Cars & Bikes Together. An Enthusiasts Nirvana.

Motorcycles and automobiles. If you are a riding and driving enthusiast, Greenville, South Carolina is the place to be the fourth Saturday of every month, all year long.

Our Cars & Coffee draws a fairly large contingent of motorcycles. Side by side, the folks who love motorcycles and cars, such as myself, can drool all over the asphalt of this large parking lot.

So, whether you are a dual enthusiast, or your petrol desires lean in one or the other direction, enjoy these machines for what they are: rolling works of art.

If you also enjoy push pedal two wheels and follow the Tour de France bicycle race each year, this license tag needs no explanation.

It’s a Mini, Mini, Mini, Mini world

That’s a Honda CB1000 motor in all that copper looking metal

My first motorcycle: 1996 Honda Shadow VLX600 (bought new)

My first car: 1968 Mercury Cougar XR7 302 V8 4 bbl (bought used in 1972)

No matter how you look at it; that’s BADASS!

That’s a reworked Mini Cooper with a Mazda Rotary engine. Very interesting!

The old and the new…….Viva Italia!

Cars & bikes. The Italians always make a statement….. Alfa Romeo 4C

Sharp looking BSA

Lotus is upping their game and producing daily driver sports cars

Here’s a few other slides of some beautiful and interesting vehicles. Enjoy!

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Gotta Go! But very slow………. Slug Bug!

 

 

Plan B: Greenville to Greeneville and Back

The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry…………….

2019 Horizons Unlimited Travelers Meeting, North Carolina USA

One of my favorite motorcycle events, one in which I look forward to all year, is the Horizon’s Unlimited Travelers Meeting held at Ironhorse Motorcycle resort in North Carolina. Ironhorse changed hands this year, and for some reason unbeknownst to us, the new owner decided not to accommodate the Horizons Unlimited organization’s event.

These Travelers Meetings are held in locations throughout the world, throughout the year. Workshops, seminars, travel presentations are put together by fellow travelers who volunteer their time to share their knowledge of moto travel worldwide.

I now found myself with a three day weekend to fill. I could have gone moto camping as planned at Ironhorse or any of the other moto-centric campgrounds I frequent. But, meh. Instead, I opted for plan B: A road trip to a museum that has been on my list to visit for quite a while. A trip from Greenville, South Carolina to Greeneville (yes, there is an added e) Tennessee to this place (this is where all the motorcyclists who follow this blog say arrrgggghhhh):

Anybody left reading? Well, the intent was a motorcycle post. The best laid plans………

A beautiful day greeted me as I dropped the top on our MX-5 and headed to the land of the Volunteers. The drive had me on Interstate highways (crap), secondary highways (better), and rural, twisty back roads (best). Even with maybe 40% of the trip on Interstate highways, this was still an all day round trip. If I routed all back roads, I would have to stay the night or dance with deer coming home on the dark rural by-ways. No thanks.

If you are traveling by moto or sports car, do check out the beautiful twisty tarmac of NC70, NC208 (north of Asheville), and TN 208, TN70. These roads are fantastic and freaky fun as they follow parts of the French Broad River in North Carolina and the Nolichucky River In Tennessee.

I parked the MX-5 and entered the museum. What a great collection this family has amassed over the years. I believe this building, as an auto repair shop, was built in 1937 in this small southern town of Greeneville. Enjoy the photos. The placards have some interesting tidbits about each car.

Just for us motorcyclists. There is a Harley in there somewhere.

Inside the museum

The Cars

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A lot of automotive history is displayed in this historic building. The town of Greeneville, TN itself is steeped in history, from the aftermath of the American Revolution to our Civil War, and home to a US President. Walking along it’s downtown sidewalks, it is a old southern town stuck in time. Worth a visit.

 

Make America Great Britain Again?

Well, yeah. If this group had their way and enough of these works of rolling art and history were tooling around, you just might think you were in Great Britain.

A ringer! Leave it to an Italian to bring an Alfa to a Brit show.

Sexy & British. Words not usually used in the same sentence (talking cars here!). But the Jaguar E-Series, that’s a different story…………..

I could tool around my town in this MG

Here’s a couple of rare Triumphs that you don’t see on display very often even at car shows. Triumph TR4 and Triumph GT6 MK3.

Well I guess Mazda did not produce the first smiley-face sports car!

Austin Healy Bug-Eye Sprite. Now that’s cute!

Not only was I drawn to this MG by it’s beautiful flowing lines (I’m a sucker for curves), but the paint job was astounding!

This vehicle was very interesting with an interesting story. I had never seen the likes of it before.

We’ll need a lot more of these gorgeous cars on our roads to Make America feel like Great Britain Again. if you think these Brit autos are old, check out the very small Made in America contingent at this show…..

Whoa! Wooden wheels!

Why indeed!

Yes, that is a crank start, and yes, the old girl is pissing fluid all over the pavement. Poor dear.

I love coming to these shows to view automotive history. I applaud the men and women who keep these cars alive for all of us to enjoy the story of the automobile, wherever the origin.

 

Peace, Tranquility and Twisty Tarmac in the North Georgia Mountains

What do you do when you feel like life is beating you down? For me, it’s about immersing myself in nature, and one of my favorite ways to do so is to hop on my motorbike and head to the mountains for a three day moto camping therapy session.

This trip was to the North Georgia Mountains, where I had three beautiful sun drenched days and bright, gorgeous moonlit nights. And of course, the motorcycle and sports car serpentine mountain roads that course through the National Forests here. Roads like Wolfpen Gap Road (passes to you Westerners and Euro folks) with it’s posted 10 MPH curves, Russell Scenic Byway carving up Hogpen Mountain through the National Forest, GA HWY 60, twisting through the trees testing your eyesight with constant alternating sunlight and shade. It was a perfect weekend of moto therapy.

HOME BASE

The roads here are fantastic. My intent on this gorgeous weekend was to bag all six gaps (passes) through these mountains. It’s only about 100 miles or so, a bit more if you do some exploring. There is an actual mapped out route that has been drawn up with a title, appropriately named, The Six Gap Loop. Neels Gap, Hogpen Gap, Unicoi Gap, Wolfpen Gap, Woody’s Gap and Jack’s Gap comprise the six mountain gaps. Don’t let the low total mileage fool you, these mountain loops will have you working it and taking a nap by the time you roll back into camp.

Lunch is a pretty big deal here at Two Wheels. Folks come from miles around on two and four wheels. Food is pretty damn good too. They serve up dinner also.

Always, always, take pictures of your bike (but not too many).

Riding these mountain roads, for me, is very Zen. Mindfulness plays a key role in all my motorcycle and sports car driving, but the beauty of these mountains and the traffic free roads just draw you into that elusive sweet spot every time.

As mentioned earlier, by days end these mountain roads had me pleasantly tired. Rolling back into camp and heading for the showers, I was greeted, sort of, by my new friend, Mr. Tee.

Play with Mr. Tee for a few moments, crack open a beer, sit in my camp chair and soak in the beauty of nature in the park-like setting of the campground while waiting for the dinner chimes to sound. What a wonderful day. Therapy complete. Life is good.

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Smiling Faces at MATG XXIII

MIATAS AT THE GAP – FONTANA VILLAGE RESORT- NORTH CAROLINA

Look at these stats:

710 Mazda Miata MX-5’s

1105 Miataphiles in attendance

Over $6000.00 raised for the Blount County Rescue Squad

(the folks that save your ass when you screw up on The Dragon)

That is damn impressive. Each one a record setting number. All this over a four day weekend in the mountains of Western North Carolina. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Our trip started out with a bit of misfortune, namely a rather large size of glistening oil staining my driveway, yes, right under my car.

One week prior to our trip, I noticed this abomination in my driveway. I immediately contacted our auto technician and was told to get the car in ASAP. After teardown, they diagnosed the problem as a blown crankshaft seal, and proceeded to replace all the seals with a new seal kit.

This took us up to the day before departure. After packing the car, I rolled it back on the driveway, and, SHIT! A new oil glob bigger than previous. What do we do? We couldn’t just hop in Roo’s Nissan and go. This was a Miata MX-5 event for gods sake!

We went. I filled the crankcase with oil from my garage, and threw two quarts in the trunk. We were nervous (and quite pissed off), but we had been waiting months for this trip to come about. Roo called our auto tech and told them the situation as we rolled down the road. I had no idea how much of an oil slick we were laying down, and in a bit of levity, Roo said it was very James Bond of me. No Aston Martin here though.

Our first stop on our way north was Sassafras Mountain, the highest point in South Carolina. In actuality, the state line of North Carolina and South Carolina cuts right through the mountain, but it is the highest in SC, NC having much higher peaks.

At least “Matchbox” is leaking on gravel………….

The state line of South Carolina and North Carolina

Views From Sassafras Mountain

Mysterious Mountain Girl

After checking the oil level (and topping off), We headed for one of our favorite sports car and motorcycle playgrounds: the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Crossing into North Carolina, we picked up the Parkway and headed for it’s highest point.

Matchbox is still smiling! We’re halfway there!

We traveled the Blue Ridge Parkway for about 25 miles before exiting onto a secondary highway and motoring into Bryson City, North Carolina. When traveling in these parts, we always stop here for lunch in our favorite eatery, Mountain Perks Coffee and Café.

We ate lunch and discussed what we might do given our situation. After about forty-five minutes, we walked out to the car to drive our last leg of thirty-five miles to Fontana Village Resort. Roo got to the car first and said “Crap! Look at the front wheel!” I looked, and saw oil running behind the tire into the gutter. It was like the pan just fell off! I pulled the dipstick…….. DRY! I knew of a Napa auto store two blocks over, so I walked to it and purchased three quarts of oil. Poured them into my car which brought the oil level up to LOW on the dipstick. We drove to the store, bought more oil, filled the crankcase and drove to our cabin at Fontana Village Resort.

We made it!

Pondering our fate, we decided to salvage what we could of our vacation. I would keep pouring oil into my car as needed (almost constant) throughout the five days. The unfortunate reality was that I would significantly decrease the number of drives that we were scheduled to participate in. As a matter of fact, I only did two Dragon runs, one on Friday at a somewhat sedate pace, and a more performance oriented run on Saturday. I just did not have the confidence in the car to push it further.

Fortunately, there was lots of Miata centric activity going on at the resort itself. Miata central was where everyone could hang out when finished tearing up and down these mountain roads, or just walk around and check out all the vendors that were there selling everything from T-shirts to companies like V8 Roadster that retrofits small block V8 engines into your Miata! Want to take your MX-5 four wheelin’? Check out Paco Moto.

Miata Central

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Saturday afternoon was the time for the annual group photo shoot. We didn’t enter Matchbox, only because it would take forever to get out after the shoot. Look at all those smiling faces!

Circle the Miatas!

The field is getting larger………

and larger…………..

Hey! Where’d everybody go?

Paco Moto showing off their off-road Miata!

Photos of the annual photo. Everybody’s happy!

 

It turned out to be a great trip, and an awesome experience. Sunday morning was our departure day, and our trunk had our luggage and six quarts of oil at the ready. During the drives over the week, I ascertained Matchbox drank a quart and a half of oil every fifty miles. So, on the drive home, we stopped and topped off every fifty miles. It was an exercise in patience. But we made it. Matchbox got us home intact.

Whew! That photo shoot was rough. I need to cool off. See you next year for MATG XXIV

Postscript: Turns out the crankshaft seal our auto tech installed was defective. It was a Mazda OEM seal. He ordered in a higher quality aftermarket seal kit, and since then, no sign of oil leakage under Matchbox! All smiles!