Boy Blue of America + Brew City Car Cruise

Bessie at Boy Blue of America

It’s double-header of nights on the town with the Milwaukee Minis! Our first night began at the humble Boy Blue of America. The last Boy Blue in Milwaukee took us back to simpler times of the chiller-diller, nut bar and fudge royale . A simple, soft-serve ice cream sundae with hot fudge and peanuts was just the treat for me. View photos…

The next evening, the club motored on to the Brew City Car Cruise held at the Highland House in Mequon. It was BMW night and a few Minis showed their expensive cousins what cool was all about. It’s not all German engineering though. Muscle cars, race cars and even an Amphicar also were at the scene. View photos…

Boy Blue of America

Brew City Car Cruise

Bessie and the final touches. The hood

State Fair Parade ’12

After four years of cheesy-ness, Bessie needed a costume change. Many hours of hunting down a foam ball and cardboard cutting later, she was transformed from MINI Cooper into an ice cream sundae. Bessie joined 9 other Milwaukee MINI enthusiasts for the State Fair parade celebrating the delights of Wisconsin from cows to sports. View photos…

Bessie at Superdawg in Wheeling, Illinois.

Adrian’s Frozen Custard + Superdawg

Bessie delivers the usual suspects down to Adrian’s Custard in Burlington, Wisconsin, for dinner and custard with the Milwaukee Minis. Dinner was hot dogs all-around. If you don’t like hot dogs, you’ll just have Adrian’s custard for dinner. I had a delicious rocky road sundae for dessert. Thank goodness I only had one hot dog! View photos…

Continuing south, the Chicago MINI Motoring Club invited the Milwaukee Minis for a night out at Superdawg in Wheeling, Illinois. Luckily, the beautiful weather held and we enjoyed meeting with our friends below the border. For dinner, I had a rare treat – grilled cheese on dark rye. As the sun set, it was time for some cubes of ice cream. Yes, cubed ice cream made especially for Superdawg. I had mine in sundae form drizzled with fudge and surrounded by wafer cookies. I never learn not to eat too much ice cream! View photos…

Adrian’s Frozen Custard

Superdawg

Yes, I survived. Most importantly - without a speeding ticket.

MINI Takes the States 2012

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One month ago I embarked on the 3,300 mile trek across half the country. The first few days I started to wind my way to the New Jersey starting point. In Columbus, Ohio, Bessie started making a noise that sounded suspiciously like another wheel bearing starting to go. Of course, it’s Saturday night and no chance of getting someone to look at it for a couple days. I decided to take it in to Prestige MINI in New Jersey on Tuesday – only 700 miles or so away! My trip down route 40 was nixed and I opted for the fast, straight and boring freeways. Every hard bounce I wondered if I would lose a wheel.

Meanwhile, my driver’s side window was failing and my trusty Canon G9 camera died. The weather was also left us a pile of debris and inconvenience in its wake. “The Event”, as they were calling it in DC, left many places without power or credit card functionality. Restaurants and gas stations with power were jam-packed full of local people. Fast food was far from fast!

I arrived in New Jersey in one piece. As luck would have it, Bessie’s only problem turned out to be replacement bushings and they could wait. Plus, her window started working again. Bessie polished up in the car wash and we wandered the hills of New Jersey for entertainment. As usual, I got lost and found myself in Hohokus wandering about in antique shops. That evening, the MTTS party started back at Prestige MINI. Three food trucks served us their fare and a local band played classic rock for our entertainment. My favorite was the ice cream sandwich from Coolhaus. View Photos…

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Wednesday, July 4th, started off the grand road trip at the MINI headquarters in Woodcliff Lake, NJ. The morning’s entertainment was an incredible fetes of trick driving on two wheels and heart-stopping parallel parking. Our first destination took us to Philadelphia, PA, for autocross, vendors and free lunch. But there was no time to dawdle, for we had to make it to Washington D.C. and the Capitol fireworks show that night! View Photos…

Day two started started the convoy from beautiful National Harbor in Maryland. The first lesson of rallies – the MINI you may be following might not know where they’re going either, so always try to stay in a large group. I finally found the first stop of the day, the war memorial in Richmond, VA, after a 15 mile detour. My suggestion to the directions writing team – have a short and scannable copy of the direction for the navigator-less drivers! Charlotte, NC was only a few hundred miles away and so we went! The evening brought food and music at the NC Music Factory, a sort of outdoor pavilion surrounded by restaurants and a stage. The bang of fireworks rounded out a truly enjoyable night of mingling with my fellow motorers. View Photos…

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Amazing curves was the theme for day three. The early morning started with breakfast and a few laps around the Charlotte Motor Speedway. It’s the first time I’ve been on a track and haven’t been given a laundry list of do’s and don’t. Not being a follower of racing, I was not expecting the extreme banking sides of the track which threw Bessie’s tire pressure sensors for a loop! Our professional track experience over, we headed to the mountains for the challenge of the Tail of the Dragon near Deals Gap, NC. The recent storms had left debris strewn across the road and the nice weather brought out a large crowd of motorbikes. Both exciting and dangerous, my saving grace ended up being my sensitive tummy that insisted I follow the speed limits. The eventful morning turned into a peaceful lunch at MINI of Knoxville. From there, it was on to Nashville and the Wild Horse Saloon. Bessie was lucky enough to get parking right outside on the half-closed street. Inside the saloon, the Superstar MINI owners had two floors to themselves, a buffet, music and good times all around. View Photos…

Rise and shine for day four started at the Loveless Cafe. I missed the memo that we should go to the autocross before breakfast. Oh well, I needed a little extra sleep. Our journey northward took us to an old drug store for sodas and then to Lincoln’s birthplace and boyhood home. Somehow, I arrived in Louisville too late for the evening activity, but I still got a couple free popsicles to beat the 109 degree heat! Sitting outside to watch a baseball game was not my cup of tea, so Theresa, Wade and I feasted on southern goodness at Doc Crow’s. View Photos…

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My final morning got a shakey start as I was directed the wrong way out of the parking lot. Oops. Determined not to miss the fun at the Autobahn Country Club in Joliet, IL, I attempted to drive straight through to Illinois. Between a rock chip in my windshield and other misfortunes, I finally arrived. My newfound friend and accomplice in misfortune, Pao, and I enjoyed a 10 minute jaunt on the go-karts after a 3 hour queue. We earned the highly-desired Bulldog pin from Jim McDowell through our knowledge of the secret handshake. Dinner, music, and one final lap around the Autobahn track rounded out the evening and my road trip. Just a long, lonely trip home wishing I was going to California. View Photos…

Thank You! To Prestige MINI for making sure Bessie was indeed roadworthy. To MINI USA and affiliates for throwing a great party and double-checking Bessie was ready to roll. To all the MINI dealers and sponsors who provided food, swag and more. To my Aunt & Uncle who made me feel at home at my time of complete chaos. And to all my new friends and fellow motorers for making it a trip to remember!

Afterword: My camera was able to be fixed for free when I got home – only two days before the extended warranty expired! I didn’t like the replacement Canon G12 I bought and it’s been returned. It’s not a step up from the G9.

Dad won second place in the New MINI category. Oops! Admin error!

British Car Field Day ’12

British Car Field Day in Sussex, Wisconsin brought out some interesting imports from across the pond. Every year there’s always a couple cars that make you say “WOW!” My dad’s classic Mini won second place in the New Mini category. Oops! Admin error. View photos…