Trip Guidelines

Welcome to the Massachusetts Miata club trip guidelines. Choose the guideline section that you are interested in.

Trip Planning Ideas

Check out the links below for some ideas to help you plan your next trip!

Trip Guidelines for Drivers

Preliminaries

Please note the signup deadlines posted on the event websites, and signup for your trips as early as possible. This helps organizers with group size planning.

NOTE that email is not guaranteed delivery. When signing up for a trip via email you should receive a reply from the trip leader within a few days – if not send another email or call them.

Bring and wear your nametag. Bring cash for meals, admissions, etc. in case credit cards are not accepted. Bring your Fastlane transponder if you have one.

Start the day with a full tank of gas.

On the Road

Everyone should take a turn as tail car. It is amazing to see what we will do when in a convoy that we would never consider doing when driving singly. Please follow these tips when we travel as a group:

  • Smile. We are always together to have fun.
  • When considering a pass to join back up with the group, make sure there is adequate room to pull back in before making your pass. Do not pull in without leaving a good following distance for the vehicle behind you, especially trucks and busses. I have watched Miatas pull back into line leaving only one car length between them and the 18 wheeler behind them going down a hill. A certain recipe for disaster!
  • When making a turn with the group, hold back to make sure the car behind you can see where you are turning. We frequently lose part of the group on a turn because of failure to do this. The next lost person could be you. Please watch out for the car following you.
  • Stay in a consistent lane and only pull out to pass. Sometimes we have cars in two or three lanes trying to stay with the group. This makes it very dangerous for others on the road. Keep to the right until it is your time to pass. The car behind you can sometimes pull out to make room for you to safely make your pass.
  • When pulling out from a stop don’t cut off an approaching vehicle. The possible collision is not worth staying right in line with the group. We will get the group back together when it is safe to do so.
  • CB’s on channel 10 unless designated otherwise. If you inadvertently get out of sight of the car behind you, make sure you are in radio contact to insure they do not miss a turn before catching up to the group.
  • Turn your headlights on when traveling as a group. It makes us more visible and may let others know we are together. Sometimes others will let the whole group go, so as not to get in the middle. A smile, a wave and a friendly honk to thank them are in order.
  • If you get lost communicate with the trail car. They should be prepared to lead from the rear and they will not leave you even if you made a wrong turn or missed a turn. It is their job to make sure no one gets left behind. Please help make their difficult job easier.

Drive safely so you are able to come back for another trip with us. Always remember to be courteous. We represent the Mass Miata Club and all Miata owners in general. We have a great reputation to uphold.

Trip Guidelines for Organizers/Leaders

Planning

Events are always rain or shine unless noted.

If you have an outdoor non-driving event or activity planned. be prepared to have alternate activities for inclement weather.

Prepare a brief preliminary calendar writeup well in advance of your trip. It should include enough information to help people decide if they want to block off the trip on their calendars. List any trip highlights, places of interest, rough costs, etc.

It is a good idea to have final or a significant portion of your trip planning done 8-10 weeks (based on newsletter deadlines) prior to a trip/meeting/event. We have noticed that changes to publicized trip information can cause confusion and reduced participation when publicized details are changed. Planners work hard organizing events, and it is disappointing to have poor turnout for this reason.

At this time submit your final, detailed trip calendar writeup to the activities director at activites@massmiata.net. Be sure to specify all costs for the event and a date by which people must sign up for the trip. This is especially important when restaurant reservations need to be made, and is also helpful for determining if there will be too many cars to have in one group.

IMPORTANT: Make sure you reply to each person who sends you an email to sign up for your trip, so they know that you received it and have their “reservation”. Keep track of everyone who signs up with their email address so you can later send out email before the trip with any additional details or last-minute changes. The activities director can provide you with an Excel file to use for this, or you can manage it yourself.

It is a good idea on your trip to plan a pit stop about 1 to 1 1/2 hours into the first leg of your trip. It seems that the morning coffee has reached it’s final destination and a need to stop is imminent. The duration of the stop will be determined by group size and quantity of available toilets. Allow a minimum of 15-30 minutes for the stop.

Plan a rest stop every 1-2 hours to let people stretch, use bathrooms, etc. Try to work in interesting places with bathrooms in your itinerary to stop if possible. Ice cream stops are always a favorite…

Restaurants

When choosing a place be cost conscious ($10-15 for lunch or $20 – 30 for dinner) along with looking for good service, etc. The place should be nice but not extravagant.

Try to choose places with parking lots which are level and paved and can accommodate a large number of vehicles.

When reserving a restaurant for a club meeting, keep in mind that the Club does not subsidize for room fees, (you can either search for a place that does not charge for using their room, or incorporate the cost into the meal, providing it does not exceed cost parameters). You need to locate a place that accommodates 25 to 40 attendees comfortably.

When booking a restaurant, ask if separate/couple checks are possible, or if not at least table checks can be done. Or at the very least a separate check for alcohol. Usually a restaurant will comply if they have been asked ahead of time. If they won’t do separate checks, as the trip planner you should be prepared to settle the check in a fair manner.

Lunches can sometimes take up to 2 hours depending on the size of the group. Take that into consideration when scheduling events. If possible test a meal at the restaurant you are booking if you have never dined there before. You should be able to judge future service by this.

Coordinate the party size with restaurant – some places will suggest a limited menu to help serve a large group more quickly.

Rooms

If possible view hotel rooms if you have never stayed there before. Keep in mind that if you have viewed one room, they might not all be that nice, so be aware of all you see as you tour the facility.

Most hotels upon request will block out a certain # of rooms (sometimes at a reduced rate) and will let you know for how long the rooms can be held for. Hold rooms under “MassMiata Club”.

Members attending overnight events will mark their own reservations, within the block set aside.

Roads

When choosing a starting point try to make it is easily accessible. It helps if restrooms are available (such as at a highway rest area).

Always pre-test your route for timing and road conditions, and to record mileage between turns and other milestones.

Avoid dirt roads. They slow down the group and people don’t like dust and rocks spewed all over their freshly washed cars (or themselves if their tops are down).

After turns at lights look for places pull over to let the rest of the group catch up. Make sure the pull off area is safely off the road, and will accommodate the entire group. (This is very important, there are enough hazards on the road, and our group shouldn’t be one of them).

Avoid congested downtown areas if possible, and avoid roads with numerous stoplights. They tend to break up a group.

When given an option, incorporate as many right hand turns. It is easier to keep the group together.

A Week Before the Event

Drive the route to check on road conditions, any detours, etc.

If you’re anticipating a large turnout for your event, ask another club member to be a second group leader and to join you in pre-driving the route. In this way they will become familiar with the route before the trip.

Contact the restaurant with a “final” headcount.

Send email to all who have registered

  • confirming that the event is on (and reminding them if they’ve forgotten about it)
  • reminding them to bring and wear their name tags
  • letting people know of any last minute changes
  • clothing suggestions or reminders based on the weather forecast
  • it’s helpful to provide a MapQuest link to the rendevous site so people can get directions to it, and to determine how long it should take them to drive to it from their homes

e-mail a list of everyone signed up for the event to membership@massmiata.net to let the membership committee know who is going on the trip, so they can bring any membership materials, etc. that are owed to the member.

Prepare to bring to the event:

  • Maps and/or directions to hand out to each car – included should be the leaders cell phone number in case someone without a CB gets lost or needs help
  • Your name tag
  • A list of registrants with their cell phone numbers
  • Your cell phone and CB radio
  • The telephone number(s) of the restaurant(s)

At the Rendezvous Point

Wear nametags at events. Trip leaders should have blank tags for trip participants who are without one.

Trip Leaders should have a list of who is going on the trip and check off those in attendance, and get a car and person count (both to determine the nobody is missing, and for the trip writeup).

Trip Leaders should have a driver’s meeting and include the following:

  • Provide directions of the route and briefly go over the route. (This sheet should also list the trip leaders cell phone number and list of other people going on the outing.)
  • Means of communication with the group – CB usually Channel 10. The club has found that the CB radio works over greater distances, you can bring/use a handheld radio such as a FRS, but you may find yourself at a disadvantage if the group gets spread out or is large.
  • Select a person with a CB radio to ride in the rear. That person should let the lead car know the status of the caravan. It is useful for the tail car to repeat driving instructions given by the lead car so the lead car knows they were heard, and it helps people who might have missed it the first time.
  • Find those who do not have CBs and place them towards the front of the pack.

If you have a large a group (i.e. 25 or more) you may want to split into smaller groups, especially if your route is in congested areas. If you do split into smaller groups:

  • each group should have a leader who is familiar with the route, and a tail car (both with CB radios)
  • each group should use a different CB channel to avoid interfering with each other
  • stagger the groups by 10-15 minutes so they wont run into each other but will arrive at the restaurant close to each other

Make sure to select a person (preferably prior to going on the trip, if you can) to write up a trip report for the web site and newsletter. We suggest asking someone who is relatively new to the club, so we can get a new perspective.

On the Road

Drive at the speed limit both for safety, and to avoid delays caused by being stopped for speeding. Try to keep the group together.

Always be cognizant of the cars behind you – signal your intentions and avoid sudden stops or abrupt turns. Announce turns, stop signs, traffic lights, congested areas, etc. on the CB radio.

After difficult turns drive slowly or pull over until all cars have made the turn and are together again. The same applies to traffic lights where not all cars made it through the intersection before the light turned red. The tail car should always announce that they are thru each turn and traffic light.

Contact the restaurant 20-60 minutes prior to arrival giving them last minute head count or other changes. and to again confirm that you have a reservation. This helps reduce surprises, and managers seem to appreciate this.

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