- "​Quarantine Car Club" (San Diego Miata Club)

Car Club Runs — Social & Distanced

S​ocializing in a COVID-19 world - NEW PHOTOS ADDED!

41w ago
17.6K

Since becoming aware of the seriousness of the Coronavirus Pandemic in March, I have been trying to follow the advice of medical experts. They advise us to stay home if we do not need to go out and, if we must, to practice social distancing, wear a mask and frequently wash our hands.

W​hat I wear when I go out these days (but I now wear a non-vented face mask)

W​hat I wear when I go out these days (but I now wear a non-vented face mask)

For the first few months, the only times I went out were for infrequent, major grocery shopping trips and to run important errands – each time wearing a protective face mask, face shield and nitrile gloves.

S​tocking up on food for several weeks

S​tocking up on food for several weeks

Prior to the Coronavirus Pandemic, I used to keep quite busy driving all over the place to cover events for this column, but one-by-one the events were all cancelled this year – not that I would have gone to them anyway, since covering them was a risk that I would not have been willing to take.

T​he final race weekend that I covered, before everything shut down for the Coronavirus Pandemic (NASCAR at Auto Club Speedway, Fontana, California)

T​he final race weekend that I covered, before everything shut down for the Coronavirus Pandemic (NASCAR at Auto Club Speedway, Fontana, California)

J​immie Johnson in his final NASCAR race at Auto Club Speedway

J​immie Johnson in his final NASCAR race at Auto Club Speedway

I​ so want to shoot races again...

I​ so want to shoot races again...

At first, I mostly occupied myself by catching up on projects that, in some cases, had been on the back burner for years. I am still doing that. To be honest, I am grateful for being motivated to do that.

Increasingly, however, I’d felt the need to get out and actually interact with other people again. Doing so is important for my emotional well-being. Also, I’d been noticing that my self-confidence while driving had begun to slip a little. I needed to socialize and do more driving. The way to do both was provided by car clubs that I belong to.

One of these clubs is the San Diego Miata Club. It is an active, social club, with an emphasis on driving.

T​he start to another SDMC run

T​he start to another SDMC run

One of our main club activities has always been club runs, where we get together to drive, one car after another, to interesting destinations. Getting there is often more than half the fun. Since ours is a sports car club, we tend to avoid major roadways in favor of two-lane, windy roads — ideally with elevation changes. Our club runs last anywhere from a few hours to many days.

S​an Diego Miata Club run

S​an Diego Miata Club run

During our runs we communicate with each other via two-way radios. We use those to chat, discuss the drive, share route directions and generally have a fun, social experience.

Run communication is via 2-way radios

Run communication is via 2-way radios

As a backup, one car is designated the “sweep” car, driven by someone who is familiar with the route and who can shepherd stragglers back up to the rest of the group, should they fall behind. For additional backup we also carry a route map, but using that alternative works best when there is another person in the car to navigate.

Cars on these club runs are socially distanced, and since driving is an outdoor activity, potentially dangerous concentrations of viral particles in the air are likely to be safely dispersed. Even during the Coronavirus Pandemic, going on club runs provides a reasonably safe way to get out of the house, have some fun and socialize with other people. That is what allowed me to resume my participation in club runs.

Since making that decision, I have been on two such runs with the San Diego Miata Club. I am enjoying socializing again with my fellow club members — albeit from a safe distance and still not eating at restaurants.

It is fun to shift up and down through the gears again, carving tight turns and accelerating down the straight stretches. My confidence while driving has returned. Also, spirited driving is much better for the longevity of my Miata, as opposed to letting sit in my garage, where it had been since March except for obligatory, short drives every two weeks. To keep cars in good operating condition, they need to be driven regularly to keep the fluids circulating, the parts lubricated and the battery charged.

I also have been on a short, leisurely run with the Electric Vehicle Association of San Diego, since my other vehicle is a Toyota RAV4 Prime plug-in hybrid. Coincidentally, my two most recent club runs have ended at wineries.

S​tarting location for the Electric Vehicle Association of San Diego's CLEAN AIR DAY run

S​tarting location for the Electric Vehicle Association of San Diego's CLEAN AIR DAY run

While socializing before and after the runs, I social distance and wear a face mask, face shield and nitrile gloves. My confidence behind the wheel has returned, and I have enjoyed the in-person interactions with other people. Hopefully the threat from the Coronavirus Pandemic will be over sooner rather than later, so that we can all return to enjoying life as we once knew it.

Jan's 2019 30th. Anniversary Edition Mazda MX-5 Miata at Orfila Vineyards & Winery

Jan's 2019 30th. Anniversary Edition Mazda MX-5 Miata at Orfila Vineyards & Winery

Copyright © 2020 by Jan Wagner – AutoMatters & More #662r2

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Comments (10)

  • Those are beautiful shots and what fun to run on those roads in a Miata!! Makes me miss mine all the more!

      9 months ago
    • Thank you Eddie! You can always get another Miata. There are lots around at a wide range of prices.

        9 months ago
    • Oh, I'd love another one someday if that's ever a possibility. For now it's enough to know they're still out there putting smiles on faces with every gear change. 😊

        9 months ago
  • We’ve been doing small motorcycle group rides and weekend trips all summer long. We cancelled all club activities that would have had large gatherings, large group meals, and large group activities, especially if they would have indoor. Instead we’ve concentrated on doing “pack a lunch” rides to state parks or weekend trips to remote locations with only a few others. Our organized “rallies” have all but eliminated any kind of group gatherings that meant many people gathering in an enclosed space. Our emphasis has always been on riding v partying, so it hasn’t been that much of a hardship anyway. Group drives/rides are an excellent way to stay distanced, while still maintaining some socializing. MSTA-Motorcycle Sport Touring Association

      9 months ago
    • Well said Patrick! I'll be going on my third Coronavirus Pandemic club run this Saturday. We need to be around other people, and this is a way to do so safely.

        9 months ago
  • Great shots Jan. Had a great time on last weekends run. Love my Miata, just turned 40k this morning on the way into work, it’s my fault. Averaging 2,200 miles per month since I got it last April. I spotted my Miata in some of your shots (mine is the only Soul Red soft top with body matching windshield garnishes , had them painted), and love the shot of mine next to Dona’s at the Rainbow Oaks Restaurant.

      9 months ago
    • Hi Jack,

      I'm glad that you enjoyed my column and that you were able to find pictures of your car in it.

      Driving in these past three San Diego Miata Club runs has had a significant positive impact on my driving ability. Once again, I am...

      Read more
        9 months ago
  • How did I miss this? I live right around that hood!

      9 months ago
    • We are having another San Diego Miata Club run this Saturday morning!

        9 months ago
  • I just did a major edit of this AutoMatters & More column, adding a bunch of photos from last weekend's San Diego Miata Club run. Jan

      9 months ago
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