03 Jun

MOGSouth Joins the Future?

There were lots of recommendations, some for and some against, and quite a bit of prodding but finally, finally, MOGSouth has joined the ‘social media’ revolution. MOGSouth now has a ‘Facebook’ page. https://www.facebook.com/groups/2717810941772129

Be a friend, request to join the group, do all those other things you do with Facebook. Post photos, videos or just comments about things in your life. Have at it, but please try to keep it focused on MOGSouth and the Morgan community. It really isn’t a place for politics, religion, inappropriate jokes, etc. We have a very diverse club and we certainly don’t want to alienate others.

Now, don’t think this thing is the panacea and cure all for everything that is not perfect about MOGSouth, but it should give us more of a presence among those of us that are a bit more ‘connected’ than others and maybe, just maybe it will attract a few folks of the ‘younger’ persuasion!

Also, at this point in time, I am a Luddite when it comes to functioning within the Facebook application. I don’t have a clue what button to push or icon to energize. Please don’t think bad of me for not responding to a question or a comment. I probably haven’t seen it or else, I simply am incapable of making the thing work as I think it should. Hopefully, this will get better with time. But, you never know!!

Cheers, Mark

30 Apr

2020 MOGSouth Fall Meet – Mississippi Delta (Oct 30-31)

Cynthia and I [Cynthia and Joe Speetjens] will be hosting the MOGSouth meet on Halloween weekend this fall, and we decided a blues-themed event was the way to go.  After all, Mississippi is the home of the blues!

It’s our plan to make the most of a week-end that will include an evening of incredible blues music at Ground Zero, the #3 jazz/blues venue in the United States (after Preservation Hall in New Orleans and Café Carlyle in New York), the only Grammy Museum outside of Los Angeles, and the remarkable B.B. King Museum in  B.B.’s hometown, Indianola. 

Please note that we’re just getting started with the plans, and in this day and time, who knows what we’ll be able to do, if anything, in October.  But, if we’re all free to travel, we think everybody will have a great time.

We’ve done some reconnaissance work recently, and our plans are shaping up really well, so we thought we would share with ya’ll where we are so far. Let me emphasize ‘so far.’   I think we’re all aware that everything can change in a minute these days. The plans are still very tentative, but here’s what we have in mind:

Friday October 30, 2020 Arrival

  • At this point in time the Fall Meet will be Headquartered in Clarksdale, Mississippi.
  • Clarksdale, Mississippi is in the heart of the Mississippi Delta.  It’s about an hour southwest of Memphis, and about two and a half hours north of Jackson. The end of the cotton era left Clarksdale without much industry except the blues, and so it became a world-renown blues venue.  The Juke Joint Festival in Clarksdale every spring brings in thousands of blues fans from all over the world, not to mention some true music legends just hanging out in the audience.
  • Accommodations in Clarksdale are “unique.”  There are two locations we think everyone would enjoy, and they are walking distance apart, maybe a quarter mile at most.
  • The first is actually Ground Zero itself.  There are about 8 rooms that can be rented above the club, and all of them are very large.  Several of them have two bedrooms if that works for anyone.   The largest one is the Morgan Freeman room, and we plan to stage the hospitality room there.  (Morgan Freeman is one of the owners of Ground Zero; he just shows up now and then, but no way to tell.)   All the rooms have high ceilings and hardwood floors.  Each room also has a kitchenette, so entertaining is presumed.  It’s not the Hampton Inn experience, for sure.   
  • The second venue is The Travelers Hotel, a truly interesting, relatively new boutique hotel in a building that originally housed the railroad workers when they stopped for the night at Clarksdale.
  • Both Ground Zero and The Travelers Hotel have great websites, so I encourage you to take a look.
  • We don’t have much reliable information on the rates yet, since nobody was home in Clarksdale or anywhere else yesterday when we drove up, but we’ll get that to you soon.

Friday Evening, October 30, 2020

  • If you haven’t experienced the joy of a great blues club, Ground Zero is a bucket-list must. It’s bar club food – good burgers and other sandwiches, so you can eat there or on your own elsewhere in Clarksdale.  My advice would be to get to Ground Zero, get a good seat, and order a burger and a drink.  You’ll see and hear the greatest blues musicians that Mississippi and the south in general have to offer, and, let’s face it, in the blues world, we have the best. 
  • When you’ve had all the blues you want, it’s a very short walk back to The Travelers, and even shorter if you’re just going upstairs over the club. 
  • (The music stops at midnight – I imagine that’s something to consider.) We can’t identify the entertainment for Friday night yet; we’ll let you know as soon as we can.)

Saturday, October 31, 2020

  • There are several breakfast spots within walking distance that you will enjoy, or it’s a 5- minute drive to Grandma’s Pancake House, a beloved local haunt.  But, plan to be on the road by 9:00 a.m., because the schedule takes us down Highway 61, the road where Robert Johnson sold his soul to the devil and Bob Dylan revisited, to Indianola, Mississippi, home of Riley B. (“B.B.”) King. 
  • It’s about 60 miles to Indianola from Clarksdale, and you’ll get the feel of the Delta on the drive.  It’s flat as a plate for as far as the eyes can see – just like you thought it would be.
  • Then we will stop at the B.B. King Museum.
  • It’s an excellent museum, and you’ll want to spend maybe an hour and half there.  
  • We are working on arrangements to have lunch served in the museum itself.  Maybe, just maybe, we’ll have our own blues man play for us during the lunch hour, but we’re not at all sure about that yet.
  • After lunch, we’ll be heading back up Highway 61 to Cleveland, Mississippi, home of the Grammy Museum.  Cleveland is also the home of Delta State University.  Delta State has always taken advantage of the blues culture, and its music department is renown.  Mississippi played its blues card right, and Cleveland came up first in the competition for a second Grammy museum in America.  You’ll love it.
  • After that, we’ll head back to Clarksdale.  On the way, there are two tiny little towns, Merigold and Mound Bayou, that have become famous for their unique pottery.  McCarty Pottery in Merigold was opened by Lee and Pup McCarty in the 1950’s, and they created a style of pottery all their own that truly took off.  After they died, the new owners maintained that business, but the McCarty’s long-time employee, Peter (last-name-unknown) started his own place about 5 miles up the road. His wares are just as wonderful, but a little bit different. 
  • Both businesses ship all over the world, so if you have any interest in that, it’s a 5-minute detour off of Highway 61 to visit either of them.
  • Assuming that we had left Indianola around 1:00 after lunch, toured the Grammy Museum and took a little time to look at pottery, our arrival time at Clarksdale should be about 5:00, and everyone can retire to the Morgan Freeman room for a drink, or just take a little breather before dinner.

Saturday Evening, October 31, 2020

  • The ‘banquet’ Saturday night will be a barbecue buffet at Hooker’s, located directly next door to The Travelers Hotel. 
  • Hookers has great food, and it’s known for their t-shirts that bear quotes from Mississippi authors. (“In order to understand the world, you must first understand Mississippi” – Faulkner; or “I think some of us are disturbed” – Tennessee Williams.) 
  • After dinner, if you still have the energy and the spirit, you can put on your Halloween costume and head back to Ground Zero to hear bluesman Stan Street at the Halloween party, or just check out several other great blues clubs in about a 5-block area.

Sunday, November 1, 2020

  • Many of you may want to head back home, but if you’re not ready to give up the Mississippi experience, you can follow us heading east on Highway 6 to Oxford, home of Ole Miss, for about 60 miles.  Oxford is a beautiful place, and those who enjoy Mississippi writers may want to check out William Faulkner’s home. Square Books in Oxford is, no question, the best independent bookstore in America, bar none.  There are many, many really interesting places to have lunch in Oxford, too.
  • And, if you’re still in the mood, Tupelo is only about an hour east of Oxford.  You really shouldn’t go to Mississippi and not see Elvis Presley’s birthplace.  The Elvis Presley museum in Tupelo is a great experience as well, and as a side note, you will want to see several truly wonderful bronze sculptures of Elvis on the museum property created by my cousin, Michiel Von der Sommen, originally from the Netherlands but now living in North Carolina, who was commissioned to create them. 
  • Or, some of you may want to head up to Memphis either before or after the Oxford / Tupelo side-trips, and if you do, it goes without saying that Graceland is a must. 

Miscellaneous

  • We will arrange for security for the cars in a lot directly across the street from the Travelers Hotel.  It is very well-lit anyway, and almost every room in the hotel overlooks the parking lot.  We’ll make sure that the security of your Morgan won’t be an issue.
  • We really think this will be a truly enjoyable event; just to get you in the mood, Cynthia has compiled a playlist of a number of her blues favorites that you can play while you’re stuck in the house.  [Note: to listen to the play list, requires a Spotify account. You can sign up for free if you wish. ]
  • Here’s the link: Cynthia’s Blues Play List

So, in the immortal words of Muddy Waters, ‘get your mojo working,’ and plan on being with us for Halloween, 2020!

[Details will be forthcoming as the logistics gets worked. There are lots of moving pieces, not to mention the virus restrictions. Just getting folks to answer the phone is almost impossible. They just aren’t there yet, but when the clouds part and the sun comes out, things will get nailed down and rest assured we will post them for you. See you in Mississippi!! Cheers, Mark]

29 Mar

2021 MOGSouth Spring Meet – Little Switzerland NC (May 7 – 9, 2021)

Folks as indicated before, we have negotiated dates for next year’s Spring Meet (to replace the cancelled event) with the Switzerland Inn.

The new dates are arrival 7 May 2021 and Departure 9 May 2021. Pencil this in on your 2021 Calendar.

Be advised the Switzerland Inn will rollover your current reservation, however you must call them at (828) 765-2153 and request this rollover, or alternatively request a refund of any deposits or prepayments you may have already made.

It is not possible to cancel your reservation online, you must call them.

Cheers,

Mark

29 Mar

2020 MOGSouth Spring Meet, Little Switzerland, NC., 8 – 10 May – UPDATE #2

Well, we tried and held out as long as we thought prudent.

Bottom Line: the decision has been made to cancel the May 8-10, 2020 MOGSouth Spring Meet in Little Switzerland, North Carolina.

Things are moving quickly in NC. Effective tomorrow (30 March) NC is under a “Stay at Home” order. Travel is limited to specific purposes with stiff penalties violations ($1000 and 60 days in jail.) Although the Blue Ridge Parkway is still accessible (but for how long?) the other two drive locations, Mt Mitchell and Linville Falls have been closed.

Our Meet Hotel, the Switzerland Inn has yet to close, however the closures of lodging is accelerating. Mitchell County (where the Switzerland Inn in located) has issued a voluntary order for lodging closure with a threat to make it non-voluntary.

Given all this, we will attempt to negotiate with the Inn and others to find a suitable date in May of next year (2021) so we salvage as much of the planning efforts of Jim and Collette Clark that we can.

ACTION REQUIRED: If you planned on attending this meet and have made reservations at the Switzerland Inn, you need to contact the hotel and cancel your reservations. Also if, like some of the Florida folks, you had hotel reservations at any intermediate stops along the way, you need to cancel these as well.

If you have questions, send us an email at MOGSouth@yahoo.com. Mark
25 Mar

MOG 50 POSTPONEMENT

MCCDC’s MOG 50, LURAY, VA –POSTPONED – NEW DATE: JULY 2-4, 2021

With the full impact of the COVID 19 pandemic continuing to unfold and the uncertainty of what to expect, the Executive Committee of the Morgan Car Club of Washington, DC, Inc has approved my recommendation to postpone MOG 50. Everyone’s health and well-being are MCCDC’s ultimate concern.

MCCDC has arranged with the management of the Mimslyn Inn to re-schedule MOG 50 to Friday-Sunday, July 2-4, 2021. The Mimslyn Inn has assured us that it is willing to re-book all current reservations for the above dates in 2021.

ACTION REQUIRED!!  PLEASE CONTACT THE MIMSLYN INN TO CANCEL YOUR CURRENT RESERVATIONS AND CHANGE YOUR RESERVATIONS TO THE NEW MOG 50 DATES…JULY 2-4, 2021 (Phone:540-743-5105 – email:reservations@mimslyninn.com).

[Folks this may or may not work for you. If you cannot, as yet, commit to next year, you will want to cancel your Mimslyn Inn reservations outright, and NOT change your reservations to next year. If things then work out for next year, you will have to make reservations for that time. Mark]

If you had additional dates previously, please contact the Mimslyn Inn to cancel your current reservations and change them to the dates you desire. NOTE: This includes both rooms in the Mimslyn Inn AND the Cottages . Those with reservations at other hotels and/or travel reservations should have time to re-schedule their reservations, as well.

The Mimslyn Inn is working closely with MCCDC to make MOG 50 a great event in 2021. The Mimslyn Inn needs you to cancel your current reservations so they can book these rooms/cottages for anyone wishing to stay with them July 2-5, 2020. In doing so, we can help the Mimslyn Inn recover as soon as possible from the COVID 19 pandemic effects. THANKS!!

Regarding those who have already registered for MOG 50, those Registrations will still be valid and apply for MOG 50 to be held July 2-4, 2021. Questions regarding existing Registrations will be handled on a case by case basis.

Stay well and please observe all the recommendations from the CDC and other federal, state and local authorities. Feel free to contact me directly @ morgan4466@aol.com for any further questions or concerns.

Best regards, Richard B. Fohl, MD, President MCCDC

[Folks, FYI, I have also rescinded MOGSouth’s offer, to MCCDC, to run the Gymkhana at MOG 50. I do not know if we will have sufficient manpower in 2021. Mark]

24 Mar

2020 MOGSouth Spring Meet, Little Switzerland, NC., 8 – 10 May – March UPDATE

I suspect we are all getting a little anxious with our curtailed travel, lock downs and social distancing. Unfortunately, it makes the most sense to heed the warnings and abide by the guidelines of the CDC. I would like to say I have good news, but I can’t. We are optimistic but being realistic, we are still quite concerned.

The plan is to make a decision on 20 April, to stay the course or postpone our Spring Meet scheduled for 8 – 10 May, in Little Switzerland, NC.

This a full week before our hotel rooms at the Switzerland Inn have to be cancelled without incurring any financial liability. (If we do cancel be sure to call and cancel your individual reservation to preclude getting charged.)

There seems to be some good news coming from various locations, re: the virus, but it is all very difficult to predict. North Carolina has recently mandated the closure of restaurants and hotels in the vicinity of Little Switzerland, and reemphasized the 10 person limitation for non-essential gatherings. This doesn’t bode well for us, even though we are still a good six weeks away. We know folks have made significant personal and financial investments in our current dates so a measured decision is fully warranted. Again, at this point, we need to give it a little more time.

14 Mar

2020 MOGSouth Events Reminder

Folks, now that the MOGSouth Noggin and Cars and Coffee at Amelia Island has pasted, it’s time to focus on the MOGSouth Spring Meet in Little Switzerland, North Carolina, May 8-10.

Click on the link above for the Spring Meet Hotel and Schedule details. We will be sure to communicate any changes, should that be necessary. The hotel has had a few challenges with the weather so making reservations is best done on-line, instead of calling. (If you call, you may or may not get someone on the phone that really knows about MOGSouth and our meet!)

Other 2020 MOGSouth Events you should have penciled in on your calendar are as follows.

  • The MOGSouth Fall Meet, 30/31 October – 1 November 2020 (Somewhere in Mississippi, vicinity Jackson, MS – Details will be Published Soon!)
  • The MCCDC 50th Anniversary of their Morgan Owners Gathering (MOG 50), July 4th Weekend, Luray VA
  • The MOGSouth Holiday Party, 5 December 2020

The MOGSouth Holiday Party, 5 December 2020 – We Haven’t Identified a Location or a Host for this year’s Holiday Party – Want to Volunteer to Host?? Contact us at mogsouth@yahoo.com.

09 Mar

2020 MOGSouth Noggin and Cars and Coffee at Amelia Island – Report from the Field

The MOGSouth Noggin was held on Friday evening (6 March) at Salt Life in Fernandina Beach.  A good number of folks started the weekend early with a lunch gathering prior to the Friday evening Noggin at the Salt Life. 

Friday lunch prior to the Noggin – Photo courtesy Karen Benath

The Salt Life Restaurant gave us their roof bar again this year, complete with comfy chairs and a fire pit.  It was perfect for us, but . . .

We had some 20-30 Morgan folks (not all were MOGSouth members) join us for drinks and Morgan chit chat.  I only saw one Morgan there, a Roadster, a lovely car that had traveled up from Marathon Key in south Florida.   

We had plenty of space for our group and before the sun went down, you could see forever.  But when the sun did go down, we lost the sun’s warmth and it got cold and windy.  That was also about the time folks wanted dinner, so the crowd dispersed to the inside (warmer part) of the restaurant.  And, Andrea and I were among them.  Our Momma’s didn’t raise no fools! 

Dinner at Salt Life – Photo Courtesy Karen Bernath

We will have to find a different location for the Noggin next year.  This location is superb, with great parking and food, but unfortunately, it was a bit too windy for the crowd.  And, this cold and windy weather seems to be the norm for this time of year. 

The Saturday (7 March) Cars and Coffee at Amelia (Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance) was held on several holes of the golf course used for the formal Concours on Sunday.  Thus, we had to be on the field early, and then leave the field early enough for them to set up for Sunday.  The word for the day was obviously ‘early.’

Andrea on the show field – Photo courtesy of Karen Bernath

Well, we all met quite ‘early’ along A1A at the Surf Restaurant’s parking lot.  The parking lot is big enough and was empty as the restaurant hadn’t yet opened!  We wanted to be sure the Morgans were grouped together once they entered the show field.  We had been scattered in the past and that wasn’t good.  Going in together solves this problem.  Once we were all at the Surf Restaurant, we headed south towards the show field. 

The turnout was a bit light all around.  Perhaps the virus thing kept folks at home but we still managed a good selection of Morgans.  4/4s, Plus 4s, Plus 8s, Roadsters (both 3.0 and 3.7L) and a Plus 8 Speedster (supposedly only in the US for display?).  Christopher John LTD had a few new 3 Wheelers at his display.

Cars and Coffee Field – Photo courtesy of Rick Frazee

We needed have not worried about being scattered.  It appears that our participation these past few years has paid off and we (Morgans) are now on the planner’s field layout map.  ‘Morgans’ are now expected and they’ve designated a part of the show field for our cars!  And, it is a good location, right next to the new car displays.  The best new car display was obviously the Morgan display from Christopher John LTD, the Morgan dealer in Daytona Florida.  Being right next to Christopher John’s display was tremendous.  We sent lots of folks interested in buying Morgans over to see the new cars and other Morgan paraphernalia on offer.  Hopefully, he found a few new customers!!

Morgans on the Field – Photo courtesy of Rick Frazee

The show ended around 1 PM and we proceeded down the golf course paths to the designated exit.  Most of us went south about 10-15 miles to the Sand Dollar Restaurant for lunch.  This was a smart move as everyone else was going north into Fernandina Beach for lunch.  We had gone north in prior years and the traffic going into Fernandina Beach is impossible, stop and go for the better part of an hour, and once you get there, the parking around the restaurants is nonexistent.  The Sand Dollar Restaurant was also able to accomplish our large group (15+) with a minimal wait. 

A great lunch, with a wonderful view of the boat traffic coming and going along the St. Johns river.  Then we were off.  Some went south while others went north.  We were staying in Jacksonville for the evening and soon found our hotel.  A nap before dinner? Yes, please!!  A busy morning followed by a nice lunch!  A nap was just the thing. 

It was hard getting up from that nap!  It could have lasted for the entire evening!  However, time to eat again!  Dinner with the Frazees and the Bernaths was on the docket at a local sports bar.  Nothing too fancy and we were soon back at the hotel.  I was bushed and went straight to sleep. 

We met the Frazees for breakfast at the hotel. Oh boy, cardboard waffles, rubber eggs and other delicacies were on offer.  I had some coffee and Raison Bran.  Finally, it was time to go.

Andrea and I traveled back to Orlando with Rick and Sam Frazee.  We started off going south on I-95 but soon exited for the back roads.  We couldn’t resist.  Morgans, with tops down and sun shining, traveling on rural roads with minimal traffic.  Hard to do better!!  

Another great Morgan weekend!!  If you weren’t there you missed a great one.  Well, perhaps we’ll see you next year??   Cheers, Mark

04 Mar

Final Reminder – 2020 Cars and Coffee at the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance (Mar 6 & 7)

This year will be similar to the previous few years. We have our MOGSouth Noggin on Friday (6 March) evening and we will participate in the Saturday (7 March) Cars and Coffee.

As is the norm you should have to registered for the 2020 Cars & Coffee at Amelia Island (if you plan is to bring your Morgan) and you have to be accepted.  (They sent a letter with a sticker.) You need not register if you don’t want to bring your car and simply want to spectate.

The MOGSouth Spring Noggin will again be on Friday (6 March), starting at 5PM until going until whenever, at the Salt Life Food Shack, 39 N Fletcher Ave Fernandina Beach, FL 32034. Note: They plan to have us at the roof b bar, same as last year. Which worked quite well, however, it was a bit cool last year so bring a jacket. If you have friend(s) that are’t in the club, bring them along to the Noggin, we don’t care!

Then Saturday morning (7 March), those of us with Morgans, will all gather at 0730 at the Surf Restaurant’s front parking lot, along A1A (3199 S. Fletcher Avenue, Amelia Island, FL.) From experience we know that if we don’t arrive together, we will be parked where ever they have a space, and most likely not together.

We will only wait at the Surf Restaurant for a few minutes so don’t be late!

If you are coming you should have already booked your hotel. A few folks are staying in Fernandina Beach, but I suspect you can’t get a room this late. Your best bet is to stay in Jacksonville and travel to Amelia Island early Saturday morning. There is a Hampton Inn, Jacksonville East, Regency Square that is just south of the Jacksonville -395 bridge over the St Johns River and just a short (45 – 50 min) drive along FL-105 to Amelia Island.

Plan on a great Morgan weekend and we hope to see you there!!

Cheers, Mark