Friday, June 19, 2009

THMMC BRP Tour 2009 Day 0 and Day 1

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Not a long post, but just wanted to quickly update progress on my MINI journey.  I am currently on a "tour" that is really made up of several events that segue into each other in a unique manner.  It has started with the Tar Heel MINI Motoring Club's (THMMC) Blue Ridge Parkway Tour 2009.  At the conclusion of this, I'll be hooking up with The Great Ice Cream Run 2 run by a member of the NEMINI club.  At the conclusion of that, we normally would have done the Bar Harbor Invasion, an event that in the past has been conducted by the PhillyMINI club.  Even though they are not doing it this year, I am still staying a couple days in Bar Harbor and will try to carry on some of the traditions they have established.  Finally, I head over to Minis On Top, a national MINI event at Mt. Washington that is put on by a group of individuals dedicated just to that.  Judging by the show of hands, it looks like there may only be 3 of us that are making it the entire way through these tours.

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I'll also mention that it is my understanding that this is going to be the final run for the MINIs Motoring Against Cancer banner.  This is a banner created by THMMC that has been passed around to different MINI clubs and MINI events to help raise awareness and funds for cancer research.  We will run it up to Mt. Washington, then back home to NC for it to be retired.  Our club will then take up a new call for charity.  As an aside, that is one of the great things about our MINI club - all the charitable efforts we engage in.  For instance, today I wore my pink ball cap for breast cancer awareness (and the funds I used to get it were donated to the Kay Yow WBCA Cancer Fund).

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Back to the event at hand.  On Thursday several of us caravan'ed down to Cherokee where we were staying Thursday night.  Our dinner was at the Brushy Mountain Smokehouse, a BBQ joint that was also set up as a buffet.  That was kind of different.  They also had ice cream which several of our group tried.

Friday morning we got an early start, with a group picture at the start of the parkway's south end at 8:00 a.m.  We visited Waterrock Knob, the highest point on the parkway, Devil's Courthouse, the Folk Art Center in the Asheville area, Craggy Gardens, Mt. Mitchell, Linville Falls, and the Rough Ridge Trail (which we are donating to this year - I'm sure someone has a picture of our name on the donor sign).  We ended the day with a run down Shulls Mill Rd. into Banner Elk and then dinner in Beech Mountain at the Famous Brick Oven Pizzeria.

Pretty awesome seeing the line of Minis coming down the Parkway.  One downside though is that I'm doing it on my own this year (no wife), so it is a bit lonely.  I've also been frustrated with my homemade camera mount and camera equipment.  Almost to the point that it is intruding on my enjoyment.  Had to spent some time with The Bible tonight to help me focus on enjoying God's creation and not letting little things bother me.  I'm seriously considering not even trying to get any pictures or video from in-car on Saturday and try instead to just relax and enjoy the ride.

So I've setup a gallery for all the from all the tours I'm doing and I've uploaded the first couple days (day 0 and day 1).  Enjoy!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

A Hanging Rock Retreat

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On Friday, June 12th and Saturday, June 13th I did something quite a bit different.  Went and attended a "retreat" for some men from my church and other guests that was put on by my Pastor.  The retreat consisted of a camping trip up to Hanging Rock State Park.  It is a little scary I suppose to think about it, but it has been a few *decades* since I last went camping.  As a little kid was the last time, though I do have some fond memories of attending a Boy Scout jamboree one summer.  I think it must have been down around Fayetteville as there were some military vehicles around and we found all kinds of "brass" in the field where we were camping (keep in mind that to us kids, brass was very interesting; not so much after target practice and you have to police it all up).  I don't count all the times I camped out in front of Reynolds Coliseum to get tickets to basketball games while I was attending NCSU.  Although probably as cold as it was a few times it should count as "camping".

Luckily, Pastor Mark and some of the other guys were all prepared with the equipment needed for a successful camping trip.  I get the feeling they must have been before.  (Aside in my head:
"You think?")  So all I had to do was bring some drinks, a sleeping bag, some bug spray, and clothes.  I ended up using a sleeping bag my son got for Christmas as part of a tent set he received.  As I discovered, the sleeping bag was about paper thin.  Just enough to keep me warm from the cool night air, but absolutely no padding to help combat the hardness of the tent pad I was sleeping on.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

MINI WUF hits 30

30,000 miles that is.  Took my MINI in for a regular service on May 22nd and on the way there hit the 30,000 mile mark.  Based on the service intervals, looks like my "free" services are done.

30,000 miles on MINI WUF

The service itself didn't seem to really consist of anything other than checking fluid levels and a visual check of the car.  So about the only good thing that came out of the visit was getting my rear latch replaced as it had been giving me some trouble.

I'm now getting ready for my MINI multi-tour journey in a couple weeks.  Hopefully I won't have any trouble out of my tires as they are down to only about 4/32's of tread left.  I'd like to get the trip completed, then put some new rubber on.

In between now and then, I'm supposed to be going on an overnight camping trip/retreat with some men from my church.  The time since I last went camping can be measured in decades, so this ought to be interesting.  In getting ready for that, I've been reading The Cost of Discipleship by Dietrich Bonhoeffer.