The Official ARKiV's Gap Escape Site!

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* Navigation *

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* What Is MATG XV? *

Miatas At The Gap, or MATG is a yearly non-event gathering of loyal Miata owners and enthusaists at Deals Gap, North Carolina, sometimes referred to as The Tail Of The Dragon. The crowds are getting larger every year, and this year it is once again expected that over 500 Miatas will make the pilgrimage. There will be vendors selling Miata accessories, several events including food runs, a group photo, a beer swap and more! Follow along as I document my fourth trip to MATG!

* Site News *

May 23, 2011 - Welcome to the "ARKiV's Gap Escape" website! Another late start this year. I just made my reservations at the San-Ran Motel today. Good thing I did it today because I reserved the LAST available room! Boy, that was close. I will be developing the site over the next couple months and as usual, when the trip is over, there will be plenty of photos and videos to see! Keep checking back for updates!

July 10, 2011 - Long time between updates... Just over two and a half weeks to go now! Since March I have been performing some major maintenance to the car, including new clutch parts and clutch slave cylinder, resurfaced flywheel, new radiator and thermostat, new timing belt and drive belts, new fuel pump and fuel pump relay, new front brake pads and rotors, replaced a faulty headlight wiring harness, had a set of BF Goodrich g-Force Super Sport tires mounted to my summer wheels, installed a new RoadsterSport performance exhaust midpipe and rear section as well as all new oxygen sensors. My "Check Engine" light is finally off! I think the car is just an oil change and a good thorough cleaning away from being ready. In other news, the Beer Swap beer collection is taking shape and I should have a definitive list ready very soon. I added a link to a map for the Friday night Fat Buddies run as well as to the forum thread discussing it. Finally, I recently completed two songs for use in my highlight videos, check the video page soon for download links to the music! Speaking of my highlight videos, I recently purchased a new Panasonic HD video camera to shoot footage for this year's videos. They should definitely be the best ones yet! Not long now...

July 20, 2011 - Just one week to go! It's official, the Saturday Night Beer Swap Beer List is compiled and ready for you viewing pleasure! In other news, I've finally uploaded the music for my videos with download links now available on the video page. Due to YouTube now allowing videos longer than ten minutes, the Highlight Video song is over thirteen minutes long! Because of this, I did just two songs this year instead of my usual three. In preparation for the furious process of producing and editing the videos for release as quickly as possible after the trip, I have set up presets in my video editing software, cleared space to store the raw video files and organized my workspace to maximize efficiency. I also recently tested and prepared all of the devices for the trip: clearing space on the netbook to store raw video, charging and testing batteries for the cameras and two-way radios, testing the power inverter under load and making sure everything fits in their respective carrying cases. Just a few small tasks left to complete such as renewing my driver license and vehicle registration, changing the oil, rotating the tires and cleaning the car. After that, I should be ready to just pack and go!

July 26, 2011 - TWO MORE DAYS. Since last Thursday I've been wrapping up the final tasks including renewing my driver license and registration, fresh oil, tire rotation and pressure check and a good thorough cleaning of the interior of the car. As of 2pm today I was officially on vacation! All that's left to do now is a little bit of laundry tonight and packing my bags tomorrow. I'm pretty excited to get down to North Carolina and hang out with friends, old and new. Not much longer to wait...

July 27, 2011 - Well, I think I'm ready. I got all my bags packed and everything is staged by the door ready to be loaded into the car first thing tomorrow morning. The plan is to be on the road by 7:00 AM so I can get to Robbinsville in time to get ready for the Cherohala Sunset Run. Earlier today, I made a startling discovery... my old camera bag just wasn't big enough to hold all the stuff for my new camera, so out shopping I went. I got a new camera bag big enough for both cameras and all their accessories, an extra memory card for the video camera, a mini power strip for use with the inverter and had some new threaded studs cut for my StickyPod setup. Now all I need to do is sleep, wake up, pack the car and head south! I'll be frantically editing video and posting pictures the moment I get back, so check back next week for all the updates!
"Goin' to Carolina, it won't be long and I'll be there" - Blue Sky, The Allman Brothers Band

August 4, 2011 - The trip was once again a wonderful experience! It was great to see old friends and make some new ones! I would even go so far as to say this was the best MATG yet. Aside from the occasional spotty rainshower the weather was just about perfect, albeit a bit warm. The events in which I participated went off without a hitch, traffic was generally pretty light and all my gadgets and gizmos worked without fail. Speaking of which, I have finished sorting, editing and uploading all my photos and videos. Check out the photo page for a selection of pictures and my Picasa Web Gallery where all my photos can be seen. The video page is done as well, with two great videos I put together from footage I took throughout the weekend. With that, ARKiV's Gap Escape story has come to a close. Only 357 more days to go until MATG XVI! I can't wait.

* Maps *

Here are the tentative routes I have planned for the trip. (Special Thanks to Google Maps and

Chasing The Dragon
The ride down to Robbinsville, North Carolina from Columbus, Ohio. I will do this in one day.

Cherohala Evening
A sunset run down the Cherohala Skyway is always a good way to start MATG, so we'll do it again! This back-and-forth run starts at my hotel with a stop at the Phillips Motel in Robbinsville where I will meet up with a group to do this exciting night run.
Forum Thread

Fat Buddies Run
Once again there is a group going to Franklin, North Carolina on Friday evening to enjoy good barbecue and of course the drive there and back on Wayah Road.
Forum Thread

The Group Photo
Saturday Morning at 11am the camera shutters will snap on the largest grouping of Miatas to be found the entire weekend, all parked on the grass below Fontana Dam. My route there includes a section of NC28 known as The Moonshiner 28.
Forum Thread

Devil's Return
My return trip to Columbus, Ohio from Robbinsville, North Carolina starts off with one last trip down The Dragon and continues on to the Devil's Triangle, another favorite route amongst motorcyclists and sports car drivers.

* Links *

The MATG Forums
Check these forums for events, places to stay and other pertinent information.

The San-Ran Motel
My home base for the weekend.

Tapoco Lodge
Someone did buy it and rumor has it that it WILL be open for 2011!

Fontana Village Resort
"A great Smoky Mountain destination" and this year's 'ground zero' for MATG hosting vendors and events throughout the weekend.

The Tail Of The Dragon
US Route 129 between Tapoco Dam and Chilhowee Lake features 318 curves in 11 miles. Need I say more?

The Cherohala Skyway
North Carolina's most expensive highway with long, sweeping corners and scenic views.

The Moonshiner 28
Once a major run for moonshiners, The Moonshiner 28 twists and turns for 103 miles from The Tail Of The Dragon to Walhalla, South Carolina.

Fat Buddies Ribs and BBQ
A legendary barbecue restaurant popular among the MATG crowd.

The Devil's Triangle
Also known as the Brushy Mountain Prison Run, this series of roads including Tennessee Route 116 features several hard switchbacks, elevation changes and more amazing scenery!

Sticky Pod Camera Mounts
These guys make the best vehicle camera mounts!

* Current Weather Conditions *
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