Category Archives: France

Dreamliner Euro Trip 2019

Its been a while since I chose a flight to book specifucally based on the airliner that flies that route. For my upcomming trip to Europe I will be going slightly out of my way (and way out of my way on the return) just to fly Boeing’s Dreamliner across the Atlantic.

It won’t be my first time flying this bird. I was booked on it twice already. First time using United Airline miles to fly partner ANA to Tokyo, but that flight suffered equipment change and I got to ride an old 777 instead. And a Scoot Air short hop between Bangkok and Singapore which was so late at night and so short I don’t remember much from that experience. Much like my previous experiences hunting after booking Airbus A380 international flights I’m very much looking forward to a longer Dreamliner experience. On my way to Paris I will have to take a positioning flight to Chicago. And returning from Munich I will overshoot home by flying to Dallas and then take an Airbus A321 flight home.

Between France and Germany I plan to rely on European fast train options, but IF stars align I would snag a cheap short flight in a heartbeat.

Wish I didn’t let my Air France miles expire I had almost 10k sitting dormant at one point, but disapointingly I discovered that the only way to keep them was by flying, partner earnings (like dining and shopping) did not help.

I will share more info on my plans for this Euro Trip later. It has been an exciting experience already just trying to secure the reward booking from AA. I was just over 1k miles short for redemption, it took me more than ten trips to various local restaurants for lunch to prop up my points balance via AAdvantage Dining… so glad those kind of options are out there.

more to come soon….

PS. I will be so pissed if my flight experiences equipment change again or if Dreamliners get grounded again for some reason this September.

Update 1: May 13 American emailed me a flight change notice changing my domestic outbound flight from 1:30pm departure giving me a comfortable 4 hour connection time at Chicago O’hare to a 4:30pm departure giving me a sweaty 48 minute connection time which would most certainly mean I would have to run across the airport just to make my flight. Quick call to AA and I was back on a different 1:30pm departure… looks like AA changed flight #’s on the route and adjusted flight times slightly, which triggered the goof!

A Year in Review: My 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata Adventures Statistics

 

Woo Hoo! My first Miata Fiata Radio Episode is now Live! Listen:


Miata Fiata Radio – A Year in Review: 2016 Miata Fiata Adventures


 

There’s still a few days of 2016 left, but I wanted to jot down all the fun things I’ve done with my MX-5 Miata this year and share it with my readers (and soon to be listeners) in an upcoming Miata Fiata Radio thing I’m launching… yes we’ve already launched Miata Fiata talk the podcast, but I wanted to create a supplement where it’s just me talking about my car and my adventures.

So let’s talk numbers…

International MX-5 Events: 8

Domestic MX-5 Events: 18

Mileage done: 17k

Oil changes: 3

Repairs: 2

Modifications: 4

 

International Road Trips:

Pacific Trip:

  • Sydney, Australia [link][link]
  • Auckland, New Zealand [link]

Euro Trip:

Domestic Road Trips:

  • Polar Bear Cruise in Lehigh Valley, PA [link][link]
  • to St. Pete & Sebring, Florida via Orlando and Daytona Beach [link][link][link]
  • to VIR, Virginia [link]
  • to Belle Isle, Detroit, Michigan [link]
  • Watkins Glen International (x5) [link][link]
  • Lime Rock Park (x3) [link]
  • Palmer Motorsports Park [link]
  • New Jersey Motorsports Park (x2) [link]
  • Philadelphia Miata Run [link]
  • Bear Mountain Cruise (x2) [link][link]

California Trips:

  • Mazda North American Operations [link]
  • Miatas as Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca [link][link][link]

Maintenance:

  • Pennzoil Platinum 5w-20 and 0w-20 (x3) [link][link]
  • Pennzoil Platinum High Milage ATF JWS-3309 [link]
  • Mobil 1 ATF power steering fluid flush [link]
  • NGK Laser Iridium Spark Plugs [link]
  • Techron Fuel System Cleaner [link]

Repairs:

  • RX-8 Hubs (wheel bearings) [link]
  • MX-5 OEM Bilstein Shocks/Springs [link]

Modifications:

  • Touch Screen Pioneer Stereo [link][link]
  • Backup Camera [link]
  • Cravenspeed Stubby Antenna [link]
  • Black Aluminum Shift Knob [link]
  • WeatherTech Floor Mats [link]

 

(More will be added as I think of this stuff)

Mazda MX-5: L’Auvergne a Paris Dinner with MX5France.com Miata Owners and Midnight Sightseeing Tour of the City of Lights

My most epic Mazda MX-5 Miata Road Trip took place this July in conjunction with my Motorsport Euro Trip to volunteer a few races in Western Europe. Fourth and Final stop on my trip was in France, a visit to Paris to have dinner with MX5France.com forum members.

European MX-5 Miata Road Trip Overview:

f-netherlandsPost Card from the Dutch MX-5 Miata Road Trip

f-netherlandsAmsterdam to IJmuiden Miata Road Trip

f-germanyPost Card from the German MX-5 Miata Road Trip

f-germanyCologne to Dusseldorf Miata Road Trip

f-germanyNordschleife, Nurburgring Miata Road Trip 

f-belgiumPost Card from the Belgian MX-5 Miata Road Trip

f-belgiumLiege MX-5 Miata Road Trip

f-francePost Card from the French MX-5 Miata Road Trip

f-franceParis by Night Miata Road Trip

 

Paris was the very last stop on my three week Euro Trip and one I was probably looking forward to the most. The reason? MX5France.com forum members were most responsive to my invite to hang out with fellow Miata owners. One of the members there: Mike (the former president of the club) decided to organize the whole meet for me. He picked an awesome place: Auto Passion Cafe and we were set to have a great time, until someone busted our bubble by enlightening us that the restaurant is closed for the whole month of July and most of August for their summer vacation.

Not to worry Mike picked another amazing place: L’Auvergne a Paris. This place was especially special to me because I have family living in Auvergne: Clermont-Ferrand and Volvic. The place is also home to Michelin and lots of racing and Motorsport. The restaurant was full of Motorsport memorabilia, tons of model cars, wheels, plaques, helmets, and pictures. I loved the ambiance!

Besides the decor the restaurant was a real Paris hangout. No tourists here, lots of locals. And many of the MX-5 folks showed up after work with their significant others. We had almost a dozen people come for dinner and share their Mazda experiences. Some members were worried about coming as their English wasn’t great, and I speak hardly any French. But we had an amazing time nonetheless.

Of all the people that showed up I only managed to take pix of two cars. A beautiful NC2 and an NB that Mike brought.

france mx-5 meetup in paris 1

france mx-5 meetup in paris 2

france mx-5 meetup in paris 3

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paris france mazda mx-5 miata road trip dinner sightseeing 1

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france mx-5 meetup in paris 8

The best way to see the city of Paris is in a Roadster convertible!

paris france mazda mx-5 miata road trip dinner sightseeing 2

france mx-5 meetup in paris 9

france mx-5 meetup in paris 10

france mx-5 meetup in paris 11

france mx-5 meetup in paris 12

paris france mazda mx-5 miata road trip dinner sightseeing 8

paris france mazda mx-5 miata road trip dinner sightseeing 3

A prix fixe three course menu: (absolutely delicious!)

paris france mazda mx-5 miata road trip dinner sightseeing 4

paris france mazda mx-5 miata road trip dinner sightseeing 5

paris france mazda mx-5 miata road trip dinner sightseeing 6

paris france mazda mx-5 miata road trip dinner sightseeing 7

Sightseeing tour of Paris by night:

france mx-5 meetup in paris 13

france mx-5 meetup in paris 14

paris france mazda mx-5 miata road trip dinner sightseeing 10

paris france mazda mx-5 miata road trip dinner sightseeing 11

paris france mazda mx-5 miata road trip dinner sightseeing 12

An interesting license plate from the Reunion Islands.

paris france mazda mx-5 miata road trip dinner sightseeing 13

paris france mazda mx-5 miata road trip dinner sightseeing 14

paris france mazda mx-5 miata road trip dinner sightseeing 15

paris france mazda mx-5 miata road trip dinner sightseeing 16

france mx-5 meetup in paris 17

paris france mazda mx-5 miata road trip dinner sightseeing 17

paris france mazda mx-5 miata road trip dinner sightseeing 9

paris france mazda mx-5 miata road trip dinner sightseeing 21

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paris france mazda mx-5 miata road trip dinner sightseeing 20

paris france mazda mx-5 miata road trip dinner sightseeing 18

france mx-5 meetup in paris 16

france mx-5 meetup in paris 18

paris france mazda mx-5 miata road trip dinner sightseeing 22

The trip… both to Paris, France and Europe as a whole finished just like it started. Mike and I were cruising central Paris well into the night, arriving at the hotel around 1am (with an alarm set for 4am to rush back to the airport to fly home to the US). I was super grateful for the opportunity and absolutely amazed that so many people chose to come out and meet up with me, show me around, share delicious food and insightful conversations. Thank you one and all!

Post Card from France MX-5 Miata Road Trip Sightseeing Paris by Night

My EuroTrip concluded with the biggest MX-5 owner get together of the whole journey. The France MX-5 club was most receptive to my invitation to meet and boy did they come out in numbers. Though I was a bit afraid people would come after work and instead of bringing their car they’d just hop on the Metro (which is what kind of happened) I was lucky enough to take some snaps of the cars that I managed to see on this meet up… more to come soon:

france mx-5 meetup in paris 1

france mx-5 meetup in paris 2

france mx-5 meetup in paris 3

france mx-5 meetup in paris 4

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A lovely NC2 PRHT on the streets of Paris, and then everyone else showed up for dinner. Including the owner of this gorgeous NB who parked right in front of the restaurant.

france mx-5 meetup in paris 11

france mx-5 meetup in paris 9

france mx-5 meetup in paris 10

france mx-5 meetup in paris 12

Notice the exotic license plates from Reunion Islands… a small French possession between Madagascar and Mauritus south of the Seychelles.

After dinner we had an awesome cruise sightseeing Paris by night. Not too much traffic around midnight, and after the rain going with the top down in the convertible was very refreshing!

france mx-5 meetup in paris 13

france mx-5 meetup in paris 14

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Big thanks to Mike for organizing the dinner and taking me around on this excellent cruise showing me all the sights like the Eifel Tower, the Louvre, Notre Dam and Arc de Triomphe. Thanks to MX-5 France Club for being so amazingly welcoming also!

Mark Your Calendars! 200 MX-5 Miata Rendezvous in Normandy June 2017

Dear MX-5 Miata Owners of Europe (and the world for that matter),

Please mark your calendars for June of 2017 for one of the biggest MX-5 Miata get togethers in the world… taking place in Normandy, France.

Details are here in English:  sites.google.com/site/mx5mondrian/home/rendez-vous and here in French: www.mx5france.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=36&t=25255 and here in Dutch: forum.mx-5owners.nl/viewtopic.php?f=12&t=24160 I’m sure there will be posts in many other languages as MX-5 owners from around Europe and Asia (Eurasia) are planning to attend! So far the list includes MX-5 Miata owners from France, the UK, Belgium, Luxembourg, Holland, Spain, Italy, Sweden and Russia.

Man do I want to be a part of this too…   perhaps!?

I’ll be sure to organize something on my next visit to Europe this July where I’m planning to meet up with MX-5 owners in the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany and France.

european mx5 miata road trip netherlands germany belgium france euro trip

Français MX-5: Les USA à Paris, Auto Passion Café Mardi 02 Aout 2016

Last minute update [August 1st] the folks from AutoPassion cafe are on vacation for a month. So instead our meeting/dinner will be at:

L’Auvergne à Paris
102 Rue Blomet
75015 Paris


“Où un miatiste newyorkais nous indique passer sur Paris début aout et vouloir rencontrer des miatisters parisiens, je vous propose de nous retrouver à l’autopassion café porte d’Orléans!

http://www.autopassioncafe.fr/photos-dambiance

Je vous propose de nous y retrouver mardi 2 aout à 20 heures !”

Miketorcy x1


 

“je note, ce café est vraiment sympa, et la nourriture très bonne. je pense que c’est la meilleure adresse sur Paris pour les passionnés de sportives.”


Dear MX-5 Miata Friends,

If you find yourself in Paris on Tuesday, August 2nd please come and join myself and a few MX-5 Club France owners at Auto Passion Café in the 14th Arrondissement near Porte d’Orléans Metro stop. I’m hopeful that the French MX-5 owners actually bring their cars but I’m excited for their enthusiasm about this idea of meeting a fellow Miata owner from the other side of the Atlantic.

While my other plans to organize a similar event around Amsterdam, Brussels and Nurburg haven’t gained much traction, the Parisians seem excited, and I’m really happy to see that!

I can’t wait to go there and share some delicious food in the ambiance of a Motorsport cafe… It ought to be a blast!

MX-5 Club France is an active forum in France and french speaking world (including Belgium, Luxembourg, and Switzerland) MX-5 owners that maintain a very flashy web site complete with regularly scheduled events around the country and throughout Europe.

mx5 france club summer meeting august 2 at auto passion paris

I sent them an e-mail to encourage the club officers to help organize a little get together and they invited me to join the forums (something that I would normally get in trouble for by promoting myself, my event or my web site). But the response has been surprising, and very promising!

mx-5 france club summer meeting august 2 at auto passion paris

I hope the event does materialize and also encourages other Europeans in the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany to join me as well… it would be so awesome!

auto passion cafe paris porte d'orleans mazda mx-5 miata meet august 2

Auto Passion Cafe is a Motorsport themed restaurant near the center of Paris that caters to motor heads… which we clearly are. I’m so excited about the opportunity to check it out and share a meal with some French / Parisian MX-5 owners this August.

Please consider coming out and joining us!

MX-5 France forum: www.mx5france.com/

Auto Passion Cafe web site: www.autopassioncafe.fr/

197 Boulevard Brune, 75014 Paris, France

+33 1 45 43 20 20

Stay tuned for updates!

(Header photo credit: club.autoplus.fr Merci!)

Mazda MX-5: Euro Trip Invitation to hang out with Miata Owners in the Netherlands, Germany, Belgium and France

Hey European MX-5 Miata owners, let’s meet up for a cup of coffee!

I don’t even drink coffee, but I’m happy to buy a cup for any local MX-5 Miata owners that come out and meet me on my next trip to Europe where I’ll be marshaling DTM at Zandvoort, WEC 6 hour at the N-ring and Spa 24 hour in Belgium.

mx5 miata road trip european union dutch german belgian french euro trip

I will be visiting Amsterdam on my way to Zandvoort and it would be amazing if some Dutch MX-5 owners came out to say hello. I know there’s a ton of them out there, and I’ll be posting this invite on the MX5-Club.NL facebook group. It might actually be pretty reasonable to organize a small event near Amsterdam as it is convenient for folks to come out to town and for me to use public transport to meet them.

The next step in Germany may be a little more difficult. I failed miserably to meet up with MX-5 owners on my last two trips to Nurburgring even though I saw a ton of Miatas driving around. But I won’t stop trying to organize something. So if anyone lives near Adenau or plans to visit WEC 6h race on the Grand Prix circuit, let me upgrade the cup of coffee to a stein of beer to entice you! I will post this invite on MX-5 miata eunos Roadster community page.

I’ve also failed to organize something on my last few trips to Brussels when marshaling in Belgium, but I know there is an MX-5 community there and I want to meet up with them! So whomever is available in Brussels, Liege or even Spa please get in touch. If coffee isn’t your think I’ll be happy to spring for Kriek or another beer variety. I will be posting this invite on the Ma Miata MX5 Belgium Liège facebook community page and Miata MX-5 Roadster Club Automobiles and Parts  page.

european mx5 miata road trip netherlands germany belgium france euro trip

And finally I’ll be flying home via Paris, France which would be great opportunity to meet up with another MX-5 community in Europe. Of course I don’t speak the language for any one of the places I’m visiting, no dutch, flemish, french or german, but that hasn’t stopped me from organizing these things before in Asia or the Pacific. I will be posting this invite on the Club MX5 France page.

I am really excited about this opportunity and am hoping people will respond to my invites.


My schedule in Europe is as follows: (UPDATED July 8, 2016)

f-netherlands July 13 & 14: staying in Amsterdam

f-netherlands July 15 to 17: marshaling at Zandvoort for DTM

f-netherlands July 18 to 19:staying in Amsterdam

f-germany July 20 to 21: staying in Cologne

f-germany July 21 to 24: marshaling at Nurburgring for WEC

f-belgium July 25 to 27: staying in Brussels

f-belgium July 27 to 31: marshaling at Spa-Francorchamps for Spa 24h

f-belgium August 1: staying in Brussels

f-france August 2: staying in Paris, meet-up at Auto Passion Cafe


So, are you available to hang out on any of these days? Please get in touch! My goal is to meet up and take some MX-5/Miata pictures for this blog. I’ve done similar meet-ups in Asia and the Pacific so feel free to look around this web site for an idea of why I want to meet.

I hope people do in fact come out! Please get in touch via facebook.

mazda european mx-5 cup of coffee invitation amsterdam brussels liege nurburg paris

PS. I’ll be traveling on a super tight budget using public transport and CouchSurfing along the way… which means I won’t be terribly mobile, but if there are MX-5 owners out of major cities which are easy to get to, I’ll be sure to research ways of getting there for this.

Please use #GlobalMX5CupOfCoffee & #EuropeanMX5CupOfCoffee hashtags to promote these meet ups on social media! Feel free to share this invite with everyone! Some more links to local MX-5 clubs:

http://www.mx5-club.nl/

http://www.mx-5.de/

http://www.mx-5.be/

https://www.mx5france.com/

http://mx5-club-koeln.de/

Fiat 124 Spider: Fiata Miata for 2017 I’m Guessing I’ll be Able to Rent one in Europe Soon?

Jalopnik has published photos of the 2017 production version of the Fiat 124 Spider based on the Mazda MX-5 Miata Roadster, or as everyone is calling it on the forums: Fiata Miata. And the production version looks completely different from what all the speculative renderings were. It’s dramatically different from the 2016 Mazda Miata that it is based on. And at this point I’m not sure if I like it or not. Initial impressions of the Fiata Spider is that it looks more like the NB version of the Miata while the car it’s based on pays more homage to the NA model. The obvious differences between the Fiata and the Miata based on the pictures seem to be a longer nose on the Fiat, and a more square trunk, which will probably have more storage capacity, even if ever so slightly. The interiors look identical. Check out this Jalopnik article for more pictures of the Fiat 124:  jalopnik.com/2017-fiat-124-spider-this-is-it-all-official-and-stuf

2016 mazda mx-5 miata fiata fiat 124
photo credit: Mazda

mazda roadster mx-5 miata
photo credit: Mazda

fiat 124 spider fiata miata mx-5 mazda
photo credit: Fiat

2017 fiat 124 fiata miata mx-5 mazda
photo credit: Fiat

Since I am not at all likely to get rid of my NC Miata any time soon, the only likelihood of me driving a Fiata Miata is if I rent one, most likely in Europe as I doubt they’ll be very representative of the American rental car fleets… I certainly have not been able to find any Mazda MX-5 ND rental cars around in my recent travels.

I am looking forward to test driving one just to compare how it feels to my car.

PS. Hopefully the promised Abarth version looks even more aggressive ( I think I secretly wanted the Fiat 124 Spider to look more like the Alfa Romeo 4C Spider than a vintage Fiat or NB Miata for that matter ).

2015 Le Mans 24h Spotter Guide by Andy Blackmore available for download

Andy Blackmore has made the 2015 Le Mans 24h spotter guide available for download well ahead of the event for those of you attending, watching remotely or marshaling the event to get familiarized with.

Andy’s spotter guides are my absolutely favorite, and even though I won’t be attending the event, I can’t help but recommend others to check out his work for themselves:

spotterguides.com andy blackmore le mans 24h 2015

The level of detail is outstanding as usual, and here’s the breakdown what all that information means:

andy blackmore spotter guide nissan nismo gt-r le mans 24h 2015

 

Click the images above or visit Andy’s SpotterGuides.com for download directly: http://www.spotterguides.com/portfolio/15lm/

Thank you Andy for a job well done!

 

Le Mans 24h substitute = Lone Star Le Mans (Austin) + Petit Le Mans (Atlanta)

I don’t think one could truly substitute a race of Le Mans 24h magnitude. But one could certainly try.

Last year I wrote about trying to make a decision as to which European Endurance race I should marshal (click here: Which European endurance race do I pick?) I’m proud to say that the 24h of Nurburgring has materialized and 24h of Spa is within reach just over a month away. But Le Mans 24h, the race that Patrick Dempsey in a recent Jalopnik interview called the best endurance race in the world, has gotten away.

But I won’t despair. I’ve picked a few alternative races with the words: “Le Mans” in their titles a little closer to home. Among them are the Lone Star Le Mans at COTA in Texas and Petit Le Mans in Georgia at Road Atlanta. I also signed up for the Sahlen’s Six Hour at the Glen which is obviously at Watkins Glen in Upstate New York.

wec cota grid porsche 2
WEC at COTA 2014

I have worked all of the races before and unlike the original classic in France where we work in shifts with plenty of downtime, I expect to work the entirety of each of the races for all of these events, cumulatively totaling more than the 24 hours of flat out racing. This is pretty exciting. There will be 6 hours of World Endurance Championship (WEC) at COTA supported by about 3 hours of IMSA Tudor United SportsCar Championship (TUSC), and 10 hours for the season finale IMSA TUSC at Road Atlanta. As well as 6 hours of IMSA TUSC at Watkins Glen International. 6+2:45+10+6=24h 45mins.

sahlen's six hour at the glen 1
old Daytona Prototype from Grand-Am series at Watkins Glen

What do I expect to see at each of the races?

WEC on US soil is always a great sight. I hope the Nissan Nismo GT-R LMP1 car makes an appearance at COTA after it’s debut at Le Mans France. I also hope that Ford brings the latest Ford GT race car to Texas after it’s debut in France. I’m sure the fields of cars will be far smaller in the US as they will be in France, but whatever shows up will be a welcome sight.

petit le mans grid 2014
The grid at Road Atlanta for Petit Le Mans

What will I miss at Le Mans?

The Aston Martin historics race featuring GT1, GT2, GT3 and GT4 race cars of various vintage that have raced before at Le Mans and apparently some of the Nurburgring 24h specials.

McLaren is also celebrating it’s 25th anniversary and there was talk of McLaren race car parade featuring some rare gems from their illustrious racing history. I wish I could have seen that.

But for the price of doing one event I get to do three, and that makes me quite happy. I have now organized the conclusion to my racing season this year, and I’m proud of what events I have added to my resume as a marshal. The planning for 2016 season is well underway and I’m hoping that both Dubai 24h and Bathurst 12h materialize.