|The Monthly Newsletter of the Sacramento Area Miata Owners Association
|Copyright 2007 - Sacramento Area Miata Owners Association - Sacramento, CA 95662
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|Your Kindness is Much Appreciated
By Jan Leininger
Thank you to all the SAMOA members who have been such a tremendous comfort and help to me and my family during Gene’s
brief battle with cancer and for the continued support and help after his death on May 28. There have been many comments
made about how touching his Memorial Service was on June 9. It was truly a beautiful service with Navy Honor Guard and
displays of photos and other memorabilia that were so much a part of his life. I am especially thankful to our children, Chuck,
Denise and Glenn who wanted very much to honor their dad and stepdad for his military service and present the story of his life
which was very full and diverse. I provided the materials and they did the rest.
Our Silver ’91 is so happy to be back in action at club events – so am I. After years of happily being Gene’s passenger, it’s a thrill
to be back behind the wheel of a sportscar – a bit rusty but game.
By Robin George
This is a first hand report. I feel like an embedded reporter on the front lines. As some of you are aware, I have had a little
trouble with my vehicle. The little problem being while getting ready to lead the group on Robin’s Surprise a spark plug blew out.
Literately blew a spark plug. It came out of the engine head and stripped the threads. It came out with such force it put a small
but barely noticeable dent in the hood. So now I am at Crazy Red’s (Dave DeNuzzo) Garage for Unstable Miatas. I arrived at 9:30
am in a tow truck and "Tobarr” resting nicely on the flatbed. It must have been “Members Day” at the garage because several
fellow club members brought their cars for various minor repairs and an oil change. One mahogany vehicle (Mac) was already here
and getting a new top. It’s rewarding to see members using Dave’s services and on the other end it’s fortunate for Dave to
provide the club with his expertise and assist us in our dreams for a reasonable cost. We are lucky we have several members in
our area who have their own businesses and cater to all kinds of automotive needs. Please use them.
We pushed the car into the shop and Dave and his brother assessed the damage and then went to work. In no time they
repaired “Tobarr” and I was on the road. During the process they kept me informed and even let me stick my nose in the way
every once in awhile. They know the Miata.
While sitting here I want to bring up another subject: 2-way radios. Anything on a run can happen and probably will. We have
very resourceful members who will gather together when a problem arises, develop a solution and act on it. Even though we
come from various backgrounds the Miata brings us together in our endeavors. This phenomenon was very prevalent last
Sunday. Despite several bumps we were able to overcome brief disruptions and enjoy a fantastic day though the hills. The use
of the FMS radio was a great help and kept us informed and together. The unselfish help by all was refreshing. Please request a
radio to use on our runs or purchase one to your liking. The club has several to lend out. They don’t bite and they sure save a
lot of heartache.
Reminder, please check the events page often. Our club has a lot of wonderful events coming up and our neighboring clubs
have even more wonderful events to attend. There should be something for everyone. See everyone soon and let’s have fun.
Miatas in Moab
By Mike DeLaurentis
How fortunate we are to live in the greatest country on God’s green earth. And we SAMOAns are even luckier to have great
cars with which to tour that country. We recently returned from Miatas in Moab. On the way, and while in Moab, we toured
Bryce, Zion, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef, Arches, and Dead Horse National and State Parks. We saw arches, windows, pinnacles,
mesas, buttes, balancing rocks, petroglyphs, and red rocks in all shapes and sizes. We saw all of this natural beauty from the
bottom of canyons, from the top of mountains and a few of us even got to see it from the air as we toured Bryce from a
helicopter. It got to the point that seeing another beautiful and unique rock formation became routine.
In Moab we had a great time seeing some of the other 175 Miatas and talking with their owners. I would imagine that just about
every year, model and color were represented. Curiously enough there was only one other 2000SE Mahogany which, arguably, is
the most beautiful color Miata ever offered.
Driving through Nevada was an experience in boredom and a huge contrast to the natural beauty of Utah. US 50, properly
named the Loneliest Highway in America, is the straightest road I’ve ever seen but mercifully has a 75 MPH speed limit which
allowed us to get through it as quickly as possible. There wasn’t much to see in that part of Nevada except the Bunny Ranch II
in Fallon. Just out of curiosity I wanted to stop but Helen, stick in the mud that she is, said no.
The Utah Miata Club did an outstanding job for this, the third Miatas in Moab, and if they repeat in 2009 you should seriously think
about going and touring through some of the most beautiful scenery in America.
Why Belong to a Car Club?
By Mark Brooks
Years ago when I had my first Miata (it was a 1993 Miata, back in about 1995 or so), I was introduced to the “brotherhood” that
seemed to come with the car by the previous owner. He let me know about the little things that all Miata enthusiasts know
about – always release the latches on the soft top before unzipping the window, then putting a towel on the back window
before putting the top down, the importance of a good tire balance, etc. He also let me know about a great magazine that all
Miata lovers should subscribe to – “Miata Magazine”. I could tell that this guy was passionate about the car, by the maintenance
records he provided, to making sure I understood all the little intricacies of the car before he gave me the keys, to the super-soft
car cover that he had neatly folded in the trunk. So, it seemed to me that subscribing to this magazine would be a good idea for
me. Back then, I didn’t have a computer, so I didn’t have the Internet to use as a resource like we do today. The magazine
was great – but if I recall correctly, it was a quarterly magazine, so I’d have to wait 3 months between issues for the articles,
readers’ letters and tech tips that I loved. But this was the closest I could get to being part of a ‘car club’ at the time.
Now, 12 years later, I have another Miata – a 1994. “Miata Magazine” is no longer in print, but the Internet has become the
primary means of communication and information exchange in our society. It’s amazing how many great resources we have to
become informed on just about any subject, and it’s easy to completely immerse yourself in anything you desire. Do a simple
Google search on “Miata club” and you’ll get over 600,000 results! So it’s easy to find an online club that has what you’re looking
for – each one is different, just like any club.. some of them have younger members who are into the more trendy “drifting”
scene and modify their cars to get them as low as possible with extreme offset on the rims/tires. Others are more “traditional”,
where the members model their cars after the traditional British roadsters they were inspired by. And there’s everything in-
between. These clubs allow members to exchange ideas, make friends and organize regional/local club events and get-
togethers. So no matter your style, age, or level of Miata enthusiasm, there’s something out there for you.
But what makes a car club (whether it’s on-line or in person) successful? PARTICIPATION. You can sign up as a member of an
on-line forum, but if you never post messages or get involved in discussions, you aren’t participating. Being a member does not
equal participation. Same thing with “live” club meetings – you can be a “member”, and maybe even show up for meetings, but
if you don’t participate, what’s the point? We are obviously all Miata enthusiasts for one reason or another, whether we like the
nimble handling, traditional roadster inspired lines, close-ratio steering, short-throw gearbox or just because they’re “cute”.
So, since we only get together once a month for an “official” meeting, we have a number of other ways to stay in contact as a
club.. the Internet! We have Samoamail (if you don’t know how to sign up, ask Ron, Mark or Jack), we have www.
sacramentoareamiata.org, and now we have our Samoa discussion forum. Unfortunately, even though we have about 150
members, only about half of them seem to show up for our club meetings, and out of those, it seems like less than half of them
really participate in the club drives, events and meeting conversations. So that leaves Samoamail – we’ve got the usual group of
people who seem to participate – maybe a dozen people. Now, we also have the web forum, for those who may not want to
sign up for Samoamail – but again, out of 150 members, we only have 20 members signed up as of this article.
We have a huge member base – and every time someone talks about some of the things they’ve done in the past – Rally events,
Autocross events, road courses, etc, it’s really interesting and will probably inspire other members to try something new. But if
those discussions don’t happen, what’s the point of having the club?
Go sign up for Samoamail and get involved in the Miata discussions that happen between the meetings! And while you’re at it, go
sign up for the forum at www.sacramentoareamiata.org (click on the “Forum” button) and get involved in what happens
between the monthly meetings! With 150 members in our club, it seems logical that we’d have at least 150 people signed up on
the forum and on Samoamail… the more people who sign up, the more information we can exchange! Try it.. you may make a
Tech Talk for July
By Jack Parker
As we sit here thinking about the great weather (we are in San Diego), I am reminded that this is the time of the year when you
really can be stranded by your engine and in turn your engine, or cooling system, can cost you a ton. Older cars, 90-97, should
be keeping a close look at the temperature guage. I had a friend who owns an OTM tell me about how he was watching his
guage recently as it began to steadily began to rise. He figured he had plenty of time to get to a station, let it cool down and
refill and be on his merry way. NOT! If your gauge is rising steadily you already have a problem. Cars run hotter in the summer.
They will more than likely rise a bit in temperature and level off. If it continues to go up do not wait. The damage may already
be done. A warp head is never fun or cheap to replace. It has been my experience that changing out the thermostat every
couple of years when you flush and refill the radiator never hurts. It is cheap and quick to do. Also if your car is running hotter
try turning on the heat full blast and that will help bring the engine temperature down.
We were at a drift meet on June 16, great way to spend your anniversary, and noticed a bunch of racers using the Sportmax
wheel. For that over the top look they come in 15x8 with a 0 offset. They looked really good. I am told that they were lighter
than most and were only $119. Really radical look.
If you are looking for a great buy on conventional tires and wheels, buy this months issue of Sport Compact Car. The RPF1 Enkei
wheels with Azenis 205x50x15 are on sale for 1049 plus shipping. This is an insanely cheap price for really great wheels and the
best tire on the market.
By Fran Rowell
A photographer for CNN was assigned to cover southern California's Wildfires last year. He wanted pictures of the heroic work the
Firefighters were doing as they battled the blazes. When the photographer arrived on the scene, he realized that the smoke was
so thick it would seriously impede, or even make impossible, his getting good photographs from the ground level. He requested
permission from his boss to rent a plane and take photos from the air. His request was approved and he used his cell phone to
call the local County airport to charter a flight. He was told a single engine plane would be waiting for him at the airport. Arriving
at the airfield, he spotted a plane warming up outside a hanger. He jumped in with his bag, slammed the door shut, and shouted,
"Let's go". The pilot taxied out, swung the plane into the wind and roared down the runway. Once in the air, the photographer
instructed the pilot, "Fly over the valley and make two or three low passes so I can take some pictures of the fires on the
hillsides." "Why?" asked the pilot. "Because I'm a photographer for CNN," he responded. "And I need to get some close-up
shots." The pilot was strangely silent for a moment, finally he stammered, "So, what you're telling me, is...you're NOT my flight
Treasure Trove News
By Jeanne George
WELCOME to new members joining in June
#16 Andrew Melicharek
#17 Ron Zander
#18 Richard and Ann Steele---New Car Deal
#19 Cathy and Mike Dugan
Memberships Expiring on July 1
McCamey, Richard & Dorothy
McClure, Jim & Jackie
Sneathern, Fred & Farrah
Memberships Renewed in June
Terri & Bob Bacon
Robin & Jeanne George
Fran & Tom Rowell
Ron Petrich & Mary Pat Pauly
Mike & Jennifer Sipe
Ray Chermack & Susan Willett
JR & Susie Hahn
Meet SAMOA Members---part 2
By Jeanne George
Joined July 2000. Kathi Bell and Vince Weis currently have a 1990 red Miata. This is their second purchase. They enjoy events
such as Ft. Bragg, Miatas in Moab, Club picnic, Christmas Party, and Stewarts Point. They planned last year’s Ft. Bragg route and
this year’s Miatas to Moab. They have led the members on several runs and also performed sweep duty.
Joined May 2002. Barbara and Clay Cowan purchased a 2001 Emerald Mica Miata in 2002. They have enjoyed the Scrabble
Scramble events, moonlight runs, the Club picnic, Ft. Bragg, Teddy Bear Run, and the Hangover Run and passenger swap that
ended with lunch at C. Webb’s Restaurant. They indicated they have not lead and event nor been sweep, but not on purpose!
Clay won an award in the Shriners Autocross in June.
Joined September 2003. Ron Crawford bought his current yellow 2002 in 2002. He previously owned a 1992 black and a
2004 red. He enjoyed the costal events, the North Carolina Mountain Colorfest, and any event connected with wine. In
addition, he has enjoyed several events as a passenger. This year he is helping Denise Correia with planning the meals for 2007
Joined April 2005. Kevin Wise purchased a 1990 white in 2004. Kevin enjoyed Scrabble Scramble 2006 and was a Tile Stop
worker. He enjoys the weekend events as a chance to unwind. He has not led an event yet or been sweep, but would like to.
Note to event leaders: a sweep volunteer. Kevin was an award winner from this years Shriners Autocross.
Joined October 2005. Connie Plourde has a 1999 British Green Miata. Connie lives in the area and attends events when she
can. She has not had the opportunity to lead an event or do sweep duty.
Joined December 2005. Cece and Mario Lavoie own a 1994 Montego Blue Miata purchased in 2005. They have led several
events and been sweep on a few occasions. They enjoy all the events they attend. Mario was elected 2007 Event Coordinator,
but due to health problems for him and Cece he has stepped aside to concentrate on getting well.
Joined July 2006. Martin Neft purchased a 2002 Red Miata in 2006. He enjoys the autocross activities that SAMOA has to
offer. He was a winner and received a plague for the Shriners Autocross in June, arranged by Jack Parker for our members.
Marty’s first event was the Garden Valley July 4th parade last year led by Fran Rowell.
Joined August 2006. Pam and Randy Hunt purchased their 2006 Galaxy Gray in 2006. The have enjoyed the Big Trees
event, the 2006 Club Birthday picnic, and this years Miatas in Moab. They haven’t had a chance to lead a run or do sweep duty.
Joined November 2006. Mark Brooks purchased a 1994 white Miata in 2006. Mark’s first event was the Christmas Lights tour
led by Ron Petrich. He enjoys Ron’s Napa Runs, the Got Guts Event, Apple Hill Run, and looking forward to many more. He hasn’
t had a chance to be sweep or lead an event. Mark enjoys photography and I have asked him to take photos of members and
their Miatas the Picnic in September. Mark has recorded some great video and photos of racing events. They are on the
website. Mark recently volunteered to monitor SAMOA’s new forum. Thank you Mark.
Joined November 2006. Darrel Huckabay owns a 2007 Gray which he purchased in 2006. Darrel hasn’t had an opportunity to
enjoy any SAMOA events but does attend monthly meetings. Darrel has a great deal of Time and Distance Rallies experience of
many varieties of vehicles. He recently entertained the group with a slide show presentation of his past rallies. The guys
enjoyed guessing the names of the older vehicles on the races. All enjoyed seeing the early 50’s and 60’s cars (many before they
Joined January 2007. Linda and Ron Moe purchased their 1999 Silver Miata in 2006. They read in the Sacramento Bee about
Robin’s Hangover and Passenger Swap Event. They attended and enjoyed themselves so much they joined the club that day.
Although they travel from Dixon, they have enjoyed Jack Parker’s OTM Event, and the Shriners Autocross in June. Ron won an
award at the event. They also enjoyed this month’s trek to Kirkwood for pancakes.
Joined June 1st, 2007. Ron Zander is our newest member. Ron owns a 2006 Red. Ron enjoyed the Shriners Autocross this
month, the dash to Kirkwood for pancakes, and Robin’s Surprise Run. Ron was a big help to Robin and I at the Surprise event
when he offered one of us a ride back to our car…….see story elsewhere.
By Dean Rudenauer, SOCALM Treasurer
Sweep – verb: 1. to direct something over a surface, with a steady driving movement or unimpeded course. 2. matter removed
or gathered by sweeping. – Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary, second edition
There are two extremely important functions performed during the course of any driving event in our, or any, car club. One, of
course, is the lead car. Obviously, the run can’t happen if there isn’t someone to lead it. The other though, is an equally
important function, and that is the sweep car. Make no mistake; without a competent sweep, many runs would be doomed to
This is a position of grave importance to a diligent run leader, because of the single most important thing the sweep car
provides…information. The run leader needs to know what is going on at the back of the pack, all the time. This is why CB
radios are an essential tool for lead and sweep cars; the two are in constant communication. Anytime cars get stuck at lights, the
group gets thinned out by slower moving cars, a car makes a wrong turn, someone drops out of the run, or anything else that
would split the group, the sweep car informs the run leader, so that he/she may respond appropriately. Whether the group
stops, queues, or otherwise, it all begins with information obtained from the sweep car.
There is another essential function of the sweep car, one that many people may not realize, the task of “shepherd”. It doesn’t
happen often, but when it does, the sweep car is supposed to accept this important responsibility. This is what the “shepherd”
does: If a car breaks down on a lonely road, or if someone needs to stop due to “illness” on a twisty road, then the sweep car
stops with them to ensure that they get the assistance they need, while the rest of the group continues the run. Many times,
this means that the run is over for the sweep car, but that’s the potential risk you take when you accept the position.
For example, two years ago I swept a run to Yosemite where a car had to stop because the passenger became ill. This was on a
remote road in the mountains, unfamiliar territory for the car that stopped. We stayed on the side of the road for about 45
minutes until the passenger was ready to continue, and then we drove at a slow pace the rest of the way into Oakhurst.
The many stories of how a sweep saved people from stranding, kept them company, or gathered up lost cars when someone
missed a turn; would easily fill a book. The sweeps that are the subjects of these stories cared enough about the position to
follow it through. As I said before, it doesn’t happen often, but when it does, the sweep car must be ready to step up to the
While many of you already understand the sweep car’s important function, some of you may not; and it is to you, gentle reader,
that I appeal to; if you find yourself at the end of the pack one day, please remember that there are serious responsibilities that
go with the job and, therefore, it should not be taken lightly.
What’s In A Name
By Fred Sneathern
As, we have all come to know “SAMOA”, is the abbreviation for “Sacramento Area Miata Owners Association”. As Miata owners
and enthusiast “SAMOA” is name that we have all become to know and love. But what is in a name. While SAMOA is the Short
version of our club’s name, these 5 letters of the American Alphabet also hold many other significant meanings.
Samoa, officially the Independent State of Samoa, is a country governing the western half of the Samoan Islands archipelago in
the South Pacific Ocean. Previous names were German Samoa from 1900 to 1919, and Western Samoa from 1914 to 1997.
It was admitted to the United Nations on December 15th 1976 as Samoa. The entire island group, inclusive of American Samoa,
was known as Navigators Islands before the 20th century because of the Samoans' seafaring skills.
Samoan society is often said by European writers to have a hierarchical order. From the chiefs all the way down to the youngest
or weakest. The able bodied young men provide what is valued in the Samoan world as “tautuaor” service. These young men
cleaned the village each week and preparing food for the chief. In ancient times these young men also protected the village
from any form of attack. These services were provided traditionally without any form of payment. This is not to say; that they
did not receive rewards for their service. I found it interesting that, for those that were honest, trustworthy and faithful the
ultimate reward was having the bestowal of a Matai name.
Isn’t it a bit ironic? And somewhat of an oddity? That our abbreviation turned out to be SAMOA and that when it comes to
Cars, the name Miata was bestowed on a vehicle that that excels in the qualities of faithful Service and reliability. Only one letter
was out of place.
Autocross + Drifting = Gymkhana
By Jack Parker
If you were born before me, which in circles is said to have been highly unlikely, and had been involved in cars then you might
remember the precursor to the modern day sport of, dare I say it, autocrossing. That automobile sport is called gymkhana. This
sport involved many of the qualities of autocrossing but also involved stopping and starting and other activities at lower speeds
not currently associated with the modern sport of autocrossing. This mostly died out with the advent of the modern sports car.
Well hide the women and children. The new sport of gymkhana is back and this time the sport involves, you guessed it, drifting.
The American Gymkhana Association (http://www.gymkhanausa.com/) is running a series of events throughout the United
States. We had the opportunity to witness the sport first hand in Irvine, California recently. Pretty amazing event. The course
involved long straights and hard turns with the course outlined by those damn pesky little rubber things again. But in between
the straights and hard turns were figure eights and skid pad like roundabouts. As in autocross the fastest time wins. Pretty
crazy. The same oversteering mishaps that penalize you in autocross are somewhat a rewarding experience in the new gymkhana.
A wide variety of cars, mostly Japanese rear wheel drive cars such as Nissan 240s, 350zs, Toyato Corrollas, Miatas, a few Porsches
and various other assorted cars enter these events. The oohs and awes factor mostly come from the professional drifter set who
seem to put on the best show. If you get a chance to be in the area of one of these events if would be fun to go and visit.
Mostly they are free for spectators.
On The Sporting Scene
By Jack Parker
You may not know it but there really is a competitive group in the club. We have four members competing regularly in SCCA
autocross in a variety of cars. All are doing fairly well while only two are actually competing against each other.
In Street Tire class, cars running on regular street tires, we have recent new member Darrel Huckabay running his brand new
2007 MX-5 against more than forty other cars and currently stands third in point standings this year.
In H stock Rod Gonzales is running his OTM, the 2003 Kia Rio Cinco of fury, and running in first overall in his class. Rod has a win
and three seconds during the year and his consistency is paying off.
Very recent new member Andrew Melicharek is running his OTM, a 1988 Mazda RX-7, in second place in Street Touring Sport 2
(STS2). Andrew has a win, a second, a third and a fourth and currently sits in second place. Andrew has also run his Miata in
Old fart Jack Parker also runs his very crude 1997 Miata in STS2 and has three wins, a second and a third for first overall in class.
He is also running a Corvette in Street Tire class.
All these folks run in Stockton on July 21 and 22 at various times during the day. Come on down and support your fellow club
members. Have a hot dog and enjoy the show. For more details you may contact one of the above racers during a club function.
Club Autocross Championships
By Jack Parker
Unless you have been residing in a cave for the last few months, you know that the club just held it's first ever and hopefully
somewhat annual Autocross Championships. The competition was fierce as ten drivers in nine cars competing in four classes
battled through June 2 to determine who has bragging rights for the upcoming year. Most competitors were either novices or
less experienced but that did not deter the competitive juices from flowing throughout the day.
The field was divided into four groups. Class I was for novice drivers with bone stock to lightly modified cars. Consistant
improvement was the name of the game for this group as Robin "The Prez" George, Doug Lockhart, Ron Moe and Martin Neft
fought it out for supremacy. Every driver in the group improved on every run. Robin eventually won out with a very nice time of
79.814 on somewhat questionably sticky tires. They weren't bald but real close. Second went to Doug and third was Ron. The
improved, hands down, goes to Ron Moe as he improved by close to 25 seconds from beginning to end. Congratulations to all.
Class II, for again less experienced drivers with a few more modifications, was contested by Clay Cowen with is nearly bald R
compound tires, Kevin Wise and Tak Ayueng. All three competed at different times during the day. Kevin ran into some bad luck
as his GPS navigation system went bad and recorded two DNFs(did not finish). Kevin got into it on the third run and on his
fourth run recorded a very nice 75.163. Clay Cowen, not to be outdone, improved throughtout and won the class with 72.851.
Class III was for more modified cars with more experienced drivers. Rod Gonzales was the only driver in the class, driving and
sharing the Parker black 97 cranked off some good times and finished his session and won with a time of 73.240
Class IV was also a one car field and Parker took first with a 71.699. There were two faster times he had run but with the
addition of all the dead ducks out there after each run the penalties were too much. Seems like those damn little rubber things
keep jumping out in front of him with no warning.
Overall champ goes to Andrew Melicharek. It seems that autocross is a sport of micro seconds. Andrew had a great day and on
his second to last run layed down a 71.644 with his turbocharged Miata. That gave Andrew the title by .055 seconds. Way to
Robin George Surprise Event
By Jeanne George
This event was full of them and lived up to its name. Originally it was assigned the name in February, when we reserved the
calendar date and hadn’t decided what we would plan.
On the 13th, the day before the June meeting, we headed for the hills to find great Miata roads. We wanted to have a plan to
announce at the meeting. After traveling the twisty roads for three hours of 100 degree heat and beating sun we arrived in
Foresthill and found a restaurant to use for the event. After we ate we headed home.
We traveled I-80 and were 1 mile from Douglas Blvd. when we heard a loud explosion. Our first thought was a tire blow out, but
Robin said the steering was smooth. Hearing all the noise coming from us, several cars backed off and gave Robin an exit path.
We checked all the tires and they were fine. Robin raised the hood to find a spark plug had blown out and was laying on the
engine block. As we’re looking in the trunk for tools the CHP arrived to investigate and was very helpful. He contacted road
service for us but they didn’t have the needed tools so he called Triple A. Between Robin and the tow truck driver, they used
his sockets and our tire changing device to put the plug back in. The car started up just fine and we were off.
That evening we talked about the route and thought we had a good drive. Robin decided to put the route to music and
instructions on a CD. Over the next several days Robin searched for music favorites of his and got out the microphone and
started recording voice instructions. On the 20th we re-ran the trip, to get our times more accurate and select the right music
for the roads.
On Sunday we headed to the meeting location. Robin had recorded 40 CD’s for the people who reserved them for the
adventure. We took care of the check-in process, introductions and distributed radios. We had 9 radios to spread around plus
some people had their own. They turned out to be well used on this event.
Sixteen Miatas and a motorcycle were waiting for us to pull out. Robin started the engine and immediately a loud explosion
occurred. The spark plug had blown out again. Several members came to his aid and Bob Paauwe with tools. They determined
the spark plug chamber was stripped and our Miata could not be driven. Genny Paauwe offered to go home and get their other
Miata and let Robin drive it. But we declined their offer. Vice-president, Mike, took over responsibility for the group since the
President had his head elsewhere. Mike located several cars with lone drivers and arranged rides for us. Mike helped unload our
supplies to other vehicles. Robin rode with Graeme Kinsey to lead the group; I rode with Jan Leininger. After a short delay the
group headed out.
All were enjoying the roads and music. Unfortunately, 2 hours into the trip and on a very back road Jan had an encounter with a
rock. We knew we were in trouble and I began speaking into the radio to alert sweep car, Mike D, two cars behind us but out
of view. When Jan pulled over I could hear a hissing sound. In the hills I had no idea how far the radio transmitted. When JR
Hahn and Mike D caught up with us, they checked the front tires and looked under the car for damage or leaks. At this point
Mike asked our motorcyclist, Steve Church (Paauwe’s friend), to ride until he caught up with a car with a radio and alert Robin of
As Mike was analyzing the safety to move the car, Robin and Graeme showed up. Not only had they heard my plea but the
group had also been relaying the information forward. (In my panic, I had failed to identify myself since I was trying to alert Mike.
Robin thought it sounded like me.) The men made the decision to move me to Graeme’s car and have Robin drive Jan’s and
check the handling.
Eventually, we arrived at the Foresthill Pizza Factory. When Jan got out of the car, she noticed the passenger tire was almost
flat. I located Robin and told him; he took the car and headed to find a gas station.
At lunch someone said “Robin, you sure went out of your way to create the surprises on this event”. Every one laughed. Later I
realized I was the common factor in all three incidents, not him. As we were eating, I asked Robin “How are we going to get to
our car?” which was in Cameron Park. He stood up and made an announcement that we needed a ride to our car and would
anybody be willing to help us out. Many members said they would like to but how do you put 4 people in a Miata. Steve offered
but he only had one helmet. Graeme and our newest member, Ron Zander indicated they were headed that way and would
take us. The Paauwe’s offered to lead the small group to their home so we could call a tow truck and then take us to our car.
I ordered a flatbed tow truck from Triple A. As Genny, Bob and I watched, it was sad watching Robin as his prize TOBARR was
being loaded up. Robin took pictures which you can fine on the web site.
Often I have wondered what our Miata looked like from the car in front of us. Unfortunately now I know, as we looked out the
window of the tow truck during the 45 mile drive home.
We want to thank the many individuals that helped us through this trying time. That is what SAMOA members do best, help
Follow-up: Our car was towed to The Crazy Red Italian’s garage. Dave and his brother rethreaded the number 2 spark plug hole,
did a tune-up and the Miata is back on the road.
Jan was able to make it home, with Mike D and other members following her watching for potential problems. The next morning
Jan found the tire with only 15 pounds, used her compressor and added air. Goodyear checked things out. Her tires were fine.
“Afraid I didn't nearly miss the rock like I thought but ran over it and bent the rim on the inside just enough to break the seal and
cause the slow leak. The mechanic checked for other damage while the car was on the lift and found none - no marks to indicate
the rock hit anything but the rim.”
Goodyear did an alignment and referred her to Precision Wheel Works in Sac to straighten the rim. Precision's rates for repairing
rims are $60-200 depending on the damage. She was quoted $65 to repair the rim and $10 to remount the tire. This was
definitely better than buying four new rims.
Robin George Surprise Event
By Ron Zander
The Robin George Surprise run saw 16 cars participating. We started with 17 but Robin’s car experienced a problem when we
were getting ready to start. A loud POP revealed the number 2 spark plug had blown out….again, and this time it couldn’t be
threaded back in. Robin got a ride with Graeme Kinsey of the Delta Miata Club and Jeanne decided to ride with Jan Leininger. So
with a minor delay we were off and running. The run was very well done and the accompanying cd’s were a real treat. It’s
obvious that Robin and Jeanne put a lot of time into the preparation of the event and I think it’s fair to say that everyone
enjoyed the music and how well timed Robin’s narration was. The weather was spectacular and we had relatively light traffic, the
few people that we did encounter were very courteous and let us by.
We made a few stops along the way to ensure everyone was together and also to draw names from a jar, which entitled the
winners to some cash!! We made our way over to Foresthill Pizza Factory and enjoyed a delicious lunch and great conversation.
After lunch we said our good byes and headed back down the hill. I think everyone enjoyed this run, it offered something for
everyone. We had scenic views, easy roads, twisty roads, and perfect weather. If you missed this one you missed a lot, it was
great and I think we all look forward to another one.