Impromptu Lu Mil Vineyard trip – Saturday, September 9

Due to uncertainty over the path of hurricane Irma, Silver Coast Winery postponed their planned September 9th Purple Feet festival.  Bill Bertrand and Jo-Ann Craig had worked extremely hard in planning a CFMC outing to the winery to participate in the festival.  The new date for the festival will be Sunday, November 5th and we hope there is a good turnout for this event.

Several days after Silver Coast Winery canceled the Purple Feet event, hurricane Irma changed its track further west and it became clear that Irma was going to give the southeast North Carolina area a big break.  In fact, the weather forecast for Saturday, September 9th was expected to be beautiful.  With the forecast of a beautiful day and less concerns about the impact of Irma, Judy and Rick Judson proposed an impromptu event to the Lu Mil winery in Elizabethtown, NC.

Our group included nine Miatas and one extra vehicle.  In attendance were Bill Bertrand, Jo-Ann Craig, Paul and Rebecca Reinmann, Don Lee, Frank Pain, Leon and Beth Rooks, Sean and Jenny Hsu, John and Trudy Williamson, new members John and Grace Martens (and some of their family members), and hosts Rick and Judy Judson.

The group gathered at Hardees on Village Road in Leland at 10:00am to form into a caravan.  Jo-Ann passed out popcorn refreshments to all attendees which was a nice treat (thanks Bill and Jo-Ann).  The planned route was a more scenic drive, taking the group by White Lake and Singletary Lake.  To our surprise, we ended up passing by a triathlon going on along Route 53 as we drove towards Elizabethtown.  Also, we didn’t know we would meet up with a motorcycle club at Lu Mil (also out for an outing on a beautiful day).  The drive to Lu  Mil was perfect for “top down” and we enjoyed the wine tastings at the tasting bar inside the winery.  Everyone brought a picnic lunch which we enjoyed on the covered porch looking out to the view of the vineyards.   Several club members took a stroll around the vineyards while Grace Martens and Rebecca Reinmann opted to pick grapes in the vineyard to take home.  Others took advantage of their unusual gift shop, taking home jams, jellies, and of course bottles of wine.  Before departing the vineyard, some of the group took a scenic drive through the vineyard and checked out their cute rental cabins.

We thank all of the club members who joined us on this impromptu outing.  We couldn’t have asked for a nicer day and a great time was had with wonderful friends.

A Tech Day Follow-up by Ken Schiess

Those CFMC members who participated in Tech Day at Stevenson Mazda may remember that Ken had complained that he was experiencing a vibration while driving his Miata. He learned that day that it was rooted in two of his aluminum wheels (see the March issue of Ragtop Tales). Below is his follow-up to that event.

Two of my wheels appeared to be oval when we ran them on the balance machine at Stevenson. That would have explained the vibration I was feeling between 45 and 55 mph.  So I had Stevenson get them straightened. It was cheaper with the club discount than if I took them to the wheel guy myself, probably due to the professional discount that Stevenson gets but cheaper is cheaper (Thank you Stevenson Mazda).  Anyway that pretty much solved the vibration issue but since I needed tires anyway I went ahead and replaced them with fresh balancing and four wheel alignment. Now there is no vibration at all.

On the subject of tires; I had Falken Z912’s on the car for the past 19,000 miles. They are a great high performance tire. They stick well but I don’t tend to drive that aggressively so the short comings of a harsh ride, noise and complete wear down to the wear bars in 19,000 miles seemed an excessive trade off. I have replaced them with General Altimax RT 43 Grand Touring tires. They are MUCH quieter, ride better, especially over tar strips and other uneven surfaces but are slightly slower to respond to steering inputs. But only slightly and they tend to stick tight enough for anything I do with the car.

I’ll give you an update on the tires in a year or two when I have 5,000 or 10,000 miles on them

A CFMC “Out of this World” Event

CFMC Eclipse Event took place on August 21, 2017 at Hopsewee Plantation, South Carolina.

This was a first time occasion for most of us. We’ve seen lunar eclipses but few had experienced a solar eclipse. We had a great turnout with 15 members participating in eight cars (six were Miata’s).

We arrived at Hopsewee Plantation ahead of the first obscuration of the sun with time to get settled under the shade of a great live oak tree.

The skies were mostly clear with many views of the eclipse forming, up to two minutes before totality. We saw the gradual effects of the sun being shaded with less heat (solar) felt on us even though there was still sun shining. It got darker more rapidly at the last few minutes; crickets began chirping, it got noticeably cooler, then, oops, a cloud came in.

We all had our sun viewing glasses which were quite fashionable and allowed us to view the eclipse progressing.

Also several people had telescopes with special view screens. One guy was a real pro and provided us with the best technical info.

Everyone enjoyed the food provided by Hopsewee Plantation chefs. Rebecca and I sampled the low country platter and the chicken wings done many ways. It went down well with one of their local beers. They also provided a band and some of us were seen on the dance floor before the eclipse started.

We also brought eclipse cookies Rebecca made to provide our group with a special treat.

We had a great time and then departed for Conway for dinner. The traffic was a bit worse then what we saw traveling down and it took us three hours to reach the Crafty Rooster when it normally would have taken just one hour!

Our dinners included meals of buffalo chicken balls, quesadillas, and kick-in chili. Dave Moyer and I tried the chicken bog which I had never heard of. Dave, a self-proclaimed bog aficionado, says this was of the best he’d ever had. And I thoroughly enjoyed mine.

We all left for home, some individually and some in small groups. We had clear roadways all the way from this point and enjoyed top down driving all the way home.

Everyone enjoyed the day although the traffic at times was more than I hoped for. Next eclipse event we’ll plan a sleepover.

Attending were: the Panes, Wahl’s, Felice’s, Judson’s, Lee’s, Henion’s, Reinmann’s and Dave Moyer.

Beaufort Wooden Boat Building Contest – May 2017

On Saturday, May 6, 20 CFMC members met at the Battleship North Carolina parking lot and caravanned to Beaufort, NC to attend the 10th Annual National Boat Building Challenge. That made an impressive line of 10 Miatas driving in a row. When we arrived in Beaufort, the group was given a briefing by one of the contest organizers, Mr. Tom Russell, on the rules and history of the boat building challenge. The group had planned on an afternoon boat cruise to see wild horses, but due to the winds, the boats were unable to take us on a cruise. After a tasty lunch, our group had time to watch the end of the boat building contest and to see the teams launch their boats in a rowing contest.

Tech Day – February 2017

Tech Day was held at Stevenson Mazda on February 11. The event broke attendance records with 13 members present. Many members were able to accomplish maintenance on their cars, and a few drooled over the new “Targa” style retractable hardtop coupe (model NDRF).

Candlelight Colonial Christmas Celebration at Tryon Palace, New Bern – December 2016

Seven couples from the club set off to New Bern on December 10 on a beautiful but cold day. We caravanned from the Battleship in Wilmington and spent the afternoon and evening enjoying New Bern and its environs. In the evening, we went to the Palace (it was getting downright chilly) and watched the parading Continental soldiers, blacksmithing, and even a period-correct circus. We then explored the palace which was decorated in 1781 fashion after the British surrender at Yorktown, so there was an air of hope in New Bern.

Miatas at Brookgreen Gardens Recap

On May 31st, 6 couples from the club headed for a day out at Brookgreen Gardens. Participants were the Wahl’s, Clems, Panes, Wests, Lawrences, and the Williamsons. Our first stop along the way was none other than Dunkin’ Donuts to tank us up for the trip.

Once there, we headed for the Visitor Center to check out “What’s Blooming” and watch the introductory movie.

Next was our guided garden tour with Hal and Alice Vivian, long time volunteers at Brookgreen. Alice is a master gardener and knows her plants while Hal is the history buff. Between the two of them we really got a most informative tour.

Lunch at the Pavilion Restaurant (on the grounds) followed and we were joined by our guides. After lunch there was some free time on our own and some went to the zoo and some took the low country trail where the Williamsons had the pleasure of meeting a couple of the residents of the wildlife population – snakes

Our afternoon excursion was the Nature and History Tour to the site of one of the 4 plantations that make up Brookgreen Gardens. There we learned about the Alston family and how life was then for both the slaves and the gentry during the heyday of the rice plantations. Leonardo, our tour guide shared a wealth of information and answered lots of questions. By that time, the somewhat weary group finished the day in the gift shop and began the trip home with a stop at Bonefish Grill for an excellent dinner.

It was a great day with good weather, good fellowship, and good food. We just might do this again.

Don and Mary Sue

CFMC Quarterly Meeting Recap

We held our quarterly meeting at Rucker Johns at Monkey Junction, Wilmington on Saturday, 4/6/13. Following a great meal we left on a mini road course through Myrtle Grove to Rebecca and Paul Reinmann’s home at Peden Point for dessert. We then enjoyed another hour or two socializing on their deck while soaking up the back yard view.

Wilmington Cars & Coffee and CFMC Quarterly Meeting Recap

We enjoyed a beautiful day outside surrounded by a large assortment of beautiful cars. Many sports cars including some Lotus’s, older muscle cars, and the usual Corvettes, Camaros and Mustangs were there. Not to forget the $260k Lamborghini. We had 16 members in attendance with 10 club members’ Miatas and there may have been a few more there too. After chatting it up in the parking lot we moved inside Red Robin for our quarterly lunch meeting.

Don Wahl led the meeting with much of the conversation discussing future events. These will be detailed in our activities column but a couple to note are the February event to visit a civil war site and bluegrass festival and a multiple day trip in October to the Blue Ridge Parkway area.

Other business included a reminder membership renewal is due now with dues remaining $15 per car. Also we will be offering a one year free club membership to anyone buying a new Miata at Stevenson Mazda.

Our April quarterly meeting will move to Rucker Johns on Carolina Beach Rd. at Monkey Junction. Following that everyone is invited to the Reinmann’s for desserts.

Enchanted Airlie and Kitchen Restaurant Recap

We had a nice time Then we joined another eight, if I with friends during our garden visit and meal following. Airlie was decorated very nicely with lights and interesting props. We enjoyed a nice walk with a slight mist that really put us in the winter holiday spirit. remember right, at the Kitchen Restaurant for a great meal and time to socialize. We just hate to miss an event.