Sunday, September 4, 2011

MINI Cooper Club Run

One of the things that I was looking forward to doing while back in California this summer was going with the members of my local MINI club for a run through east county San Diego. This past Sunday was finally the day that I got to meet up with the group for the first time in almost two years. We ended up with at least twenty-two MINI's worth of folks and had a nice fun drive for about four hours. Here are some of the cars and peeps at our first rest stop:

Like I mentioned, this was the first run with West Coast MINI (WCM) that I had done in almost two years (since I left San Diego). I really enjoy the runs because I love to drive and also because the folks in the club are a great bunch. We started out on Sunday at about 9am and headed east to drive through the twisty roads and mountains that ring the east side of San Diego county. It ended up being one of the hottest days of the year, getting up to, at one point, 114 degrees F (45.5 C)!!! I missed getting a picture of the thermometer in my car but I did manage to record it reading 113 was hottt!!!

The runs, which our fearless leader Steve plans, take us on some beautiful and not-so-crowded roads that are a blast to drive. Steve's become an expert in every fun-to-drive road in San Diego county. Other clubs and organizations like local car dealerships sometimes ask him to plan their route sheets when they hold driving events and rallies. One of the many nice things that he does is to have us take breaks along the way usually at some interesting places. Our second stop of the day this past Sunday was at the Dudley's Bakery in Santa Ysabel. This bakery is located about 1 hour east of Escondido (just before you arrive into Julian) and is famous for its bread. It's always funny to see people's faces when a couple of dozen MINIs show up somewhere:

I bought my MINI new in December of 2006 and was invited to join the club by Wendy and her husband Mike, who I met on a online MINI forum, before I even owned the MINI. Since then, I've made a lot of great friends and had some amazing adventures with the club. Each year, in addition to the near-monthly half-day runs, there are a small-handful of multi-day trips that members of WCM go on. One is in the spring when many folks head up to Las Vegas for A MINI Vacation In Vegas (AMVIV) and spend a few days in Sin City. The other trip is a four-day deal when we drive up to Monterrey, California together. The club also does a few charity and community-service-type events during the year, which are always fun. The trips, charity events, and frequent runs through east county allow everyone to really get to know each other. It's a pretty tight-knit group of fairly-diverse people who all share a love of a funny little British car.

I miss the runs when I'm gone. There's just something about "driving the twisties" of San Diego following another MINI (or twenty) for a morning that just makes me happy.

This particular run was bittersweet because I'm in the process of selling my MINI and it will be my last as a MINI owner. It just doesn't make sense to continue to pay for storage, maintenance, registration, and insurance on a car that sits for something like 48 weeks of the year. I still plan on riding shotgun on some of the runs when I come back to town but I'll definitely miss everyone. I'll also miss the revvy-whiney sound that the MINI's supercharger makes when I'm following Steve through the turns. Thanks for all the great times West Coast MINI! I miss you guys already.

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