Moss Motoring Challenge 2017: Places of Personal Significance

Neil Nebeker
The year was 1999. The kids were out of the house. I had just completed a six-year stint of an assignment that was very, very time consuming. At that stage in my life, I thought it would be fun to take on a car restoration project. My initial thought was to do an old jeep. One day at a family party, I was talking to my son’s father-in-law about my plans and he suggested an MG project. He was a retired firefighter who lived out in the country. One of his fire fighting buddies had brought his MG out to have the father-in-law store it for “awhile”. Fast forward six years and the car still sat on the property with no word from the buddy. By then it had sunk into the soft sand and was resting on the frame. Needless to say the father-in-law was anxious to get rid of it. So he offered it to me as an abandoned vehicle. My wife and I went out to the farm and looked at it and felt like it would be a fun project and a fun vehicle to have as a play car. Forget the jeep. As fate would have it, one day shortly thereafter, the father-in-law met his old buddy in the grocery store, so he asked his buddy about the car. The buddy said in essence to “just get rid of it.” The father-in-law told his buddy he had someone who may be interested in it and told the buddy that I would get a hold of him. When I called him, we arranged a time to meet. When I got to the house, the value of the car had gone from “just get rid of it” to $300. I told the guy $300 was too steep without checking the integrity of the frame, having been buried in the sand for six years. We settled on $100 and much to my surprise, he produced an ignition key and the paperwork. He had even been kind enough to continue keeping it on non-op status with the state of California, thus making the transfer and relicensing much easier and less costly. I rented a trailer and we dug the car out of the sand and loaded it up.

Note to self: Neil, your idea of keeping the tire pressure low so there would be more surface area to roll on was a stupid idea. Next time, inflate the tires first.

After 3 years, a very high multiple of the original $100 investment, and the car was once again road worthy. My son and his boys ultimately named the car “grandpa’s Toy car.”

Behind the fence in this photo was were the car was dug out of the sand and loaded on the trailer. In the attempt to visit that place again, I found with the small, narrow tires on the MG, I sunk into the sand in even getting this far and got stuck. It did not help either that there was now a pile of firewood stacked in front of the fence, so access to the exact original site was impossible.

Let the good times roll!

Neil Nebeker2Neil Nebeker

Linda Weidman
St. Vincent Hospital in Indianapolis is a very personal significant place in my life. It started in 1951 when I was born in the old building. It was in that location that I worked as a CandyStriper. When I graduated from high school I worked at Indiana Bell and attended IUPUI School of Nursing. My father had open heart surgery at St, Vincent. After I married, I continued to work, not finishing my degree. In 1972 St. Vincent moved to the northside of Indpls. and became an even bigger part of my life. Both of my sons were born there and 2 of my 3 grandchildren were born there. I decided to finish my Nursing degree and my first job was at St. Vincent. I ended my nursing career after 30 years at St. Vincent and having my own open heart surgery there. So I guess that is a pretty significant history.

Linda Weidman

David Hutchison
Trevor’s Story: This house was the first home that my owners purchased together. It is located in Richmond Hill, (Queens) NY. It was my home for nine years (until they decided that I was going to become the country car and moved me to Saugerties).

My owners toiled very diligently to renovate this home and it has a great deal of meaning to them, even though they haven’t lived there in 20 years. I was part of the renovation also. I carried paint, nails, small pieces of lumber, and I loved running around the streets of New York. I had my own garage to live in and felt like I really belonged to this family. The house was built in 1911 and is a typical NYC “railroad flat” house. I might add that I was born in 1975 in the United Kingdom.

BP Place of Personal Significance

Eric Lobdell
This was taken in Salmon, Idaho at my relative’s home on Lover’s Lane. It was the site of our 2017 family reunion. We had about 75 people in attendance and it was a wonderful time. The first time I attended a reunion at this location was in 1972 when I was but a wee one!


Adam Ford
It’s a 6-hour drive from my house in Vermont to my family’s summer place in Pennsylvania, but with a little creativity, i did it in 10. I drove westward to my friend Ned’s cabin in the Adirondacks, arriving in a passing rainstorm, but the sun came out again and we enjoyed an afternoon on Little Lake Sacandaga. The next morning, after snapping a picture “with an old friend” i pointed the Mini southward, picking up a variety of “around the world” pictures on my way to Shunk, Pennsylvania (with an unplanned stop to shelter from a drenching rain storm).

Sometime in the 1940s, my grandfather, Lawrence Baumunk, bought an abandoned railroad bed (The Susquehanna & New York Railroad) and some land along side it. He then went in with a bulldozer and a chainsaw and built a lake. For the first few years of my life, there was one house on the lake, where we would stay every summer. In 1972, a second house was built to accomodate my parent’s family of seven kids. I’ve been going there nearly every summer for my entire life and I’m now the one who opens the house up in the spring and shuts it down in the fall. My older siblings and cousins found the old railroad crossing sign in 1973 and it has been on the side of our house since then.

It’s always a little scary taking an old car on a long drive, but the Mini made it down and back and gave me my “place of personal significance.”

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Tom Penfound
Jane (the photographer) and I met in 1980 on the Blue Ridge Parkway while attending college in North Carolina. We spent most of their courtship camping, hiking and cruising the parkway in my Austin America and her Pontiac Ventura II. One day my Austin took a dive off the edge of the mountain—saved by a twig of a seedling. Jane and I decided to return to the East Coast to work and save some money. In January of 1986 we returned with our six month old son. We rented a mobile home in the valley below the Blue Ridge Parkway until 1988 when we moved on to bigger and other things. Somethings got a little bigger while other things got smaller. In 2017 we returned to the Blue Ridge Parkway with our 32 year old son. With two Miatas the three of us traveled from the beginning of the parkway to the end; and then some. We will likely do it again and again, until we eventually run out of Miatas.


Ann Phillips
These two women have been there for me when nobody else was. My family isn’t very present in my life. They are more than friends, they are my family. I can go to them with any problem I have (and boy have I) and always there they are. We go there every Saturday for football, every new years for fireworks, and most every Thanksgiving. This is also the spot where my truck got shot. Yes right where bumpy is parked. Ummmm….. That is another story, maybe for next year.


Barb Scharf and Edwin Bowser
This is the statue of the Virgin Mary holding Baby Jesus in the old St. Joseph’s Mission Cemetery at Sugarcane, B.C. We have a family history with this place, as it is the burial place of a number of members of Edwin’s maternal family, original pioneers of the Cariboo-Chilcotin area.

Edwin’s great grandfather, Amadie Isnardy, is buried here. Amadie was born in 1840 in Nice, France, and when he was 14 years old he and two brothers left home and stowed away on a Mexico-bound ship. They worked their way into California and then up into British Columbia, following the era’s gold rushes. Though he never struck it rich in the mine fields, Amadie went on to become a prosperous cattle rancher in the rich rangelands west of Williams Lake, founding a large family with his First Nations wife Julienne. They were married here at St. Joseph’s Mission in 1860, and both are buried here, as are a number of their descendents.


Beth Wallace
This might look like any ordinary duplex, but the one on the right was where I lived and the one on the left was where my husband lived when we met! This was 32 years ago next month, and like my MG, it has been a good ride! When we lived there, we were just neighbors and didn’t think much of each other. However, another neighbor had extra baseball tickets to see the Braves, and we went and talked, and talked, and talked, and talked and that was the end of that. He had everything on my ‘list’ except dancing, and I decided I could always dance alone if I needed to! We still drive by here every so often to see the place.


Bill and Linda Potvin
This is where I proposed to Linda. Best margaritas ever. We celebrated our 34th anniversary this year!

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Bob Puttbach
MY garage started out with hardly any tools. Now I have a lift and many speciality items I have acquired over the years. Many MGB buddies come over to work on their cars.



Brian and Donna Bogardus
In 1975 a very attractive E3 Airman Avionics Technician and a moderately handsome E4 Petty Officer 3rd Class Avionics Technician were assigned to fix several of the same pieces of electronics at AIMD on the Patuxent River Naval Air Station in Maryland. A friendship developed. After a while their shop supervisor feared a romance was building, so he seperated them, she stayed on 1st shift and he was moved to 2nd. This ironically sparked the friendship into a romance. Forty two years later, 41 of them in marriage, the romance survives enough that the two of them still willingly cram themselves and their baggage in a small sports car and drive for days on end taking pictures of themselves, their car and random objects along the road.



Brian Turner
About 1.5 yrs ago, I got center-punched from behind and pushed into the car in front of me (where I lost the front bumper paint). It was about 8pm on a Saturday night, roads were wet and shiny. As we were heading in the direction you see the other cars traveling in the last pic, the light turned red and we stopped. Kid behind didn’t… No alcohol, no texting or anything like that – probably just inexperience and misjudgment.

The wife and I left the scene by ambulance, her in the back and me in front. Those NB-1 seats will leave a dent in the back of your head! Nothing permanent but we had a few headaches for about 4-6 weeks. His insurance took care of us. Car was totaled of course. I bought it back from them for about $600. I’d just put a new Robbins top from Moss on it a few weeks prior – wasn’t going to let them keep that! I pulled the sheet metal back into place, stuck on a new trunk lid and bumper from the junkyard (scored some NB-2 seats as well), and it’s my daily driver again.



Charles Hill
The Truman Library was the first place I thought of for this destination. When I was in school, we occasionally had field trips to various local points of interest. The most memorable one to me was the 8th grade trip to the Truman Library. The library itself was (and still is) very interesting and well worth the trip for anyone even remotely interested in history. The best part of the trip was actually meeting President Truman himself. In those days, he was often in the library working on his papers. He had standing orders to the staff for them to inform him when school groups were touring the library. He would invite them to a small auditorium where he would talk to the students and answer questions from them. Having the former President of the United States taking the time to meet with a small group of young students made a lasting impression on me.



Chris Perry
On the beautiful sunny 40 degree morning of May 9th, we headed 130 miles over the mountain pass to be rewarded with our first grandchild, a little baby girl as told by the pink hand and footprints in the windshield. This picture was out in front of the birthing center. A lot of joyful tears shed on this day, and will always be remembered.



Darren Dyk
Our “Place of Personal Significance” was the location of my our wedding in 2015 at Chateau ste. Chapelle in Idaho which was also featured in Motoring Challenge 2015 as a “Family Reunion” destination.

A side story…as I was waiting outside for my Bride-to-Be to prepare. I was standing in a garden (more weeds really) under a tree. The photographer suggested we take some photos with one of my friends and his son (the ring bearer). My friend went to adjust the rings for the photo and discovered that her ring was missing. It had come untied from the pillow. We searched the grass lawn, forming a search line in a failed attempt to find the ring. We thought that if it had fallen in the taller weeds we would never find it. When I got to the weedy part I decided it wouldn’t hurt to look anyways. I ended up finding her ring about a foot into the weeds.

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David and Elaine Reeves
Classen Jr Sr High School, Oklahoma City, OK, is a significant location to both Elaine and David. This is where we met in the 9th grade. We had our first date in April 1961. We have been together continuously since our first date, becoming engaged as Seniors in high school, went to Oklahoma City University together and married at the start of our senior year in college. Classen is significant as it started the best 55 years of our lives.



David and Elaine Rossbach
Our place of personal significance is Ramsey Mazda in Urbandale, IA.

In 2016, we made an impulse decision to trade my two year old Mazda6 with only 8,000 miles for a new Miata which we named Ruby. We’ve never looked back. Immediately after bringing Ruby home, we joined our local Miata club and met so many wonderful people. We also joined their picture hunt and spent all summer taking pictures around the state and the area of places neither of us had visited. We tied for 1st place!

Since our purchase, we’ve spent countless hours with people from our club and have traveled many places around the area with these great friends. We are now participating in both the local and the Moss picture contests and are having more fun exploring than we ever imagined. I’m an Iowa native and my husband, Dave, is from Colorado so we’re enjoying our many miles in Ruby exploring and learning new things together.



David and Sheri Forvendel
23+ years ago, this was the Maple Lodge Bed and Breakfast in Blowing Rock, North Carolina. This is where my wife and I spent our honeymoon. Today, it is the Blowing Rock Ale House and Inn. The Inn rooms are still upstairs, but the lower level has been converted into an Ale House. A microbrewery has been added out back in what used to be a small cabin that was part of the original Lodge.

We stayed here on our way to Miatas at the Gap in early August. It was great to see the place still in business and the changes that have been made are fantastic. Who doesn’t love staying in a place with its own Microbrewery downstairs? If you are ever in Blowing Rock, be sure to give this place a try!



Donna Rich
This is the hospital where both of my children were born, the youngest in one of the rooms behind these windows. I remember watching a wild lightening storm while in labor.



Gary Weidman
I struggled a bit with this category. The hospital I was born in has been demolished. My high school is unrecognizable. And even the church where Linda and I were married over 46 years ago has been replaced with a highway ramp system. As I write this in early December, one of my elementary schools is being razed, so I thought I’d preserve a bit of that memory with this category. This is (or was) Eastbrook Elementary School in Indianapolis, IN. I attended this school from it’s initial year in 1960 until 1964 (4th, 5th, 6th, and 7th grade). My sons also attended it for some time in the 80s. It’s kind of strange to have attended this school when it was a brand new building, and seeing it torn down now (I still live only a few miles from this location). Of course, I have lots of fond memories of elementary school, but one in particular is relevant to the Moss Motoring Challenge. The very first sports car that I have any recollection of being around was at this school. I still vividly remember Mr. Patrick’s black MGA. I knew makes and models of cars even as a young child, but I didn’t know anyone who had any type of sports car. For some reason, this particular MGA made a lasting impression on me. Little could I have imagined in the early ’60s that someday I’d be taking pictures of the building being demolished, with my 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata in the foreground of the picture.



Kara White
First trip to the Drive-In with my sweety of 33 years after getting the MG running again after 3 years. It was a beautiful night with a beautiful lady. The movie did not matter!



Jerry and Prudence Gruss
This is a picture of a place we all know but may not immediately recognize. It’s a place I couldn’t wait to leave as a kid. This is the public school I attended grade 7 through 12. It is still the flattest spot in town and where I learned to ride a unicycle. It is the parking lot where we kids learned to drive our mini-bikes and go carts. It is the parking lot where a clown taught me to drive his first Triumph. It is an older brother pulled along by a younger monkey. It is 1400 miles from where I now call home. It is the place I am, every time I drive my TR3. It isn’t a place or a time, it is the feeling.



Ken Mohlman
This is my new shop. I still have one of my cars outside as I’m trying to sort out all my stuff and build the office and bathroom. Hopefully next year you will see a fancier shop. This is what I am doing with my new retirement.

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Megan Smith
Harry’s Farmers Market opened in 1987, and I’m pretty sure my mom started shopping there in ’89 when we moved to Roswell. The first of its kind in Atlanta and possibly the greater South, it had an IKEA-esque layout of “go all the places before we let you out” (or so it seemed to my 3yr-old self). This “farmers market” and its sister Your Dekalb Farmers Market (YDFM, still privately owned unlike Harry’s which sold to Whole Foods several years ago) completely ruined me for food shopping, as this became my personal definition of the term “Farmers Market” and remained that way well into my 20’s… basically until I moved away from Atlanta. YDFM is still my absolute favorite store on earth for more reasons than I can name, most of which include variety and pricing of bulk-packed spices, fresh produce, packaged goods, meats, cheeses and cooking utensils… all from around the globe. It is reminiscent of Asian markets and is truly the heart of Atlanta’s claim to cultural diversity. Harry’s is the older, less acclaimed sister… but my first grocery store, nonetheless.

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Joe Talarico
This is the garage at our house, and this place is significant to me and my wife because this is where I FINALLY asked Samantha to marry me.
We were already together about 8.5 years, moved to NC together from PA and bought the house. Yet I was still nervous about asking her. I had my Ducati 748 on the bike lift from a lowside crash in the rain at Carolina Motorsports Park and told her I needed some help to repair the water pump cover and clip-on. I had Frank Sinatra playing on the iPod and when she asked I why, I said, “Italian bike, Frankie, it’s fitting.” Knowing how I am, this all made sense to her. 😀
That morning, after she left for work, I took the ring and set it on the front cylinder of the Duck.
As I was kneeling next the bike, I got more and more nervous and kept sending her to the tool chest to get me another tool that I didn’t really need. She was getting a little frustrated with me and on her fifth or sixth trip from the tool chest asked if needed anything else. I figured it was then or never. I said yes, “I do want one other thing.” Samantha sighed at me, and I asked her to be my wife.
She said yes and was ecstatic. We’ve been happily married and road tripping on one of the bikes or in the Miata for 16 years now.
In the picture she’s holding up her ring and to her right, under the cover is the 748 that helped me propose.

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Marjorie King
This is my place of personal significance, Charleston WV. Our city has a population of 49,000, but it is still large enough to support a symphony orchestra, a ballet company, and a minor league baseball team. It is small enough that you know you neighbors by name. I was born here, educated here, live here, and will ultimately die here. I may be forced to move away at some time, but this city will always be in my heart.




Mike and Lori Russell
Coronado Beach, Coronado Island, San Diego, Cali.

Last month we were very fortunate to be able to take our Miata to one of our most favorite places to visit, southern California. Given this opportunity, it was obvious what our place of personal significance would be. Even though it’s over 1700 miles from our home in Iowa, we try to visit San Diego every few years. Three years ago, this destination became even more special to us when we were married on the beach on Coronado Island. What a beautiful place for a wedding!
Having the Miata to drive this time brought a whole new meaning to “fun in the sun.” This picture was taken on the beach right outside of the Hotel Del Coronado. Three years ago we renamed it, “Our Beach,” which makes it very personally significant!



Mike Mastracco
We called this road the road to the “UFO Look-Out” as this was the area where many a baby was made during the warmer months of May through September here in Central New York. Get your favorite girl and say let’s go look for UFO’s, I know a great spot… There were always other cars up there but nobody bothered anybody else as we were all up there for the same reason…



Mike McClain
30 years ago, maybe to the day, my wife and i did a car trip around Florida to decide where we wanted to live after I separated from the Air Force in a few months. We wanted near the coast so we went to Tampa, Naples, across to Miami and West Palm. All too crowded. It was lunch time, so we headed to the beach at Melbourne to grab a bite. As we crested the bridge over the Indian River (photo) we both looked at each other and simultaneously proclaimed: “This is it.” And as many a married person can attest, that doesn’t happen often enough!! Well, indeed it turned out to be “it” as we still live in the area all these years later. Like Goldilocks, we think it’s just right.



Paul Rolig
My wife Nancy (who is also my co-driver, navigator, and photographer) took this picture in front of Lewiston Senior High School in Lewiston, Idaho. This is where we met, and had a number of classes together, as well as many of the shared experiences that come with high school. We did not go out together until graduation night, but that date went very well <3 and we managed a long-distance romance through college. We got married right after our respective graduations and set out on the rest of our lives together. Two sons, now grown, and four Miatas later, we are still going strong!



Ralph and Mary Brooks
My place of personal significance. One of my hobbies is sailing, an interest I share with David Stuursma. I’ve owned a boat and raced in local beer can races for over 30 years. For the last 9 years, I’ve been a volunteer sailing coach for the Judd Goldman Adaptive Sailing Program in Chicago. This program teaches people with various disabilities to sail and, if interested, to race. Graduates of this program and others like it have gone on to sail competitively in the Paralympics and other world class events. Watching these people overcome their physical limitations and compete on an even basis with able bodied sailors is very rewarding.



Rene Riback
When I began this year’s challenge, I had a couple of different locations in mind for this category. But when it came time to drive a UHaul and tow the Miata thousands of miles away, I realized this place of personal significance really belongs to my daughter.

Texas A&M is not my alma mater, it was her choice. And as a single mom who only got to see her over Xmas and summer breaks, it was a hard adjustment for me. But one of the things I committed myself to do was to get out more; hence the MMC for 2015, 2016 & now 2017.

This is her last year that will finish with student teaching in the spring and graduation in May. She will always be an Aggie, and it is her turn to enjoy the Miata and the end of my MMC journey for 2017.



Robert Rushing
St. Louis Union Station where my wife and I spent our honeymoon in 1989 after a 17 inch snow storm shut down the city.



Stephen Brockwell
Geronimo’s grave on the East range at Fort Sill Oklahoma. Beautiful cemetery with many of the Apache warriors and their families buried here. Every time I can I stop by to say hello. One of the best guerrilla fighters ever.



Terri and Greg Wilkins
This is Cherry Hill High School East in NJ, where Greg and I first met as freshmen. We were both in band and in the same circle of friends. The summer before sophomore year (August 1, 1975 to be exact!) he asked me to go to see the movie Hound of the Baskervilles with him. We were so young, his Dad had to drive us! We have been together ever since, although while we were in college it was a long distance romance. We got married in 1984, have raised 3 wonderful children, and have moved seven times! Greg retired at the end of 2015. One of our first shared activities as retirees was the 2016 Challenge–it was so much fun and a great way to start off the new stage in our lives. So here we are again and now looking forward to the 2018 Challenge!



Steve Sonntag
The GMRR is a tourist train that does foliage cruises from Chester, VT to Ludlow and to Okemo. It also does a dinner cruise at times as well. We did one of these trips through the mountains of Vermont with my dad on what turned out to be his last visit before he passed on. Whenever I go through Chester/Chester Depot and see this train I think of my dad and the fun we had that day. Definitely a place of personal significance for me.



Wade Carrington
My parents purchased a lot in Arrowwood Waters in the 70s. A family friend built the outside of what became ‘The Lake House’. For the most part, Daddy did the rest on the weekends with some help from us when we could… We were in high school and college at the time. It was a wonderful place to enjoy ‘being away from it all’. I have many special memories from here. I did a couple of things to the car the last few days and needed to take it, and myself, for a little spin. Hello, Arrowwood Waters! Thank you, MMC2017… If not for this Challenge, I would not have done this!



Wayne Boudreaux
4th St. Shrimp Store in St. Petersburg, FL. This is where Kathy and I met 26 years ago. We come back several times each year but this was the first time with the Healey.

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Edgar Moss
My grandfather, Edgar Betts, worked for the CCC in the 30’s.  He helped build this memorial under Roosevelt.

Place of Personal Significance- My grandfather, Edgar Betts, worked for the CCC in the 30's. He helped build this memorial under Roosevelt.




'Moss Motoring Challenge 2017: Places of Personal Significance' has 1 comment

  1. January 22, 2018 @ 8:41 pm Moke Girl

    So many wonderful stories! It is especially fun to read about people who are at a place in life where they are just starting to get out and roam around. I spent more days on the road than anywhere else this year- but in a rental, in the suburban, in a truck, on a train, on a plane…. I keep thinking this will be the year(!!!) with the MGB – but I just keep roaming on without her for now. A few more perts to send out, then she’ll be ready to get herself together. Thank you all for sharing, and thanks to Moss & David for “normalizing” my crazy life!


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