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Yosemite Drive & Adventures

"It is easier to feel than to realize, or in any way explain, Yosemite grandeur. The magnitude of the rocks and trees and streams are so delicately harmonized, they are mostly hidden."  —John Muir

"It is easier to feel than to realize, or in any way explain, Yosemite grandeur. The magnitude of the rocks and trees and streams are so delicately harmonized, they are mostly hidden."  —John Muir

Rollo & Penny

Rollo & Penny

The telling of the story of this run is best done by the many pictures taken by our Club members. Six cars with 12 enthusiasts enjoyed the many twisty roads, DiCicco's Restaurant on Friday evening, a 7:30am departure from Best Western Hotel Saturday morning, and an intense day visiting Yosemite's grand sights.

Bridal Veil Falls and Yosemite Falls were almost unimaginable in their glory. At Happy Isles, the massive power of the snow runoff was displayed.

The Merced River was almost overflowing, and very rapid. Touring buses provided transportation about the Valley, providing a multitude of visual displays not available anywhere else.

An afternoon zoom-zoom trip up the mountain put us at Glacier Point, with a spectacular view of Yosemite Valley (snowed-in just 2 days later).

Most of the members made it to dinner at the Wawona Hotel, now called Big Trees. Fine foods and desserts were consumed and stories of our day's discoveries were shared.

On Sunday, only 4 hearty souls made the ride on the Yosemite Mountain Sugar Pine Railroad to see the living history of the old logging days.

It was exceptional; much chugging, steam blowing, temperature dropping, and imaginations in high gear thinking of all the tasks the lumberjacks had to perform on such steep mountain sides.


Steve & Susan

Steve & Susan

The drive to Yosemite was very pleasant, we had intermittent rain showers, but once we got to Oakhurst the weather was very nice. We met up with the rest of the gang at DiCicco’s restaurant and had a great time with excellent food and drink. Tom Woods, a long time BAMA member, joined us for the evening meal after showing off his new Fiat 124 Spider. 

 

We had an early breakfast at the Best Western Hotel in Oakhurst and set out for the drive to Yosemite. Our first stop was the Tunnel View which was spectacular as always and whetted our appetite for more of Yosemite. From there we drove to Bridal Veil Falls. However, the Falls were streaming so much water that visitors coming from the Falls were soaking wet. A few passed along a plastic rain poncho to those who were brave enough to make the journey. We were not among those brave ones, however, Walt’s grandson, Devin, was among the brave and got some great shots of the Falls and came back rather soaked. 

From there we attempted to find parking in the village, many others had the same idea and we after much searching abandoned that idea and headed for Glacier Point. We stopped at a pull over and found a picnic table where we had a quick packed lunch and got some great photos of our car with the Bridal Veil Falls as a back drop. The creek was high with rushing water, we couldn’t have planned a more picturesque picnic spot. 

It was a chilly, foggy drive to the top and we were skeptical about the view once at the top. We were delighted to find sunny skies, big white fluffy clouds and warmer temperature. We spent a good deal of time there and got some great photos. We even saw a wedding party, including a cute flower girl, getting their photos taken. The bride was lovely and we’re sure their wedding photos will be spectacular.  After munching on an ice cream bar and getting our fill of photos we headed back down the mountain. 

On the way down Gary & Wendy passed us headed to the top. We pulled over at an overlook for another view of the beautiful scenery and before too long Gary & Wendy came back down the mountain and joined us.  Shortly we had more BAMA members joining us at the overlook and had an impromptu meeting and discussion about our evening plans.

Later we all met up at Big Trees Hotel & Restaurant, formerly Wawona, and had a lively conversation and a sumptuous dinner.

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Next morning most headed back towards home, four of us in two cars went on to the Yosemite Sugar Pine Railroad for a short trip around the mountain. It was a cold morning, we had heard some of the roads into Yosemite were closed due to icy conditions. It was cold enough to see our breath, several people, including us, waiting for the train bought extra blankets from the gift shop for the ride.  Huddled under our blankets, we all enjoyed the chilly ride. Happy to have had a wonderful weekend with friends and spectacular scenery we headed home. 

Photo album for the 2017 Yosemite Drive & Adventures >>

 

Carmel Valley Drive

After greeting three new members and fueling ourselves at Starbucks, we departed south out of San Jose via Mckean and Oak Glen, past the very full Calero and Chesbro Reservoirs, and ended up on Watsonville Rd. 

We continue southbound on Watsonville Rd and popped over Mt. Madonna via the fun and twisty Hwy 152.  With all our willpower, we made it past Gizdich Ranch and continue heading south-east through the Pajaro foothills south of Watsonville.

We continue our southerly journey via Hwy 183 into the Salinas Valley and work our way over to Reservation Rd / River Rd eventually arriving at Mission Soledad. We beat the heat by walking through the thick adobe walled mission.

The last leg before lunch, we round our way from the Salinas valley up Carmel Valley Rd. Even with slow traffic, keeping our Miatas from doing what they do best, we enjoyed a very sunny warm ride to lunch at the Trailside Cafe & Beer Garden.

After lunch we parted ways. Some spent the night in the Carmel area and others made their way home after enjoying the 17 mile drive.

BAMA 27th Anniversary Picnic

This was our Anniversary Picnic celebrating 27 years since our club's founding. It was a beautiful day at Huddart Park in San Mateo County. The weather was fine with sun and clouds (no rain!) and only a slight breeze. The park was lush with spring green ferns and flowers.The small creek by our picnic area was flowing quickly over cascades.  

Thanks to Shirley and Ken Christensen, the bbq had plenty of hot charcoals when the main group arrived. We had a good turnout of members with lots of shared food and a fun "spin the wheel" game and prizes. 

  • 1st place: Allen Fong—$50 Visa gift card
  • 2nd place: Joy Robinson—$25 Visa gift card
  • 3rd place: Joe Armstead—2 movie passes & 2 boxes of movie candy. 
    (mistakenly gave prize to Gary & Wendy first
  • Last place: Rollo Dowling—a toy bird, an eagle or perhaps a turkey?
  • Other misc prizes....

Mostly we enjoyed chatting and looking at each other's cars, of course. Miatas of all models were there from Frankie Armstead's black 1992 with the pop-up headlights to Walt Lightfoot's and Marc Salit's 2016 Soul Red beauties. All were in great shape.

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Fun in the Sun, Phil's Fish and Freshly Baked Pie

On Saturday, March 11, we finally were able to get out and drive our Miatas with the tops down. A group of 13 cars with a total of 24 people met at our traditional meeting spot, Starbucks in Los Gatos.

We followed a new route through San Jose and Morgan Hill over Hecker Pass Highway to Moss Landing. It was a beautiful day. Temperatures in the 70's. The hills were green with all the new growth due to our winter rains.

When we arrived at Phil's Fish Market, the place was busy with lots of people out enjoying themselves. Several of our members commented that the food was better than ever.

After lunch we returned through Watsonville to Gizdich Ranch. There we enjoyed fresh apple juice and slices of their famous fruit pies.

Finally full, we made our way back over Hecker Pass. This time we took the turn onto Uvas Road and stopped at the reservoir. It was full of water! That was quite a change from the low water levels we have seen in previous years.  

We then drove through the scenic hills back to Los Gatos where we stopped at Peet's for a final chat.  All in all it was a fine first outing for 2017.

Making Plans for Sunnier Days and Top Down Drives

The annual meeting was held on Sunday, January 8, 2017 at Oak Tree Mazda in San Jose. Due to a major storm with high winds and lots of rain in the area, only a few of us were able to make it this year. Unfortunately some of our members were also suffering with the flu and other ailments.

Even so, we had a lively meeting with discussion of exciting plans for 2017. A strong effort to increase membership outreach and improve communications is one of BAMA’s main goals for this coming year. 

New BAMA members Kirk and Ronda

On that note, we were pleased to welcome our newest member Kirk who joined us on Sunday and bravely drove his brand new ceramic metallic MX-5 RF to the meeting. 

Oak Tree Mazda had an RF model in the showroom a few of us got to check out.  We’ll have to come back on a sunny day to take it for a spin.

We really appreciate the hospitality at Oak Tree Mazda for providing a comfortable meeting space and a tasty lunch. 

Steve and Susan feeling comfy in this new ride

The Election Results Are In

The elections for BAMA board of directors concluded on Saturday, January 8 and the board of directors for 2017 will be:

  • President: Mike Abell
  • Vice President: Walt Lightfoot  
  • Treasurer: Shirley Christensen   
  • Membership Coordinator: Joy Robinson
  • Recording Secretary: Rollo Dowling
  • Media Coordinator: Steve Bean (appointed)

Thanks to those of you who voted in this election. Your participation in the club is valuable.

Bocce Ball, Dinner and Evening Drive

Last night a lively group of 22, including some new members, gathered for the Bocce, Dinner, and Drive event.  

The Bocce was a spirited match between the "red" and "green" teams.  Some of the players were old hands but several had never played and didn't know the rules.  They found that it was easy to learn and fun to play.  The final score was red team by only one point!

Then we had a full table for dinner.  Lots of good food and conversation.  

After dinner, we held our traditional drivers meeting while ogling the newest MX5 (model D) in the group.  Then we were off for a sunset cruise through vineyards, ranch lands, and windmills,  Stopped for a mid-drive break, then we were off again through the darkening hills and valleys of Livermore, on to Sunol, and then a very dark drive on Foothill Road to Pleasanton where we stopped to admire the cars in the Specialty Cars showroom.  An old BRG roadster caught my eye!  

Then we drove home by the light of the rising full moon.  A lovely end to a fine event.

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Yosemite National Park

The beginning of our journey at Bass Pro, Manteca, CA

The beginning of our journey at Bass Pro, Manteca, CA

Seven cars started out on our Yosemite National Park adventure on Friday, 7/8/2016, at 2:00 pm, from Bass Pro in Manteca, CA.  Joining in the adventure were:  Rollo & Penny D., Steve & Joy R., Steve & Susan B., Scott A. & Regina, Vito & Sarah L., Walt & Jerri L, and their delightful grandson Devin.  Joining us at the park were Peggy & Allan F. 

We enjoyed a pleasant, though very warm, drive to Oakhurst, CA, just outside of Yosemite National Park with Rollo D. leading the way and Steve R. as sweep, we were all able to stay together the whole way.   

Drive to Yosemite National Park

Drive to Yosemite National Park

We arrived at the Best Western in Oakhurst, CA around 6:30 pm and enjoyed a delicious Italian dinner together at Dicicco’s. 

Saturday we had a good breakfast at 6:30 am and left for Yosemite at 7:30 am so we could get there early to find parking.  We had another beautiful drive to Yosemite National Park, turning many heads all the way.  We got a lot of thumbs up and waves from various cyclists, motorcyclists and other drivers, especially convertibles. 

We drove down Highway 41 to the Valley Floor of Yosemite National Park and had a great view of the valley at the Tunnel where we all got some spectacular photos. Bridal Veil Falls was next and after a short hike we were again treated to a spectacular site and got more great photos. Next we drove to Yosemite Falls after another short hike joined other visitors who were snapping photos of the beautiful Falls.  We were excited to see lots of water in Yosemite this time of year.  For lunch some of us went to the cafeteria and others took a different route.  We enjoyed a tasty lunch then some of us rode the free shuttle bus to the Indian Village and toured the Ansel Adams Center, the Museum and visitor center and of course the various gift shops.  We stowed away our gift shop goodies and took the very scenic uphill drive to Glacier Point, a highlight of the trip. After getting our fill of spectacular views and taking many, many photos we headed down hill, a few stopped at the Pioneer History Center and ended the day at Big Trees restaurant in Wawona for dinner and lively conversation.    

Sunday we had breakfast again in Oakhurst.  Steve & Joy R. left us for home as well as Scott & Regina The rest of us went on to the Sugar Pine Railroad where we enjoyed a one hour narrated trip through the woods.  We experienced the train letting off steam at half point and watched as the tank was filled with water for the trip back to the station.  All in all we had a very enjoyable weekend. Many thanks to Rollo for putting together the itinerary and arranging the weekend events, we all had a fabulous time together as Miata enthusiasts and friends. 

Photo album for the Yosemite National Park drive >>

Shine and Show

It was a bright & sunny Saturday morning June 12, 2016 when a group of BAMA drivers met at Oak Tree Mazda dealership in San Jose, CA to show off their cars and get to test drive the new ND.  The cars were lined up and after one last buffing & polishing were ready for judging. 

Best NA: Shirley C.

Best NA: Shirley C.

Best NB: Randy R.

Best NB: Randy R.

Best NC: Lloyd B.

Best NC: Lloyd B.

Best ND: Al L.

Best ND: Al L.

All participants were able to choose a car for each category NA, NB, NC, ND, Best of Show & Best Modified.   

Best in Show & Best Modified went to Jim H.

Best in Show & Best Modified went to Jim H.

After the awards were given out we were treated to a BBQ and lively conversation.  We appreciated the opportunity to sit in the new ND and some of us took advantage and went on a test drive in the bright, shiny, new red ND. Walt, that car looks good on you! 

Walt L. takes a test drive.

Walt L. takes a test drive.

We want to sincerely thank Oak Tree Mazda for hosting this event, presenting the awards and providing the prizes. The food was delicious and we look forward to future events and continuing our partnership with Oak Tree Mazda. 

BAMA 26th Anniversary Picnic

The BAMA picnic at Huddart Park celebrating our 26th anniversary was a huge success. 

First the banners were hung between the trees, the BBQ grills were filled with charcoal and the fire readied.  The picnic tables were set and an array of delightful goodies was laid out. 

Shirley and Ken Christensen brought their Miata memorabilia and BAMA historical items.  We all also enjoyed playing “Pin the Wheel on the Miata” and Mazda/Miata trivia games also brought by Shirley and Ken Christensen. 

Thanks to Frankie & Bev for bringing the horseshoes and the beanbag toss games.

We all enjoyed cupcakes with the BAMA logo atop the fondant icing, famous mac n’ cheese, crab, hot dogs, potato salad, pasta salad, delicious cream cheese filled strawberries with a blueberry on top, a delightful mix of chips & dips and most of all great company. 

I know we’re all looking forward to our 27th anniversary picnic and a year full of drives in between. 

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Phil's Fish Market at Moss Landing and More

A gentle pastel sunrise coming up over the trees gave way to a perfect day for a BAMA group drive to Phil’s Fish Market at Moss Landing, Giant Artichoke in Castroville, Gizdich Ranch and Uvas Reservoir.

The Board Members met at Starbucks in Los Gatos and had a brief meeting about future drives and our upcoming 26th Anniversary Picnic at Huddart Park April 23rd.

At around 9:30 am the board meeting adjourned and we all gathered with the driver’s and passengers for the day.  There were 12 drivers with 10 passengers. Everyone signed in and after the driver’s meeting we met 4 new members of BAMA, Scott A., Gary A., Julie L., and RaeNell R. Everyone was very excited to begin, as the Moss Landing drive is one of the group’s favorites. Joy R. handed out maps and directions to our various stops. 

We had a beautiful drive, the air was crisp and onlookers were delighted to see our colorful Miatas driving down the roads. BAMA President, Steve R. did a good job of leading the troops and Mike A. (Treas.) did a good job of sweep for the drive with Steve B. in the middle. We were momentarily joined by a group of Ferraris quickly moving ahead waving and honking their greetings. 

We reached our destination, Phil’s Fish Market, after driving about 1.5 hours South using some highways and beautiful scenic back roads. The group feasted on tasty fresh seafood and enjoyed each other’s company in a rustic beachside setting. After our delicious meal some members walked to the rear of the restaurant and enjoyed watching the ocean waves and dogs romping on the beach.

The group headed out again towards Castroville to the Giant Artichoke filled with Castroville’s famous artichokes and other fresh veggies, etc. Our car trunks packed with purchases we headed towards another favorite location, Gizdich Ranch for some scrumptious pie. The pie did not disappoint and our car trunks were again packed with delightful whole pies to enjoy later. 

A few cars left the group at this point and the rest headed to Uvas Reservoir just west of Morgan Hill which actually had water this year.  Some more of the group left for home and others continued to New Almaden and Hicks Road into Los Gatos. The remaining drivers enjoyed the twisties through the narrow canyons. The finish was in Los Gatos for coffee and conversation, about Miatas of course. 

A great time was had by all and everyone was very excited to welcome our new members and happy we all had a great day together.    

BAMA Annual Meeting

Today the Bay Area Miata Association (BAMA) board and BAMA members met for our annual meeting which was hosted by Oaktree Mazda Dealership in San Jose, CA. We are grateful for their hospitality and to Frankie D. who works at the dealership and helped to arrange the meeting.  
 
The Miatas were all parked in a row as they usually are before a drive. I’m sure they were happy to see each other again.  It’s been several months, in some cases, since a lot of us have all been together.  We were honored to have one new member, David, at the first meeting of the year and we hope to get to know him better this coming year.  We already know he’s had his copper red Miata for four months and is getting married this October. Congratulations David and we all hope to get to meet your fiancé on one of our drives.
 
Everyone was excited to see some members return whom we haven’t seen in a while. The new board members were introduced and plans for drives throughout the year were laid out and discussed. The details can be found under the “Events” section of the website.  
 
After our meeting Bob S. test drove one of the new Ceramic Metallic 2016 MX-5. We’re not sure yet if Bob traded his Miata, I guess we’ll find out on our next drive. Lookin’ good in the new car Bob.

Blackhawk Museum

We met at the Blackhawk Museum where our Fabulous President obtain permission for all of us to park our shiny Miatas at the Rotunda in front of the Museum! We all were able to wander about the museum at our leisure at a discounted rate and we took our time gawking at all the shiny OLD cars. See you at the HOLIDAY PARTY!!

Murphys Weekend Drive

Seven BAMA Club Members and spouses spent an enjoyable weekend in the Calaveras County area April 10-12.  We stayed overnight in Murphys,  enjoying a group dinner on Friday at El Jardin, a group breakfast at the restored Murphys Hotel,  and Saturday dinner at Grounds, all organized by Mike Abell.  Thank you, Miketurday we had a leisurely drive to Columbia State Park and toured the restored sights of the gold rush era.  We drove on to Jamestown, visiting Railtown where we toured the railroad museum, watched old No 3 engine come steaming into the station, and shopped for souvenirs in their store.  The group returned to Murphys via Hwy 49 and Old Murphys Road, a curvy Miata road, now bypassed by the "improved" Hwy 4.  We said our goodbyes after a fine dinner and then departed individually on Sunday.  Many sights of the area remain unvisited, and we would all like to return.

Afternoon Romp Near Napa

It started out cloudy and overcast, but it wasn't long before it turned into a beautiful sunny day.  Five Miatas got together in Napa to take a drive down the Silverado Trail. BAMA welcomed out newest members, June Reif and Robert Fisher and their 2003 Emerald Green NB.  Steve and Joyce Robinson lead us out onto our route where we passed several promising looking wineries that warrant a return trip for tasting.

The roads were not as crowded as we have seen in the past and we were able to keep the group together without too much trouble.  We made our first stop at a little mini mart were we all sought out for some cold refreshments.   

Our next stop was at the Monticello Dam, which was built in 1957.  After a much needed break, we gather together to determine our next point of direction.  It was recommended that we head back to NAPA for a late lunch.  At that point, June and Rob took the lead.  It wasn't long before we were at "Red Hen Cantina."  The food was awesome and the company was fantastic. Thank you to June and Rob for making the suggestion.

After lunch, we decided it was too hot continue, so we all parted our separate ways, yes, with the air conditioner at full blast.