Tag Archives: fall foliage

Sunday Cruise along Seven Lakes Drive to the Top of Bear Mountain

It’s been a long while since I helped organize a Seven Lakes Drive cruise up to Bear Mountain State Park. I’ve been wanting to put something together but it seems like nobody was ever interested on  Miata.net forums or the New Jersey Miatas facebook group. Turns out that people were always interested and enjoying the ride, they just didn’t care to do it with me….   Today however I joined a super secret, private facebook group on a cruise along the twisties of Bear Mountain, and it was a fantastic experience!

I’m so glad Chris, the owner of a beautiful 2008 NC1 GT PRHT that I’ve been sharing pictures of on this blog for a few times now, most recently from our cruise down the Jersey Shore a week ago, invited me to join him and his friends on a leisurely Sunday drive.

Unlike last week’s Miata meet, this was quite a diverse group of friends sporting everything from E30 BMW’s to Toyobaru BRZ’s. There were several Mitsubishi Evo’s and a bunch of Subbie WRX STi’s, even a Mini Cooper GP that decided to join when he saw us zoom zooming around.

It was such a beautiful day for a drive we were by no means the only group cruising Seven Lakes Drive, 9W and Palisades Interstate Parkway around Bear Mountain. We saw large groups of Porsche owners, BMW’s, Lotus, Honda S2000 (which was probably the biggest), etc. all cruising the same roads. As well as hundreds of tourists with rental cars (many sporting out of state plates, like California for example… which you know were definitely rentals because who would drive cross country just to take in the scenic views from the top of Bear Mountain?) It was awesome.

I had a blast. The group was very mature. Very organized. Nobody crashed. People behaved well. It was a pleasure. And the BBQ lunch we went to near West Point was simply outstanding.

Would love to do this again sometime…

some pix:

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Following Chris on our 7am pre-run recon lap on Seven Lakes Dr.

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The official 8am meet-up in Sloatsburg, NY

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Perfect day for a leisurely cruise in the mountain twisties.

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Lots of regrouping along the way, and doing some stretches twice.

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Lots of leaves collected behind grills, against the radiators.

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Yep, a ton of leaves… Gotta love fall foliage…

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Stage…

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Regroup…

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Line up for group photos…

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Some tourists did in fact come a long way… doubt a rental car company would have a vanity plate so specific…

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It was so congested that Police closed some of the roads we wanted to take for the scenic drive.

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Of course closed roads typically result in standstill traffic.

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Food at last!

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Delicious 3-Meat Platter…. Yumm!

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Final Group Photo Shoot…

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I am a huge fan of Chris’s Miata, it’s very tastefully done!

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Notice the difference in height, mine = stock, Chris’s = lowered.

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Back on the road to the top of Bear Mountain for sunset views.

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The End!

Post Card from Ferrari Challenge at Lime Rock

Another weekend on a race track, this time flagging for Ferrari track rental at Lime Rock Park in Connecticut.

Lots of opinions to share about this event, but first some photos:

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New England Region SCCA Season Finale at Thompson Speedway Debrief

After blowing through $400+ dollars on travel expenses alone for Petit Le Mans, I returned home feeling bummed out that I didn’t quite get my money’s worth from that event. Maybe my expectations were unreasonably high, I don’t know. So to end the year on a high note I decided to take Jessie up on her invite to come to New England Region SCCA season finale at Thompson Speedway for some club racing. Good thing I did!

A number of things went well that I’ll blog about, but I must apologize that on this event I took hardly any pictures so prepare to read a lot of positive words without much photo evidence to illustrate the experience. I’ll write about my foodie tour separately, though I should mention that of all places: Who woulda thunk that Connecticut was such a foodie destination?  Not me… Besides the food, seeing the leaves change color up in New England was neat, it was fall foliage in full effect with various shades of green, yellow and red all around.

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The drive to Thompson, and well to Massachusetts where Jessie lives, was also to test out the new tires I just bought for my Miazda, which turned out to be a lot worse than I thought they’d be. I’m talking about the BFGoodrich g-Force Comp 2 A/S that I had recently purchased for my 16 inch winter wheels. I don’t know if it’s the aggressive tread pattern or the idea that maybe they weren’t balanced correctly when I had them mounted, I felt a very noticeable but slight vibration throughout the entire trip. It came from the front, I felt it on the steering wheel, I felt it on the gas pedal. But it also came from the rear, because I felt it on the seat as I was driving. So I’m not happy about that. I wish the ride was a bit smoother like the old Yokohama’s I took off to go with the BFG’s. That said I got to test the tires out in the dry for about 200 miles and then another 200 in the wet, and the grip was perfect. So maybe that’s the nature of the design after all?

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I was so glad to catch up with Jessie once again over dinner and for the whole day of racing. She was working Race Control and had a great view of my Starter station below the race control window, which means the only pictures of the event with me in them came from her taking spy shots. Thanks Jessie! Also thanks to her I finally got a chance to experience the Starter role, it was something I wanted to do forever but was never given a chance. I am hooked on this role now and don’t really see how I could go back to regular F&C after this experience. Not willingly anyway…

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Jessie introduced me to some delicious new beer: Pumpkinghead served with cinnamon and brown sugar along the rim of the glass, yumm!

As with any SCCA Club Racing there were many Mazda MX-5 Miatas racing. So that was by far my favorite sight to see at the event. Among them was a true red NC Miata with a bunch of Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge stickers, which I assume was a hand me down IMSA car from a few seasons ago. It went very well, much faster than most other NA and NB Miata’s though unfortunately it broke down during the last race of the day. Luckily though I saw it win it’s class during an earlier race in the day, and I’m kind of kicking myself for not taking a picture of the driver receiving a small checkered flag directly under our Start stand for his victory lap (in the paddock – since they weren’t doing them on track because of time constraints). It was awesome to see and I’m very happy for the driver. It was nice to also see “Flatout Racing” stickers on that car and many other Miatas which are apparently rental cars for someone who wants to race but doesn’t have the money to buy a race car. What a cool concept!

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Anyway, I had a fantastic trip and I’m very happy I got a chance to go. The New England Region threw a big tent party for the workers at the end of the day with delicious pasta on the menu, and some prizes and other awards for volunteer participation. I was amazed to see that I won something again, a nice envelope with some gas money which basically covered most of my cost to go up there, in fuel anyway. So I came home really happy! Thanks to Jessie! and Thanks to the NER!

One more event of the season and 2015 is in the history books 🙂

…and a few more pictures:

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I love seeing the British influence in New England:

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Almost forgot to mention some fuel stats. This time I noticed something interesting, the cheaper New Jersey based BP 93 octane gas seems to give better gas mileage than the more pricey Massachusetts BP 93 octane premium gas. I topped off before I left NJ, re-fueled in MA adding 5.672 gallons  after doing 201.1 miles, getting 35.454 mpg. After reaching home I topped up 6.899 after doing 228.8 miles getting 33.164 mpg. Which leads me to believe NJ gas is superior MA gas all other things being equal. Unlike my previous trips where I normally keep the car between 60 and 70mph, this time I was in a more of a rush doing 70 to 80mph so maybe that was a factor. Overall I did 429.9 miles and used 12.571 gallons, averaging at 34.197 mpg. NJ gas price $2.29/gal for 93 at BP, MA gas price $2.45/gal for 93 at BP.  And now I’m at 5,000 miles since the last oil change, so the little Miazda is due for it’s second service.