Miatas at Myrtle Beach II - Wrapup

by Alan J. Claffie

Since this event was many months in planning, and there was so much anticipation on the part of the participants, we were expecting great things from Miatas at Myrtle Beach II. And a great time was what we had over the course of three or four days with a few guys from the local Miata club as well as with hundreds of enthusiasts from all over.

The ride down was a pleasant trip, top-down all the way. The two guys from Chesapeake Area Roadsters who joined us started top-up as it was chilly and overcast at 8 a.m. but we had sun and warmth by lunchtime at the North Carolina state line. By the time we rolled into town, it was shorts and sandals time.

Photos from MAMBII

Carolinas Miata Club Part I
Carolinas Miata Club Part II
Triad Miatas
Larry Sawyer's
Mike DeSantis'

The event, as described in this space earlier, was made up of five main parts: the TSD rally, the poker run, the mini-golf tournament, the car show, and the cruise down the main drag.

The rally was a good concept, but the route was littered with both traffic and traffic lights. Thanks to a busy Ocean Boulevard, we couldn't make the first turn on the instruction sheet before the next car in line, released 60 seconds after we were, headed out the parking lot and approached from the rear. On the plus side, the route cleverly crossed paths with itself fairly often and we ran across Miatas heading in one direction or the other all morning long.

With all the traffic lights stacking us up to the point where we were in a six or seven car train playing follow-the-leader, the thought of competing for the win went out the window since we had no real idea how early or late we might be. We never actually found out who won; odds are we didn't since nobody came looking for us to give us a trophy.

It was on to the mini-golf tourney and a cute little course on the resort's grounds. We didn't win, although the couple playing behind us did. Scoring was on the honor system and we could have made a little stink since we observed that those two didn't count penalty strokes for going off course or in the water traps while we did, but that probably didn't make up the ten strokes we lost by.

The poker run was next and it was another opportunity to take advantage of a very good day for driving. The route was perhaps better suited for TSD rallying than the TSD rally course was as it got us a little further out of town but still not onto the little-traveled traffic light-free back roads we would have really liked after a morning of dealing with downtown traffic conditions. We wound up with a decent hand actually, two pairs with kings high, but someone else came up with a three of a kind and we got beat.

Saturday was the car show and we were a little let down by the number of cars that showed up and stuck to the sidelines, not willing to participate in the show itself. Perhaps keeping them on the sidelines was that there were only three classes: NAs, NBs, and NCs. There was no differentiation between stock cars and those that have been modified. The mildly modified cars get caught in the middle between 'survivors' and hot rods, but if there were two subcategories within each generation class, that might encourage more original or near-original cars to get out of the spectator lot and onto the show grounds.

After returning to MAMBII HQ we had some lunch and then the coolest event ever: a rogue parade involving a hundred or so cars taking to Ocean Street en masse, including a few brave souls blocking traffic to help things along. The looks of the people on the sidewalk were priceless. They'd look at the street, see a couple Miatas, then look back to see dozens more approaching.

It might have been better if we had some of cooperation from the police to help with traffic, helping us stay all together without other lesser cars riding alongside and between us. But there's also a lot to be said about all of us just jumping in our cars and taking the main drag by storm with a display of brute force - or at least as much brute force that can be generated by little four-cylinder roadsters.

The ride home wasn't all that great. The rain that was supposed to make Saturday less pleasant, but held off, was very much making its presence felt on Sunday. Four of us started out in the rain and stayed together through the slop and heavy traffic till we got off the highway to find Route 301.

Among our little group, we reported no mechanical failures, though two were in 2008 models, so they oughta be reliable. Our '96 and Zoli's '91 worked well, which says a lot about the older cars. I hadn't driven mine in rain before Sunday but was relieved to find it tracked well without wandering or shaking or hydroplaning or - most importantly - leaking.

We covered 989 miles from start to finish and averaged a mighty impressive 30.3 MPG for the whole ride, including all those around-town trips on the rally and poker run. I knew it'd be good, but not that good. The best tankful was the last, which was from riding up I-95 to home, in the rain, with the top up, and at a bit lower speed than the ride down.

We saw Miatas from seventeen different states, including New Hampshire, Massachusetts, New York, Louisiana, Mississippi, Ohio, Oklahoma, and Pennsylvania. A lot of little cars covered some big miles to partake in MAMB II. Eighty took part in the poker run and I bet more than a hundred took over the main drag in the parade.

We just got back from the last one, and we're already looking forward to the next. Or maybe we'll aim even higher. I see there's a big Miata get-together to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the car around Memorial Day 2009 in Dallas. Road trip!

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