Club Happenings – Summer 2020: Scenic Drive Hosted by NJ Chapter, DelVal Chapter, and TriState 5ers
by Rich Altman
Members of the NJ Chapter participated in a family-friendly scenic drive on July 12th over the winding backroads of Somerset, Hunterdon, and Morris counties. The 60-mile long scenic drive, which began and ended at the Hills Village Center in Bedminster, attracted both long-time members and members for whom this was their first chapter event. The event was co-hosted by the NJ Chapter, DelVal Chapter, and the TriState 5ers group to raise funds for NORWESCAP, a not-for-profit organization that provides social services to low-income families in northwest New Jersey.
Attendees who arrived early to grab a coffee before heading out on the scenic drive were treated to an appearance of a very rare 2002 Touring model which did a quick lap of the parking lot to check out more than 30 BMWs across a range of generations and models that gathered at the shopping center in Bedminster. The limitations on activities in place at the time of the event due to the COVID-19 pandemic required all attendees to wear facemasks and adopt social distancing, but neither prevented the group from enjoying the beautiful weather and exploring scenic backroads of central New Jersey.
The convoy headed out from the shopping center and followed the leader (and Google Maps turn-by-turn directions) over winding backroads past the former estate of American auto executive John DeLorean in Bedminster and along the Lamington River in Pottersville en route to Long Valley Pub & Restaurant for lunch. Long Valley Pub & Restaurant accomodated the drivers and passengers with a designated parking area for the group along with a tasty menu of pub favorites served al fresco in the expanded outdoor seating area.
After lunch, the group headed back towards Bedminster on a meandering route over the windy backroads of Chester, Gladstone, and Mendham before taking a quick pause at the Jockey Hollow National Historical Park visitor center to allow the stragglers to re-group. From Jockey Hollow, the group continued onward into Harding where the group leader had a near-miss with a groundhog that had wandered into the roadway. Keeping your eyes up isn’t just good practice while driving at the racetrack. Thankfully, the group leader and the cars immediate behind him were able to dodge the obstruction and the marmot scurried back to relative safety in the brush alongside the road.
The group traversed the Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge without any further wildlife encounters and passed through Long Hill, Millington, and Bernardsville before returning to the Hills Village Center in Bedminster.
Seeing the variety of BMWs driving past attracted honks from other drivers, waves from pedestrians, and even a new participant who joined in on the fun after seeing all of us drive past his home. All-in-all, it was the perfect weather and gave everyone a chance to get out, enjoy their cars, and make some new friends.
Stay safe and we are excited to see everyone at upcoming events!