The Official ARKiV's Return To The Gap Site!

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* Navigation *

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* What Is MATG XIV? *

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 for the first time there will be a MATG Barbecue Dinner! Follow along as I document my third trip to MATG!

* Site News *

June 5, 2010 - Got started a little late this year, but here it is, The Official ARKiV's Return To The Gap Site! Once again I have reserved a room at the San-Ran Motel after such a great experience the last two years. Not much has changed since last year's trip, however currently there is a rock slide affecting US129 just north of The Dragon. This has caused the closure of US129 at the rock slide area so my route to Robbinsville may be altered. (See Maps section) The Dragon is still open from 8am - 8pm daily but is only accessible from the North Carolina side. The Tennessee Department Of Transportation has created a web page to follow the construction progress as well as a web cam feed to monitor the work being done. The deadline for completion is July 31, however there is an incentive for the contractor to finish early so it may be open by the time I go.
Some maps and links have been recycled from last year and some new ones may show up, so stay tuned...

July 2, 2010 - Finally got around to cleaning the car's air filter today... it was really dirty. Still need to do a couple other maintenance items such as an oil change, tire rotation and an interior and exterior detailing, after that the car is pretty much ready. I recently ordered and recieved a Sticky Pod ProPak camera mount, so that should make this year's videos more interesting. I can't wait to use it! I will probably be doing a test run with the electronics soon just to make sure everything still works and to try out the Sticky Pod. I've also started sorting out the beer for the Saturday Night Beer Swap and Wine Tasting, but haven't come up with the final list yet... Stay tuned for that in the next week or so. Only 20 days to go now!

July 7, 2010 - Finally went through and organized the Saturday Night Beer Swap beer and have posted the beer list on the site. This year's collection is once again better than the year before (this gets harder every year) and has some real special brews. For the first time, there will be vertical tastings (sampling different years of the same beer) with three different kinds of beer! Bear in mind, this list is not considered final until it's loaded in the car and on it's way down, there may be a last minute addition or two! FIFTEEN more days and counting...

July 12, 2010 - Went out today and got a lot accomplished towards being ready to go... Went to the tire shop to get the tires rotated, had a leaky tire repaired, got some cleaning products and thoroughly cleaned the interior of the car, cleaned the haze off of my headlight lenses, got some fuel system cleaner and also purchased some new rechargeable batteries for my still camera. Just a couple more tasks to complete such as an oil change and vehicle registration renewal and I am ready to go! Also, I recently completed the music for my MATG XIV videos, they are available for download using the links on the Video Page. In other news, I recently read an update from the Tennessee Department of Transportation that said the rockslide area of US129 is now OPEN! This is great news because now my routes don't need to be modified. I can't believe it's just TEN MORE DAYS until I leave.

July 16, 2010 - The last couple days have seen me complete just about every preparation for the trip with an oil change for the car, registration renewal and getting all caught up with my finances. The only thing left to do is some laundry and I should be ready to pack up and get going! Just today, I took the Sticky Pod for a road test and it passed with flying colors! I love this thing! Check out this quick little video I put together with the test footage to get a sneak peek at some of the camera angles I'll be using in the highlight videos... SIX MORE DAYS TO GO!

July 21, 2010 - This is my last night in Columbus before the trip! Everything seems to be in order... I just finished packing my clothes, got all the electronics ready and earlier today did a final once-over on the car. I am all set to go with everything lined up and ready to pack in the car tomorrow morning. All the T's are crossed, the I's are dotted, batteries charged, memory cards cleared, bags packed, boxes sealed and plans set... IT'S TIME TO GO!!! Watch for the pictures and videos shortly after I return...

July 27, 2010 - I made it home last night much to my dismay... I didn't want to leave! Once again it was such a wonderful time and I'm already looking forward to next year's Miatas At The Gap XV! I've completed the Photo Page already and am getting ready to start work on my videos, so keep your eye on the Video Page for updates.

* 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 did it in one day.

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

The Group Photo
Saturday Morning at 11am the camera shutters snapped on the largest grouping of Miatas to be found the entire weekend, all parked on the Fontana Village Resort baseball field. My route there included a section of NC28 known as The Moonshiner 28.
Forum Thread

The Grand(er) Loop
On Sunday, I did a 226 mile loop covering five of the region's best twisty roads through the mountains of North Carolina and Tennessee. I started by running Wayah Road to Franklin, NC, took the Moonshiner 28 to The Dragon, followed The Dragon to Happy Valley Road (first time down that one, great ride) then made my way to the west end of the Cherohala Skyway for the return to Robbinsville.

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. (I actually didn't do this run this year, I started too late on Monday.)

* 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 again for the 2010 season. 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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