View Full Version : Triple Crown Update
June 23rd, 2009, 11:32 PM
Whew. I is tired. Day 2 of The Great Ice Cream Run 2 (the second leg of the triple crown) is complete. We are in Sturbridge, MA for the night. Over 700 miles during the past two days and enough ice cream to make me sick.
We started out hitting three ice cream shops on Day "0" (Sunday evening), including a Wright Wheelie (a glazed donut with ice cream and topping on it like a sundae). On Day 1(Monday) we hit an ice cream shop in Hagerstown, MD, for lunch. I had a "Steamer" which is basically known as a Sloppy Joe in our NC parts. Monday night we went out to Heisler's near Frackville, PA, where I had a Belgian Waffle Sundae - yes, a sundae built atop a Belgian waffle. Today (Tuesday), our lunch stop was in Port Jervis (NY I think) for Deep-Fried Ice Cream. Delicious.
Between the miles traveled and living on coffee, Red Bull, and ice cream, I've lost all track of the states we've been through. It has been a lot. I basically concentrate on keeping the MINI in front of me in sight. Interesting country up here - in some ways like NC, in other ways very different.
Our group has been as small as six MINIs, but I think we may be up to eleven MINIs in the group following the route. There have been folks from the local clubs coming out to meet us at our stops (and Monday night they setup an excellent run on some fun twisties in PA), so sometimes the number has really ballooned. It has been great meeting all these MINI owners from all the different clubs. They have been extremely gracious hosts and/or traveling partners.
One interesting note - of the group following the Run route, I am the only Chili Red and the only R56. Next to the first gen MINIs, especially the lowered ones, mine looks like a monster truck. OK, maybe not that big, but I can really see the difference. Am I going to have to add some lowering springs to the list of possible mods?
Hope to get some pictures up soon. Stay tuned for further updates.
June 24th, 2009, 01:09 AM
Woohoo for Massachusetts! Watch out for the Massholes! The left lane of the Mass Pike moves at 85 during rush hour. I grew up really close to the route you guys are taking. Have fun and drive safe!
June 24th, 2009, 01:11 AM
Also, if you need another ice cream stop, put this one into your GPS:
Uhlman's Ice Cream
228 E Main St, Westborough, MA 01581
June 24th, 2009, 07:19 AM
When in Maine, do not miss the Lobster Roll for lunch or anytime. You will not regret it, and that goes for Susan too. She said she didn't like lobster while at Brown's. Something else you will discover -- when in Maine, only the fast cars drive in the left lane, everyone will move over to the right. What an amazing concept! Have fun, be safe.
June 24th, 2009, 07:35 AM
Ice Cream and lowering springs = Good Thang!!!:yes2: Sounds like a blast!
June 24th, 2009, 06:41 PM
Woohoo for Massachusetts! Watch out for the Massholes! The left lane of the Mass Pike moves at 85 during rush hour. I grew up really close to the route you guys are taking. Have fun and drive safe!
Heck if you get to 495 its 85+ and guardrail to guardrail. Kinda like a slalom.
June 24th, 2009, 11:02 PM
Day 3 is complete. Little easier pace today as we did not have as much ground to cover. I've uploaded pics from the first 3 days to my blog (gallery (http://www.totehmoon.com/blog/?page_id=499)).
Have not tried a Lobster Roll yet - anticipate doing that tomorrow. Roads in Mass were pretty good until we got close to the coast. No offense intended to anyone, but I'd have to say PA has about the worst roads I've seen, especially when we were traveling through the mining country towns.
A few samples pics:
A "Wheelie" from Wright's Dairy Rite, our "Day 0" gathering spot:
MINIs at our last stop on Day 1, Heisler's Dairy:
Day 2 stop at the Riverside Creamery for Deep-fried Ice Cream:
Day 3 started rainy, which brought some ducks out to see the MINIs:
In March I got a shot of MINI WUF with a giant rollerskate. Now I have him with a giant Indian in Freeport, ME:
June 25th, 2009, 07:49 AM
Soooooo jealous. Glad you're having a great time!
June 25th, 2009, 05:02 PM
Susan made the papers...
June 25th, 2009, 05:19 PM
Susan made the papers...
And in a positive way too!
June 27th, 2009, 01:34 PM
THMMC contingent has made it to Minis On Top. Cadillac Mtn rainy & foggy, so no sunrise. Long day ahead still (Sunday drive back as well) so may be a couple more days before new pics posted.
June 28th, 2009, 01:35 PM
Heads up for folks - at the MOT event last night, Susan won the one year lease of a MINI from Herb Chambers MINI. She cleaned up on other prizes - lucky night for her.
We did get the MMAC banner to the summit of Mt. Washington with the help of new MINI friends.
June 28th, 2009, 03:23 PM
Susan's goin' to be doin' some cruisin' :girl_wacko:
June 28th, 2009, 06:38 PM
June 28th, 2009, 07:06 PM
Looks like fun, we just got our TGICR package in the mail, Amanda cried when she looked at the map. It was so well put together! Hopefully it will happen in the future.
June 28th, 2009, 10:18 PM
Congrats Susan!!! Couldn't have went to a better person.
July 3rd, 2009, 08:28 AM
OK, I finally finished going through my photos and getting them posted on my blog. You can find them as:
BRP Tour (http://www.totehmoon.com/blog/?page_id=496) photos
TGICR2 (http://www.totehmoon.com/blog/?page_id=499) photos
Not a BHI Invasion (http://www.totehmoon.com/blog/?page_id=500) photos (really just our run out to West Quoddy Head Light)
Minis On Top (http://www.totehmoon.com/blog/?page_id=501) photos
(note that if you want to get to the full size version of any pic, right click on it and select "View Image". That will break you out of all the scripts the site is using to frame/present the pics. Using the back button will take you right back to where you left off.)
I have not had a chance to do any writing on the blog about the adventures. May be a few days still as I am again heading out of town (I think I've slept in my own bed about 3 nights out of the past 3 weeks). Any PC time I do get this weekend will be spent slapping together a rough draft for MC2 about BRP. And I need to get the photos burned and off to Mark. Who knew there was so much follow-up work to do?
July 3rd, 2009, 08:46 AM
Jeff, I especially enjoyed the MOT pix. Cool adventure! :ms_thumbsup:
July 3rd, 2009, 09:19 AM
Memories, for sure. It looks like you had a large crowd for MOT.
July 3rd, 2009, 08:11 PM
Amazing, just amazing .. what a blast and thanks especially to the folks who spent the whole 11 days on the road on this trifecta journey .. Causey, Jak&Dusdee, Ian, Dave&Erica, who am I forgetting, I haven't recovered yet! (heck 2 weeks worth of forum posts to read through, I needed this 3 day weekend!)
I'll get some more specifics posted as well some photos soon .. (tho they will not possibly compare to the ones Jeff and Jak took!)
Someone (Ian?Peter?) at MOT commented that a MINI is the only car you can buy that comes with friends -- how true! could not have said it any better myself (tho I have a few new "mottos" after this adventure, will be editing the signature line soon, too!:girl_wink:)
July 4th, 2009, 06:51 PM
Link to our Pictures
Blue Ridge Parkway 09 (http://gallery.me.com/jp1104#100068)
TGICR2 09 (http://gallery.me.com/jp1104#100093)
Arcadia National Park (http://gallery.me.com/jp1104#100103)
July 5th, 2009, 10:16 AM
July 5th, 2009, 11:36 AM
Great shots Jak.
July 5th, 2009, 05:13 PM
All the road photos were taken by Dusdee. She did take good pictures.....
Lil Blue Coop
July 5th, 2009, 07:16 PM
Thanks Jak & Dusdee, great pictures.
July 6th, 2009, 09:10 AM
July 21st, 2009, 11:25 PM
Admittedly, I have been remiss in posting lately .. no good excuses, just a lack of free time. However, the BRP/TGICR/MoT total adventure concluded this past weekend and I owe an update, and especially some thank-youís!
The BRP II was on tap from about 24 hours post completion of BRP I and that I planned to participate after my exhilerating experience last year, was a given. Shortly thereafter, Causey posted an inquiry for interest in what he dubbed the Triple Crown -- BRP, synced with The Great Ice Cream Run, Bar Harbour Invasion tagged with MINIs on Top at Mount Washington. Having known only wonderful adventures and wonderful friends courtesy of my MINI ('05, Willie, aka MINIFIED) I could not imagine a better use of my summer vacation than to travel from NC to Bar Harbour, ME and then New Hampshire. Fortunately, I had accrued a little more leave-time this year than I did last ..
I caught up with the Tar Heel MINIs on Friday in Banner Elk, NC after caravanning from Raleigh and Siler City with Tracy (TadyBug) and her co-pilot, the pair affectionately nicknamed Thelma and Louise -- out for an adventure of a lifetime, and dressed for it, too! Banner Elk brought about new friends and existing, and a few of my own "personal recruits" - that would be some drivers from the ATL MINI group .. I know other club members have posted stories and photos of our pizza dinner that evening and believe me, we were off to a good start! My roomie for the duration of the trip, Rita, and I picked up where we left off at Helenblitz and Spring Dragon - fast friends and girl-chat that kept us awake late enough to render the AM alarm far too early to be described as reasonable ..
Saturday, of course, we drove, 44 MINIs, almost twice the number as last year, and five times as many solo girl drivers ~ yeah for the pink representation! Next year's goal (yes, next year is already on the books!) an even dozen :-) It was hard to imagine driving territory I had already seen, again, and seeing anything unique, but it was still going to be fun driving and fun friends .. as it turns out there were vistas aplenty that were novel .. (or had been a blur on BRP I so I was glad for a 2nd look!) .. a slight familiarity, more comfort with my driving abilities, and a little less distracted this year; a different experience ..
Plenty of photo ops, smiles from on-lookers, stops for socializing, bugs as appliqu?s, twisty roads, stories to swap, adventures to share ..
Sunday was Father's Day - parts of my whole 3-legged trip were rooted in tribute to my father - and while the BRP Dads took a group photo, I used the free minutes to snag Ian Cull, the organizer for MINIs on TOP event, to purchase some additional raffle tickets for the designated charities of the MINIs on TOP event.
Sunday was also the conclusion of the Blue Ridge Parkway piece of this tri-fecta in Waynesboro, VA, conveniently 15 miles down the street from the commencement of The Great Ice Cream Run in Staunton, VA; those participant arrivals due late Sunday afternoon. Before heading off in many different directions, I proposed we lunch at South River Restaurant with visions of last year's Salad-on-a-Pizza in my head; however, someone at that restaurant had the not-so-bright marketing idea of closing on Father's Day. Another trip to Waynesboro, VA will *have* to be in my future plans; I need my Salad Pizza fix! I am sure, Razz, oh-i-mean Midnight Dave, can relate!
Dictionary.com's definition of "leisurely drive" indicates SLOW as a synonym; by THMMC standards, the BRP does not qualify .. :-)
Ice Cream aficionados - of which I am not really one - I joined up with this next group for the drive, the fellowship, the New England destinations - started gathering Sunday afternoon in Staunton. There were six MINIs continuing on from the Tar Heel Club Blue Ridge Parkway tour - myself, Jeff Causey, Ian Cull, Josh Trout, Dave & Erica, and Jak & Dusdee -- the others in the group were new to me representing Florida, New Jersey, Maryland, Ohio, and Massachusetts.
The original Great Ice Cream Run idea was to travel the east coast eating ice cream at predetermined independent ice cream shops generally once or twice a day. It was a small group in comparison with the BRP group, but we were going to have 5 days together to see whose ice cream consumption claims could hold up to the true test. I learned quickly that there would be some participants who would forgo actual meals each day in an attempt to spare calories for, well, more ice cream ...
Sunday evening we had one designated stop in Staunton, Virginia, Wright's Dairy Bar. The specialty, a "wheelie" - a glazed doughnut topped with soft-serve vanilla ice cream, chocolate sauce, and whipped cream. I was already in a panic over my caloric and lactose thresholds and recruited Glenn to be willing to split one of these concoctions. Glenn was quite willing to share as he had already indulged in an ice cream treat earlier in the day. As a group we collectively pondered why anyone would have already eaten ice cream knowing it was on the agenda for the evening? Glenn informed us that a co-worker of his had opined that Cline's had the best ice cream in all of Staunton so he had given it a try. Besides, Cline's homemade flavor of the week was chocolate peanut butter. Collectively, as a group, we wondered if homemade chocolate peanut butter ice cream could best a Wheelie? Collectively, as a group, we decided since it was only 6 blocks away, and had plenty of parking for MINI's, we had to go find out!
Off we went for our 2nd ice cream within an hour. The jury is still out on which of those two was better .. but someone .. Eric, maybe? or perhaps Dave? got the bright idea to run an iPhone google search (who invented those things, anyway??) to see if there was another independent ice cream shop in Staunton, Virginia. What do you know, historic downtown, boasts The Split Banana. Yes, folks, this adventure started with ice cream three times in two hours .. I was going to be in serious trouble by the end of these five days ..
I had packed clothing for warm weather, cold weather, hot weather, rainy weather, and the beach. But I had not packed various sizes of each ..
Day "0" of the Great Ice Cream Run concluded with overstuffed bellies and we retired to our hotel in Staunton. Generally, I would not write specifics about a hotel, per se, a la the seen one/seen 'em all theory, but there were two interesting things that happened at this Best Western. One was that the bathtubs were adorned with yellow rubber duckies -- significant because we were ultimately headed to MINIs on TOP where the antenna toppers over the years have been yellow rubber duckies in honor of one of the original organizers who has since passed away from cancer. The 2nd is that when I did my TripAdvisor review search on this hotel prior to booking it (it was the group designated hotel, but I've still gotten in the habit of checking) I read about the nearby railroad tracks, but had completely forgotten that minor detail.
At about 4am I was awakened by what I was quite certain was a plane flying too low and about to torpedo a building. And I was quite sure that the hotel we were in was the unintended target. For about one minute, being from hurricane-prone NC and knowing where it's recommended one take cover during a hurricane, I pondered where one should try and protect oneself from a sky dropping a plane? I didn't have any idea. I did not even have a helmet as the motorcyclists who were sharing the hotel with us likely had the benefit of. Since apparently there was no reasonable way to protect myself, I figured I might as well go back to sleep. About that time the train finished passing and at that same moment I remembered the TripAdvisor review ..
Day "1" started with sharing the complimentary breakfast with the helmet-blessed group from the sport-touring motorcycle association which could prove somewhat intimidating (hope to get in the buffet line ahead of them?) but we found our commonality during conversation -- they asked about our MINIs, our group, our itinerary .. and they were so impressed with the drive-up-the-east-coast-sampling-ice-cream idea that it wouldn't be surprising to see them organize the same for their club in the future. On the flip side of comparing agendas, their group was using Staunton as a "base" for 5 days and taking day trips from there. Not a bad idea since the MINIs spent $15 each on a 7-day pass for the Skyline Drive and only used it once!
It was worth the cost of admission, however! Skyline Drive was beautiful -- and leisurely! -- we saw deer, and chipmunks, a bear, and squirrels (both dead and alive) as well as lush scenery. Our overnight destination for Day 1 was Frackville, PA and the ice cream stop du jour was Heislerís. One of the NEMINI club members met us in Frackville and took us on the 'locals' drive to Heislerís -- a dairy barn in the middle of no where -- with a golf course, driving range, miniature golf, an arcade, and other family friendly activities. A Monday night in the middle of no-where and there was quite the crowd! The specialty at Heisler's was a waffle sundae made with a real waffle bowl. I had an ice cream education at Heisler's - learned that a CMP Sundae is Chocolate, Marshmallow, and Peanuts .. and that a Splurge Sundae is something that anyone eating ice cream for 5 days in a row should resist ...
One most pleasant surprise at Heisler's is that Jason Knight, from NEMINI, drove an hour and a half to meet up with us with Philadelphia Pretzels in tow. Jason had joined the Tar Heel forum specifically for the BRP Tour and when I learned he would be joining us from Philadelphia, I teased him to please be sure and bring me one of my beloved Philly Pretzels! Given that they do not survive long, and would have been hard as a rock by the commencement of the BRP Tour, Jason instead provided them at Heislerís -- it was a most pleasant surprise and since some of us needed sustenance other than ice cream, it was perfect timing, too! (Thanks, Jason!)
Day "2" had most of the group departing from Frackville headed to Sturbridge, MA. I had decided in advance that since I would be within an hour and a half of my Dad's hometown that on Tuesday, Day 2, I was taking my own ďrootsĒ detour. Jak and Dusdee joined me and we deviated from the group for the day on a side trip through the Pocono Mountains to where my Dad was from; I got to visit the creek and the cemetery that are his last resting place (the grave marker that was ordered from the VA, since he was a Veteran, over 2 years ago was finally in place; it's the first time I've been back that it was) .. and after driving Kaiserville Road that goes to the family farm I determined evidently I have a genetic excuse for my fondness of a car that loves twisty mountain roads; we then headed to the Tunkhannock Bridge (also called the Nicholson Viaduct) - the largest concrete railroad bridge in the world - where I broke a few rules to get a photo I just *had to have* -- the juxtaposition of little cars with a huge bridge backdrop was just too much to resist!
We had been advised at the start of the day, since we were splitting from the group, that if we only found ice cream once that day to be sure and patronize the Riverside Creamery in Port Jervis, New Jersey, for the deep fried ice cream. We hit traffic, congestion, construction and detours in our attempt to get to Riverside Creamery, but we were so glad we persevered! Homemade ice cream in home made dough, deep fried, covered in chocolate syrup and whipped cream -- again, I was glad I had "sharees" for the ice cream!
We caught up with the group in Sturbridge, MA for pizza dinner and many went for post-dinner ice cream. I opted instead to drive thirty miles to Palmer, MA to have a 50th wedding anniversary card to my Mom postmarked specifically from Palmer .. even though my Dad passed away 3 years ago, my calculations were that if I mailed the card on Tuesday evening it would arrive in Raleigh on Saturday, June 27th, the date of my parents' anniversary .. I heard the ice cream at Howard's was wonderful, but I was pretty well ice-creamed out for the day ..
The MINIs were "eyed" in Sturbridge, though I did not notice this until several days later .. evidently it is a usual custom!
Day "3" we regrouped and traveled together from Sturbridge. There were several designated ice cream stops including England's Microcreamery in Haverhill, MD where we not only had designated parking spaces sectioned off for the MINIs in front of the shop, but a 'police escort' that blocked the traffic and allowed us to U-turn in the middle of the street to said designated parking spaces. This highly contrasted with the "un-synchronized" U-turn that the MINIs performed on the BRP trip. In some ways this was my favorite ice cream shop -- they sold ice cream "by the ounce" .. an ounce of ice cream is about the size of two melon ball-er "scoops" which was just about perfect! I sampled four different one-ounce flavors of ice cream, including Guinness-flavored ice cream, and it cost me less than $2.00 and did not wreck the diet! (Diet, on this trip? You know I jest!)
There was a reporter and a photographer at England's for this event, here is a link to the story: http://www.eagletribune.com/punewshh...176032923.html (http://www.eagletribune.com/punewshh/local_story_176032923.html)
The accommodation plans for Day "3" were designated for the group in Freeport, Maine, however, once again I elected a deviation and I stayed with friends from my teen years on Peak's Island off the coast of Maine. I cannot attest to the ice cream indulgences in Freeport, or witness to any 24-hour LL Bean shopping, but I know the wine and stories flowed freely at the Dry Dock in Portland for dinner and on Peak's Island post-dinner. We toured the island in a golf cart - comparably sized to the MINI but not nearly the horsepower of even a just a Cooper! It was a treat to catch up with such long time friends and I wished I had more time. Alas, the ferry back to the mainland was at 7:15am to be able to catch up with the group for the final leg of the Ice Cream Run from Freeport to Bar Harbour ..
Bar Harbour was the only place that we spent 2 nights in the same hotel -- I'm undecided as to whether Bar Harbour was one of my favorite stops on the entire trek because it was amazingly beautiful with perfect weather, or if a reprieve from the daily schlepping of my suitcase from my MINI to my room and back again was the appeal.
(continued below, if you still have the patience!)
July 21st, 2009, 11:26 PM
There were 3 ice cream stops in Bar Harbour where we sampled Wild Maine Blueberry Ice Cream (generally well received) and Lobster Ice Cream (generally not - I was not even fond of lobster so I did not expect to like Lobster Ice Cream - but I got brave and sampled it regardless. I cannot imagine ordering a whole scoop of it; rumour has it they sample out much more than they sell .. to answer the burning question: it was an odd flavored vanilla with little bits of "chewy" lobster in it that was quite unsettling in texture, but that's the opinion of someone who was not partial to lobster to begin with)
At this point the only remaining MINI contingent were from THMMC; other drivers, and our TGICR tour co-ordinator, Robyn (Thanks, Robyn!) had headed "home" by way of roads or auto-train. In the past there was a MINI Bar Harbour Invasion event prior to the MINIs on Top, but the organization of that event fell apart this summer. So we had to make our own fun .. our Tar Heel contingent ventured to the West Quoddy Lighthouse - the eastern most point of the continental US, to Acadia National Park, and to Cadillac Mountain (which I recalled as being Green Mountain - renamed in the early 1900's - so I'm not sure why Green sticks in my brain - I'm an old lady but not *that* old!) .. we set an alarm for 3:45 Saturday morning to catch the sunrise on Cadillac Mountain but the day started off foggy and rainy, no sunrise was to be witnessed.
We all had a chance to partake of real lobster while in Maine - Causey for the first time ever - photo-evidence, complete with lobster bib in my forum album, at a 'it-looks-like-an-interesting-dive' we happened upon on the return from West Quoddy. I had only eaten lobster one other time in my life -- on a prior visit 4-5 years ago to my same childhood friend who lives off the coast of Portland; she also had her own lobster pots, so the lobster could not have been any more pulled-straight-from-the-sea-fresh. But I was not a fan ..
Beal's Lobster Pound was recommended as "the best" by both Ben from the THMMC forum as well as a tour bus driver who when he realized I was not part of the cruise crowd and that I had vehicular transportation quietly told me that Beal's would be "well worth the drive" (18 miles to the South Harbor section) .. quietly, because a few of the cruise group overheard the driver make that comment to me and were suddenly disappointed that they did not have the means to get to Beals.
It was our last night in Maine and eating lobster was on my agenda, even if Iíd never had a positive experience with it. As it turned out, I would venture to Beal's on my own -- the Yaemsiri's were contending with a bit of seasickness after a lighthouse boat tour and Causey had other plans. My expectation was that I was still not going to like lobster, but deduced if I ordered it in some sort of dish - ie alfredo, or curried etc. that when I didn't like the lobster I could at least get a sufficient meal of noodles or rice or vegetables from the rest of the entree ..
Imagine my surprise to find that at a lobster pound the only "selection" one can make is for "which" lobster -- there were no dishes of varying recipes. I drove 18 miles to eat lobster, I told the attendant to select the smallest one in the tank, as I was not going to like it anyway. I didn't look 'im in the eye knowing I was personally responsible for his fate, momentarily .. (that lobster that is, not the attendant!)
While I awaited the dish I was convinced I was not going to like, three other women about my same age struck up a conversation -- they were curious about the MINI and our adventure; I was likewise curious about them. They were from three different states, had not known each other as friends, relatives, or co-workers, but had struck up this band of sisters to do segment hiking of the Appalachian Trail. Each summer they would - collectively :-) - determine which state they were going to visit to hike a portion of the trail. It struck me as fascinating these different cliques of people - the motorcyclists in VA, the hikers in ME, with a common denominator just like the MINI drivers - people with a like interest, coming together to adventure based upon that common interest.
I will sum up Beal's by saying that I found myself fond of lobster, I would definitely eat it again, it was unequivocally the best I've ever had, and my $16 covered a 1.5 lb lobster, a wild blueberry Maine soda, AND a tip .. go ahead, be envious ..
Saturday AM, after the Cadillac Mountain sunrise that wasn't, our group said good-bye to the Bar Harbour Invasion that wasn't, and headed to Mount Washington for the MINIs on Top event. We had a five hour drive and had to arrive in time for the driver's meeting at 11:30am. We had a pleasant day, some fun roads enroute, and upon our arrival we were greeted by 450 other MINI enthusiasts.
It was a well-organized event with a little something for every one. We felt we'd had our fill of driving for the day between the drive over from Bar Harbour and the forthcoming drive up Mount Washington, so we elected to have lunch and hang out at the Loon Mountain area for the local events. I had signed up for the MINI-Olympics and the others were content to watch the slow moving action .. there were 20 of us signed up to drive this obstacle course and each of us got 2 attempts.
I will 'fess up that my first attempt was shameful -- I'm not sure how many cones I took out, I could not remember the directions, and I made the cardinal sin of forgetting to refasten my seat belt which deducted hefty points. My 2nd attempt I was pretty proud of -- I thought my time was decent, I stayed on course, and I only sacrificed one cone. I wasn't sure where I figured in comparison with the others, but felt that if I finished in the top 5 that would be a respectable showing to represent the THMMC ..
We interrupt our regularly scheduled programming for a few side notes. The MINIs on Top event is a fund-raiser for the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Maine and The Mount Washington Observatory. In the mail-in registration packet there were 5 "free" raffle tickets for door prizes and the option to purchase $20 raffle tickets to support the designated charities. The raffle was for a free one-year lease of an '09 Pepper White/Black MINI Cooper. Ever a sucker for a raffle, especially for a good cause, I ordered several raffle tickets with my initial registration.
The raffle tickets arrived in the mail, need not be present to win, and I noticed the drawing to be held at the base of Mount Washington was for June 27th. June 27th, 2009 would have been my parent's 50th wedding anniversary. This year is also the 50th anniversary of the MINI. In my heart, I needed to buy 5 more raffle tickets, but I specifically had to buy them on Father's Day. I emailed Ian, who I had never met, but who I knew would be driving with us on the BRP on Father's Day, and I confirmed that Iím slightly odd with my imploring that I had to buy 5 more tickets, and I had to do so specifically on Father's Day. What made this transaction a little more complex was that the raffle tickets were in Massachusetts where Ian lives (and planned to stop and pick them up enroute to MINIs on TOP), but Ian's MINI that he would be driving on the BRP was housed in Florida. If he could remember to bring them with him on his trip to Florida to retrieve his MINI he'd be glad to accommodate this request. I've already mentioned, about 3 or 4 chapters ago, that I did indeed purchase raffle tickets from Ian on Father's Day during the Blue Ridge Parkway Tour.
At MINIs on TOP I also purchased a boot magnet for $8 and spent the remaining $12 from my $20 bill on additional dollar door prize raffle tickets ...
Snack and potty break is over now, back to our regularly scheduled programming.
It's time for dinner under the big tent at MINIs on TOP. From the Golden Emcee, a word of Thanks, a story relayed about the significance of the yellow duckies, an announcement that the Observatory Tour participants (of which Jak, Dusdee, and I had our names drawn) are to be shuffled to the front of the dinner line as we'll need to leave for the tour ahead of the rest of the group. Ahead of the door prize drawings, too.
Awards time -- award for the MINI driver who traveled the furthest to be there -- from Wyoming. That winner declined her award that she had also won last year so it went to a father and son from TN who arrived that distance in a classic MINI! Awards for the cleanest car, and the dirtiest. Awards for the best decorated car and the one with the most complex sound system (Congratulations Eric!) .. awards for the MINI-Olympics contenders. Cross my fingers to land in the top 5. Announced # 5. Not me. Announced # 4. Not me. At this point I knew it was a lost cause as there was no way I finished in the top 3. And I didn't.
Next up: raffle drawing for the free MINI for a year. Most of you reading this know the result.
MINIFIED morphed into WINIFIED.
Oh yes, in my shock I made a fool of myself [link: http://minisontop.com/2009/07/05/sus...p-2009-raffle] (http://minisontop.com/2009/07/05/susan-wins-the-minisontop-2009-raffle]) fortunately I have not found video footage of it on Youtube. To the group dining I relayed my story of the long 10 day drive that got me there -- the BRP, the Great Ice Cream Run, the Bar Harbour Invasion that Wasn't. The raffle tickets I had to buy on Father's Day, the side trip to PA to my Dad's gravesite, this raffle drawing on my parent's 50th wedding anniversary. You've read it all, they had to sit through it all! If you know me at all, you know I don't tell short stories .. If you know me at all you know how many times I've envied and wished to be a "two MINI family" and now I was. (though my owning two was not exactly the idea I envisioned)
The observatory tour group heads to the top of Mount Washington, I barely remember the drive; fortunately I stayed on the road. My ever-present fear of heights was completely dissipated by my mind reeling. All I had wanted was to make my club proud and finish in the top 5 of the MINI-Olympics and instead I have this good fortune?
We took the tour - God Bless the kids who were telling us all about what they do for research there, how long they stay, where they stay, how fast the wind blows, why there is a cat that lives with them. I know Mount Washington is the Home of the World's Worst Weather but only because I have a Tshirt (thanks Jak and Dusdee!) that says so; otherwise I honestly did not catch much of what they tried to teach, I was so lost in thought. Perhaps a bit of sleep deprivation after a 3:45am alarm was starting to affect me, also ..
My ever-present fear of heights kicked back in when we had to climb a rung-ladder to get to the top of the observatory. I could look out a window of the level I was on and all I saw was fog. Why risk the climb for an opaque view? But as I stood there looking at this ladder I did not want to ascend, I thought of the 405 people at the base of the mountain who had submitted their names as interested in being selected for the observatory experience whose names did not get drawn. I put my brave on one more time, put one foot in front of the other, and climbed. When I reached the top level, the view was spectacular - some say the best it's ever been for a MINIs on Top event. Patches of blue sky and white puffy clouds. MINIs headed up the Mount Washington Road that looked literally like matchbox toys from that distance. And for a fleeting moment - I got two photos, some others did not get any - a rainbow in the sky over the mountain.
Others saw it, I felt it, and I knew without a doubt why out of all my summer vacation plan options, I was atop a mountain after an 11 day journey, with one more reminder of the most important things in life, the people who touch your soul.
To say I was overwhelmed would be an understatement. I shared a smuggled toast (thanks, Ed!) to all the blessings of my life and we headed back down the mountain. We still had a three hour drive ahead of us to get to the hotel for the night (the logic being to knock a few hours off the 18 hour drive back to NC on Sunday) .. it was after 9pm and we had been on the go for 17+ hours, most of them driving ..
We said our good-byes to our friends from the Ice Cream Run, Bar Harbour, and MINIs on Top, descended the mountain, and at the base, much to my dismay, my club members were all stopping to park.
I was tired, emotionally drained, we were running out of daylight for our continued drive, my car was not hot, my brakes were not smoking, I just wanted to hit the road. Reluctantly, I pulled into the parking lot with the others, a bit anxious and testy to get back to the task at hand, progress toward the hotel, and Causey, who had been babysitting the raffle tickets for those of us on the observatory tour, started handing out envelopes of door prizes won.
He said my good luck must have rubbed off on Dusdee as she won a $50 gift certificate to Pooch Style.
And then he handed me an envelope for a Shell Gift Card. Wow, gas to get my new MINI back to NC, terrific!
And then he handed me an envelope with 4 passes for gondola rides at Loon Mountain
And then he handed me an envelope for a free stay with park passes at the Attitash Hotel and Resort (the host hotel for MINIs on TOP)
At that point I cried. At that point the others started handing me their dollar bills and made me promise to buy them Powerball tickets for the drawing that night. (Unfortunately my luck had run out by the time the lottery tickets were drawn)
We made it back to NC after 15 hours of driving on Sunday. This past Friday I flew up to Boston to pick up the '09 MINI - WINIFIED (christened name thanks to Causey's suggestion) .. I could tell you about that trip but it would be a whole 'nuther book .. Ian's photos, once again, will present the 1000 word picture instead:
Thank you, also, to my Boston tour guides, Eric and Monica, and to a whole host of new MINI friends at Herb Chambers.
Just as there was a transitory moment of speculation after BRP '08 if there would be a BRP '09, I too, wondered - after traversing the BRP in '08 from North to South, and in '09 from South to North, how could it possibly be varied for BRP '10?
My answer of course, is that I will be doing it in a different MINI, how lucky is that??? :girl_wink:
July 21st, 2009, 11:27 PM
:blink: That"s all?
:sarcastic: Great write up, sounds like you had a wonderful time!!:happy:
July 22nd, 2009, 08:42 AM
Great write up.
Glad you had such a great time.
It was our pleasure to meet you and meet you in Boston for your pick up.
Good things happen to great people. Congrats.
Schatzy62 (aka Eric) and Monica
July 22nd, 2009, 10:09 AM
Been wondering when we would get the full story. It was worth the wait, thanks for filling us in, Susan (aka Lucky).
July 22nd, 2009, 11:27 AM
Susan, your two posts made up for your forum "quiet time". Very much enjoyed reading the posts.
July 22nd, 2009, 11:32 AM
Great story, well done...... LUCKY
July 22nd, 2009, 11:39 AM
Beals = best lobstah evah. Glad you were converted to a lobster fan. =)
Sounds like a great trip, too. It's going to be sad to see MINIFIED go, after all those adventures she has under her belt.
July 22nd, 2009, 04:41 PM
Sounds like you had a GREAT time. I hope to do something like this too... eventually. :ms_thumbsup:
July 24th, 2009, 09:53 PM
Wow Susan ... I know the stories, but reading them again is a thrill; you write so well :)
Glad to have been a small part of such MINI fun!
July 29th, 2009, 08:46 PM
Susan, just read your two posts. Great summary. Glad someone wrote something since I totally slacked off this time around.
Enjoy the new MINI! Remember, we'd love to see it on my Jim Thorpe Run next year if you and any other Tarheel MINI folks are crazy enough to join us. Glenn made it up from Florida last year, so you really have no excuse. :sarcastic:
If any of you are ever passing through NJ or eastern PA, give a shout... We'll do ice cream. :yes4:
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