12 Mar

How do you say ‘MOGSouth Noggin’ in Italian??

Actually, it does translate! ‘boccaletta’ !

The weekend was grand!  Top down the entire time!  I did flop the top up on the car up at night but never really secured it.  It was just to give the storm cover some support.  I don’t even think Allan and Mary Ann Rae, who traveled with us from central Florida, did even that much. 

There weren’t any storms or even strong winds.  The weather was glorious!  A little cool when the sun went down, but otherwise spectacular.  Certainly different from past years in Amelia. 

This one was a bit special.  The announcements from Geneva this year were certainly thought provoking.  Also, we had the MMC factory folks and many of the US Morgan dealers in town for a ‘big’ dealer meeting.  I invited a good number to the Friday evening Noggin and many came.  It was great for the MOGSouth members at the Noggin to chit chat with folks they know and love.  Well, ok perhaps ‘love’ is a bit strong, but . . .

Andrea and I, along with Allan and Mary Ann Rae, traveled up on Friday morning in the Roadsters.  It was really a sprint up the highway.  Amelia Island is not too far north of Jacksonville, Florida, so a pleasant enough drive for us.  About 3.5 hours.  We chose this year to stay in Jacksonville and drive back and forth along the St Johns river, as needed.  This was necessitated by the limited hotels on the Island itself.  You really have to anticipate and book a hotel room some 6 – 9 months out.  And, then you have to save your Nickles and Dimes to pay for the room and be willing to accept the minimum number of nights demanded.  The Amelia Island inn keepers tend raise the rates quite high for the big Concours weekend. 

Alas, supply and demand . . .

Once we tucked our bags and such into our rooms in Jacksonville, we headed back out to the cars and meandered our way up to Fernandina Beach for lunch.  The drive along the river during the day has a different feel than the drive at dawn, but it is still quite pretty, nonetheless.  Lots of twisty bits, lots of water and lots of folks fishing off the bridges.  You could tell it was Concours weekend as 90% of the oncoming traffic was something noisy and interesting.  Porsches, Ferraris, a Deux Chevaux? and others.  Very neat!

Once there, we found lunch with a view of the water after parking on some grass next to a Blood Bank table.  The kids at the table assured us that the grass was a fine place to park (some others had just left!) so we parked and walked away.  Parking is quite difficult in Fernandina Beach during the Concours weekend and I suspect (well, I hope!) the parking police are pretty lenient during the weekend.  It seems like there were cars everywhere.  (And, there were many, many folks with yellow tape or rope barriers across their home’s road frontage, trying to protect their lawns from folks looking to park.) 

This was only our first taste of the parking challenge . . . 

After lunch, it was over to the location of the Friday evening Noggin.  I wanted to get there early as this was a new location for us, the Salt Life Bar and Grille.  It was fairly close to the sports bar we have used previously but this place had oodles and oodles of parking.  Something lacking at our previous spot.  (ah, that ‘parking’ thing, again!) 

The restaurant manager, Tina, had us set up in a roof top ‘lounge’ complete with propane heaters, couches and overstuffed chairs.  It even had a fire pit.  Not too bad a spot for us, albeit a bit chilly when the sun went down.  The view of the ocean was stunning! 

Taking on a big group like ours is always difficult.  30+ folks are always in need of something, whether it’s food or drink, so the staff was constantly jumping to keep us all satisfied.  And, I have to be somewhat appreciative of their efforts as this restaurant doesn’t take reservations but did reserve this ‘prime’ spot for us!

A very good turn-out!  Lots of MOGSouth folks attended.  Some we hadn’t seen in quite a while.  We also had a good number of the US Morgan dealers at the Noggin.  We talked mostly about nonsensical stuff, all-the-while trying to eek out some tidbits of information or get some sense of their feelings about the big Geneva announcements and the forthcoming dealer meeting.  I didn’t get any earth shattering nuggets but did sense a feeling of ‘concerned’ optimism.  Other comments about the component cars, future business outlooks, the very different and misunderstood American market, etc., seemed to flow freely. 

Then we had to head back to the hotel.  The drive in the dark was uneventful.  We got the cars home safely and tucked them in.  Prime parking spots right out front next to the hotel portico.  Diamond Members (I think not!).  Then up to bed with an early rise in the morning.  The convoy back to Fernandina Beach was to start at 6:30 AM. Yikes!

The drive from Jacksonville to Amelia Island, along the St Johns River, at the crack of dawn is truely amazing! 

The sun coming up over the horizon, peeking through the swamp grass and the masts of the boats in the marinas is very special.  Getting up early to make the drive, however, is not so special.  This year we had the two Roadsters, ours and the Rae’s, and Harry Gambill’s Aeromax with Rick Fraser’s Aero Eight in our convoy. 

As we have done in past, we all met at a convenient diner, and then convoyed down the road, into the cars and coffee display area, as a single gaggle of Morgans.  Typically, if you don’t come in as a group, the organizers will just park you wherever they have space.  This year was different.  With the Morgan factory folks and the Morgan dealers having a new car display, they wanted the Morgans to park in a specific location on the field, just adjacent to the new car display and tent.

We were directed to our predefined spot which was fine, but it was a bit far away from the coffee and donuts.  I don’t think we could have gotten much further away.  I finally walked back to the coffee tent, got a cup, and started the trek back.  I think I was all but done with my cup by the time I got back.  Oh well, there was probably some overly caffeinated Porsche owner, vibrating right next to the tent.  (Who knows, he may still be there!)

As usual, the Morgans were a big hit.  Lots and lots of interested folks and lots of questions.  We had a very good display with almost all model variants represented.  Roadsters, Plus 8s (early and late), Plus 4s (Larry Erd was there with his freshly restored SuperSports clone, still not totally sorted), a Four Seater, the Aeromax, the Aero 8, M3Ws, and Austin Britton’s early 4/4.  And, when folks asked about availability, we pointed to the new car tent.  It was all good.  

There were also a number of MOGSouth members, or other Morgan owners there without cars or supporting some other marque, who came by to say hello.  Tony McLaughlin of Morganville fame, Jon Scott from Charleston, Charlie and Beth Miller, Stu Mosbey was there with his Porsche(?), Ray Morgan was running around the Ritz, getting ready to show a car on Sunday, and Ian Levitt from Nashville all came by. 

Again, I tried to get some information out of the MMC folks and Morgan dealers.  I spoke to the two factory employees (Mark and Mike?) for a few minutes and I spoke to six Morgan dealers.  Again, I came up empty.  Nothing, nada, zilch . . .

I really wish I could report on some momentous tidbit of information, but I never got any.  And, my attempts to get feedback from the dealers following the afternoon’s big meeting have also failed. 

I suspect the dealers are all confused somewhere, hunkering down under the ‘cone of silence’. . .

Following the show, a dozen of us or so ventured downtown to find a late lunch.  The traffic leaving the Cars and Coffee was nuts, every intersection was backed up, so a short-cut through a neighborhood freed us from our confines.  We found the restaurant but, again, were challenged to find a spot for the car.  Around the block a few times, then a couple guys, car enthusiasts I guess, found me a spot.  It wasn’t optimal but it was a spot.  I had to go the wrong way down a one way street and then back into the spot.  It was a bit chaotic getting in, it was tight and I hit the curb a few times, but I had a parking spot, and an official one at that.  And, it wasn’t all that far from the Restaurant.  Score!!

After lunch, we drove back to the hotel.  Tired and ready for a nap.  We had the hotel booked for another night so no need to hurry home.  We drove back along the St Johns one last time and parked out front once again.  We found dinner in the adjacent sports bar.  Nothing fancy just a salad bar, a ‘pork’ chop and a ‘belly-up gold fish’?  

Breakfast at the hotel Sunday morning was abandoned in hopes of something better.  I think we found it.  Then it was time and we reluctantly headed south down I-95 for home. 

It was a lovely weekend.  Lots of cars, plenty of sunshine, good company and nothing broke!!  Can’t ask for much more!

Cheers, Mark  

03 Mar

2019 Cars & Coffee at Amelia Island (8 & 9 March) – Last Update – as of 3 March 2019

It all starts this Friday, 8 March! Are you Ready?? Amelia Island here we come !!

The MOGSouth Noggin will start Friday evening (8 March) at 5PM and last until we all give up! This year we are going somewhere new. Everyone complained about the parking at the last place so we will try the Salt Life Food Shack, 39 N Fletcher Ave Fernandina Beach, FL 32034.

Then Saturday morning (9 March), those of us with Morgans (that have been accepted and have been sent windshield stickers) will gather at 0730, in the morning (yes, I know that’s early!), at the Surf Restaurant’s front parking lot, along A1A (3199 S. Fletcher Avenue, Amelia Island, FL.) We know that if we don’t all go into the event together, we will be parked where ever they have a space. We will only wait at the Surf Restaurant for 10 minutes or less, so don’t be late!

This year we will have something special to look forward to!  The Morgan Motor Company (MMC) will be there with 3 – 5 new Morgan cars on display. Since the factory is here for a Dealer Meeting many of the US based Morgan Dealers will also be there!

A few folks are staying off the island at a Hampton Inn, near Jacksonville. There will be a convoy of Morgans leaving the Hampton early (06:30 or so) on Saturday morning to get to the Surf Restaurant by 07:30.

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

Cheers, Mark 

15 Jan

2019 Cars & Coffee at Amelia Island (8 & 9 March) – 2nd Update – as of 15 Jan 2019

As many of you know, the Amelia Island, GA Concours d’Elegance weekend is traditionally a big weekend for MOGSouth. For many of us, the start to the new Morgan year. This year will be similar to the previous few years. We have our MOGSouth Noggin on Friday (8 March) evening and we will again participate in the Saturday (9 March) Cars and Coffee.

The formal Concours d’Elegance is scheduled for Sunday 10 March but has in the past been moved up to Saturday if the weather is challenging.

The MOGSouth Noggin will again be on Friday (8 March), starting at 5PM until going until whenever, at the Salt Life Food Shack, 39 N Fletcher Ave Fernandina Beach, FL 32034. Note: this is a different restaurant from last year. Still good food and beer, but better parking. (It is good to change the scenery every now and again.)

Last year we had more than 50 folks from the Morgan community! So you will want to be there.

Then Saturday morning (9 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.) Note: Be advised the Surf Restaurant parking lot will possibly be active, as the Surf is no longer under renovation, so be careful.

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 10 minutes or less, so don’t be late!

As mentioned in the previous mailings about the 2019 ‘Cars & Coffee at Amelia Island’, you have to register for this event to bring your Morgan and you have to be accepted.  I know many of you have already registered your Morgan and received your acceptance. You need not register if you don’t want to bring your car and simply want to spectate.

This year we will have something special to look forward to. The Morgan Motor Company (MMC) will have a number of their senior staff, with 3 – 5 new Morgan cars on display at the MotorXpo area (the first hole of the Golf Club of Amelia Island.) It is believed that a good number of the Morgan Dealers will also be there as well. You don’t want to miss this!

I don’t doubt the folks from the Factory will want to miss our display of Morgans either. So come decked out in your best and fly the Morgan flag proudly!

For those coming from out of town, there are a number of Lodging options. You can stay on Amelia Island, if you can get a room (they go very fast) and you are willing to pay the price (they are very expensive.) Alternatively 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 (30-45 min) drive along FL-105 to Amelia Island. Many of us will be staying there. FYI, This is a different hotel than was used last year. We think this is a bit closer. There will be a convoy of Morgans leaving the Hampton early (06:30 or so) on Saturday morning to get to the Surf Restaurant by 07:30.

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

Cheers, Mark

18 Sep

2019 Cars & Coffee at Amelia Island – Update – Acceptance Emails Are Being Received

As mentioned in the first emailing about the 2019 Cars & Coffee at Amelia Island, you have to register for this event and you have to be accepted.  (They have limited space and regulate the number of cars they get.)

FYI, I registered (via email on 9/5/18) and received my acceptance via email today (9/18/2018) coming from Jennifer Grosse.     So they aren’t overly slow in communicating.

Background Information   

The Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance is a week long event, held annually at Amelia Island, GA.  The main weekend of the event is 8 – 10 March.    As there are many MOGSouth members that attend, MOGSouth has a Noggin’ on Friday night, and participates in the Cars and Coffee Event on Saturday.   Then many go to the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance on Sunday.

The 2019 Cars & Coffee at Amelia Island is on Saturday, 9 March 2019, the day before the big Amelia Island concours d’elegance.   It starts early Saturday morning and goes into the afternoon.   The part of the golf course used for the Cars and Coffee is the some of the same area used for the Concours on Sunday, so they have to get the cars off the field early enough to set up for Sunday.

MOGSouth Participation Information   

MOGSouth will provide you with three pieces of information as soon as they are available.

(1) Noggin Location:  MOGSouth with have a Noggin’ somewhere in the vicinity, on Friday, 8 March 2019, starting around 5PM.  The location for the Friday evening Noggin will be communicated as soon as it known.   In the past we have had nearly 50 folks attend, so this is an event not to be missed.

(2) Rendezvous Location: MOGSouth will identify a rendezvous point in area, near the cars and coffee location, where all the Morgans can meet up and go into the cars and coffee together.  If we don’t go in together, we will not be parked together.  Exact timing has varied over the last few years.

(3) Hotel Information:   There will be a hotel identified vicinity of the Jacksonville Airport for those coming from out of town.  This hotel is not mandatory and there are hotels on Amelia Island or in Fernandina Beach, however they are costly and book up very quickly.  If you want to try one of them, make reservations now.

Registration Information   

If you haven’t already registered, it is best to do it quickly.  Last year several of our Morgan friends were turned away as they didn’t register in time.   If the timing is still up in the air, register anyway.  You can always cancel later.   Click here for the registration form.   Cars_and_Coffee_Application_2019

Note: New for this year they are charging a fee.  If you don’t wish to pay this fee, you will not get accepted.  You can pay via credit card and email this information with the completed registration form to carsandcoffee@ameliaconcours.org.  Alternatively, you can post the form in the US Mail.  The mailing address is on the form.

Finally, don’t forget to send me an email so I know you are coming.   I want to be sure we have sufficient room at the Noggin.

Cheers,
Mark