Tag Archives: nj

Cars & Coffee at Jack Daniels Porsche in Upper Saddle River, NJ Nov 2017

A cozy pre-Thanksgiving event at Jack Danieles Porsche dealer in Upper Saddle River, NJ While it was in the 50’s the weather felt much cooler with strong winds so maybe that’s why the turnout was fairly low around 10am… but there were amazing cars there.

Check them out:

My favorite car on display this weekend… a Rally 911

A flying Camel

Tried parking in the street so as not to take spots away from pretty supercars and other such automobiles… by the time I finished taking my pictures I was the only one left parked like a doofus in the middle of the street, lol

Great to see these events happening well into cold weather!

MotoAmerica Superbikes at NJMP Championship of New Jersey the debrief

It was a gorgeous weekend at NJMP Thunderbolt to watch some bikes racing. But the freezing cold overnight in my tent camping at the track kicked my ass. Much like Mosport in Canada last weekend my foot began to hurt a ton after freezing my toes off and I had a hard time walking on Friday… which sucked. It was so cold Thursday night I went out and bought another sleeping bag which improved my comfort the next two nights but not enough to make the arthritis subside and I limped my way through the weekend.

I didn’t let the injury dampen my weekend and soldiered on. The station assignments were fantastic this year. Like last year I worked Turn 12 on Friday and Turn 7 on Saturday and Sunday. It was fantastic! Probably as good as it gets really.

Turn 12

Turn 7

Looking towards Turn 6, where we had the first red flag of the weekend with a high side bike on the opening laps of the first race.

One of my British marshal friends was surprised I’m actually working an event in my home state… voila! It’s true.

NJMP got a new toy to add to the fleet of their Subaru’s… this nice looking (and sounding) Audi S3 safety car.

If you’re a bike fan, there was a lot to look at this weekend. And every time I work a bike event I really am tempted to go out and buy a bike of my own. Of course the sport bike that I want would require me to lose my gut to at least look normal on it.

Not much was out yet when I arrived on Thursday afternoon.

And a lot of familiar bikes were on display, but I was a bit disappointed to find out there is no visual spotter guide to help marshals distinguish the bikes. Or to help the fans for that matter.

Arriving on Thursday my goal was to go to the training/refresh meeting, which was neat. Dave does a great job. I was happy to see Dave using a pic of me Blue flagging (an IMSA race at Mosport a few years back) in his training material. I was surprised that there was only a handful of us in attendance though.

As cold as it was overnight, during the day it was super comfortable and warm weather. So much so I went out for ice cream one night.

It was delicious.

Big thanks to Brittany at NJMP for making this event possible for me, and I’m very much looking forward to another weekend down there soon for the NASCAR K&N East series. Interestingly enough the MotoAmerica Championship of New Jersey was presented by K&N also… whose filters I use on my marshaling rig both oil and air.

It’s going to be awesome…

Cars & Coffee at Tice’s Corner Woodcliff Lake New Jersey May 2017

No better way to spend Memorial Day weekend than at my local Cars & Coffee. This meetup at Tice’s Corner in Woodcliff Lake, NJ is always a treat, check out the pix:

I arrived a bit late, after 10am which meant may cool cars were either leaving or had already left… like the Enzo Ferrari and McLaren P1… but the Miata’s were still there, and after parking lot clearing a bit we decided to get them together for a photo op:

At this point it was around noon and everyone was hungry so we headed down to Hackensack to my favorite BBQ joint… Cubby’s!

This place is so awesome… there’s nothing “bad” on the menu, everything is “great!”

Looking forward to the next one!

Mazda MX-5: 2,000+ Mile Miata Road Trip and Foodie Tour from NJ to Florida in the Winter

2,355 miles to be exact.

It’s been a mild winter so far, and I had this genius idea to drive my Miata from New Jersey to Florida to volunteer the Roar before the 24 at Daytona International Speedway this January. The plan was to drive during the day so I minimize the possibility of hitting black ice in the Northern States and arrive Daytona Beach in time to have dinner with some friends there. It almost worked.

I got to meet with some folks from the First Coast Miata Club in Jacksonville along the way which I already wrote about. That was awesome, but I wanted to share a few thoughts about the drive part of the road trip and the foodie tour I got to do in different states along the way.

This trip was completely and totally BBQ based when it comes to food. I divided my driving in two stints. Home to Rock Hill, SC on the first day which covered about 680 miles and the rest on second day for the first trip. And Daytona Beach to Christiansburg, Virginia on the first day which again was about 640 miles and the rest on the second day which was around 500 miles. The Rock Hill stop was convenient because there was quite a few restaurants in town, I tried Cook Out chain for the first time since I was starving when I arrived. But since it was still early in the day I researched something more substantive to try. The Dixie Pig came highly recommended online and through the front desk at my hotel, so I went to give them a try and boy am I glad I did. The food was absolutely delicious. Their ribs kept on repeating on me for several days after I had them, but my favorite menu item was their “Pig Wings” which was on the appetizer list just below Chicken Wings. What are Pig Wings? Apparently they are baby pig (under 250 lbs) upper legs, succulent and juicy and served smothered in a variety of sauces. I tried the garlic sauce option first time. But liked them so much I made sure to stop by Dixie Pig on the drive home too and tried BBQ sauce option. Mmmmm mmm! I highly recommend both this restaurant and especially the “pig wings” menu item. Well worth the $10 bux price!

On the drive home the stopover in Virginia was near to another barbecue joint called Due South BBQ. I had googled it in advance and wanted to go there after I check in at my hotel, but since I missed my exit I ended up going directly to the restaurant. It too was amazing, especially all their sauce varieties! I got a pulled pork sandwich and another brisket sandwich which seemed like a good idea at the moment when I arrived hungry… but turned out to be way too much meat for the night. The sign outside the restaurant did say “Come Pig Out With Us” and I certainly did. My favorite feature of the restaurant was a display stand near the counter full of bones that were neatly sealed in individual bags with a sign: “Take One, FREE” for your dog. Which I made sure to do… and my fake beagle Maxi Max really enjoyed chewing on them for a few days now.

With the Jacksonville Miata club we hit up Metro Diner which is apparently known for their Chicken and Waffles… a typical southern dish. Several of the Miata guys ordered the fried chicken option, while I went with a New Orleans Shrimp and Grits dish where the grits were prepared differently (they were in solid block not running like they typically are). Great stuff!

While in Daytona I was limited to the track food which the Central Florida Region SCCA didn’t skimp out on. We were offered delicious sandwiches every day and had a tasty pizza party one of the nights. They had so much pizza we were asked to take a  bunch of it home, which I did… so we had pizza for a few days that weekend.

The race weekend (without any actual real racing, it was all practice sessions) went by super quickly. And I departed Daytona Beach bright and early Monday morning. No sooner did I settle onto the highway at a comfortable cruising speed when all of a sudden I heard and felt a massive rock smashing into my windshield. It was weird because there were absolutely no cars in front of me other than a pick up truck in the right lane some distance away putzing along, and another car that had passed me like half a minute earlier in the left lane at a high rate of speed. That rock put a tiny chip in my windshield, right in line of sight on the driver’s side of the glass. Boo!

I was a bit concerned driving through the Carolinas because on my way down the Charlotte news was in panic mode… they were predicting 2 to 6 inches of snow over the weekend (& actually got 8). I knew it wouldn’t be snowing on my drive home but I also knew that ice was a possibility… a little side note: while in the hotel room listening to the news freak out about winter weather (which apparently the Carolinas don’t normally get) I quickly researched and booked a flight for my second trip to Florida at the end of the month to volunteer the actual race – Daytona 24 hours. But back to the drive, there was a lot of snow on the ground as soon as I crossed into North Carolina. The roads were nicely salted and fairly clear. The snow however started melting which meant my car got absolutely sprayed with that salty slush. But I made it through OK. The scary part was actually about an hour closer to home in Pennsylvania. All the road sings were lit up with “Warning, Winter Weather” and there was very fine but dense snow making visibility limited. But what worried me was the fact that about half an inch of that slush had formed on the travel lanes of the highway. It wasn’t enough to plough. And no snow trucks were out yet. So I backed off the accelerator and started following one of the many semi-trucks on the road who cleared a path for me. As soon as I arrived my home area in New Jersey I went right to the car wash to hose off all that salt off the car.

It was an excellent trip, even when my car sustained some minor damage with the chip in the windshield. I ordered a repair kit on eBay for about $10 bux and will seal the chip so that it doesn’t spread and form a bigger crack.

Some photos from the drive:

The cheapest gas I found was in South Carolina shortly after I got on i95 from i26. The prices did swing wildly for 93 octane premium gas with $2.43/gal price at this location and $3.25/gal at another Sunoco just a few miles down the highway (same state and probably same county, just different town). It was interesting to say the least and I used the GasBuddy app to check prices ahead of time when I was running low on fuel.

And some foodie tour pix:

The sandwiches from Due South BBQ in Virginia.

Pig Wings from Dixie Pig in Rock Hill, South Carolina with an old Mazda pick up parked outside.

Chicken and Waffles and Chicken and Mashed Potatoes from Metro.

I think I will repeat this road trip again come March to volunteer the St. Pete Grand Prix and Sebring 12 hour… it’s a lot of fun!

Mazda’s Test Drive Experience: $25.00 Complimentary SCAM?

I hate to go to a dealership where the sales people are clueless!

And it’s sad, because I was going to visit a local dealership in a really good mood. I had a promo in hand where Mazda advertised a $25 e-gift card for test driving any of their new vehicles. Great! I had just done one at a competing dealership, it was a smooth transaction, so I thought it was going to be nice and quick and hopefully give me a good baseline for my future Mazda purchase, be it a CX-7 which I’ve been wanting to get for my mom for the longest time, or maybe a CX-5 which a few of my friends recommended over the discontinued model that I actually prefer.

I was happy to see a few MX-5 Miatas lined up along Route 17 where the dealership is located. Makes sense seeing them there as it’s just about winter time and nobody would probably want a convertible in the weather we are about to get. (though it pays to shop now as I bought my Miata in December and got an awesome deal on it). There was a beautiful NC too on the lot in the used section. A Mazdaspeed3 someone must have either brought for service or that was for sale by another dealership because it had a Toyota dealer tag on it. And a beautiful white CX-7 with NJ plates that too was probably waiting for a service appointment.

I walked in and asked about the promo. The salesperson asked me a question whether or not I was actually interested in buying a Mazda then and there. I answered honestly. And it looked like the salesperson was just going to satisfy the criteria of the promo for me to get the gift card without actually test driving the car. He went off to chat with his manager who gave him some BS story how I must come back with a printout of the e-mail for them to sign. I pointed out that they had to enter the code on their end to whatever web site this promotion was offered from and that’s where we hit dead end. Nobody knew what the promotion web site was for them to punch in the PIN code for me to get the gift card. I spent a good 15-20 minutes waiting while my salesman was on hold with Mazda corporate and they didn’t hear about the offer either. Go figure!

Long story short, the salesperson took my name and number and promised to call back if he hears more about the promo. I told him that I’ll reach out to the people I know and see what they say to which he replied to inform him of what I find out because he’s curious (I kind of have to if I want to get the damn gift card, right?)

And I left it at that.

Directly across the highway there’s a sister Alfa Romeo / Fiat dealership so I figured I’d stop by and take a closer look to the single Fiat 124 Spider on the lot. That experience was even weirder!

For one, as soon as you pull in, amongst all the Fiat 500’s there’s a ginormous Dodge Challenger SRT-8 with a massive shaker hood sitting there. Walk into the store and there’s another SRT-8 Hellcat right next to a Jeep Grand Cherokee (possibly SRT-8 but I didn’t bother looking because they seemed out of place). An Alfa-Romeo 4C set prominently in the middle and a few more 500’s lined the other side of the showroom floor. One salesperson came out of the back somewhere hurriedly asking if I needed help. I asked if I could get a brochure for a 124 Spider and was declined because as the dealer put it: even though he sold 20 cars and got hundreds of brochures, they went quickly! He was in a rush to get back to his customer in the back of the showroom and said he was the only one working that evening, the other two salesmen they have were off. WTF? It all seemed super odd to me…. considering many people may come car shopping just after work hours and there this guy is alone in a store basically turning prospective buyers away! SAD….

My first job out of high school was with a local Toyota dealership. We had 10 to 20 salespeople roaming around the floor on any given day all hungry and eager to grab a customer walking in because it was our objective to sell them a car. Many people bought cars because we would insist on taking each and every person on a test drive which insured we got their contact details and a way to contact them to sell them a car even if they didn’t buy it on the first day.

Neither my Mazda or my Fiat dealership experience tonight was like that which makes me wonder, how the hell do they sell cars? Even when Mazda corporate entices random prospective buyers to drag their ass to the dealership with an offer of $25 bux via gift card, the dumbass dealership can’t even follow through because they’ve never heard of that promotion. Jesus Christ! What are they doing???

So basically the promotion I posted earlier was a SCAM. It wasn’t malicious… but it was plenty useless based on the ignorance of the parties involved. I’m sure I’ll probably have the dealership reaching out to me later trying to sell me something just based on my contact details that they grabbed from me based on this promotion that I signed up for. But the experience just reinforces my previous attitude of not wanting anything to do with these clowns in the future. I’d rather buy a used car from a private party and save myself the headache….    Of course I must say: your results may vary!

Here are some shots I took today:

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It is a bit ironic, I remember driving past this dealership all summer and there was nothing but SUV’s parked out front… now for winter time they roll out the Roadsters… not smart.

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This NC3 in the USED side of the lot looked pretty sharp!

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This CX-7 is EXACTLY what I’m looking for to buy for my mom.

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However, a few people I know have now complained about visibility issues out of that truck and that the CX-5 is a much better option. Though I didn’t drive one, I got to sit in a few CX-5’s on the showroom floor… both in front (driver and passenger) and in the back seats and I agree they feel fairly comfortable. I also sat in the newest CX-9 SUV and hated the driver’s quarters… AS much as I like the idea of everything wrapping around the driver, I also like the freedom to not feel encroached especially on longer drives. The CX-9 has the same issues that my Miata has, the stupid door cup holder on my Miata has a sharp edge that has a tendency of cutting into your leg when it rests against it for a long period of time on a trip. The window switches control area on the CX-9 has the same feeling, and the huge center console pushes from the other side, so you have to maintain a perfectly straight position when driving, which isn’t always comfortable. Not a fan…. also upon closer inspection of the front grille area on the CX-9 I really can’t stand it. I don’t see why the hood has to protrude what seems like a foot beyond the furthest point on the bumper. What is that all about?

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The sole Fiat 124 Spider… the Fiata greets you when you arrive at the Alfa/Fiat dealership across the highway from the Mazda dealer.

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First thing that popped out at me being way out of place was this massive Dodge Challenger R/T sitting among all the Fiat 500’L’s It wasn’t a customer’s vehicle it was clearly being sold by this dealer, and there’s no fucking reason a Dodge should be sold by Alfa/Fiat!

I do understand the news that many Fiat dealerships aren’t doing so well and are being closed with car inventories being shifted over into Chrysler/Dodge/Ram stores. That makes sense. I have no issue seeing Fiat at Dodge dealers. But the other way around feels wrong!

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And there were two more Mopars inside on the showroom floor. I came to see fucking Abarth there not Mopars… come on Fiat, get your shit together!

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Hard to look at an Alfa-Romeo as a halo vehicle when all of it’s performance figures are absurdly dwarfed by the Hellcat across…

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I think the best part about Fiata’s appeal if the relationship with Mazda doesn’t work out, will be their cost. Already the window sticker is priced lower than a similarly equipped MX-5 at the dealership across the highway. Notice also the scale of how much of the car was build where… 75% Japan, 20% Italy what’s the other 5%?

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I left home happy with the prospect of test driving a Mazda I potentially will buy in the near future… and score a few bux thanks to a promo. And came home fucking disappointed. That’s really not the way a dealership experience should go. Oh well!

Cars & Coffee Paramus New Jersey November 2016

Autumn is winding down. Fall foliage has been reduced to leaves waiting in piles on the side of suburban streets, to be sucked up by the DPW trucks… things are about to get pretty gray for a couple of months over the winter. Let a little color cheer you up this weekend. I went to a local Cars & Coffee in Paramus to see some awesome cars on display for everyone’s enjoyment!

I spent a whole of five minutes running around taking pictures, but I’m quite happy I got out of bed early this Sunday morning for this amazing opportunity, enjoy:

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Surprised my car looks so good even when it definitely needs a wash.

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The one thing that stood out at me was the amount of Lotus Espirit’s that showed up for this event.

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Lots of SRT-8 Challengers and colorful Hellcats in attendance too…

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That’s all folks… I think there’s one more of these next week. Hopefully I’ll be able to make it!

Three Trips to Florida in Three Weeks, the debrief

I love Florida!

I love Miami Beach… specifically South Beach or SoBe for short. I like to go every opportunity I get. Last year I got incredibly lucky with some cheap $35 each way flights to Miami International with American Airlines… this year JetBlue had a similar promo flying to Fort Lauderdale in the neighboring Broward County for $39 bux so I jumped on that offer. I booked one two day round trip, followed by another a week later… and then realized that if I book one more flight on JetBlue I’d qualify for the 5,000 point bonus which they award for any 3 round trip flights booked with the airline in the calendar year (I already had 1 JetBlue flight under my belt flying to Oakland, California for the Miatas at Laguna Seca a month earlier).

The Daytona Beach road trip I wrote about a little earlier and the fiasco I got to experience with Hertz and their Black and White VW Beetle’s I was blessed with. It wasn’t a perfect trip because of a few glitches along the way, the most disappointing of them all turned out to be the weather. The seas were especially rough a week or so after Hurricane Matthew blasted through the area.

Miami Beach wasn’t that much better. The first trip was a dud… seas were super rough even when the weather was nice and sunny. I didn’t get a chance to do what I specifically came there to do: swim! Luckily second and final week in SoBe was almost perfect and I swam, and I swam, and I swam.

But there’s only so much swimming one could do in a day so I totally worked the schedule around to optimize my foodie tour opportunities and I didn’t waste any time to enjoy some of the finest cuisine US has to offer… specifically very authentic Latin cuisine from the huge Cuban community in Miami and Little Havana around Calle Ocho. Below are some pix from those visits… and recommendations along with captions:

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I used a different NYC area airport for each one of my trips. Daytona Beach flight arrived at JFK in Jamaica, Queens. The first Ft. Lauderdale flight used LaGuardia in Queens and the final Ft. Laud/Hollywood International flight used Newark Liberty in NJ. Both LaGuardia and Newark departures saw a real traffic jam of flights on departure, we were something like 10th in line to use the runway, so each flight departed about an hour late. Both of the return flights experienced close to an hour delay because of ground holds in Newark. The LaGuardia flight was especially interesting because shortly after leaving South Florida and while I was watching CNN on the JetBlue IFE system, the vice-presidential candidate’s Boeing 737 crashed at LaGuardia… the airport we were flying to. Luckily the only issue was that the plane overshot the runway, so the airport re-opened and we arrived there eventually. For a moment though it was looking pretty hairy… I was wondering where they were going to re-route us to. Upon landing it took the pilot a few attempts to negotiate the landing. I haven’t done an aborted landing before this flight yet.

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Upon arrival in SoBe the red flags were out. And much like in auto racing, red flag means no racing… or in my case no swimming! Boo…

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So on the first trip the alternative was a foodie tour of Calle Ocho in Little Havana… a short bus ride across Miami.

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The cocks are obviously very uniquely cuban “thing” and are running around on the streets pretty freely.

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Sopas at Rey de las Fritas are outstanding!

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And so are the little Cuban Hamburgers with the little fritas sprinkled in… a pretty unique taste and very filling.

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No trip to Calle Ocho could be complete without some Guarapo… or freshly squeezed sugar cane drink. I ordered a whole bucket which was a bit pricey at $7 bucks… but oh so delicious!

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A short drive down 8th Avenue is Brickell Mazda… I got off the bus to check out their ND Miata’s on the lot. While Miami looks amazing in post cards and on TV in shows like CSI Miami, the reality of it is it’s hard to maintain the exotic image, especially with a dark colored car. The mix of dust and recent rain drops made this car look a little neglected…

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Back to the beach…

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and it was still red flagged… so I continued with the foodie tour!

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One of my favorite dishes in South Florida is ceviche… and I got a real nice octopus version on Washington Ave between 2nd and 3rd. It’s a take-out only place next door to a hostel, very tasty!

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Next time give them a try… look up My Ceviche, Miami Beach

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Though I tried to organize a little mini meet with the local Miata community absolutely nothing materialized, which was disappointing especially since this little “Mazdaspeed” gem was parked outside my hostel both weeks I was there.

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So instead I went car spotting along the streets of Miami Beach, and the local PD always had something interesting parked outside their HQ… like this pink CVPI cruiser

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Or this one the next week… Police Car or Taxi?

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Lots of interesting cars driving by also… plenty of Maseratis, Aston Martins, Ferraris, Bentleys and Rolls Royces… the Bugatti was probably one of the few I got to see out in the wild though:

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Funny enough, plenty of exotics are available for rent, even as short as 1 hour period… saw a few beat up Ferraris, Lambos and Rolls’s:

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I went in asking if they had any Mazda Miata’s available, and the answer was NOPE!

So a Mazda Miata is a more rare car in Miami than most exotics!

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For some reason they really love Trump in Florida. kind of surprising!

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For another surprising reason I really drink a lot of Cuban coffee whenever I’m in South Florida… I don’t know what it is, I never drink coffee at home… but whenever I’m in Miami, cafe con leche is a must!

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One of my favorite places to get cafe con leche in Miami Beach is Playa Cafe on Washington Ave between 16th and Espanola Way. The other is Las Olas Cafe on Euclid and 6th Street.

Playa I visited especially frequently, trying many things on their menu:

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Most had some kind of combination of rice and beans as well as beef, pork and chicken. You really can’t go wrong, whether rice or yuca, it’s all finger licking good!

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But after a few days of Cuban I was ready for a change and sampled a few other places… like this Vietnamese on Washington called either Miss Saigon or What the Pho… depending what sign you read. The Pho was outstanding and so were the summer rolls wrapped in a thin condom-like rice pancake and lubricated by peanut sauce… Yum!

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Super delicious!

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More Trumpism!

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A french sandwich place behind a Walgreens on 14th Street was an amazing find. I had a “frenchie” sandwich with french salami and brie and all the fixings and it was a really excellent value. All the green stuff was super fresh, though the baugette was not. I should have come there earlier in the day rather than evening so it was my own fault. I would highly recommend this joint!

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One place that did disappoint me was South Beach Sushi on Washington and 17th. It was basically supermarket sushi quality even when the price was below typical SoBe prices. I was not a fan.

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The night I went for sushi it almost didn’t happen as I got caught out in a bit of a tropical rain storm… I wish I would have missed it!

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But like most rains in South Florida it went as quickly as it came after dumping a whole lot of water on unsuspecting tourists (like me). I waited it out over a coffee at a Mediterranean joint, on second thought I should have ordered a shawarma instead of going for sushi. There’s always next time!

IMSA Ferrari Challenge at Lime Rock Park the debrief

I don’t know what it is but every time I come to Lime Rock to volunteer an event there’s always something impeding my performance. This time around I got sick as a dog the day before with a head cold and flu like symptoms and it only got worse during the course of the weekend. Being sick probably affected my opinion of the event, but I’ll go ahead and share what I thought, both the good and the bad.

The good… I really enjoyed working with the people I was paired with over the two day period. I loved the assignments I got, both stations: Turn 7 (downhill) on Friday and Turn 6 (west bend) on Saturday were stations I haven’t worked in forever, so it was a new perspective. And my partners who both said were novices even though they probably worked more “years” as marshals than I have, really embraced my help (or at least that’s how they came across) which created a really pleasant atmosphere that I enjoyed. I thought I was helping by sharing what I know, and encouraged the folks to build confidence even if they made a mistake. That was cool! I am thankful for that opportunity.

As far as the racing goes it was a great day to be a Ferrari fan because there were lots of Ferrari’s to be enjoyed.

I really like(d) Ferrari Challenge. They were such an exciting event especially when they played a support role to events like Formula 1 in Montreal, Canada or at the US Grand Prix. They were such an enjoyable regional event too, because I got to see them race as a support to Formula One in Singapore and Le Mans 24 hours in France. In fact it was the Ukrainian team that won the support race during my very first LM 24h and I was massively happy to hear the Ukrainian anthem playing in the distance. That was really neat.

The bad…  It seems to me Ferrari Challenge went from heroes to zeroes in a space of a few years. The current Ferrari Challenge event at Lime Rock felt more like a Ferrari North America track rental, a private event rather than a Pro-Race / IMSA sanctioned weekend.

When did Ferrari Challenge become the bastard child of IMSA?

I don’t understand this at all… watching the weekend unfold it was pretty disappointing to see the sorry state of the series. Which probably has a lot to do with Ferrari involvement and the direction of the program from top down. And equally as much the popularity of other series like Porsche GT3 Cup and Lamborghini Super Trofeo.

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“I’d rather be fishing” on the winning car of one of the classes sums up the event best… seems like lots of racers would rather do something else, that’s why the car fields in the actual races were between seven (7!!!) and low teens… not much to look at. And I get the part that this is a marketing tag line, but even the teammate’s Bass Pro Shops sponsored Ferrari was half-assed. I’ve seen spec Miatas with better wrap jobs than this 458C that seems like it was slapped together in a hurry, with bubbles and creases still clearly visible under the wrap. Not cool…

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It wasn’t just the Ferrari Challenge that was disappointing. Much like the Driver Education sessions during the Ferrari Club of America / IndyCar weekend at Watkins Glen, the lapping portion of the event was lame. The Ferrari Esperienza session which used the same 458C that the Challenge racers use only had one car circulating in it’s 20 minute sessions, at one point another similar car joined but it disappeared as quickly as it appeared. That sucked. There was a LaFerrari session which I think many people, myself included were quite interested in, that didn’t happen at all. I could be wrong but I didn’t see any LaFerrari’s at Lime Rock at all this weekend. What the hell? The LaFerrari was used as a cover photo on Facebook to check in for this event… false marketing, is it?

Whatever!

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The plastic F1 replica was a cool touch though. I took full advantage by taking some snaps of it at various stages of that car’s display. It was fun to see it being pushed around sideways (perpendicular to the way the wheels were facing) to get the car lined up in a way that the red shirts wanted it. I even staged a little photo shoot with my Miazda for shits and giggles… didn’t realize the car was that much bigger than my Miata.

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So it is what it is. The final verdict for this weekend is it felt like a Cars & Coffee get together with a few cars running around on track making noise…. except you had to pay $55 bux as a spectator to come and see these cars for yourself. The spectator attendance was good albeit low, I was happy to see all the little kids who raided the team’s spent tires stash and took them as souvenirs. Some were playing by rolling the tire down hill, others used it as chairs to watch the racing. I love seeing little kids at the race track… with low attendance numbers everywhere it’s nice to feel that Motorsport has a future.

The car show portion of the event is what really salvaged the experience for me. Despite the LaFerrari’s absence I was super happy to see the F40 next to an F50 next to an Enzo. What a great show! Lots of red cars, a few bright yellows and bright blues to break the monotony of silvers and black cars. There was a lot to look at in the small space that is the Lime Rock paddock.

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I never knew Ferrari made a Citroen-esque car:

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For me though this was a one time event, I don’t think I would enjoy doing it again in the future. But that’s just me.

And then when leaving I noticed the whole road leading to the main entrance of Lime Rock lined with yellow “No Racing on Sunday” banners… WTF! Hard for me to understand people’s mentality that buy a house next to the race track and then complain about the noise.

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Formula E is Coming to NYC Racing on a Pier in Brooklyn. Can’t Wait for New York City e-Prix

If I get to volunteer for only one Motorsport event next year, I want it to be this: the inaugural New York City ePrix featuring the FIA Formula E racing series.

All the major media outlets broke the news today about it. And not just places like Motorsport.com and Road & Track but even the New York Times is promoting this sporting event as something very unique. I should certainly hope so. While Formula E is hardly new to the US with feature races taking place in Miami, South Florida in 2015 and Long Beach, Southern California for the past two years (which I missed) the New York City race will be something different.

Here’s a little promo clip:

And here’s the proposed track map:

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Man… I can hardly wait for this! Of all the events I’ve done in the past the only one I regret not doing so far was the ePrix in Miami or Cybejaya in Malaysia… now I may actually have a chance. The races on next year’s calendar in Hong Kong and Singapore are proof that this thing is getting really good! I hope to see a lot of success in this form of racing and most definitely want to be a part of it as a marshal.

Woo Hoo!

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:

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Good morning Maryland!

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Howdy West Virginia!

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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?

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

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Hello VIR… what a beautiful facility!

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Yep, I’m in the right place!

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

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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…