2015 Motoring Challenge Winner: Charlie Walter! 203 out of a possible 223 points. That’s what it took to be the top Challenger of 2015. Charlie Walter ran a quiet and steady race. I asked Charlie to tell us about his experience and this is what he wrote:
I am 61 years old and in my 40th year teaching American History and Government at a small high school in central Ohio. I bought my first Miata, a ’94, in 2011. I picked up my present Miata, a 2000, in 2014. It had 43,000 miles when I bought it and now has over 81,000.
When I first registered for the challenge I didn’t know if I would get many points. I thought if I worked at it maybe I could get 100. This is how my Motoring Challenge evolved:
I started out exploring the area around home and taking some pictures even while there was still snow on the ground after our long cold winter. Area state parks, an old one-room school house, a one-lane bridge and the local water tower were among my first points. I was starting to get the bug. I expanded my driving range and looked for opportunities to get even more points.
In June my friend Trisha and I planned a trip south. The goal was to go to some states I’d never been to (Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana), drive some classic roads, and eventually end up in New Orleans. We slew the Dragon at Deals Gap (three times), drove the very scenic Cherohala Skyway and visited Lookout Mountain at Chattanooga, Tennessee. We didn’t take any Motoring Challenge pictures until we got to Montgomery, Alabama and got a couple of points with the Alabama state capitol building and the Dexter Avenue Baptist church where MLK Jr. used to be the pastor. For some reason we had not taken pictures for Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina, Georgia and Alabama on our trip down. We made it to New Orleans and toured the French Quarter, and headed back home to Ohio. We did eventually get our points for Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee and Kentucky on the trip home.
A trip in July took me west to the Mississippi River. I picked up Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, and Missouri on this trip as well as points for rivers, towns, counties and other destinations. It was a fun trip, and at the time I figured most of my travels were over. It turned out, however, that I had many more miles to put on the Miata’s odometer.
In August I took three major trips, plus a short excursion to Michigan and it’s capital, Lansing. In the first trip I set out to make up for the states I had missed in June. I headed south again to pick up North Carolina and Georgia. Somewhere in Georgia I decided to head to Florida. Then I headed north picking up SC, NC, VA, DE, NJ, and MD with an evening stop in Washington DC on the way. Then I headed back home gaining points in WV and PA before returning to Ohio.
My second August trip was to New England. I rolled east through PA and picked up my points in CT, RI, MA, NH, ME, and VT as well as my Atlantic Ocean point in New Hampshire. On the way home I drove through NY and found my adult playground at the Seneca Tribe Casino in Salamanca, NY. By the time I got home I had been in twenty-eight states and was wondering if I could find a way to get 20 more.
I had a meeting on August 27th and then didn’t have to be back to work until after Labor Day, Sept. 8. That gave me eleven days to drive about 7,000 miles west and get into 20 states. I also had several other destinations such as an elevation over 8,000 feet, a ghost town, a sign I had seen on a previous trip showing a population under 100, and of course the Pacific Ocean, which I saw at Crescent City, CA. As it turned out I only needed nine days. The last day of this trip started in Fargo, ND and ended at home 1200 miles and 23 hours later.
In September I found most of my car shows, including two in one day. I also located the Moss distributors and found a few more points, including my pumpkin patch. Trisha and I also made a trip to Virginia in October to get the picture of the Moss facility, which I had driven within a few miles of in August, but had failed to stop. The missed opportunity just resulted in more adventures. My last point was the family reunion picture when everybody got together for Thanksgiving.
Thanks for the opportunity! I really enjoyed completing the challenge. I believe it was somewhere in Georgia that my competitive juices really kicked in, and I decided to go for as many points as I could get. One of my brothers asked me if all the expense of the travelling was worth what I might win as a prize. My reply was: “That’s not the point.”
Read more at our other blog, MossMotoring.com. Click here to read more about all the top finishers. We’ve just started our 2016 Motoring Challenge – it’s our last year and it’s going to be EPIC! For more information about how to participate and possibly win the grand prize of a $1,000 Moss Gift Certificate, click here!