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Molly's MINI Journals:

MINIs Great Lakes Crossing - 2006

When I was on my first MINI adventure: MINI Takes The States, my new MINI friend, Debbie from Michigan, told me about an upcoming event on Sept. 29-30:. The Michigan MINI Motoring Club, in conjunction with the Make A Wish Foundation were sponsoring: a charity driving event called MINIs Great Lakes Crossing

I have done quite a few interesting things in my life, but the extent of my travels, since moving to Tenn, 14 years since, was just a short, once a year trip to Charleston, WV (about 550 miles round trip) to visit friends and family. Other than that, I pretty much never left our farm.  For the MINI Takes the States event I had chalked up about 850 miles of driving, a lot if driving for me, but I still stayed with, and was joined by, an old friend.   In the 1.5 years I have had my MINI, I had put a total of 7000 miles on him.  If I were to participate in this MGLC event, I would clock almost 2000 miles in 5 days, and I would drive, alone, many 100s of miles, to a place I had never been, and join people I didn't know, but with at least one thing in common: we all loved MINI Coopers.  But, you see, I had had a taste of what it was like to drive a MINI in a "herd" with other MINIs, and to meet other like minded MINI people, and, like an addict, I needed more.  Though it really seemed a bit insane, I decided I would drive to Michigan and join in on this event.


Day 1: This MINI Motoring adventure kicked off on Thursday morning, Sept 28, when Alfie (my MINI), and I, departed Fias Co Farm in Eastern Tenn for Michigan. I drove straight through, only stopping at rest areas for a nibble of cold pizza and cups of coffee.   11 1/2 hours later I arrived in Grand Rapids, where I overnighted at a friend's (thanks L.V.). We had a wonderful time talking of music into the wee hours.

Day 2: On Friday morning, I got on the incorrect road heading out of Grand Rapids (thanks L.V.) and the drive to Muskegon, that should have been leisurely, turned out to be an anxious race not to miss the boat. I made it to the port just as they were getting ready to load up.  Now, here were 30 other MINIs and their drivers, how exciting.

We boarded the ferry, which transported us across Lake Michigan to Milwaukee.  At home in Tenn, I could go many days without seeing another human being except Larry, now there were many new people and names to remember, but everyone made me feel welcome and I began to relax a bit and have a wonderful time talking MINese with my new friends. I really enjoyed taking photos and found a new muse in taking photos of people; I never had taken photos of people because I am just not ever around that many people.  I especially had an absolute blast "uptop" on the boat in the blowing wind taking photos.

Once in Milwaukee we motored together over to the local MINI dealer for lunch and MINI comradery  After lunch we headed up to Green Bay, Wisconsin.  How wonderful it was to finally be doing what I had come all this way to do: drive together with other MINIs. After arriving at the hotel, we went to a late dinner at a steak house, which I will admit was a little uncomfortable for a vegetarian, but I tried not to let it bring things down. Luckily there was one dish on the menu that didn't contain meat.  After dinner, a few of us had a couple more cocktails and some laughs. For someone who usually goes to bed at 9, I was having a great time staying up too late.


My route traveled marked in purple
Total miles driven : 1898.4 in 5 days

mileage does not include the boat trip
across Lake Michigan

 

Day 3: The next day, somehow I overslept until 9 (I never sleep later than 7) and so quickly threw all my stuff into my bag and ran down to meet the MINIs just as they were departing.  No breakfast or coffee for me today.  All the MINIs headed over to Lambeau Field for a quick photo op and then headed up through WI.  Again, what a blast to drive with a herd.  I was having a wonderful time.  We stopped at a cheese store and again, I got some nice photos.  By the time we stopped for a late lunch, I was beginning to feel the pressures of my trip and the repercussions of lack of sleep and not eating properly. Note to everyone: Always keep some granola bars in your car.  Thankfully I had made some truly wonderful friends and they helped me through my  "weak" period of the trip. As a passenger in my own car, as we drove through the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, I was able to get some nice photos.  We met up for a photo op by the Mackinaw Bridge, then crossed the bridge and stayed in Mackinaw City that evening.  I passed on dinner and went right to bed at 9. This completed the "official" MGLC event, but I still had a ways to go before I would complete my adventure.

Day 4:  On Oct. 1,5 of my new MINI friends and I, motored down through the center of MI to the Detroit area. It was a beautiful day.  I will treasure the memory of it for the rest of my life.  Near Detroit we parted company and I continued solo down through Ohio, spending the night in Lima, Ohio.

Day 5: Another day of driving.  I stopped at what has got to be the world's most incredible grocery store, Jungle Jim's, just north of Cincinnati, and then continued on home, reaching Fias Co Farm about 7 that evening.  I had completed my adventure. I had a blast and I would do it again in a Detroit minute.

I managed to raise $239 for Make a Wish and The Michigan MINI North American Motoring Club in total, raised over $10,000 through this event.  It was a great success.

Below you will find the photo travelogue of my trip.  I took over 400 photos during this adventure, and below I've present 66 of what I think are my best shots. I feel each photo stands well by itself as well as part of this travelogue.  I hope you enjoy them as individual photos as well as part of the set.

Please note that this particular gallery is unlike most Web galleries that just share photos; it is actually intended to be a Journal of the event and I have written annotations for the larger view of each photo. This gallery is intended to be read in the order it is presented the first time through.

Click on photo #1 to proceed.


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All graphics, photos and text on these pages were created by, and are
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