President’s Message – May 2020

I’m not absolutely sure, but I think it is May.  Time, along with almost everything else in our lives and the lives of everyone around the world, seems to be standing still.  The current state of events has brought the hallmark of the CFMC to a halt; our trips, activities and members’ socialization.  Our near-term events have been cancelled including our 2020 Spring Miata Mountain Adventure.  But the good news is that the trip and venues are rescheduled for May 2021.  See the article in this month’s RTT for more information.

Future events for 2020 will depend on the guidance we get from our governing agencies.  It can be depressing to think of how the world has changed in the past 8 weeks.  The uncertainty of when and what “normal” will be like when we get through the virus is scary.  But we will get through this.  And one fact is clear; things will change, some in very significant ways from what we’ve been used to in our lives.  For now, the focus must be on taking care of ourselves and each other and adhering to the guidelines that we’ve been asked to follow. Check in or touch base with someone who is stressed, alone, frightened or in need.  Just letting someone know you’re thinking of them can make their day.  Support our health care providers, first responders, and local businesses as they struggle during these trying times.  And if any of our members are in need of anything, let me know at rcarmike@aol.com.    In order to get through this pandemic, we all have to work together toward the common goal of defeating the virus.  This means service, sacrifice, and looking out for each other.

I think the silver lining in this event has been the opportunity for reconnection.  America has reconnected in a way that many of us have heard about (the Depression and World War II) but few of us have actually lived through.  Parents and children are sharing the challenging and stressful efforts of working and learning together at home.  Many are fearful of maintaining their lives and businesses until they can return to work.  Vulnerable parts of the population are just trying to stay healthy.  The creativity, caring and innovation of Americans that we see are amazing and are often taken for granted or ignored.  In spite of our challenges, we have opportunities to use these traits and our most precious commodity, time, in ways we never have before.  The quarantines and separation from each other and our daily activities are stressful and frustrating.  But the resultant opportunity for reconnection allows us to focus on those treasures in our lives that really matter.  I know that we’ve all been doing some of those important “projects” that have been too easy to put off in the past.  But look at the isolated situation we’re in as a gift that we’ve been given; a unique opportunity to focus on and reconnect with family, friends and what brings joy and happiness into our lives.  Use the commodity of time for reconnection.  And for fresh air, jump in that Miata, put the top down, and enjoy a safe “social distanced” drive with your favorite person on one of our beautiful spring days.  Soon, we’ll be able to reconnect with all of our CFMC friends and enjoy fun events and activities again.  Until then, look out for each other, stay safe and healthy!  I’ll see you soon.

Zoom-Zoom!

Ron Carmichael

Tech Column – by Ken Schiess

I spent a few minutes chatting with Mike at National Speed today. I was wondering if they do Miatas and what one might do to improve performance without forsaking drivability (quiet, fuel mileage etc).

He was amazingly patient explaining to me that tuning, while not cheap, was one answer to my question. For models NC and ND, there is a replacement ECM that can be installed and programmed to achieve desired results. It is a bit more challenging for the NA and NB models since you have to install a separate ECM module and related gear and that adds a wiring harness and myriad other bits depending on just how far you want to go.

The shop is located off Gordon Road not far from the Market St./ Gordon Rd intersection. If you have any work done there, the parts they supply, the labor, and the tuning are all guaranteed for one year. If the car needs to be left overnight, it will be stored inside the shop, or if it is to be stored for any length of time, in an offsite climate controlled secure building.

If getting a little more oomph out of your Miata is on your list, Mike seems to be the guy to talk with. His number is 910-500-6808 if you want to chat.

Oh, and by the way, while the Pandemic is raging, they are open for business on a curbside service basis. You drop the car, they sanitize it, bring it into the shop, do their thing, then sanitize it again for you to pick up.

So, if you have been harboring any thoughts along those lines, now may be the best time to contact them. They have a couple weeks lead time right now which would get you done and ready for Zoom-Zoom as soon as the Pandemic is cleared.

I’m thinking that a little upgrade just might be cheaper than buying another car.

President’s Message – April 2020

Wow!  As recently as a month ago, we never expected spring 2020 to start this way.  The Covid-19 virus has impacted everyone’s lives and daily routines in very significant ways.  The intensity and magnitude of this virus, its worldwide impacts, its speed and potential for spread and severity have created understandable concerns about our health, safety and security.  Obviously, the immediate goal is to minimize the virus’ spread and impacts by following local, state, and national guidance on dealing with the crisis.  In addition to the obvious direct impacts of the virus, mitigation measures and the accompanying restrictions have greatly limited person-to-person interaction and consequently, every aspect of our lives.  Because the health, safety and security of our CFMC members are our top priorities, many of our events for April and May have been canceled including our planned business meeting originally scheduled for April 18.  Please review the latest Activities Column in this issue of the Ragtop Tales for the most up to date information on cancellation of many of our planned events.  Also, see the separate article in this month’s RTT for current information regarding May’s Miata Mountain Adventure. We will issue mid-month updates on all planned CFMC events and activities if needed.

Undoubtedly, this is a scary and challenging time for us and our families from multiple perspectives; health, economic and our day-to-day routines.  For those members whose parents and relatives lived through the great Depression of the 1930’s and World War II, we remember them talking about the challenges, adversity, and uncertainty that they faced.  They overcame these crises through the sacrifice, service, and support of all Americans.  Sacrifice, service, and support are part of America’s DNA.  Our military and first responders and their families provide sacrifice, service, and support to us every day.  Now it is our time.  Today’s generations can and must work together and sacrifice, serve, and support each other in order to defeat the virus.  Fear and uncertainty are temporary.  We will get through this.  Stay safe and healthy and look out for each other, particularly those who are afraid, are most vulnerable and the brave health care workers and first responders who are on the front lines protecting us.  Soon, we will have our lives back, and with it, the return to some sense of routine and normalcy.   And, we will once again enjoy the fun, fellowship and friendship that our CFMC provides.  Please stay safe and healthy.  I will see you all soon.

Zoom-Zoom!

Ron Carmichael

 

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