Like many of you, I’ve got a pretty extensive Automotive Bucket List. It seems like it gets longer every year. But this year, I’ve been able to check a few of the list items off.
And that in itself would be HUGE for any year. But no. 2017 had a bit more in store.
Sharka and I got to go to Laguna Seca!!!
It all started back in April at Miatapalooza (Bucket List item!!) I was having dinner with some of my best Miata friends. The subject of MRLS came up (that’s short hand for Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca and Miata-speak for the yearly fall event known as Miatas at MRLS). My buddy Corey was talking about flying to Monterey to attend the event. Being from Florida, it’s a little bit of a drive for him.
“Why not just fly to Albuquerque and drive one of my cars?”
It was an offhand comment that I didn’t really think through, but it was an honest offer. I’ve got 3 Miatas currently. Corey is a good friend. No reason he couldn’t fly out and drive one of them to Laguna Seca while I drove Sharka.
Fast forward a few months. Corey took me up on the offer, bought a plane ticket, and drove 13 hours one-way to Los Angeles.
That’s right. We both drove.
There’s gonna be a lot of Sharka/Bucky photos in the next few blog posts.
We stayed with our buddy Peter in LA, who owns Benny as well as a few others. As of this writing Pete is up to three Miatas. Between the two of us, there’s six. Add Lobo, Corey’s car, and we have seven cars among the three of us.
Miatas. They multiply.
Anyways, back to the topic – a KINOD caravan!
We met up with Jeo (owner of Blue Jay) and started on our way to Monterey.
At like 5am.
After having covered 900ish miles the day before.
Insane? Maybe. But the road was calling. Laguna Seca was the prize at the end.
Due to a lot of construction, we couldn’t roll all the way on Highway 1. We took some detours and mountain roads. I managed to not take many pix of those since the driving was… how to say… exhilarating.
The four of us covered the 100 miles to Solvang in no time at all.
A huge group of KINOD folks was waiting for us in Solvang. After breakfast, we hung out in a parking lot for a good half hour chatting and checking out cars.
I managed to take about 3 photos. This is the best.
Imagine an overcaffinated ferret with a meth problem. That’s basically my demeanor the whole weekend. The fact that I took any photos at all is a miracle. And the fact that any of them were worth posting is a testament to the quality of my camera.
We aimed our tiny Roadsters towards the north. Laguna was calling.
And then, the magic happened. The KINOD caravan began.
It’s hard to explain the magic of about 30 little drop-top easter eggs rolling down the highway together. I’m sure to most people it’s anything but magic. At best we were a curiosity. At the worst, we were probably a rolling traffic jam.
But to me? A dream I’ve had for a long long time.
I didn’t remember to snap many photos. I have something like 20 from the whole drive (which literally took ALL day) and no good ones of the long Miata line. I was too excited and thrilled with life. The camera sat on the seat beside me as Sharka and I grinned like cartoon ponies.
The miles melted away like butter on hot popcorn.
One of our stops was at a gas station near Morro Bay. It was a decently sized station. 3 x 4 pumps, I think.
KINOD totally took it over.
Every pump had a Miata at it and at least one more lined up waiting. It was glorious.
Yes, I just called a fuel stop “glorious.” Because it was. It was part of a KINOD caravan – something I’ve dreamed of doing for many years.
We stopped at Morro Rock for more photos.
Sadly, I needed a higher vantage point. There’s 2 rows of Miatas back there. But at least I got this shot of everyone. (kisses to my 16mm ultrawide.)
As I said, we stopped. We chatted. The guys from Car Make Corn’s were there all the way from Japan! Stickers were passed out and then we posed for a group photo.
Bucket List Item! – Boyfriend Pose
A quick back story – there was a very awesome guy named Marco who lived in CA and was a member of KINOD. I didn’t know him well. I only traded a few dozen emails and posted on a message board with him for a few years, but I am proud to say he was my friend. He sold me Sharka’s Star Shark wheels. He was a great guy. We lost Marco to cancer a couple years ago.
The Boyfriend was his signature photo pose. He could be seen doing it in scads of KINOD group pix. And after his passing, the group would do the pose in his honor.
Getting to be part of one of a Boyfriend Pose pic was a pretty big deal for me.
We hit Monterey about 90 minutes later. The cars were FILTHY. They might look decent from the photos, but there was a thick slick of road grime on every surface.
Action was called for.
Most of the caravan hit a coin-op car wash. They had huge bays. The covered bays could fit 2 Miatas. This outside bay could fit 4. We packed them in and washed up quickly.
The sun was hot and the paint was streaky after the wash, but that didn’t matter. When would I ever get to be in a 20-strong Miata carwash again? Probably not for a few years at least.
Best washies ever!
We rolled into the host hotel just as the Miata car show was getting into full swing.
But that’s another post.