Gallery of Past Club Events
NAMGAR Regional GT in the Poconos
September 23-26, 2009
Submitted by Bill Marshall
Our MG Adventures for 2009 continued with a number of Mid-Atlantic Chapter members attending the NAMGAR Regional GT in Pocono Manor, Pennsylvania.
Our caravan of one departed Manassas early September 23rd, with plans to meet Keith & Kathy Kallapos at the Stone House in the Manassas Battlefield Park and then travel to Leesburg to meet with Liz Ten Eyck and her travel guest Linda Quinn. Larry and Diana Newman were called out of town by a family emergency and were not able to join us, as planned.
While the weather forecast for the day was scattered showers all along our travel route, we started with the top down and fortunately enjoyed a beautiful sunny day for the entire 250 miles enroute to Pocono Manor. Keith and Kathy were not so lucky, as at the moment their only top is their fiberglass hardtop and they were forced to travel without the benefits of open air motoring.
Our plans called for a leisurely day avoiding the Interstates and staying on the smaller roads, taking us through many quaint Pennsylvania towns. We stopped for lunch at a place, recommended by a local street construction crew, called Denny’s Lennies Casual Dining. The theme of casual dining was correct as the pace was relaxed and the food was excellent – apparently all the ingredients being freshly selected at the local Farmer’s Market, and then only selected by the staff as each order was placed – and we’re still not sure if the Market was all that local or even located in Pennsylvania!
Mindful of the time spent casually waiting for lunch; we picked up the pace in an effort to reach the Inn at Pocono Manor before registration closed and in time to settle into our hotel rooms prior to the scheduled Welcoming Reception held at 6:00 pm on Wednesday evening.
Regional GT events provide an opportunity for NAMGAR members to Get Together at events that by design are smaller than a national GT. Regionals can mimic the format of a GT or take on any aspect regarding activities the host Chapter desires. As with any GT, the goal is to have fun while driving an MGA and making new or rekindling old friendships with fellow MGA enthusiasts.
With seventeen cars registered and 33 guests attending, the event was by all accounts a great success. NAMGAR members from five states and Canada, representing six NAMGAR Chapters, journeyed to experience the NAMGAR adage, “It’s the cars that get you there, but it’s the people that bring you back."
With the Regional sponsored by the British Car Club of Northeast Pennsylvania, the scheduled activity for Thursday was a drive to Grey Towers, a National Historic Site operated by the U.S. Forest Service. Grey Towers was built in 1886 by James and Mary Pinchot as their summer retreat. It was later the home of their son Gifford Pinchot, an early conservationist who was influential in establishing and served as the first Chief of the U.S. Forest Service. Gifford was also twice elected Governor of Pennsylvania and was instrumental in preserving many natural sites as state parks. Led by our Regional hosts and fellow Key West alumni Bill and Carol Shamonsky, much of our route was through the Delaware Water Gap National Recreational Area with its scenic beauty. Our 50-mile drive to Grey Towers took us over roads seemingly designed for MGAs in perfect fall weather, with only a light jacket necessary to fend off the chill of the Pennsylvania mountains. From the front terrace of Grey Towers, views of New York and New Jersey were visible off in the distance.
Thursday evening our group gathered for a Western-themed barbecue held at the Inn. While thetenderfoots of the Northeast could not quite agree on what constituted ‘western’ dress, the food was delicious, spirits flowed freely from the bar and a rowdy game of Texas Hold-‘Em brokeat one of the tables. Large sums of nickels and dimes transferred around the table with each shuffle of the deck, but no MGA titles were seen exchanging hands.
At another table, your fellow Mid-Atlantic members discussed the possibility of hosting a Regional GT of our own – with the Maryland Eastern Shore and its historical and natural points of interests being incorporated into the theme of the event. Stay tuned for more details as we continue to explore this possibility as a Chapter event.
With many activities available at the Inn at Pocono Manor resort, Friday was designed as a free day to allow us to take advantage of their many offerings. Favored activities included roundgolf, horseback riding on the trails of the Inn, enjoying spa treatments and kayaking on the Delaware River. Others took advantage of the short drives to visit the local coalmine museum, the picturesque village of Jim Thorpe, go antiquing or attend the hot rod show being held at nearby Pocono Raceway.
With Liz and Linda bowing out of riding the trails on horseback, this left Bill & Karen and Keith & Kathy, along with other fellow MGers, to tame the wild broncos of Pocono. While the horseshad rather tame given names such as Jill, Measles, Ranger and Coffee, we preferred to imagine we were riding Thunder, Lightning, Tornado and Bullet as we made our way along the narrow mountainous trails and splashed through the raging white-water rivekeeping an eye out for mountain lions, bears and other threats to our survival – returning intact and only slightly worse for the wear two hours later.
With a quick break for lunch, we joined Liz and Linda on their planned kayak trip down a section of the Delaware River. We were privileged to have Pocono Manor resident and BCCNEPA member Russ Cramer as our guide during our kayak adventure. We nicknamed Russ the ‘Mayor’ of Pocono Manor due to his endless knowledge of all things local and his ability to obtain quick reservations for large groups of people. Russ is an avid kayaker and led our group on a two-hotrip down to the Delaware Water Gap – pointing out many of the historical areas and natural interests as we traveled the light rapids – landing on the shores of New Jersey, allowing us to add another state to our MGA travels this year.
Saturday dawned with cloudy skies as we prepared for the car show held on the grounds of the InOur cars were joined by a number of BCCNEPA club members who came for the day to display their British cars for the enjoyment of the resort’s guests. Although cloudy and cool – okay, it was cold - it remained dry for the duration of the show, allowing us time to inspect and admire each of the vehicles on display.
At the Awards Dinner and Farewell Banquet held Saturday evening, awards were presented for overall Best of Show, first through third in the MGA class, first through third in the Other British ckass, Long Distance and a special, unannounced Spirit Award – properly given to Russ Cramer.
Best of Show was awarded to Liz for her 1962 MGA Mark II roadster. First Place in the MGA class was awarded to Mike and Cathy Finch of Ontario for their 1959 1500 roadster, Second to Jerry and Barbara Andres of Richmond, Virginia for their 1956 1500 roadster and Third to Micky and Linda Walka of New Jersey for their 1961 1600 roadster. Other British class winners were, in order, Nancy Ware for her 1954 MG TF, Ken Cooney for his 1954 Jaguar XK 120 and Al Borders for his 1967 Triumph TR4. All are members of BCCNEPA. The Long Distance Award was presented to Mark and Cindy Michalak of the Michigan Rowdies for their 652-mile trip to attend the event.
What begins as a long week when looking forward always seems to be too short when it is time say our good-byes and start the return trip home. Bill and Carol Shamonsky, along with all the members of the BCCNEPA Chapter who contributed the many hours necessary to make the evesuch a success, are to be congratulated for their hard work, efforts and attention to detail. The event was run in a flawless manner from the picking up of the registration packet Wednesday afternoon to grabbing that final cup of coffee as we headed home Sunday morning.
The rain had finally arrived by late Saturday afternoon and was expected to stay with us all day Sunday. With this in mind we decided to cut a few hours off the return trip home by taking the Interstates back to the Harrisburg area, where we picked up Route 15 towards Gettysburg. We had made arrangements in advance to stop at the home of Mike and Pat Caltriders, in Littlestown, PA – just outside of Gettysburg.
Mike and Pat were early members of NAMGAR and of the Mid-Atlantic Chapter. Mike’s MGwas the tenth car to be registered with NAMGAR and was also the first 1500 class member to claim pewter at GT-1 in Harpers Ferry in 1976. Mike has an outstanding collection of MGA models and memorabilia and was kind enough to show his collection to us. By the time we left the Caltrider's the rain had begun to taper off and we made the remaining 100 miles home without event.