||Saturday - July 21, 2012Cat and AroundHosts: Mike and MJ|
Photo Gallery by Mike S.
CAT AND AROUND
RUBBER ON THE ROAD
JULY 21, 2012
To kick off MJ’s swan song*, Mike, the great and exalted leader also known as The Mud Man, called the BMC to order at Culvers/Reedsburg on July 21st at 12:53:27.731 PM in a light mist beneath darkening skies. Following a mid-day snack, the BMC huddled beneath dripping awnings and trembled with fear as The Mud Man and The Mud Queen instructed the dampening masses in the fine art of winding up Wildcat Mountain. Murmured snide remarks rippled through the crowd about mud on the road and the beading water accumulating on the previously shiny Miatae shivering in the parking lot. My own thoughts were regarding whether Wildcat Mountain is a mountain at all, or just another bump in the landscape covered with green fur dimpled with cows baking their ever tasty cow pies. But we let TMM and TMQ speak.
At 1:00 sharp, sort of (plus or minus twenty minutes) with instructions in hand, we ambled to our now dripping cars and headed to the regrouping point on County K where the sky miraculously cleared and the sun came out. I don’t know what the Mud people did, but it worked. The group dropped their tops and took off. I can honestly tell you that I am no fan of wet roads, at least not after sending one Miata to the graveyard on Dead Man’s Curve one drizzly autumn afternoon, so I was anxiously hoping for dry pavement before we hit full acceleration. At the second turn the car behind us did a little fishy fanny wiggle trying to get through, which DID NOT help my confidence. The first leg was brisk and spirited. By the time we reached Hillsboro for the first break, things were thankfully dry.
We drifted out of the Country Market with the Big Giant Mouse knowingly waving us on our way and headed for the Cat-n-Back. The ride to the Cat was a warm-up for what lurked ahead. The road was scattered with Amish horse teams, children erecting barns, and cow herds and their droppings. The Mud folks had sprinkled in a couple of gravel roads, just to test our mettle. Finally we reached the Cat part. The park office was that-a-way. We went this other way.
I can only compare this part of the drive with a trip to Great America; wait in line, ride on the merry-go-round, then get on the big ride, throw up, and go again. The driving can be described as up-hill, S-curve, S-curve, S-Curve, S-curve, S-curve, S-curve, S-Curve, S-curve, S-curve, S-curve, S-Curve, S-curve, S-curve, S-curve, S-Curve, S-curve down-hill, S-curve, S-curve, S-Curve, S-curve, S-curve, S-curve, S-Curve, S-curve, S-curve, S-curve, S-Curve, S-curve, S-curve, S-curve, S-Curve, S-curve, throw up.
At the end of the first pass, my navigator said, “Aren’t we getting too old to be doing this?” I was silent. “OMG! We are going to do it again!” Back up the hill, S-curve, S-curve, S-Curve, S-curve, S-curve, S-curve, S-Curve, S-curve, S-curve, S-curve, S-Curve, S-curve, S-curve, S-curve, S-Curve, S-curve down-hill, S-curve, S-curve, S-Curve, S-curve, S-curve, S-curve, S-Curve, S-curve, S-curve, S-curve, S-Curve, S-curve, S-curve, S-curve, S-Curve, S-curve, throw up. Can I have another wet-nap?
We wound our way around a third time and panic set in until the pack went straight instead of heading up the big hill again. So now we were on the Back part of the Cat-n-Back. We fell into a lovely relaxed pace across rural roads, rolling hills with your standard BMC every day run-of-the- mill hair-pin turns, interspersed with lovely scenic views until we hit a two-mile long gravel road. For the first time on any BMC drive, we thought we had been abandoned by the group as we cautiously picked our way along the rough terrain. But sure enough the group was found scratching the dust particles out of their teeth at the first sign of pavement. A short while further on, we took an impromptu break while a flat tire was changed, probably worn thin by all the rubber left smoking on the dreaded “mountain”. How many Miataphile does it take to change a tire; all of them.
We found our way back to the Country Market guided by Mr. and Mrs. Big Giant Mouse strategically placed at critical intersections along the way. A brief stop allowed us to work on our reddening tans under the now nationally famous sun-of-the-drought-of-the-summer-of-2012. Then it was back on the road headed to Reedsburg. At open vistas the little cars stretched across the country side for seemingly miles like a colorful string of beads draped across the landscape. Approaching Culvers cars began to peel off and head for home.
Thanks to MJ and Mike, AKA the Mud People, for another exciting and memorable drive. Don’t fret about MJ’s retirement. Something tells me she won’t be that far away after all. If I am wrong, their legacy will be hard to match. Here’s mud in your eye!
*The earliest known reference to the idea that swans sing one beautiful song before [retirement] first appears in Aeschylus' Agamemnon from 458 BC. In the play, Clytemnestra compares Cassandra to a swan who has "sung her last final lament". The English phrase "swan song" or "swan-song" dates to the 19th century, and entered the language from the German Schwanen(ge)sang and Schwanenlied [possibly the origin of Schweiger].