2020 Events

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This page contains posts and pictures from Tours and events completed so far this year.  Additional details are available in the newsletters.  Click here to view the 2019 Tours and Events


2020 Annual Meeting Highlights 12/17/20
Due to the COVID-19 restrictions, the 2020 Annual Holiday Party had to be canceled and the Annual Membership meeting was a virtual meeting.  At the Annual meeting Dan Splichal, Vice President, recognized those members that were able to put on events during the year while dealing with the various restrictions; a complete list will be in the newsletter.  Dennis Beckman, President recognized were Officers and Chairpersons stepping down this year:
Secretary – Jim Lambert
Membership – Tony Oriti
Newsletter – Ava Singerman
Merchandise – Tom Chew
Member of the Year:
Bob and Betty Belding were announced as the 2020 Members of the Year.  This year the Belding’s moved from the Firestone Estate where the club held the Summer Picnic for 15-years.   Bob also talked about the locals commenting about all the “little cars” lined up along Route 14 each year.  On December 22nd, Dennis Beckman, Tom Walden, and Todd Tannehill traveled to Columbiana to present the Member of the Year award which was a photo collage of pictures from past picnics.   Also present for the presentation were club members Denny and Alicia Moeller who Bob and Betty thanked for their help over the years with the picnic. 
2021 Officers
The following members were elected officers for 2021 at the meeting:
President – Dan Splichal
Vice President – Todd Tannehill
Treasurer – Tiffany Fonner
Secretary – Len Kozak
Membership – Ed Kura
Details on the appointed positions will be in the newsletter.

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2020 “Spring” Miatas at the Gap,  9/27 – 10/3
Tour Leader Bill Titley
While the 2019 “Spring Miatas at the Gap” tour had the most cars in its 20-year history, the 2020 tour might have had the fewest!  As usual, the event included members from our Northcoast Miata Club, the Northwest Ohio Miata Club in Toledo, and the Space Coast Club from Florida.  But Covid-19 restrictions forced a rescheduling of this year’s event from the traditional May until September.  Although the turnout was low, those able to attend enjoyed the amazing roads, autumn colors, (mostly) beautiful weather, and the comradery.

Surprisingly, all seven of the roadsters on the tour were red!  The roads were excellent (no potholes!); some with little traffic; and all had lots of switchbacks and elevation changes.  As always, the main attraction was the Tail of the Dragon, an 11 mile stretch of road with 318 very tight turns. It is one of the most challenging and fun drives in the country and while very busy this time of year we were able to drive it several times during the week.

Every day was a different drive, some new and some old favorites but all full of twists and turns and beautiful scenery.  A highlight was seeing several groups of elk in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park (this was the first we had seen them there). We enjoyed lunch at the Pisgah Inn at an elevation of 5000 feet; beautiful views and delicious food.   Other fun drives took us on the Foothills Parkway and Cherahala Skyway, a stop at Bald River Falls, and then drove Wayah Road through Nantahala National Forest in NC.  This road is spectacular! It has lots of tight switchbacks. 

Watch for information on the 2021 Miatas at the Gap which will be in May 2021.

Thanks to Terri Wilkins of Northwest Miata Club for the write-up and Todd Tannehill for the photos!
Autocross Season Wrap-up
AutoX in Covid19 infected 2020 was just as confusing, frustrating as everything else in 2020 was.  But, we made it and had a full year of races despite it all. 
Adjustments were made to help ensure the safety of all in attendance, of course just being an outdoor activity with plenty of room to spread out made social distancing easy, masks were common, ride a longs were banned and loaner helmets were put away for the season.
Our club was well represented by Tom, Len, and  Kevin in CS class and Rich spent the year learning how to drive the turbo in SSM class. Rich also ended the year missing the last two events due to a leaking oil line to the turbo. While the final results for the year have not been published yet, we’ll just go on record with, “We had a great time and we’ll be back next year”.   Yeah, none of us blew the competition away this year. 
Next year will be around soon & we’re getting ready for that.  You’ll see more of autoX events in the calendar, plans are to have a club owned loaner helmet and hopefully a few other new things meant to encourage more club participants. With any luck, we’ll also be able to bring back ride alongs for interested members.   We hope that more of us will come out for rides and hopefully to see what you can do with your

Rich Velardo

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Leelanau M-22 Little Finger Tour September 29 – Oct 2 
Tour Leaders:  John and Jeanne Embree

Eight Miata couples – Dave and Karen Baker, Daryl and Jane Baker, Dan and Terri Cali, Gary and Char Davis, Bill and Ruth Drew, Mike and Lo Kerklo, Ed and Judy Kura and us – met in Toledo to begin our trip. After lunch at Tony Packo’s, we headed north to Cadillac, MI, where we spent the night.
Wednesday morning, we headed west to Frankfort, MI, to pick up M-22 and headed north along the east coast of Lake Michigan. After lunch in Empire, MI, we stopped at the National Park headquarters of Sleeping Bear National Lakeshore and then headed to climb the Dunes.  What fun!

Our next stop was Glen Arbor, MI, to walk a while before checking into our rooms where we stayed for 2 nights.  Thursday morning, we resumed our tour on M-22 heading to Leland and then to Northport, the tip of the Leelanau Peninsula, where we ate our box lunches. At that point, M-22 turns south along Grand Traverse Bay. We made a short visit to Tandem Ciders for a quick sampling. As M-22 ended north of Traverse City, MI, we headed back west to Glen Arbor.

COVID presented some challenges and we had to stay flexible, particularly in respect to meals.  We were successful in dining with “4 tables of 4” at all our meals which allowed us to get to know our fellow travelers better.  We would like to thank Dave and Karen Baker for their advice in planning this trip as well as being our “sag wagon”.
John and Jeanne Embree
Tail of the Dragon Tour 9/ 8 -13

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After hearing tails of the legendary “Tail of the Dragon”, it was challenging and exhilarating to experience those 11 miles, 318 curves, firsthand.
Lo and Mike Kerklo and Char and Gary Davis spent hours researching and assembling a strikingly diverse tour to Tennessee.  Five Miatas were initially scheduled for the road trip but due to unforeseen circumstances, the Kerlos and the Splichals were the two roadsters that ventured south.  Although we missed our fellow club members and friends, we maximized our activities and adventures traveling together.
Deals Gap was the pivotal destination of the tour, but the additional excursions were equally fascinating and fun.  The Great Smoky Mountains’ name became apparent our first morning with the charm of the hazy fog hovering in the trees.  We explored several routes in the Great Smoky Mountains.  We found the roads quite amazing, smooth and free of potholes, debris, and roadkill, with breathtaking views at every turn.  A particularly memorable drive was a one-way road recommended by Donna and John Garsteck which curved superbly through the mountain forests.
We visited the creative district of Wears Valley continuing to the frenetic Pigeon Forge where, coincidently, a huge car show was in progress.  While threading our way through the town, we saw hot rods, classic cars, rat rods, and some vehicles that defied description.  We meandered through the Great Smoky Mountains Arts and Crafts Community of Gatlinburg and enjoyed the beauty of the area traveling back and forth to our home base in Townsend.  Together, we toured the amazing, spacious Tuckaleechee Caverns with a pristine stream fed by an underground waterfall.  We drove over and walked around the Fontana Dam featured in the 1993 movie, “The Fugitive”.  We spent an afternoon touring the grandiose Biltmore Estate which needs to be seen to be believed.  The detailed magnificence of the largest private home in the United States was complemented by the multiple surrounding gardens. 
The current pandemic had closed some intended restaurants but we maximized that minor detour by interspersing restaurants with evenings of subs on the patio and an al fresco picnic, both of which gave us wonderful evenings to chat, to enjoy the beautiful weather and one another’s company.
The tour organized by the Kerklo / Davis team was an opportunity to appreciate a new part of the country, explore destinations together and enjoy the camaraderie of Northcoast Miata Club friends.  It was an outstanding tour we savored as we returned to our beautiful Ohio.
Susan & Dan Splichal


Links to two videos for the same run from this event are below. One video is of the driver “in action” & the other is facing front out the windshield for a clear view of the course during the run. 

In what might have been the final autocross for the year (the weather will determine if we can get in the last two events or not) we had four of our club members autocrossing at Dragway 42 on Sunday. Our course was approximately one mile long and very “technical”, in that it was a very twisty course with very little straight road to build up speed. It was a fun course and we all had a wonderful day. As luck had it, we were all running in the same group for a change, so we could easily compare times & thoughts on the course while waiting for our next run. 
Despite the covid 19 pandemic with the masks & social distancing we managed to have a lot of great autocross this year, we’re hoping to get the last couple of events in and we’re open to taking riders along with us. Anyone who is interested in a ride should contact Rich or Tom & we’ll have a helmet for you at the next event.

Our times won’t impress anybody, but we all were able to keep our times dropping for each of the five runs that we had. Our best times for the day were; 
Rich Velardo; 89.128 seconds Miata #8 in Class SSM, Tom Walden; 96.383 secs  Miata #17 in Class CS, Kevin Jones; 104.083 secs Miata #8 in class CS and Len Kozak; 104.185 secs  Miata #11 in Class CS

For comparison, the fastest time of the day went to an A Mod car, which is an open-wheel race car that cannot be licensed for the street. That time was 72.658 secs.

Tour to Granville 8/6/2020

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Tour Leaders: Bob and Chris Snode and Gary and Char Davis

We had 14 cars and 26 people on this leisurely tour through the countryside, starting in Wooster.  Then driving to Loudenville then into Mochican Park and a break at a covered bridge and then on to Granville.  Lunch was at The Pub on Broadway in Granville and then we continued to the Velvet Ice Cream Co. in Utica. 
(photos by Chris Snode and Charles Wolf)

Bob & Chis Snode

5-To-Drive Columbiana County Curve Tour 7/26/2020

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Tour Leaders Todd Tannehill and daughter Emma

Five cars and 6 members left North Lima, OH for a casual tour south to Beaver Creek State Park. 

The tour took 165 South to Unity and then down a curvy back road to New Waterford.  After a great run down 170 South from Negly to Calcutta, OH; the group had a picnic lunch at the Beaver Creek State Park.  We climbed the Miata’s out of the park and down around Route 7 North, where we finished the drive at Firestone Park and Orange Leaf Frozen Yogurt.  The Cleveland Indians game was playing on two outdoor Megatron Screens – we parked on the first baseline!

New Member Mini Miata Tour 7/25/20
Tour Leaders:  Greg & Judy Selby

We hosted the latest New Member Mini Miata Tour with 5 cars and 8 new members: Lynn & Chuck Wade, Ron Edmondson & Cindy,
Randy & Lisa Gardner, Lu Ann Howard, and Linda Kovacs along with Tony Oriti as our sweep.  Partway thru the drive, a young Bambi stood by calmly as we drove past and gave a  nod of approval.  We always enjoy the roads chosen for this drive as the roads and scenery change about every 15 minutes,  We were surprised with the repaving of a 2 mile stretch that previously looked like downtown  Baghdad after a bombing. 
We ended our drive with lunch at Red Hawk Grille where several of our 
members enjoyed the Calamari while waiting on lunch to be served. The Red Hawk Grille did  great job with social distancing.  As we left the restaurant we took a tour of Red Hawk’s outdoor patio which is rated as one of the 10 best patios in the Cleveland area.
We are already looking forward to the next New Member Mini Miata Tour.
Greg & Judy Selby

Hartville Tour 6/14/2020

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Tour Leaders: Lo Kerklo & Char Davis
Lo put together the route and dinner and Char typed the route and made up all the packets.   20 members in 11 cars gathered at the Wadsworth Target and after a drivers’ meeting worked our way over to Hartville.  The route was south through Clinton and around Lake Nimisila and then east passed the muck farming area outside of Hartville.  Then on to the Hartville Kitchen Restaurant for a great lunch followed by browsing and shopping at the largest hardware store in the country.   After shopping, we headed out for some of Ohio’s best ice cream in New Baltimore at New Baltimore Homemade Ice Cream.  We put our chairs under a large shade tree and licking our cones, we ended a beautiful day’s drive.
Thanks to Gary & Char for being co-hosts and sweeps once again and thanks to all those who joined us.
Lo, Char, Gary, and Mike

Tour to Malabar Farms  6/25/20

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Tour Leaders Lo & Mike Kirklo
We left the McDonald’s at 224-I76 / I71 with 12  cars in tow. After driving scenic Ohio back country roads, we arrived at Malabar Farms for a walk-around tour of the house and grounds. Under a nice shade tree we unpacked our brown bags for lunch; snacks and drinks were provided. Following lunch , the Miatas departed  Malabar to visit Shawshank Redemption movie locations .  During the drive we passed many little white country churches and asked those on the drive to tally them. Lo and  I came up with 18 ,Jan & Bob had younger eyes and saw 21.We drove on a couple of Lo’s favorite roads, 206 & 6, to Killbuck for a break. Then after nature provided us with a quick car wash, we headed to the Barn in Smithville for dinner . Thanks to all who joined us,we had a great time doing this drive.  A special thanks to our trusty sweeps  Gary & Char.     

Lo & Mike


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