Tag Archives: MX-5 Road Trip

Mazda MX-5: 1,000+ mile Road Trip to Virginia (Southern Part accessible from North Carolina)

I’ve been looking for an excuse to take a longer road trip and the opportunity presented itself with a marshaling stint at VIR in Alton  Southern Virginia (so far south it’s mainly accessible from Milton, North Carolina… yep!)

The fastest route per Google Maps was down the I95 corridor through all the major cities until Richmond, VA and then across with just over 485 miles each way. But I elected to avoid the tolls (which are absurd pushing $100 bux) and the unpredictable rush hour traffic patters to take the more leisurely drive through I81 in Pennsylvania increasing the distance to 530 miles and about another hour to tack onto the drive.

The goal for my trip was also to test the performance of the new Timken RX-8 wheel bearing hubs and see if they would increase my fuel mileage which has recently dropped down to 31mpg average, based on my last two trips to Watkins Glen. I discovered that indeed the hubs did make a difference. My gas mileage increased to 34mpg on the open highway, while in town it dropped to 28mpg, which is normal. So all was good. I was hoping to match my all time best of 36mpg’s but the roads were too hilly to accomplish that, and I had the A/C on blast which didn’t help either.

Overall i was really happy with the car and how it handled the road. The 8 hour journey took a little bit more on the way down, and a lot more on the way back up. But I did make several stops along the way to use the restroom and buy some food. Generally I tried to stop every two to three hours to let the car cool down for a few minutes. It worked very well, but it did slow me down. The ride home took almost 12 hours but that included two 1 hour stops for food.

And a few pics from the trip:

mazda mx-5 miata road trip from new jersey to virginia 2

Good morning Maryland!

mazda mx-5 miata road trip from new jersey to virginia 3

Howdy West Virginia!

mazda mx-5 miata road trip from new jersey to virginia 4

The new Virginia welcome sign… I kind of liked the old one better with the Bird on it instead of this Lovers campaign… why is Virginia for Lovers anyway?

mazda mx-5 miata road trip from new jersey to virginia 1

mazda mx-5 miata road trip from new jersey to virginia 8

Well, at least you know you’re in the south when you see more Confederate flags flying than American stars and stripes… hmm

mazda mx-5 miata road trip from new jersey to virginia 6

Hello VIR… what a beautiful facility!

mazda mx-5 miata road trip from new jersey to virginia 7

Yep, I’m in the right place!

mazda mx-5 miata road trip from new jersey to virginia 5

So you gotta drive down into North Carolina for a few miles, just to turn around and head right back into the track…

mazda mx-5 miata road trip from new jersey to virginia 9

Prior to coming to the track I figured I’d stay put and have everything I need at VIR… but it turned out that the best place to get food was back in town, which is a good 15 miles away. So I went out for dinner every night in Danville, VA and during the half an hour journey used the opportunity to charge up my phone for the night. This added another 120+ miles to the overall journey.

Looking forward to the next Road Trip soon…

Mazda MX-5: Liège Foodie Tour in a Miata, Cruising the Belgian Countryside

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. Third stop was in Belgium but since no one was interested to meet up in Brussels I went to Liège, Wallonia.

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

 

Belgium is currently my favorite place in Europe. I love coming back to Brussels for the awesome sightseeing, the delicious food and of course amazing racing at Spa-Francorchamps. But Belgium is tricky. The country is divided between the Flemish and French speaking people with Flanders to the north bordering the Netherlands and the French speaking Wallonia to the south. Brussels is a French speaking city in the middle of Flanders. Perhaps none of the very active Flanders and Limburg MX-5 owners didn’t want to come to Brussels because they don’t like French things… I don’t know. But when I saw that Brussels was a bust, I booked a side trip to Liege (which is much closer to Spa-Francorchamps) specifically to meet up with a fellow MX-5 owner Philippe (Phil as he prefers to be called).

Phil lives outside of Liege but he came out to meet with me and we quickly left the city to explore the countryside. It was as much a foodie tour as a sightseeing tour of the villages in Wallonia. First stop was an awesome pastry place. Next visit after that was to the smallest town in the world, which was very scenic.

And finally we had dinner in Liege proper after a little walk around the downtown area. It was pretty awesome seeing other MX-5’s either driving by or being parked in the streets. It was fantastic!

belgian mx-5 miata cruising liege wallonia foodie tour 1

belgian mx-5 miata cruising liege wallonia foodie tour 2

belgian mx-5 miata cruising liege wallonia foodie tour 3

belgian mx-5 miata cruising liege wallonia foodie tour 4

belgian mx-5 miata cruising liege wallonia foodie tour 5

belgian mx-5 miata cruising liege wallonia foodie tour 6

belgian mx5 miata 3

belgian mx5 miata 4

belgian mx5 miata 5

belgian mx-5 miata cruising liege wallonia foodie tour 8

belgian mx-5 miata cruising liege wallonia foodie tour 7

belgian mx5 miata 6

belgian mx5 miata 7

belgian mx5 miata 8

belgian mx5 miata 1

belgian mx5 miata 2

belgian mx-5 miata cruising liege wallonia foodie tour 9

belgian mx5 miata 9

belgian mx5 miata 10

belgian mx5 miata 11

belgian mx5 miata 12

belgian mx-5 miata cruising liege wallonia foodie tour 12

belgian mx5 miata 13

belgian mx5 miata 14

Oh look… something we don’t have in the US… a cool Alfa-Romeo!

belgian mx-5 miata cruising liege wallonia foodie tour 11

belgian mx-5 miata cruising liege wallonia foodie tour 10

belgian mx5 miata 15

belgian mx5 miata 16

And we’re back in Liege:

belgian mx-5 miata cruising liege wallonia foodie tour 13

belgian mx5 miata 18

belgian mx-5 miata cruising liege wallonia foodie tour 14

belgian mx5 miata 17

belgian mx-5 miata cruising liege wallonia foodie tour 15

belgian mx5 miata 19

belgian mx5 miata 20

The funny thing about our dinner, all the places recommended to Phil were closed, so we ended up walking around looking for proper Belgian food… proper Liege food. And we found it by stumbling upon a restaurant with a Miata parked right outside of it…

belgian mx-5 miata cruising liege wallonia foodie tour 16

Liege is best known for it’s waffles… not sure what bacon has to do with waffles, but this restaurant’s logo looked way cool!

And we found a place to have dinner:

belgian mx-5 miata cruising liege wallonia foodie tour 17

belgian mx-5 miata cruising liege wallonia foodie tour 18

belgian mx-5 miata cruising liege wallonia foodie tour 19

The food was absolutely amazing… the Liege style meat balls.

belgian mx-5 miata cruising liege wallonia foodie tour 20

Mazda MX-5: Düsseldorf from Köln (Cologne), via I.L. Motorsport German Miata Tuner and Dinner with MX-5.de Forum Guys

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. Second stop was in Germany.

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

 

The plan for this stop over was to meet with at least one local MX-5 owner in Cologne before heading to Nürburgring for WEC 6 hour. Lucky for me not one but two owners showed up! David from Cologne and Andre from Dusseldorf who works in Cologne. David was kind enough to drive me to I.L. Motorsport in Hürth, a world famous Miata tuner based in just outside of Cologne. (the other business we didn’t get a chance to check out was Mazda Deutschland which is also just outside of Cologne).

I met David in Deutz across the river Rhine and we proceeded on a short drive to IL, which turned out to be a very impressive facility.

german mx5 visit 1

german mx5 visit 12

mazda mx-5 deutschland cologne dusseldorf hurth il motorsport 1

mazda mx-5 deutschland cologne dusseldorf hurth il motorsport 2

mazda mx-5 deutschland cologne dusseldorf hurth il motorsport 1b

mazda mx-5 deutschland cologne dusseldorf hurth il motorsport 3

mazda mx-5 deutschland cologne dusseldorf hurth il motorsport 4

mazda mx-5 deutschland cologne dusseldorf hurth il motorsport 14

mazda mx-5 deutschland cologne dusseldorf hurth il motorsport 15

mazda mx5 miata deutschland german road trip cologne dusseldorf 0

mazda mx-5 deutschland cologne dusseldorf hurth il motorsport 16

mazda mx-5 deutschland cologne dusseldorf hurth il motorsport 17

mazda mx-5 deutschland cologne dusseldorf hurth il motorsport 18

mazda mx-5 deutschland cologne dusseldorf hurth il motorsport 19

mazda mx-5 deutschland cologne dusseldorf hurth il motorsport 0

german mx5 visit 4

mazda mx-5 deutschland cologne dusseldorf hurth il motorsport 6

german mx5 visit 3

german mx5 visit 2

german mx5 visit 6

german mx5 visit 5

german mx5 visit 7

mazda mx-5 deutschland cologne dusseldorf hurth il motorsport 30a

mazda mx-5 deutschland cologne dusseldorf hurth il motorsport 13a

mazda mx-5 deutschland cologne dusseldorf hurth il motorsport 7

mazda mx-5 deutschland cologne dusseldorf hurth il motorsport 13

mazda mx-5 deutschland cologne dusseldorf hurth il motorsport 12

mazda mx-5 deutschland cologne dusseldorf hurth il motorsport 8

mazda mx-5 deutschland cologne dusseldorf hurth il motorsport 11

mazda mx-5 deutschland cologne dusseldorf hurth il motorsport 10

mazda mx-5 deutschland cologne dusseldorf hurth il motorsport 9

mazda mx-5 deutschland cologne dusseldorf hurth il motorsport 29

mazda mx-5 deutschland cologne dusseldorf hurth il motorsport 30

After IL Motorsport we decided to head to Dusseldorf for dinner, the alternative was American BBQ near to Cologne, and that just didn’t fit my foodie plans at all… so off we went on a road trip.

german mx5 visit 11

mazda mx-5 deutschland cologne dusseldorf hurth il motorsport 20

german mx5 visit 10

mazda mx-5 deutschland cologne dusseldorf hurth il motorsport 21

mazda mx-5 deutschland cologne dusseldorf hurth il motorsport 22

While looking for a parking in a parking garage we came across this gorgeous Niseko MX-5.

mazda mx-5 deutschland cologne dusseldorf hurth il motorsport 23

mazda mx-5 deutschland cologne dusseldorf hurth il motorsport 25

mazda mx-5 deutschland cologne dusseldorf hurth il motorsport 24

german mx5 visit 9

german mx5 visit 8

The garage was full of other little gems… like this Abarth Punto and the Peugeot RCZ.

mazda mx-5 deutschland cologne dusseldorf hurth il motorsport 26

mazda mx-5 deutschland cologne dusseldorf hurth il motorsport 27

PS. the food was delicious!

mazda mx-5 deutschland cologne dusseldorf hurth il motorsport german food

Huge thanks to both David and Andre for an awesome time. David was super cool to pick me up and drop me off back in Cologne. And then on the walk back to the hotel, I stumble upon a nice ND!

mazda mx5 miata deutschland german road trip cologne dusseldorf 1

mazda mx5 miata deutschland german road trip cologne dusseldorf 2

mazda mx5 miata deutschland german road trip cologne dusseldorf 3

mazda mx5 miata deutschland german road trip cologne dusseldorf 4

mazda mx5 miata deutschland german road trip cologne dusseldorf 5

mazda mx5 miata deutschland german road trip cologne dusseldorf 6

Post Card from the Dutch Miata Road Trip Visit to the MX-5 Sport Specialist

First stop on my three week MX-5 Miata / Motorsport Euro Trip was in the Netherlands at MX-5 Specialist shop near Zandvoort.

Will write more about the visit soon, but for now here’s some photos from the trip.

HUGE thanks to Vincent the local MX-5 owner who drove all the way up from The Hague to give me this awesome tour from Amsterdam down to the beach. Much appreciated Vincent!

dutch mx-5 road trip 1

dutch mx-5 road trip 2

dutch mx-5 road trip 3

dutch mx-5 road trip 4

dutch mx-5 road trip 5

dutch mx-5 road trip 6

dutch mx-5 road trip 7

dutch mx-5 road trip 8

dutch mx-5 road trip 9

dutch mx-5 road trip 10

dutch mx-5 road trip 11

dutch mx-5 road trip 12

dutch mx-5 road trip 13

dutch mx-5 road trip 14

dutch mx-5 road trip 15

dutch mx-5 road trip 16

dutch mx-5 road trip 17

dutch mx-5 road trip 18

dutch mx-5 road trip 19

dutch mx-5 road trip 20

dutch mx-5 road trip 21

dutch mx-5 road trip 22

dutch mx-5 road trip 23

dutch mx-5 road trip 27

dutch mx-5 road trip 28

dutch mx-5 road trip 29

dutch mx-5 road trip 30

dutch mx-5 road trip 31

dutch mx-5 road trip 32

dutch mx-5 road trip 33

dutch mx-5 road trip 34

dutch mx-5 road trip 35

dutch mx-5 road trip 36

dutch mx-5 road trip 37

dutch mx-5 road trip 38

Inerestingly enough this is a one man operation, which is very impressive! Also interesting is the little fact that I’m shopping around for new suspension for my car, and on this visit both Bilsteins and Eibach’s were highly recommended.

Friends of MX-5: Europe Where are you?

With just a few days left before my epic Euro Trip, the frustration is setting in. I had high hopes of organizing an MX-5 Mini-Meet-Up in every country I plan to visit on this trip and so far it’s shaping up to be a complete failure. I’ve posted all the invites, I’ve joined the local club forums and so far nothing has been concretely organized. Why?

Mazda has a “Friends of MX-5” marketing campaign for Europe that can be nicely summed up in this promo video:

So the fans are there… plenty of enthusiasts throughout Europe eager to meet up in a group and talk about their favorite roadster. But why am I having such a hard time organizing a small get together especially when things went exceptionally well in Southeast Asia and the South Pacific.  I really don’t know what’s going on in Europe.

Second year attempt, and hopefully not a wasted opportunity.

So for anyone reading this and sensing the frustration in my tone, come out and join me on the trip if you can. My plans are as follows:

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

 

While in the Netherlands I’d like to visit an MX-5 tuner located very close to the Zandvoort circuit. And while in Cologne I wish to check out IL Motorsport another famous MX-5 tuner and aftermarket parts manufacturer. If anyone could help me out with these two quests I’d be forever grateful.

My other goal is to get a ride in a NC Miata with suspension work done to it. Suspension upgrades are next on my list of things to do for my personal MX-5 (2007 GT PRHT) and it would be very hepful to experience first hand what different options feel like on a similar car. So for anyone that can help me with a ride along I’d be more than willing to buy lunch or dinner.

Please reach out to me via facebook to organize a meet!

Thank you.

Mazda MX-5: 1,500+ Mile Road Trip from New Jersey to Detroit, Michigan

1,758 mile Road Trip to be exact in my 2007 MX-5 Miata GT PRHT.

In all I burned 53.445 gallons and spent $157.81 dollars doing it. Average fuel price turned out to be $2.93/gal for 93 Premium gas which I bought from several brand name stations including Exxon, Mobil, Shell, BP and Sunoco. I used the GasBuddy app to hunt for cheaper prices which typically worked, except in Detroit, and was also inaccurate for Sunoco stations because Premium there is 91 and I was looking for Ultra 93 which is about 10 cents/gal pricier. The situation in Detroit pissed me off because fuel prices went up by 60 cents/gal the day I arrived. The price hike was so sudden that I was the first person reporting the prices on GasBuddy and even the app was asking me if I was correct because it seemed high to them. I estimate that I spent between $10 and $13 more on fuel in Michigan than I had planned to based on my research. Prices went up from $2.69 – $2.89 which I thought was normal to $3.09 – $3.29 which is what I actually paid there. In all, the cheapest gas on the trip was in New Jersey at $2.459/gal for Sunoco Ulta 93 and the most expensive was in Michigan at $3.299/gal at Mobil for Supreme+ 93.

Sadly after I had put about $20 in the tank at Mobil because the low fuel light was already on, I noticed the Speedway across the street was still at $2.89/gal for premium. Unfortunately I had already used up all of my Speedway gas cards and only had Exxon-Mobil, Shell, BP and Sunoco at my disposal. Because I bought the gas cards at a 10% discount I wanted to use them up instead of paying for cash out of pocket… thinking back at this point I should have gone to Speedway.

I did not bother calculating individual gas mileages when I filled up because I tended not to top off the tank (especially at the Detroit prices) so instead I am calculating the total to be 33MPG or 1,758.6 miles traveled divided by 53.445 gallons burned = 32.90. I was really happy that several times I got way more than I typically get out of a full tank of gas because the trip meter went well past the 300 mile mark. For example arriving in Detroit I was at 350 miles on the trip when the low fuel light came on. Similarly I was at 330 miles heading back home in Pennsylvania when I got the low fuel light… Ironically when I arrived at the Du Bois, PA Exxon where gas was 25 cents/gal cheaper than everywhere else in the area, they had run out of their Premium fuel, the only thing available was Regular, so I left.

I noticed on this trip that the car felt peppier with Sunoco Ultra 93 than any other fuel, so I think I’ll be using that option when available from now on. I also noticed that where the roads were flatter like Ohio and Michigan, the mileage was stretched out beyond what I normally experience. On the trip back the mileage dropped significantly once I hit the Appalachian Mountains in Pennsylvania.

That’s all I’m going to say about the gas mileage.

My next and biggest complaint of the whole trip is with the state of the roads, especially in Michigan. Holly Fucking Batman are the roads bad. As soon as you drive into Michigan from Ohio on Interstate 75 you better brace yourself for impact. The concrete road had multiple cracks, uneven levels and massive pot holes that as much as I tried I couldn’t avoid. Worst were the ones that I didn’t see until it was too late and hit so hard my teeth clinched. Driving around suburban Detroit was even worse. My GPS had sent me up Mound Road onto Metropolitan Parkway and both of those roads are absolute SHIT! Its such a shame that Chrysler, GM and Ford all have plants or offices and numerous suppliers in that general area and neither one of them give two fucks about the condition of the roads they drive on. Why bother with proving grounds when you can send cars around the neighborhood and destroy the shit out of them? I was so grossly disappointed and upset with this situation I can’t express it in words. Clearly some work is being done. The construction along Van Dyke / Michigan Rt 53 has improved that road tremendously, but it doesn’t matter when 90% of the roads are great, that last 10% that does damage to your car leaves a big impression. I have to say I’ll never drive my Miata to Michigan again, that state is best experienced in a rental car where you don’t really care what condition you leave the vehicle in when  you return it.

And yet on this trip I managed to spot a few MX-5 Miata’s around. Most notably a marshal friend of mine from Ontario with her NC3 PRHT:

mazda mx-5 miata road trip new jersey to michigan 3

mazda mx-5 miata road trip new jersey to michigan 4

That car is a beaut. And knowing how roads are in Ontario from my visit to Mosport earlier in the month I’d say she’s very lucky living on the other side of the Detroit River.

While I was on the hunt for the Fiata I burned a full tank of gas driving around (very much pointlessly as my search didn’t amount to much in the end). But I was successful at spotting one so at least it wasn’t a total failure.

fiata fiat 124 spider at aburn hills michigan fca hq 3

On the same Fiata trip I did a foodie tour of the D… and while I’m not the biggest fan of hot dogs, I did like the idea of checking out what is considered popular in Detroit… they call them coney islands there.

detroit foodie tour coney island hot dogs with chili 10 american lafayette

I drove the entire length of the famous Woodward Avenue from Pontiac to Downtown and then back, eating coney’s along the way.

I even went to the FIAT dealership to see maybe I’d spy a Fiata there, but except for the one I saw leaving FCA, Auburn Hills I had no luck.

detroit grand prix paddock walk belle isle 28

A visit to the GM Renaissance Center was about the coolest thing I did while in Detroit. That and a visit to the Detroit Historical Museum on Woodward which was really neat!

detroit grand prix paddock walk belle isle 23 belle isle park detroit

Of course the Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix was a blast this year!

mazda mx-5 miata road trip new jersey to michigan 2

Luckily, and thank GOD for that, I didn’t experience any troubles along the way there or back. No blowouts like I was afraid of, no bubbles in the tires, etc. My plan now that I’m back in NJ is to rotate the tires and have a better inspection of the wheels in general and various suspension components, brakes, etc. This trip was a hell of a workout for the car and I’m hoping not too damaging. I’ll also check the oil now that I’m at 5,000 miles to see how Pennzoil Platinum compares to Mobil 1. If it’s dark I’ll replace it and if not, I’ll use it for a few more thousand miles.

Looking forward to the next road trip!

 

Planning another 1,500 mile Road Trip to Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix

I’ve been on the fence about returning to marshal the Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix for a while, and with only a day left to register and just a week before the actual event I have pulled the trigger… I will be heading on this 1,500+ mile Road Trip to marshal DGP again!

I love Detroit!

How many people can say that? I really do… it’s a nice city despite all of it’s problems. One thing that made me hesitant just a bit was all the damn pot holes I know I’m going to hit driving up there and driving around there… but what the hell, it’ll be an excuse to upgrade the Miata’s suspension once it’s shot.

The thing I’m looking forward to the most is checking out the cars on track… this year Pirelli World Challenge is out but another SCCA Pro group is taking it’s place: Trans Am racing. With the fields I saw at Watkins Glen International a few weeks ago, I know it’s going to be a blast to watch them race on a street circuit.

I’m looking forward to the food also… especially if I find the time to either sneak into Canada at Windsor, Ontario crossing or decide to drive to my destination through Canada to begin with… apparently I could shave 20 miles and avoid a lot of the crappy roads of Pennsylvania and Ohio by going via the 401 and 402 in Ontario. Would be my second trip to Canada in a month. Love it!

There’s only a day left to sign up, so if anyone else is interested in joining me in this adventure… hurry up and register on MotorsportReg.com

See ya Detroit!

detroit gp 2

detroit gp media 4

Oh yeah, among other groups we’ll see IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship big guns as well as IndyCar open wheelers.

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: 1,000+ Mile International Road Trip to Ontario, Canada

Question: “Is Mazda MX-5 Miata a good Road Trip car?”

Answer: Yes, absolutely!

I keep asking myself this question and always come up with the same enthusiastic answer… Yes! My MX-5 Miata is a great Road Trip vehicle and I’ve proven it once again on my latest 1,123 mile drive up to CTMP in Clarington, Ontario.

mazda mx-5 miata 1000 mile road trip new jersey to ontario canada via 1000 islands

The distance from my home to Canadian Tire Motorsport Park is roughly 500 miles each way. I spend my nights in Bowmanville, which is closer to Lake Ontario and the 401 highway, some 17 miles south of the track, so that accumulated a few miles. Along the way I got awesome fuel mileage and generally enjoyed the drive… the only thing that really made me curse outloud were the massive pot holes I found myself diving into every now and again, as roads in both US and Canada were pretty awful.

This trip was my first International drive in my own Miata… while I’ve done other International MX-5 events all around the world including Southeast Asia (Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia) and Oceania (Australia, New Zealand) this was the first time I was able to make a direct comparison with my car using different fuels… in US I was experimenting with Speedway gas while in Canada I tried both Shell 91 and Petro-Canada Ultra 94. What I found out is that Ultra 94 gave me a better fuel mileage than all the other fuel I used! That said, Speedway didn’t disappoint either and I got better fuel mileage than I normally get using BP fuel.

poutine at canadian tire motorsport park in bowmanville ontario from chip truck at race trac gas station

Since the Miata get together I was planning to have didn’t materialize, I focused on my other passion: food. And when it comes to Canada few things are more uniquely Canadian then Poutine (french fries with gravy and cheese curds). While I admit that I was in the wrong province for this dish, they are native to Quebec where they don’t even celebrate Victoria Day over this weekend. Poutine is delicious and the best I found is served out of a little food truck just a few miles up the road from CTMP on Durham Road 20 intersection with Route 35. Located conveniently at Race Trac gas station. The food is excellent, the portions are huge and the price is right… I managed to sneak out of the track during lunch on Saturday while working at Turn 10 to pick up their XL portion of this wonderful goodness… it was excellent!

poutine at canadian tire motorsport park in bowmanville ontario from chip truck at race trac gas station 3

At the track they fed is well also… including this excellent dinner on Saturday night with pulled pork, cross bun and cake!

marshal dinner at ctmp canadian tire motorsports park for victoria day weekend

I’ve had a few more delicious foodie experiences on this trip, both home cooked and at various restaurants. Probably the most delicious was a BBQ dinner at my CouchSurfing host’s house whom I’ve stayed with for a few times in the past but we weren’t sure if she’ll be around this time so I made plans to stay with a fellow marshal Craig. Nonetheless I didn’t want to waste an opportunity to go visit her after the last day of racing once I learned she was around, and the meal was fantastic…. we joked that everything on the menu was Canadian, and because it was home made, it was sooo good! The following day Craig and I went out for some Fish & Chips which I was craving. Halibut House was the only place open on Victoria Day and they didn’t disappoint.

fish and chips at halibut house in bowmanville clarington ontario canada

On the drive home I made it a point to visit Tim Horton’s… I realize the chain of stores now extends to New York (I made another stop in New York State as I felt I was falling asleep on my drive) but I had to visit the original place in Canada, and the French Vanilla drink they offer is incredible, it’s like sucking on a tit, sooo amazing!

timbits at timmy's tim hortons in ontario canada

Timbits at Timmy’s!

The border crossings both into Canada and back to the US were incredibly quick and painless and I’m very pleased with the folks that work at 1000 Islands crossing because they do a fantastic job. They were pleasant and courteous and I appreciate that kind of treatment. I found that roads in Canada were far smoother than ours in the US, especially at bridge joints on the highways, in Canada they were nice and smooth while in the US there’s a definite jolt every time you drive over them… I had to check tire pressures when I got home to make sure they still had enough air in them, because there were so many pot holes I hit on my drive. I’m cringing about the drive to Detroit in a few weeks, as Detroit and Michigan in general is the capital of pot holes in the US.

construction zone in ontario canada near 1000 islands crossing to usa

I like how the traffic signage in Canada gives you the penalties for speeding… there was another sign that said 40km/h over the limit and you get an instant license suspension and vehicle impound! They do not joke around, though I was the slowest car on the highway, everybody was speeding around me!

speeding fines in ontario canada

I’ll talk about my fuel mileage in greater detail in another post as I will also talk about the debrief from Vic Day at CTMP… as for this ONE THOUSAND ONE HUNDRED AND TWENTY THREE MILE trip, I am delighted to report that it went super well!

Can’t wait to the next one.

Thank You Trevor Alexander Hermance for the VIP Treatment at Palmer Motorsports Park

First and foremost a huge thanks to my friend Trevor Alexander Hermance for making my first trip to Palmer Motorsports Park a really enjoyable and memorable experience. An equally huge thanks to Jessie Lynne Honigs too because without her facebook post looking for help, I wouldn’t have decided to go up to New England last minute on short notice, but I’m sure she knows exactly how much I appreciate her already! Trevor was kind enough to provide me with a warm and comfortable place to stay so I didn’t have to deal with the misery of camping in pretty crappy weather, and for that I’m always extremely thankful!

I’ll take this opportunity to debrief this trip… my first time marshaling at Whiskey Hill Raceway for the New England Region SCCA season kickoff club races.

The Road Trip started with a Foodie Tour of Connecticut, but instead of seeking out something new and unique I haven’t tried before I knew exactly what I wanted to sample on this visit: steamed cheeseburgers! I knew the place I wanted to visit, and from memory it should have been right on my way. So once I hit some traffic while driving up on Thursday afternoon I punched the name into my GPS: Ted’s Steamed Cheeseburgers Restaurant, and it came up just about 20 miles up the Interstate. I got off the highway and within a mile I was there… except this was not the location I visited last year on my way to Thompson Speedway… not the original. It was one of their new chain stores, a much bigger restaurant size-wise, and one much closer to the highway, which was very convenient. I sat down to eat, to wait out the traffic, and ordered a few more burgers to-go so that I could have them for lunch the next two days (GREAT IDEA, actually! They were delicious, and very filling).

ted's in cromwell connecticut new england foodie tour mx-5 miata 1

ted's in cromwell connecticut new england foodie tour mx-5 miata 2

ted's in cromwell connecticut new england foodie tour mx-5 miata 3

Everything Cheeseburger with a Raspberry Peach Milk Shake. Yum!

Upon arrival at the Whiskey Hill Raceway at Palmer Motorsports Park I went ahead and registered, set myself up at Trevor’s house and joined Jessie and other flaggers for a very nice dinner celebrating Cinco de Mayo at a local Mexican place called Mexicali in Ware, Massachusetts. For someone that doesn’t drink I found the margaritas especially appetizing, they went well with my burrito.

The following morning we all showed up at the mustering tent bright and early, having driven a whole of maybe a quarter mile from the house to the track. NER SCCA region showed their appreciation by handing me two TIP’s, or Track Incentive Plan Reward Coupons which are redeemable for gas cards… Great! I like a trip that doesn’t cost me too much out of pocket, this trip paid for itself.

palmer motorsports park whiskey hill raceway ner scca 13

palmer motorsports park whiskey hill raceway ner scca 17 shell gas card

I was assigned to Turn 3 with a very experienced flagger and our day flew by pretty quickly. Though there were no incidents we had plenty of opportunities to wave the blue flag, which is always nice. The incidents we did have we couldn’t really see because they happened right in front of Station 4, which was not within our line of sight, and that station didn’t advise us to help with Yellows. I could just barely see a car spinning up the hill, but then rocks would block the outcome, we couldn’t tell whether it had spun or continued.

palmer motorsports park whiskey hill raceway ner scca 11 turn 3

Though lately I think my new favorite flag is the Yellow, and I got to wave it quite a lot the next day while stationed at Turn 1. Nothing major happened, but I had some dramatic spins in a number of racing groups, with a bunch of cars stopping smack in the middle of the track and the whole field going around them smoothly. My Yellow was out quickly and everyone obeyed it. It was beautiful!

palmer motorsports park whiskey hill raceway ner scca

From turn 1 I could also see Turn 2, and Turn 3, and Turn 4, and Turn 5, and further up to Turn 5A, and then Turn 9, and down to the Start stand. This was not the case the day before at Turn 3, we couldn’t have a visual sight of the station before or the station after us, and flagging while blind isn’t fun. I hope Palmer Motorsports Park does something more about visibility from station to station. I think the most fixable solution is simply adding more stations even if relay stations (which means more people to staff) in order to have full visibility around the track.

palmer motorsports park whiskey hill raceway ner scca 16

The weather was a bit soggy both days but since I was prepared with wet weather gear it didn’t affect me too much. The temps were a bit chilly but we were up on a mound, so it was to be expected. I find it fascinating how two months ago the trees were blooming in Texas when I went there for PWC, a few weeks later trees started blooming on my drive down to Florida for St. Pete GP, and a month later at Palmer trees are just about ready to start blooming. Funny how mother nature works. Speaking of mother nature, none of the Palmer stations were equipped with porta-johns, which I hope they do soon enough. It’s not particularly comfortable working without a bathroom available nearby.

The fields of cars were impressive for me, especially since majority of them had a Mazda badge on them… even more impressive most of those Mazda badged cars were Miatas. Primarily NA’s and NB’s but one single ND  was my favorite car. I was hoping to spy another NC in the paddock so I could go up to the owner and ask to see what the proper oil level on the dipstick should look like (you know ask a professional racer) but there wasn’t one to be found. Oh well…

palmer motorsports park whiskey hill raceway ner scca 9

I was really happy to get some Mazdaspeed swag, especially something I don’t already own to add to my collection.

palmer motorsports park whiskey hill raceway ner scca 10 mazdaspeed lanyard

palmer motorsports park whiskey hill raceway ner scca 15 driving the track

Even more impressive was the fact they let us run our personal vehicles around the track at the end of the first day with the rain coming down pretty heavily in spots. I was too excited to go fast, but it was a blast nonetheless. The track looks super wide but judging by all the spins the club racers had I didn’t want to end up in the gravel myself or worse – in the barrier. After two laps I was done, & happy!

We were all exhausted enough after the long, cold and wet day; and it was especially refreshing to go back to the warm house, pop open a Lime-a-Rita with Jessie and BS about our day, sharing stories with the other flaggers that joined us at the house. I was made to feel especially welcome and the VIP treatment certainly is appreciated! Before going to sleep I got to check out Trevor’s/Palmer Motorsports  Park’s little literature collection which was layed out on the table in my room… the book about Mazda 787B especially caught my attention:

ner scca at palmer motorsports park 1

Never stop challenging!!!

The trip ended the same way it started. I made it a point to stop at Ted’s on my drive home. This time I had the Southwest burger which had bacon, shrooms and onions along with a unique sauce on it which was delicious. I went ahead and ordered a few more cheeseburgers to take home, and my father was happy to wolf one down as soon as I got home.

ted's in cromwell connecticut new england foodie tour mx-5 miata 4

ted's in cromwell connecticut new england foodie tour mx-5 miata 5

What a great trip!

I’m so looking forward to the next one.