Congratulations to Ken and Linda on the selection
their Miata as our
Miata of the Month!
I purchased my 1990 Mariner Blue B package Miata in September of 1993 after driving my best friend's Miata the previous winter while vacationing in Florida. At the time I owned a Nissan Sentra SE-R. It was a fine performing car at the time, but it still had front wheel drive. The Miata reacquainted me with the virtues of rear wheel drive coupled with 50/50 weight distribution and a top that went down. I had to have one.
After moving to Florida, in spring of 1993, I bought my Miata and I discovered the Miata Club and the Central Florida Chapter. My then girl friend Linda and I participated in club events almost every other weekend. We explored many roads, saw different attractions and ate at interesting restaurants all over central Florida while in the company of 10 to 15 other Miata fanatics. We made friendships that will last a lifetime. We experienced more of Florida in 3 years than most non-Miata owners who have lived there all their lives. The Miata had become a big part of our social lives.
In December of 1994 I asked Linda to marry me while on a Miata club event in Key West with the Everglades and Gold Coast chapters. She said "yes". In October of 1995 we were married and left the ceremony in my Miata. We headed north for our honeymoon in the mountains of North Carolina for a week of top-down driving and sight seeing. The mountains covered in vibrant fall foliage were a welcomed relief from the flat terrain of Florida. We were treated with perfect weather and the leaves were at their peak of color during our trip. I am so fortunate to have found a lovely lady to share my life who enjoys riding in my Miata as much as I enjoy driving it. Linda became the best co-pilot. She always planned out our routes, keep track of our progress on the map, and had snacks and drinks at the ready.
I took a new job in September that relocated me about once a year. Linda and I found the local Miata chapters were a great way to meet people when we landed in a new city. Also, each new club added a new facet to my Miata experience. First we moved to Charleston, South Carolina and we got involved with the Low Country chapter. Linda and I attended the inaugural Deal's Gap event with Larry Alster from the Low Country chapter. Later that year Larry convinced me to participate in driving schools. Soon after I installed a roll bar and attended 3 schools in 1997. I have learned a lot about car control and the skills necessary to drive smoothly. I really enjoy driving at the high speed that a racetrack allows.
From Charleston, we moved to Cleveland, Ohio where we got involved with the North Coast Chapter. On our first weekend Cleveland we went to Kelly's Island, a resort on Lake Erie, with the North Coast Chapter. Someone on the trip told us that she had lived in Cleveland her whole life and this was first trip to Kelly's Island. We were there on our first weekend! I was bitten hard by the horsepower bug after seeing and driving a few members' cars. Before I left Cleveland, I had installed a BEGI turbocharger and Flying Miata turbo exhaust system. A few members helped me with the installation by coming over and working in my garage in 20-degree temperatures. What a great group of guys.
In February of 1999, we moved to Iron Mountain, Michigan in the Upper Peninsula. I drove the Miata for the first time in the snow and it did very well with my new hard top and 4 snow tires. Miatas are a rare sight in that area. I was often asked, "What kind of car is that?" When I replied them it is a Mazda Miata, they looked at me rather blankly. Linda and I joined the Badgerland Chapter in Wisconsin. They were a little far away from us, about 200 miles, so events usually included an overnight stay. This was made easier because members invited us to stay with them instead of a hotel. Linda and I truly appreciated this generosity from other Miata owners. Wisconsin surprised me with the number of curvy roads and elevation changes. We did not attend too many events with the Badgerland Chapter because Linda was pregnant with our first baby during that summer.
I was having serious Miata withdrawal from not participating in many Miata events during the summer of '99. Fortunately, I convinced Linda to allow me to drive to Colorado to participate The Dealer Alternative's second annual open house a mere 2 weeks after our son Evan was born. I had never been out west and I have been attracted to the mountains for many years. I really enjoyed the drive out to Colorado and the spectacular roads and views in Colorado.
My trip to The Dealer Alternative turned out to be a very important one indeed. I had been very unhappy with my job as an engineer for many years. But, my income was good and it supported my Miata habit very well. Moving every year began looking much less fun with a baby. The owners of The Dealer Alternative were two of the kindest people I had ever met and they needed another employee to meet the demands of the expanding business. I spent two days driving back to Michigan thinking about my future. After getting Linda's blessing, I applied for the position with The Dealer Alternative and got it!
We now live in Colorado, our 5th address in 4 years, and we are members of the Peak to Peak chapter, our 6th Miata club in 7 years. I am working on Miatas and talking to Miata owners every day. I love my job! I cannot believe how this cute little car has changed my life. It has given me the opportunity to get my dream job and live in an area of the country I did not think I would ever visit, let alone live.
All of the clubs that we have been involved have different flavors. Some hold monthly meetings while others have none. Some have a structure of officers while other do not. Some clubs are full of people who have modified their cars while other clubs have members that keep there cars relatively stock. However, common to all the clubs are the wonderful people who make them up. Linda and I now have friends in all of the cities we have lived in from being in the Miata clubs. We will keep these friendships for the rest of our lives. Besides, we always have a place to stay when we go back for a visit. I am amazed by the diverse group of people we have met all because of the car I drive.
I have no intentions of selling my Miata. It has become a part of your family. In the past few weeks I have taken Evan for some top-down drives. He likes the breeze and the views a convertible gives him. Once Evan is a little older, Linda and I will be attending some events with the Peak to Peak Chapter. Until then, Evan will be my co-pilot. I hope he learns how to read a map soon.
Will you be next?