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.
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).
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!