Coffee & Rides - Jan 2013

Another success for AMSO!  On a day where the weather was gray, drizzly and cold, 16 AMSO members and new friends came out to celebrate another Coffee & Rides.  And we achieved our milestone of having on display, 12 Mercedes and Smart cars!  We ARE becoming a significant car club within San Antonio.

First to arrive was Jeff in his black SL600.  Even at 7:45AM, the Coffee & Rides event was starting to gather groups of car clubs.  Crossfire guys here, some Camaros over there, Pontiacs in the middle.  Clearly, it was going to be a good overall Coffee & Rides gathering as the clubs were getting started early!  Next in was Morris driving his silver 250SE; beautiful car.  Morris reported he had an agreement to sell his 450SL, allowing Morris to focus on this silver classic.  On his heels was Karen’s ’06 SLK280.  We hadn’t seen Karen for a while and it was good to see her out and about!  John arrived in his E350 Sport.  We hadn’t seen John for a while; mainly because of the holidays.

By 8:15AM, a lot of the parking slots had been taken and even at this early hour it was getting tough to keep a large group together.  But with 5 cones, a couple folding chairs, and a bin full of detailing stuff, we were able to do the best we could.  Coming in next was Baja in his 560SL and ‘in tow’ was a new AMSO friend, Don, driving a nice black ’06 SLK280.  The Smarts were represented when Lori’s blue ’08 Smart rounded the corner, and not too far behind was Joyce & Bob in their blue ’09 Smart.

Sak & Bebe (in their SL65) arrived later as did Ron & Mary Ann in their gorgeous ’07 SL550 50th Anniversary Edition.  Great car!  Ron & Mary Ann were late because of the perpetual 1604 construction had closed all westbound lanes.  Of course, the weather didn’t help, either.

By now the misty drizzle was fairly steady but not rain.  The convertibles had to put their tops up and poor Baja had to cover his interior with a large car cover.  Even though the weather was really rather bad, the club member’s enthusiasm, excitement and energy was quite positive.  We just love getting together, catching up from the week and discussing things in general.  It was a wonderful time, laughing in the rain!

As the morning progressed and the drizzle continued, we met Brian and Michelle – proud owners of a 2-week old black ’13 Smart car!  They are excited about the car and meeting like-minded folks who enjoy the thrill of the car and great camaraderie.  Joyce, being a Smart owner, made ‘em feel right at home as we discussed the car, the club, and performance mods!  Another Smart joins the ranks!

Thinking we were once again going to be one car short of a dozen, in rolled Daniel in his very clean ’87 560SL.  This low-mileage machine is in very nice condition.  And thus, AMSO achieves its first milestone of gathering 12 MB’s & Smart cars at a Coffee & Rides gathering.  Way to go team!

So here we are, in the drizzle of a Saturday morning, bundled up with Panera coffee in hand, laughing and enjoying each other’s company.  This is what dedicated car enthusiasts do – especially when they are all good friends.

As the morning progressed and we approached the 10 o-clock hour, C&R was breaking-up.  That can mean only one thing… Mystery Run time!  Some couldn’t make the drive but 10 folks in 7 cars were itching to know where we were running to.  So, where are we going Joyce?  Mac & Ernie's Roadside Eatery, in Tarpley, TX!

This roadside eatery of gourmet food (oxymoron?) was featured on the premier episode of “Diner's Drive-Ins and Dives” with Guy Fieri on The Food Network.  It also was featured on “Bizarre Foods” with Andrew Zimmern on The Travel Channel.  So it can’t be all bad, can it?!?  We’ll find out.

After a quick driver’s meeting and a heavy sigh due to the 1604 construction traffic, 10 intrepid AMSO members in seven cars are off for Tarpley… in the drizzle.  Joyce is leading the pack with Jeff in the rear, and tucked neatly in-between is Sak & Bebe, Ron & Mary Ann, John, Don and Baja.  Baja is a very brave soul and opts to make the run with his top down.  A true, dedicated convertible guy!  Even more so considering the outside temperature was about 60-degrees.

After what seemed like a dozen or so traffic light sequences, we’re on 1604 westbound.  As we move west, the weather gets a little clearer and the drizzle lessens considerably.  Our first destination is a gas station off Hausman Road – all the coffee of the morning has to go somewhere!  Yes, we ALL utilized the facilities; though it took some time… it was a one-staller – clean – but only one!

As we gather again for the next leg of the adventure, Don opts to leave his car at the gas station and ride with Baja.  They’re old friends and the drive through the countryside gives them a chance to get caught up.  So we are off, with Baja & Don braving the elements in the topless 560SL.

As we cross into Medina County, the drizzle subsides and the roads become dry; the pack is able to clip along with ease at the posted speed.  Traffic is also light, which gives us a good opportunity to stay close together.  Doing 65-MPH through here is a breeze and while the weather is overcast, it’s a beautiful run.  Drizzle and mist are non-existent though the low clouds form attractive wisps around the peaks of the surrounding hills.  The ranches and such along the way take one back to a simpler time.  The drive is good.

Through Bandera we go, and here traffic picks up a bit.  But the pack is able to stick close together and we negotiate through it on a busy Saturday morning just fine.  As we move along TX-16, the fog and low clouds over the hill tops create a wispy, mystical appearance as they cascade over the ridges.  Turning onto FM-470 toward Tarpley, the road narrows a bit but remains a great driving experience.

A few miles down the road and we arrive at our destination – Mac & Ernie’s!  The place is not much to look at; sort of what one would expect for a roadside diner.  And the inside is pretty basic – not what one would expect from a hit TV show.  The menu, however, makes up for the ambiance.  Their bread-and-butter is burgers and sandwiches.  But when you combine that aspect with game meats, such as antelope, or Ancho Chili Honey-Basted Quail, it takes on a whole different aspect.

We order and begin re-arranging tables in typical AMSO style – we gather all together, at one long table.  As the food arrives, we are all treated to a fabulous lunch, at an unusual and off-beat locale.  And as we discovered, the French fries were awesome!  Perfectly cooked in every way – hot and crispy but not greasy.  Clearly good food as during the meal, there was just silence as everyone ‘chowed down’!

But it’s time to break up another C&R gathering.  So where to now?  At Sak’s suggestion, we quickly decide to head off to MB of Boerne for car washes!  Why not?!?  After a couple more pictures outside and another round of hootin’ and hollerin’, we climb in our metal chariots.

John and Sak & Bebe take off down the road like a bat out of hell.  Ron & Mary Ann and Joyce & Bob are not too far behind; then Baja & Don and Jeff.  But as the last two get a mile or so down the road – trying to catch up with Joyce & Bob! – a gargantuan horse trailer pulls out onto FM-470 in front of the last 2 SL’s.  Naturally, we have to slow down and follow, excruciatingly slow – behind Mr. Ed.  On a beautiful road, with clearing weather and fabulous temperatures, 2 SL’s have to putter along at 5-10 MPH under the limit!  Booooo!

Finally arriving at MB of Boerne, long after everyone else, Jeff is greeted enthusiastically by John.  Apparently, John was able to really get out and drive the roads well, and he was still up on the adrenaline that he experienced along the roads.  Speeding along, using paddles shifters, etc., John thoroughly enjoyed this ‘second run’ to the dealership.

As the cars were being washed, we visited some more, ogled over the new cars, poked around the assortment of MB stuff, etc.; even caught up with John Wang, Sales Manager.  John offered the facilities for an AMSO meeting and/or Tech Session.  And we may revisit this in a couple months!

Once the cars were finished, we broke up for the day.  Well, some of us did.  After good-byes to all, 3 SL’s made the back-country run to the Alamo Ranch area.  And what a beautiful run that was!  The weather had cleared considerably and the temperature was truly good top-down weather.  So 3 SL’s cruised down Scenic Loop Road toward Helotes, driving through green canopies, beautiful scenery, and gorgeous areas.

What a great day!  What a great gathering and multiple runs, to boot!  Can’t wait for the next one.

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