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

07 Nov

2020 MCCDC’s MOG50 – 50th Anniversary Meet (4 July, Luray VA)

For many of us that have been around the Morgan community for a while know the role the Morgan Car Club of DC has played in the creation of many of the regional clubs, to include MOGSouth.  For those that weren’t here in the beginning, many of the regional clubs were spawned out of the discussions and meanderings of folks that attended the MCCDC MOGs (Morgan Owners’ Gatherings) in days past. 

The MCCDC MOGs were, at times, the only Morgan events going.  Folks came from all over the eastern half of the US, and even from Canada, to play in Luray, Virginia over the fourth of July weekend.  The MCCDC MOGs had a full slate of car related events for attendees to participate in.  There was a formally judged Concours d’Elegance of Morgan cars, a mentally challenging Time-Speed-Distance Rally, a family friendly Gymkhana (Funkhana?) and a hotly contested Autocross. 

Pulling off all these events over the weekend was far too much for the MCCDC members so the regional folks started to lend a hand.  These efforts morphed into the Regional Clubs taking over one of the events completely.  Planning it, setting it up and then running it for the weekend.  

MCCDC is now about to celebrate their 50th MOG Meet Anniversary!  MOG 50 is at hand!! 

The powers that be, at MCCDC, have chosen to return to Luray Virginia (and the Mimslyn Hotel) over the 4th of July weekend for MOG 50.  I personally applaud these decisions!  This is a historical event and even though this is usually a really hot weekend in Virginia, this is the most fitting location and timing for this historical event.  I plan to attend and if you also decide to attend, please send me an email (series1@cfl.rr.com) so I will have an idea of the MOGSouth presence at MOG 50.

I would like to propose that MOGSouth take on the task of planning and running the Gymkhana (Funkhana) event for MOG 50.  This would entail the development of a few Gymkhana appropriate activities, the collection of any requisite materials and an assemblage of folks to support running and scoring the event in Luray.  (Although MOGSouth could probably run any of the events, we have an opportunity by volunteering early to get what we want, and I have my reasons to recommend that we take on the Gymkhana.)  I will contact the MCCDC leadership about our offer and let you all know what they say.

MCCDC’s MOG 50 will be held in Luray Virginia at the Mimslyn Inn (401 W Main Str., Luray, VA 22835).  Although no real information has been published by MCCDC as yet (in my mind, this is already 6 months late!) it is likely that the Morgan events will span Friday 3 July to Sunday 5 July. 

If you plan to attend, please let me know, and be sure to book your rooms very soon.  There is typically a MCCDC fee to attend and form to fill out to register but they haven’t got that form together yet.  I will send it out as soon as I get it. 

Arrival in Luray should happen on Thursday 2 July, with folks departing on Monday 6 July.  (Book hotel rooms at the Mimslyn (866-375-3925 or 540-743-5105) if these numbers don’t work, let me know!) for Thurs night, Fri night, Sat night, and Sun night.  There is a discount code – GR48 – that you will need to provide when you register for the hotel.)  If anything changes, I will let you know. 

Cheers, Mark

17 Jul

2020 Cars and Coffee at the Amelia Island Concours (Mar 6 & 7)

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 (6 March) evening and we will again participate in the Saturday (7 March) Cars and Coffee. The formal Concours d’Elegance is scheduled for Sunday (8 March) but has in the past been moved up to Saturday if the weather is challenging.

As is the norm you have to register for the 2020 Cars & Coffee at Amelia Island event to bring your Morgan and you have to be accepted.  (They will send a letter.) You need not register if you don’t want to bring your car and simply want to spectate. However, it is best to register, even if you are unsure. The registration form is attached below. The earlier you register, the more likely you will be accepted. They are limited in the number of cars accepted due to space constraints, so don’t procrastinate. Register now!!

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: this is the same restaurant as this past spring. All reports of this location were good, to include good parking, so bring your Morgan. Only the weather was a negative. It was cool so bring a jacket.

Last year we had the dealers, the factory representatives and a new car display, so obviously we had a great turn out of Morgans and more than 50 folks from the Morgan community! I suspect we will again have a great turn out so you will want to be there.

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

For those coming from out of town, there are a number of Lodging options. You can stay on Amelia Island or in Fernandina Beach, 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 (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