September 12-14, 2003, Talimena Scenic Byway
The weather brought in cold winds, thunder and rain into the Ozarks that afternoon. Each miataphile was greeted with a warm welcome in the lobby as they ran in from the cold rain. We had a great time meeting each other for the first time as we matches faces with real names and internet-user names. As you would expect, we have a broad range of participants. We ranged from 30 to 80 years of age, beginning to retiring careers, new parents to grandparents and from new miata owners to multiple-miata owners. Nonetheless, we all had a common bond; not just being miata owners, but proud 93LE owners. We were all hoping for better miata weather the next day, but the weather channel forecasted more rainstorms.
Awakening Saturday morning was quite a shock. The fog was so dense and mysterious, you could barely see the cars in the parking lot. As the Lodge is situated high in the mountains, the clouds descend upon the Lodge with the cool morning air. Then the rain began to start. We were desperate to get a group picture together, so we lined up the cars in the wet drizzle. The moral was getting low and we lost some LEs to the weather as they began their journey back home. Within two hours, the loyal and hopeful LEs experienced drastic changes. The clouds ascended back into the sky, the rain ceased and the sun proclaimed the mountains again, drying the roads for a rewarding miata drive. We lined up and drove all day long through magnificent mountain roads and twisties. We highlighted our trip with the most scenic of the twenty-six scenic overlooks and vistas. Many of the turns marked 25 mph were tackled by 50 mph speeds with our agile apex cutters. Autocrossing through the mountains was one of the best drives I have experienced...
The Gang Buster
...until we peeked over the next hilltop to find a police car waiting for our arrival. We continued cautiously down the road until our pack began to slow and signaled to pull over. Stopping at the next scenic vista, the Sheriff surveys our intentions and stops at the lead car. As I swallowed my tongue, I answered Sheriff "Bob" and explained the significance of our prided miata and the 10 year Anniversary Reunion. I was relieved when he simply wanted to follow us to learn about this unique car, since the usual packs seen along these roads were motorcycles. The roads were once again free to roam as the Sheriff continued down the scenic byway.
As with many miata events, food was an important focus. We trekked to the little town of Heavener "Gateway to the Mountains" for lunch. This renovated passenger train car served homestyle food at very cheap prices. The homemade pies are so popular, that they received special attention in their local paper. We used this opportunity to clean and brighten our cars for another photoshoot. For dinner, we ate at the Branding Iron (BBQ hole-in-the-wall). Strangely, fish was the special of the day, but most enjoyed their spicy hot BBQ sauce and brisket.
All in all, we saw the worse, we saw the best and enjoyed a great scenic and twisty drive through the mountains. It was quite a memorable experience getting know each of these 93LE owners. It was a great relief to know that we were not alone in our great pride for this limited edition Miata. Our plans for the future will include yearly meetings around the country to allow other LEs to share similar experiences.
till next year....
Special thanks to Stevan Boyd, from Justin, Texas, who designed and printed our T-shirts. He stayed up until 3AM the day before his drive to get these special Logo shirts to us. He has several extras that are available for only $10 a piece. You can contact him at StevanBoyd@juno.com
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