The Official ARKiV Gap XIII Site!

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* Navigation *

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* What Is MATG XIII? *

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 are vendors selling Miata accessories, food runs, a waterfall tour, a beer swap and so much more. Follow along as I document my second trip to MATG!

* Site News *

March 14, 2009 - Development has begun on The Official ARKiV Gap XIII site! Once again I have reserved a room at the San-Ran Motel after such a great experience last year. The guy that took my reservation even remembered me! Over the next few months I will be updating the links section and providing news and information about the trip and my plans. Some maps have been recycled from last year and some new ones will show up, so stay tuned...

March 16, 2009 - I have added and edited a few maps, as well as added links to the appropriate forum threads for certain events shown in the Maps section below. The Links section has also been updated. Discussion continues on the MATG Forums as many events are already in the planning stages. I recently purchased both a new Garmin GPS Navigator and a new Acer netbook, so I'm going to have a few logistics issues to figure out before the trip. Still plenty of time, though...

June 27, 2009 - ...But now not so much... The last couple months have been fairly consuming between work and other things, so I haven't spent much time in preparation for the trip. Now that there's 26 days left, it's time to get moving. I have already programmed a few points of interest into my GPS unit but have yet to program any full maps into the netbook. I'm still trying to figure out just how the netbook is going to ride with me, the "table" from last year just seems too much since the new machine is half the size of the old one. I have started to sort the beer for the Saturday Night Beer Swap and it looks like this year's collection will be as good or better than last year's. I have also begun preparing this site for after my return, with the photo and video pages ready to receive content.

July 17, 2009 - Only SIX MORE DAYS until the big drive... I have serious vacation anxiety now! Ever since yesterday (Thursday) every time I look at the clock I picture in my head what I'll be doing at that exact moment next week. Anyway... Today I started putting together an actual "To-Do" list so I don't miss anything and there's more to do than I realized. Better get on that quickly! I did recently purchase a set of FRS/GMRS two-way radios so I will be able to communicate with other Miataphiles during the trip. The events schedule is coming together at the MATG Forums and judging by some of the posts, there are many others just as anxious as I am to get there! Also, after much brainstorming it has become evident that there is no easy way to mount the netbook, so last year's "table" will have to do.

July 20, 2009 - Just THREE MORE DAYS to go! I got a lot accomplished on my to-do list today including renewing my registration and cleaning up the interior of the car... As of 2pm tomorrow (Tuesday) I am officially on vacation, but there's still a few things to do before I leave Thursday. Wednesday I will be doing a road test of the inverter, laptop setup and the camera mount to make sure everything works (and fits) as well as get my tires rotated and pressure checked. After that, the car will be ready for the trip! Other than that, all that's left to do is get all the Beer Swap beer together and pack!

July 21, 2009 - TWO. MORE. DAYS. I worked my last day before vacation today so now it's just a matter of wrapping up the list and getting on the road! Laundry's done, bills are paid, luggage is ready to be packed and the Beer Swap beer is cataloged, packaged and ready to be loaded into the car. I also added a map for The Grand Loop and made The Wayah Hellbender loop a possibility for Sunday. After tomorrow's gear test and tire rotation all I'll have to do is pack and leave! 8am Thursday can't come soon enough...

July 28, 2009 - I'm back. What a wonderful weekend of hanging out and cruising the twisties! The weather could not have been any better with sunny skies and low 80's the entire weekend. It was great to see a lot of the people I met last year again, as well as all the new faces and new cars. The events in which I participated were a blast and the solo drives I took were wonderful. The only 'bad' thing that happened the entire weekend was the death of my Acer netbook, but that turned out to be a blessing as I relied on the Garmin to find new and exciting roads in the area. (and find them it did!) I have uploaded all of my pictures to my Picasa Web Gallery and have sorted through them for the best of the best to put on my photo page! Also, I will be producing my highlight videos over the next few days and will post on the video page as they are completed, so stay tuned. Only 361 days to go until MATG XIV!

July 30, 2009 - The highlight video is complete and posted! Check it out on my video page. Watch for other videos coming soon as well!

August 1, 2009 - I have completed another video, this time it's a tribute to the Cherohala Skyway! Check it out on my video page. Also, good news from the ARKiV computer lab... The Acer netbook has been ressurected! I found a set of instructions online that enabled me to do an emergency BIOS recovery (pretty technical stuff) which brought the computer immediately back to life. Big relief there. Finally, I've started work on my next video and will make it available as soon as it's done. Watch this space for updates!

August 2, 2009 - My third and final video has been completed and has made it's way to my video page! "The Great Drives of MATG XIII" is the theme, showcasing some of the best drives of the event on some of the best roads in the area. The addition of this video marks the final bit of content to be put on the site, so until next year... Keep it shiny side up, stay in your lane and ZOOM ZOOM!

* 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. The Dragon just so happens to be right on the way to my hotel... after 362 miles of interstate. I plan to do this in one day. (Just like last year!)

Cherohala Evening
A sunset run down the Cherohala Skyway was a good way to start MATG XII last year, so we're going to 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 Dam Picture
Saturday Morning at 11am the shutter will snap on the largest grouping of Miatas to be found the entire weekend, all parked at the base of Fontana Dam, the tallest dam east of the Mississippi River. My route there includes a section of NC28 known as The Hellbender.
Forum Thread

The Grand Loop
After the Dam Picture, I have a loop planned which takes me across the Cherohala Skyway, through some backroads in Tennessee, reconnects to US-129 a couple miles before The Dragon and ends up at my hotel in Robbinsville. This is a popular loop with Deals Gap regulars.

The Wayah Hellbender
I have a loop planned which takes me down NC28 all the way to Highlands, North Carolina, crosses briefly into Georgia, returns north through Franklin, North Carolina and then down Wayah Road before returning to Robbinsville. (This run may be done on Sunday)

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
Sadly, they are CLOSED for the 2009 season. It's also for sale for $4,000,000.

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 Hellbender
This 22 mile section of NC28 is known as The Hellbender. "The Dragon's Neighbor" features more great twisties and beautiful mountain scenery.

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

Fontana Dam
The tallest dam east of the Mississippi River.

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!

* Current Weather Conditions *
Click for Robbinsville, North Carolina Forecast Click for Franklin, North Carolina Forecast Click for Cherokee, North Carolina Forecast Click for Tellico Plains, Tennessee Forecast Click for Maryville, Tennessee Forecast Click for Oak Ridge, Tennessee Forecast