Our final drive of the 2015 season took place on Sunday, November 15. The day dawned sunny, dry, and as the weatherman might say, “seasonably warm”, with midday temps approaching 60 degrees. The emails with regrets I had received during the week led me to believe that we would have a light turnout. This was incorrect, as we had 11 cars and 15 guys, not too shabby! As has been the tradition this year, two gents new to the group joined us for the first time. We must be doing something right.
We pushed off from our usual Mahwah Sheraton Crossroads departure point at 9 a.m., one hour later than usual, in deference to the shorter November days. Heading down Route 287 South, yours truly was all too happy to cruise in the Miata with the top down, but not too many other convertibles took advantage of the sunshine, at least not at first.
Our destination for the morning was Stella G’s, an excellent breakfast joint in Hackettstown, NJ. We’ve been there before, but not this year. The drive consisted of three roads: Route 287 South to Route 23 North to Route 517 South. A new tradition is the now-obligatory pit-stop, christened the “Bill Whited fuel and bathroom break”. This time it was a Quick Chek. Your scribe observed that once we stop and let everyone start yapping again, it can be problematic to get the boys back into their cars.
After a beautiful cruise down Route 517 (we will NOT mention that the chase car made a wrong turn and ended up on Route 80), we were at Stella G’s at exactly 11 a.m. Customer Service in the state of NJ can indeed be spoken about in the present tense, as proven today. We called Stella G’s twice to ask them about seating 15 arrivals, and even though they do not take reservations on the weekend, we walked in at 11 a.m. sharp to find tables reserved and set for our large crowd. The food, coffee, and service were excellent as they always are at Stella G’s (thank you Kate!).
We were having too good a time. It was difficult for the group to leave the restaurant, and leave Hackettstown, knowing that we would not have the opportunity to do this again until the spring of 2016. Since time moves faster the older we get, it remains an unspoken truth that our first drive of the New Year will be here soon enough. To a man, we can’t wait.
All photographs (except as noted) copyright © 2015 Richard A. Reina. Photos may not be copied or reproduced without express written permission.