Mazda MX-5: Monmouth Cruise – Tinton Falls to Atlantic Highlands

I love when Miata owners get together for a meet and cruise. This latest one organized by the Delaware Valley Miata Club took place on Wednesday, meeting up at Wawa in Tinton Falls and following a twisty route down the Jersey Shore to the Atlantic Highlands.

I had spend a good part of my day prepping for this trip while running some errands, but ultimately I left Northern New Jersey late meaning I had to rush to get to this event which during the 5pm rush hour the GPS suggested would take a little over an hour. Luckily I missed most of the traffic, but that was thanks to some maneuvering, taking the GSP to i80 to the NJ Turnpike, back to GSP and then local roads to the Wawa.

The turn out was quite good. I think I counted over a dozen cars. I suspect most were already members of the Delaware Valley Miata club because when I showed up a few people sort of guilted me into joining. One person suggested that it’s not fair to everybody else that paid their membership fee and I’m the one freeloading on their cruise… Hmmm… more about that later.

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I’m glad I arrived when I did because shortly after the group settled up and headed out for the cruise. If I had hit any traffic I would have been shit outta luck on this one.

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But I made it, so I got in line to follow the convoy through Central Jersey towards the Jersey Shore. I got some great Dash Cam footage of the cruise, although I discovered that the velcro that the dash cam is attached to is making the camera loose, which resulted in some bouncy video especially when roads were rough. I also had noticed a metallic ticking noise coming from the right front tire, shortly after we had pulled over on the side of the road to wait for the tail end of the convoy to catch up after getting stuck on a red light. I wasn’t happy hearing that noise because it sounded like I caught a nail. At one point I pulled over to take a look, felt around the tire and didn’t notice anything obvious. A short distance later the noise stopped so I assume it wasn’t a nail but a small rock that had lodged itself into the groove of tread on the tire, and was making a ruckus while I drove. But I’ll have to check tomorrow to make sure there isn’t a puncture.

Our first stop was Mount Mitchill Scenic Overlook with an amazing view of the New York City skyline at sunset, and Sandy Hook below.

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From there many of us headed out down to the waterfront, with a planned dinner at a restaurant in the Marina. But it wasn’t meant to be. The wait line was well over an hour and it would have been quite late for most people on a Wednesday night to stick around. At this point a few people left while about six of us picked a plan B and headed to Applebee’s in Middletown, NJ for a bite to eat.

As always I really enjoyed the company of the Del Val Miata club. The members are good people, mature, there’s no burnouts or people getting pulled over at their cruises, everything is organized nicely. But I must have been naive to think that this was a public event. During my very first interaction I was told I’d have to either join the club to continue coming to their events or stop taking potential spots away from club members by attending. I was on the fence before about joining the club. I am not a big fan of the idea of club membership for a number of reasons, many are similar to those I’ve shared on this blog a million times about my SCCA membership. But when it comes to a car club, I think after this experience I’ve made up my mind not to join. So there probably won’t be any more Del Val Miata Meets or Cruises in my future. Why was I naive? Well, I had honestly thought people organize these events for the fun of it, I mean that’s the reason I attend. I certainly don’t agree with the idea of taking anything away from other club members by being there. Its not like there was food provided by the club, or some sort of raffle or prize give away. I didn’t take anything FREE of charge from the club. I was there for the company of other Miata owners. Would I pay just to hang out with people like that? No, I wouldn’t.

The highlight of the event for me was seeing all the cars. There were both the Copper Red and True Red cars, Stormy Blue and Winning Blue, a bunch of darker color NC’s, a few NB’s and a beautiful NA. That was awesome!