Question: “Is Mazda MX-5 Miata a good Road Trip car?”
Answer: Yes, absolutely!
I have found first hand how good my little red sports car was for the little Spring Break Road Trip down the Eastern seaboard from NJ to Florida. My goal was to marshal the Grand Prix of St. Pete and Sebring 12 hour, but what I ended up doing was much more than that. I got to visit several more circuits including Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, FL and Roebling Road in Savannah, Georgia. And I got to enjoy a ton of foodie experiences along the way, which is probably the best way to make a long trip in a Miata really comfortable. The trick is making sufficient stops along the way to not get tired or bored of the drive.
I also kept a little game going trying to play with my fuel mileage and finding most reasonable fuel prices along the way. I relied on an app called Gas Buddy which helped a lot considering the spread for fuel prices for 91-93 octane Premium fuel was vast, from $1.90 in the Northern States to $3,00/gallon in Southern states. I’ve found out that even from the same brand gas station, not all fuels were performing comparatively. I got better gas mileage sometimes from Speedway gas stations than I did from BP, Exxon or Sunoco.
Although not very scientific I created this spreadsheet of all 15 of my fill ups, including price paid, amount of fuel used, and MPG #’s:
But enough about strategy the key attraction for me was sightseeing
Sebring was the farthest point South I’ve driven my MX-5 Miata yet, I always wanted to get a shot of the car with the track. Daytona International Speedway was another, I’m happy to accomplish both!
On the drive back I had some time to kill since my plan was to spend the night in South Carolina at a fellow marshal’s home (who wouldn’t get out of work until about 5’ish which gave me plenty of time to be a tourist while driving up). So I visited Roebling Road in Savannah, GA on the drive up.
And that was as far as racetracks went on the trip. I did drive right past Darlington Motor Speedway (and Raceway, and Dragway) but that was around 5 o’clock in the morning and way too dark to take pictures anyway.
The rest of the trip was devoted to general sightseeing. Every time I’m in that part of Georgia I love visiting Savannah and Tybee Island.
And believe it or not, I have yet to take a single picture of me in my car until now, I offered to take a photo for some tourists at the sign and they returned the favor for me to take this shot :
Of course the main reason to visit Tybee Island is for it’s incredible seafood at The Crab Shack, which is exactly what I did.
The food wasn’t particularly cheap, and the portions were kind of small, but you couldn’t beat the experience of freshness. Worth it!
Food therefore was a major theme on my Road Trip, and an integral part of keeping me entertained and enthusiastic about the drive (read: not bored!).
On our very first night in Sebring, Nancy Digh organized a nice marshal welcoming party at the Cowpokes Watering Hole in Sebring. I had a fantastic Brisket Bacon Burger there.
But my favorite meal at Sebring (besides what the spectators fed us at turn 13) was at the Palm Diner trying their seafood belly buster:
My most favorite meal in Florida thought was in Lake Worth while Couchsurfing. My host took me to a little hole-in-a-wall place called Cherry Pocket Steak & Seafood where I had an awesome meal.
The appetizer was really my favorite. We had gator bites while sitting on a patio looking over a lake looking directly at a small alligator sunning itself out of the water. The salad that came with it had the most awesome strawberry flavored sauce, finger licking good!
Only in Florida where you can arrive at the restaurant by car, seaplane or air boat.
Driving further north my buddy Ben took me to Redbone Alley serving an amazing dish of Grits and Catfish… very southern!
Even chain food in North Carolina was delicious, Bojangle’s famous biscuit and gravy, cajun chicken and sweet tea were sooooo good!
Virginia and Pennsylvania welcomed me with an even faster fast-food option right at the gas station: Sheetz and their delicious sliderz and chicken strips tossed in Dr.Pepper BBQ sauce… Yum!
Long story short, the Road Trip in a Miata becomes not just bearable but extremely enjoyable when you take your time and enjoy the sites, try the local foods and enjoy yourself when you can.
After making it home I went ahead and swapped my Winter BFG’s that now have about 4.5k miles on them for Summer BFG’s with 0 miles on them and am looking forward to taking another Road Trip soon…. stay tuned!