their 2020 calendars.

As you are probably aware, Stevenson Mazda has become part of the Hendrick Automotive Group as Stevenson-Hendrick Mazda. You will notice many new faces in the Service Department of the new dealership. Please
introduce yourself next time you are there to have your Miata in for service. Soon, we will be in contact with the new owners and service managers about our Club and the support that the previous Mazda dealership provided to the
CFMC. If there are any changes, we will advise the membership.

Finally, September 11 is a painful reminder that evil still lurks in our world. As Americans we must remember all of the victims and families of those whom were lost on that day, and the many first responders and military members
and their families whom have paid the ultimate sacrifice since then to keep us safe. Freedom, safety and security are not free; someone pays the price for each of those blessings. We should never forget the cost, or those who pay
that price, for all of us. Have a safe and enjoyable Labor Day.
Zoom-Zoom!

Ron Carmichael

President’s Message – August 2019

Don’t look now but we’re on the downward side of 2019!  Assuming that you’re reading this on August 1, you have 146 shopping days until Christmas!  Now that I’ve gotten your attention, we have lots of fun CFMC activities to keep you busy until the jolly ole man comes around.  We wrapped up July with a fun and filling Taste of Wilmington Tour on July 26.  Hosted by Judy and Rick Judson, seven members enjoyed an absolutely beautiful summer day and sampled a half dozen of Wilmington’s most interesting eateries.  For any of you who have been considering this Tour, my advice is to go for it.  You will experience fine food and drink and meet some of the area’s outstanding chefs and owners.  Thanks to Rick and Judy for hosting such a unique and enjoyable event.
The upcoming months include a number of exciting and fun activities for the CFMC.  Peggy and John Harris are hosting a two-night trip on September 27-29 to the International Bluegrass Music Association’s World of Bluegrass event in Raleigh.  We have several couples planning to participate.  More details on this trip are included in this month’s Ragtop Tales.
On October 2-4, Jenny and Sean Hsu are hosting what will be a fun-filled two-night trip to the Outer Banks.  A preliminary itinerary is included elsewhere in this edition of the newsletter.
We’ll have our next quarterly meeting in November, hosted by Jo Ann Craig and Bill Bertrand.  As noted in last month’s newsletter, this meeting will focus on planning for our 2020 activities.
We’ll wrap up 2019 with a Christmas themed event for December.  Look for more details on our upcoming activities in this edition of the Ragtop Tales.   I want to thank all the members of the CFMC who have contributed to the success of our club through your participation, service and hosting of events.  There are many ways for members to contribute to sustaining and making our club enjoyable and fun for everyone.  If you have suggestions or ideas you’d like to offer, or have skills or talents that you’d like to share, please contact me or any officer.   There are numerous roles in sustaining our club that members can help fulfill.   Now, start working on those Christmas shopping lists!   We’ll see you soon!

Zoom-Zoom.

Ron Carmichael