Tag Archives: Sandy Hook

New Jersey Miatas and Modern Fiat 124 Spider End of Season Meet

First, forgive me for being a selfish prick and not sharing the news of the event sooner. I forgot to remember until… and of course the actual date (today) got rained out! So see you all next week…

The peeps behind this event seem to focus on two major events per year… the season opening meet and end of season meet like this one. Not sure if anything happens during the summer but I’m really glad they organize these ones. Often with prizes given away from vendors that support Miata events around the country like Moss Miata and Flyin’ Miata. (possibly others)

Anyway, I’m especially happy to see Modern Fiata’s invited to attend, and really hope to see one at the next one.

For me it’s going to be a crazy day next Sunday. I was scheduled to pick up a rental car at LaGuardia Airport in NYC and drive down to Florida for the Historics (HSR) races at Daytona International. But I don’t want to miss out on this little gathering. So I’ve re-booked my rental car for 8pm… which should give me enough time to chill down the shore, go home to park my Miata. Take public transport to the city, a shuttle bus to Hertz, and bring the rental home before leaving for the thousand mile journey first thing Monday morning.

Should be fun!

Come join us…

Sunday Fun Day: Ice Cream down the Jersey Shore

Perfect weather today for a little trip down the Jersey Shore for some ice cream! Of course besides my friend Bill and I, everyone else in Northern New Jersey and Southern New York had the same idea… the traffic was atrocious. Everywhere, all the time. But we followed through with it and had a great time hanging out and sampling some delicious ice cream from Charlie’s Creamery in Seaside Park, New Jersey

Originally my plans for this weekend were to volunteer with Team Pocono for the Indycar race at the tricky triangle. Unfortunately for me they did not invite me back. So I had the weekend free to have other fun in the Miata.

We met up at Cheesequake Service Area on the Garden State Parkway. I expected some traffic along the way, and there was some… lots of volume of cars on the road heading south. But when it came time to cross the bridge in Perth Amboy it was just bumper to bumper, it took me half an hour to cover 95% of my trip, and another twenty minutes to go the last two miles to the service area.

Bill was already waiting…

My plan was to continue south on the Parkway until Seaside Heights, visit one creamery and then work our way back up Ocean Avenue to the second creamery in Asbury Park before heading home. But because of traffic that plan was scrapped. So instead of getting back on the GPS, we took the local route, 35 in South Amboy towards Hazlet and Atlantic Highlands.

First stop was at the Navesink Twin Lighthouse park where the skies were so clear you could really see Manhattan and Brooklyn in the distance… no haze or humidity at all.

Part of the big backup on Route 35 before hitting the Ocean was the fact that Sandy Hook had filled up to max capacity. Everyone was waiting in line just to find out the park was closed and then sat around weighing in their other beach options.

The traffic further down the shore wasn’t any better. With pedestrian crossings every few hundred feet, most of the way we were going less than 20mph.

Hey I spotted a Holden Commodore!

The famous Windmill hot dog place…

Lots of cool cars out and about today… the weirdest thing about this Ferrari was a strong smell of burning plastic. We only followed it for a few miles at relatively low speed, but the bad smell coming off this thing was scary!

Gas prices down the shore were all over the board. It varied almost 50 cents between stations for the same grade of fuel. For whatever reason this Mobil was only $2.77 for 93 premium. Surprising!

The further south we went the less the bad the traffic got. As soon as we cleared all the towns with Boardwalks along the way, the pedestrians were less and less of an issue. And the traffic sped up. Obviously! It was a good opportunity to scout beaches to take the family to in the future.

Tons of people at the beach!

And we finally arrived… 2pm ice cream breakfast! Got a parking spot right in front of the joint…. one NJ.com highly recommended as one of the best ice cream parlors down the Jersey Shore!

Luckily the ice cream was very tasty! But since we lost a ton of time driving down here we scrapped the idea of following Ocean Ave back up… instead opting to go directly back to the Parkway and fighting the traffic there. The road was busy but not as much as it would be a few hours later when all the beach goers packed up and headed home.

It was an awesome, nearly 200 mile and $30 in fuel trip, just to get a $5.25 ice cream…

Millenials Miata Meet Winter Jersey Shore Cruise & BBQ

Seems like everyone went down the Jersey Shore today!

Hard to believe the weather was so nice I actually put the top down while cruising to a familiar spot on the Garden State Parkway to join a bunch of Millenials Miata owners for one of their mid-winter get-togethers and a cruise to the beach for some barbecue. I may be exaggerating a little. Not everyone was a young millenial, and we didn’t quite make it to the sandy beach, more like a town that has “beach” in it’s name… or close enough anyway, but you get the picture. It was a whole bunch of young Miata owners hanging out and having fun. Many of them I’ve met before at the New Jersey Miata’s events held at the same Chesapeake Cheesequake rest area on the GSP (I previously posted Chesapeake which is actually in Virginia, I meant Cheesequake which is in New Jersey). But this impromptu event felt different. I felt like an old fart and it was kind of cool to hang out with the kids. Trying to see if we still have something in common… cringing at the sight of some of the car mods. Hoping the cops don’t show up when some started doing burn outs and donuts. But obviously connected through the common denominator of our car choice: the Miata. And agreeable foodie tastes: a BBQ joint for lunch! It was refreshing especially since it’s still February and many car events are months away.

Naturally I took a ton of pix:

The turnout was impressive… I was hoping a few cars would show up, but they just kept on coming and coming. I think I counted 28 Miata’s in total and about half a dozen other cars that came along. For the longest while mine was the only NC that wasn’t like all the other NA’s & NB’s, but after a while a beautiful ND showed up, so we had at least one of each models represented (though no RF yet and no 124 Spider or Abarth… yet).

A very appropriately labelled loud piece.

Not quite sure what Miatagang is but they came out in numbers!

This was one of those non-Miata guest vehicles… a beautiful Ford-powered Jag replica/kit car. Looked, sounded and drove great!

Don’t remember if I’ve commented about this before, but truck-nutz type toys hanging off lowered cars is definitely a “thing” nowadays… like this pink colored “poop” emoji plush toy.

Stripped!

Oh yeah… and no rear bumper is definitely a “thing” too now… this was one of three or four without the rear bumper.

If this is a true drift car, it is by far one of the cleanest I’ve ever seen (no dings, dents or scrapes to be found!)

And away we go…

Rice box?

Do all Millenials skateboard? I think so…

After lunch the majority of the kids headed to another car show a few towns over while I convinced a few North Jersey owners to detour our way home via Ocean Avenue… somehow I was elected leader and I fucked up several times trying to reach the correct Ocean Avenue, getting lost in places I got lost as a leader at previous events last year. You’d think I would have learned, but no! I know exactly why I made the same mistakes now I did last time. I convinced myself I knew where I was going, and instead of firing up the GPS and not looking like a fool, I totally embarrassed myself.

Oh well… ironically we didn’t really get to see much of the beaches driving up to Sandy Hook as the main road was a few blocks off the Boardwalk and heavy with traffic. So that was kind of a fail. My apologies to the folks that followed me. I should really improve on this considering how much I’d like to make this sort of thing a business one day with my International Motorsports and Miataland-like tourism ideas…

New Jersey Miatas End of Season Meet and Cruise: GSP Cheesequake Service Area to Sandy Hook

What a beautiful day for a little drive with the top down to a Miata meet and cruise down the Jersey Shore. Big props to the organizers of another truly wonderful New Jersey Miatas end of season meet at the Garden State Parkway Cheesequake Service Area (exit 124) and especially the cruise down the shore for some amazing food.

I had such a blast!

First, the turnout was excellent even though there were apparently other events happening on the same day around New Jersey and the neighboring states. Nonetheless several dozen cars showed up including a big convoy of Miatas from NYC. Lots and lots of NA’s, a bunch of NB’s and a handful NC’s. No ND’s that I saw… I parked next to a beautiful NC1 Blue soft top whose owner I never got to meet. But the other cars that pulled in I got to chat up the owners and we ended up going on a foodie tour of the shore instead of heading with the rest of the group directly to Sandy Hook.

The plan was BBQ but while driving past a Mexican place we couldn’t resist the amazing smell of their sizzling beef… I think most of the table ordered burritos which were extremely tasty. From there some of the folks in the group broke off to head out home, others went for a little drive and a group photo shoot… more people broke off after, and about six of us continued along the shore towards Sandy Hook… I think it was my first time seeing one of the draw bridges open for a fairly tiny boat coming in from the Atlantic Ocean… there were several classic car and bike shows along Ocean Drive, but otherwise the cruise was nice and scenic. Really enjoyable to watch the architecture of the various summer homes people have close driving distance to NYC and other parts of New Jersey.

At Sandy Hook we had another small photo shoot and instead of standing around talking about cars went to a little seafood place right in the bay at the foot of Atlantic Highlands. The view of New York City in the distance was crystal clear as we rolled up via one overpass, but there was no good place to pull over and take a good picture of this view.  The seafood dinner at the restaurant was finger lickin’ good! The patio seating outside with boats bobbing in the marina was pretty neat. The moon rise was really nice to watch and more plans were made for future MX-5 get togethers.

Awesome Sunday through and through.

And of course here’s a million pix from the day:

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Does MGB stand for Mazda Great Britain?

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And the cruise….

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I should have brought more 1,000,000th Miata stickers, what a great idea to get everyone to sign a few of them.

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Finally at Sandy Hook with two 2007 Copper Red GT’s

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…one more thanks to the organizers, I had such an amazing time!

Can’t wait to do this again.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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