First Stage

We drove and are driving our 1991 Miata Special Edition from St. John's NL to Monterey California, to participate in Miata’s 25th anniversary celebrations including the global reveal of the new generation 4 of the model year 2016 Miata MX-5.


The direct driving route is almost 7,500 km (4,700 mi). The map shows our main routing: not including some side trips from New Brunswick back to Nova Scotia for a wedding, driving part of Route 66 in Illinois, etc.

This epic adventure will become a three-stage drive:

1) St. John's, Newfoundland to Toronto, Ontario (via Quebec City) - 2,850 km;

2) then to Salt Lake City, Utah + 3,150 km; and

3) on to Monterey, California + 1,500 km.

In June our Miata patiently waited to head out from the provincial capital St. John’s.

The June 23, 2014 start was from nearby at Cape Spear - the most easterly point in North America, with the odometer at 72,421 km (45,000 miles)...

...where the Miata looks at an iceberg in the direction of St. John's.

We headed west on the Trans Canada Highway – taking turns driving, making various stops for rests and free wi-fi :) plus visiting family and friends along the way. The first day we overnighted in Central Nfld., then onwards to Stephenville to stay at son Mike and Tara’s for a couple of nights.

Continuing to Port aux Basques, taking the 6-hour Ferry to Nova Scotia...

...and making the Miata comfortable inside for the night crossing.

From NS we drove into New Brunswick, where we relaxed almost a week at the Belliveau Family Cottage in Memramcook and where the Miata celebrated July 1st Canada Day.

The odometer reached the 74,000 km mark (45,981 mi). On July 3rd we left to drove back to NS for a wedding: while en route we visited friends in Mahone Bay. After the wedding we headed back through NB, hitting the 75,000 km point (46,602 miles), and stayed in Fredericton, en route to Quebec. The Miata was anxious to arrive Quebec City, where it had originally been purchased in 2005. We stayed two nights there with friends Ronnie and Hélène.

Departing in light rain, onwards into Ontario - driving through the 77,000 km mark (47,845 miles), and into Canada’s Capital City, Ottawa.  We hooked up with friends Eric and Heather, overnighting after much good wine. In the evening we tucked away our Miata along with Eric’s 2008 Honda S2000: the two sports cars seemed quite contented together.

Then continuing westward. We had planed the “first stage of our drive” to reach Toronto or even Chicago. However the adventurous Miata had developed a shimmy vibration, at the steering wheel and into the seats at speeds of 105/110 kph (65/70 mph) and over. We decided to have the car checked at a Toronto Mazda dealership. We telephoned ahead and arranged to drop it off that evening (Thursday July 10th), plus have a diagnostics, wheel balancing done and oil change, at 77,210 km (47,976 miles). We stayed as planned with son Tony, Sandra and the boys in Mississauga.

Unfortunately, the next day we were advised that the left rear driveshaft was bent: a bit unusual! In addition, the Mazda dealership story became worse, because they said the tires should be replaced – which we did: although the tires had relatively low mileage. Therefore, we had the wheels balanced, new valve stems and a wheel alignment done.

On Saturday July 12th we picked up the “repaired” car, and headed toward the Canada/USA border, but immediately after leaving the dealership and hitting the highway, the same vibration was there, although less pronounced. We had to return to the dealership. After another “test ride” with a mechanic and checking in the service bay again, their story now became that the main driveshaft may need to be balanced or even replaced, which could not be confirmed until Monday. This would have delayed our driving time by two days or more, therefore we decided to leave our car for them to re-check: mileage now at 77,355 km (48,066 miles).

We flew back to St. John’s July 12th: stage one of the drive completed. We had driven 4,934 km (3,065 miles) in an enjoyable 19 days, even if ending on a less than happy note.


Once back home, the following week via phone calls we were told by Mazda that their new left rear driveshaft was defective and they would replace it, plus now apparently the main driveshaft front and rear U-joints had to be replaced, plus the main driveshaft may have to be balanced or possibly replaced. It is too bad this was not discovered before by the dealership. However; since we were home 2,700 km away (1,700 miles away) we basically had no choice but to say go ahead and repair or replace. The new defective rear driveshaft was replaced, the new U-joints were installed and the main driveshaft ended up being re-balanced.


The Miata awaited our return: covered and protected indoors at the dealership. We prepare for the next stage for July 27th: Toronto, Ontario to Salt Lake City, Utah.


Stephen and Majella (Madge)

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