Preparing Ourselves to Break Records

When we woke up in Tory, the sky seemed impossibly blue with big puffy white clouds. Like the heavens were happy so many MINIs were gathering in one tiny corner of the midwest!

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Powering up for the big day we had planned!

I’d wanted to leave at 8 AM but we detoured by Detroit Tuned and got a much later start than I’d hoped. Some of our group decided to stop along the way for lunch, but Brandy and I decided to push on so we’d have time to explore the island. Melissa and German and Krystal fell in behind us as well. Along the way we stopped at a rest area and met Charlotte, also on her way to #minionthemack2015!

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Charlotte has webs! Get it? I love a car with a theme!

We rolled into town and went right to registration. I parked next to Celia’s dad, though I never actually saw him there. There was a short line for the check in so we quickly got our packets and Melissa, Brandy and I headed out to find a car wash.

After the car wash we made a practice run across the bridge (our Super 8 hotel was on the other side).

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Melissa captured my boot crossing the Mack for the first time!

We checked into our room and relaxed for a while until the rest of the DCMM crew arrived. Alex and Rey decided to join us on a ferry ride to Mackinac Island.

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We sat on the top deck so we could enjoy the lovely weather.

It was a glorious day to ride the boat and we traveled through TWO great lakes to get to the island!

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The ferry was a hydro jet and a giant plume of water sprayed out behind us! Very exciting!

The boat ride was even more fun when we met the Windles. They were sitting right in front of us. They were from the area but were actually in the middle of a move from the NOVA area to CO (we are going to miss you Windle family!) They’d popped up to MI to visit their family along the way!

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#westwardwindles

The island itself was adorable.

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I’d happily live here and embrace the island life, but they don’t allow cars and you know how much I love My Precious!

We found out Jim and Jennifer Carman were on the island playing putt putt so we walked down to say hello.

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A beautiful day for a stroll!

There weren’t any plastic animals or buildings so the putt putt looked a little disappointing.

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Not your typical putt putt. In fact, it was more like golf!

We decided to walk back to the shopping area. I was determined to buy some fudge since I’d heard people from Chicago make pilgrimages to the area just for the fudge (they call them fudgers, which we learned on our ride over).

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We opted for the “original” fudge, even though the “best fudge in America” was across the street. After all, tradition!

We also picked up some beverages for our hotel room that evening.

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It’s important to stay hydrated.

We wandered back over to the docks to catch the boat back.

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We timed our return perfectly and were able to board one of the two boats that takes a quick detour UNDER the bridge!

When we boarded, we were near the end of the line. The upper deck had already filled up so we sat below. Luckily, the front rows were wide open and the door to the bow was ajar so we got a nice breeze.

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Rey’s hair… So dreamy!

We all enjoyed watching Rey’s hair whipping in the breeze and when it started getting a little rough we also enjoyed watching the sea spray come in! Well, maybe not Brandy and Alex so much, since most of it seemed to land on them.

Afterwards, Alex went to check in to his hotel room and the rest of us decided to practice crossing the bridge again. Also we wanted desperately to visit Wienerlicious and it was on the other side.

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Paying our toll and the toll for the car behind us because I like to buy some good karma.

Wienerlicious was delicious and the best part was the photo shoot afterwards.

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Bonus points for crisp and delicious waffle fries drenched in cheese sauce. And also the giant wiener!

Melissa’s sister and her family were in town for the event so we drove down to their hotel to say hi. There were some great MINIs in their parking lot and we all walked down to the beach to hang out for a while. Afterwards, we made a quick stop at the IGA to buy some parking lot picnic supplies so we’d have some breakfast the next morning. We were going to try to make it to the gravel pit by 6:30 am because you need to get up early if you wanna break some records!

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You Don’t Make Friends Driving an Escape

Michigan is VERY far from Washington DC, which is why we wanted to get an early start for our drive to #minionthemack2015. Brandy was the furthest away, but she arranged to ride home from happy hour the day before and spend the night at Ali’s house. That made me the furthest out! I’d been working in Tallahassee and wasn’t due to fly into Baltimore until late the night before. Originally, I’d agreed to meet Brandy, Mark and Ali at their house at 7 AM, but because I was super excited to hit the road, I suggested we back that up to 6 AM. I didn’t take into account the amount of time I’d spend driving home from Baltimore, unpacking, repacking, and loading the car. That’s probably why I set my alarm for 6 and then took my time rolling out of bed!

Ali called me at 6:15 to ask if I was up yet and reminded me the meeting time was 6 AM and I suddenly remembered that I was the one who pushed the time up! I grabbed my shit and managed to carry it all down four flights of stairs in one trip without tripping. I sent my ETA to Ali on Waze, put the top down and zipped out of the parking lot. I cut a lot of corners and may have exceeded a few speed limits, but I was at her house by 6:30.

Our next stop was at Alex’s house. We were supposed to meet him and Melissa there at 7 AM. Those of you who know me understand that I hate to be late, so I may have exceeded all of the a few posted speed limits, but I did make it to Alex’s house at 6:59!

Riding in the back of My Precious

My passengers, particularly those in the back, were pretty vocal in expressing their opinions about riding in the back of My Precious topless at excessive speeds, but I made it in time!

Ali and Mark transferred their stuff to Melissa’s car and then Alex decided to drive his own car. Mark decided to ride with him instead of in Melissa’s Countryman. I just wanted coffee! We left and as Alex drove past Starbucks I asked Brandy where he was going (she always knows what’s going on). Brandy said Alex had mentioned gas (but I didn’t need any yet) so I quickly pulled a U-turn and whipped into the Starbucks lot. Melissa pulled in behind me. She wasn’t sure what was going on, but she needed coffee too!

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Ali was riding with Melissa as far as Detroit where she was picking up a loaner MINI. They had coordinated outfits.

We got our coffees and we all went back out to the car where we learned Alex had also gone to the bank. That was fine with me since it gave me time to apply my lips and eyelashes. Finally everyone was ready and we headed out to our final stop, a gas station at Point of Rocks to meet Rey as well as Krystal and German (and their teenagers).

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First stop for gas on our way to #minionthemack2015

They were waiting for us when we arrived. Everyone there filled their tanks and we took off. Our first destination was Troy, just north of Detroit.

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It started raining right after we got off the freeway so we put the top up and Brandy took over so I could sleep.

We made it through Maryland and into Pennsylvania and that part took forever!

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I completely slept through this tunnel, but Melissa was riding behind me and thankfully she didn’t!

Pennsylvania is a VERY long state. We stopped for lunch at a Panera somewhere in Pennsylvania and then drove through the rest of it.

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Lunch at Panera somewhere in Pennsylvania.

Not long after we got to Ohio we picked up a stray MINI heading in the same direction. It joined our caravan and when we stopped at a rest area, we all got out to chat! Linda and Andy Hartman from Pittsburg were also on their way to #minionthemack2015! Their red MINI was super cute with white dots and bonnet stripes.

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Rosie was named after the mascot for their daughters robotics team, Rosie the Riveter! I love a good MINI story that involves education!

Linda and Andy were driving straight thru so they headed out and we continued on our way.

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One of the cars that attempted to take pictures of My Precious as I blew by!

As we neared Detroit we picked up a couple more MINIs.

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Mystery MINIs we picked up along the way. Turns out they were driving straight through though they did stop to meet us and say hi.

They stayed with the group as they took off for the restaurant where we were meeting some friends from Detroit Tuned but Brandy and I detoured to the hotel because we wanted to check in and freshen up before dinner. Also, the Embassy Suites offers a reception each night and it’s important to stay hydrated.

When we got back to the restaurant we were late, but they still hadn’t seated our party so we stood around and chit chatted with everyone for a while. Brandy and Melissa and I were eager to get back to our hotel room and relax so we decided to skip the dinner and go back to the hotel.

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Best view in the building. My Precious is down there!

When we got back we ordered some sandwiches and a bottle of wine. Things were going swell until the super helpful waiter came back to refill our glasses. He accidentally knocked the bottle over and a lot of it ended up on my white Passport MINI tshirt.

He felt really bad and brought the manager over who offered to dry clean it and have it ready for me the next afternoon. I explained we were driving north at 8 AM so they took the wine off our bill and brought us a massive slice of chocolate cake.

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We took the remaining wine and cake up to our room to avoid any other spills and then Rey arrived. He was staying in our living room so we polished off the wine and called it a night. Besides, we were all eager to get to the #minionthemack2015 and wanted to sleep while we could!

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Almost like Christmas Eve, we wanted to go to sleep so it would get there sooner!

 

 

 

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MINI Rally to the Drive In for Pixels

Who wouldn’t want to see ANY movie where MINI Coopers save the day? That’s probably why the DC Metro MINIs Club got so excited when Passport MINI of Alexandria announced they’d be sponsoring a rally to the Family Drive In in Stephens City to watch Pixels!

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Passport MINI of Alexandria is where I found My Precious and probably where I’ll by my next MINI as well!

MINIs began arriving soon after 4:00 and most of us parked at Landmark Mall because parking MINIs at Passport would have been a nightmare. After all, it’s always easier to stage 60 cars in a nearly deserted mall parking lot than it is at one of the most popular car dealerships in the world!

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Nick was working the parking lot to make sure everyone knew how to join the club!

It was great fun checking out each other’s cars, but we all needed to check in for the Rally so we headed across Duke Street to the dealership.

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Crossing the very busy intersection from Landmark Mall to Passport MINI of Alexandria

David Hellmuth and his team (and entire family apparently!) had done an amazing job of preparing for our arrival. They’d brought in tons of sandwiches, chips and drinks. We lined up to check in and got our run sheets, movie tickets and were also told we’d be receiving a voucher for $13 worth of concessions once we arrived!

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A million sandwiches from Honey Baked Ham, DC Metro MINIs ate well this night, my friends!

Everyone signed in. Krisi Hellmuth had the entire operation running smoothly and it didn’t take long for everyone to begin munching on delicious sandwiches and crispy chips.

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Celia picked up her ticket and voucher from Kristi

We chatted with old friends and met a few new ones while we waited for everyone else to arrive.

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Nick and Corey and I hanging out in the maintenance bay at Passport MINI of Alexandria

David welcomed everyone to the Rally and then played a round of trivia with super cool MINI prizes. I didn’t think I’d stand a chance, but nobody could win more than one and some of the most knowledgable among us quickly scored prizes and stopped paying attention. That’s when I heard David say something about a name and I blurted out “John Cooper!” Which actually turned out to be correct! I’m just lucky the ONLY name I know related to MINIs is John Cooper. Maybe its a sign and my next MINI should be a JCW convertible?

The rest of the prizes went quickly and then much to her surprise, David announced Ali would be leading the run.

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Ali as she learned she’d be guiding over 60 MINIs through heavy traffic for the next couple of hours…

We made our way back across the street to our cars and began lining up. I walked back with Ali and Jordan Hellmuth who was riding with Ali to navigate but doesn’t have a MINI of her own because she’s (her words) “a terrible driver”. Ali and I both agreed she wouldn’t be driving Tigger or My Precious but she was delightful to talk with and I later heard she was also an excellent multitasker, navigating for Ali while fielding calls and messages from her dad telling her to tell Ali to slow down.

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I started out behind DOMO with an operational radio thanks to Melissa’s friend Tad who taught me how to change the channels on my new ones.

As we left the mall I ended up near the back. We took the 395 to the 495 to the 66. Traffic was a mess because DC, but somehow I ended up right in front of Melissa. After that I spent a lot of time speeding up to catch the cars ahead of me and suddenly stopping because of traffic and repeatedly shouting into my radio “Melissa tell Tad to take a picture of my boot!” Somehow we made it past the worst of it and out to the Plains. The roads got a little twisty and I don’t know where the first few cars were because somehow Ali got out of radio range. That’s when disaster struck!

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Still behind Nick. So far so good…

I had been behind Nick, which was fantastic because he has some sort of magical tuning and his car pops really loudly and fire shoots out of his exhaust. He also drives pretty fast but the coupe behind me didn’t. I was really focused on the first rule of MINI runs (always keep a MINI in your mirror) and as I slowed down to let the coupe behind me catch up, a mini van pulled out in front of me.

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Nice guy but not “sir speedy” if you know what I mean!

The mini van was going very slowly and I knew I was in trouble when I realized I couldn’t hear Nick’s car popping anymore. Since most people can hear his car pop within a three county radius, I was pretty sure he was out of radio range which meant everyone in front of him was as well.

There were about 15 cars behind me and suddenly I was in the lead. My route sheet was folded up and tucked away somewhere so it wouldn’t fly out and I had no idea where we were or where we were going because T Mobile. I put my windows up and turned my excellent playlist down and got on the radio to try to reach Ali. She didn’t respond so I babbled something about not knowing what the hell I was doing or where the hell we were. I was starting to panic when suddenly a melodic voice from out of nowhere said, “Sherri, you are going to want to turn left on Red Gate.” It was like an angel from above had suddenly realized I was in trouble and sent a message to guide me. Actually, it was Erik Prime, a passenger riding with Hilary a couple of cars back. I started slowing down every time I saw an intersection and then Erik said in a soothing voice, “Sherri, take a look at your odometer. In about 11 miles you are going to turn left onto Red Gate Road .”  If you ask me, we all owe our lives to Erik Prime. Well, those of us at the end of the run, anyhow.

Eventually the mini van pulled off and I sped up and then, out of nowhere, I began to hear the wonderous and unmistakable popping of Nick’s car, Mr. NonOEM. Then I crested a hill and suddenly out of nowhere, there they were!

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Did I mention that Erik Prime captured the most amazing photos of our cars WHILE he was guiding us from behind?!? 

The rest of our journey to the drive in was pretty uneventful. Several times we got to intersections but the other cars waved us all through ahead of them, I think they were enjoying the parade of MINIs streaming by. Lots of people in their yards and driveways stood and waved as we drove past.

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A beautiful day to ride in your car with your top off while Erik Prime takes booty shots!

When we arrived at the drive in, they had an area roped off for us and they sent us in through the exit. I parked between Nick and the slow coupe which turned out to be the Service Manager from Passport MINI of Alexandria. He was super nice and told me he’d seen My Precious while she was getting her new wind shield. He also recognized that she’s the most beautiful car in the world, so he’s also clearly very astute.

Before I could walk away, a lovely couple approached to ask me about my daisy wheels. Turns out they live in the area and were at the drive in on a whim so their MINI was parked outside of our area. They were super excited when we pulled in because a lot of the MINIs they see in the Stephens City area apparently don’t wave (shame!)

Erik Prime stopped by with an impressive looking camera and introduced himself. He told me he’d heard me asking Melissa to have Tad take a few booty shots so he’d captured some himself and would email them to me when he got to a computer.

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Erik Prime should come to ever DCMM event from now on! Forever and ever!

I don’t want to name any names, but he seemed much more helpful than some others who weren’t able to attend (Sorry Craig!) and the pictures he sent me were incredible!

To be fair, Nick Wing also took some incredible photos.

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Ebony

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Mr NonOEM

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Tigger!

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Nick Wing even made My Precious look totally badass!

Next Rebecca stopped by to comment on my wheels. She drives Honeybee a beautiful Interchange Yellow cabrio and thought my wheels would look amazing on her MINI (totally agree).

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Mike and Rebecca celebrating their 28th wedding anniversary at the drive in! Like teenagers!

There were Minions.

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Minions or as I think of them Screaming Cornpops who are tearing society apart.

I wandered down to the front row and chatted with Brandy and Rey and Ali for a bit. Eventually it began to get dark and everyone made their way to their cars to watch the movie.

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Preparing for Minions

I had zero interest in Minions (and find their voices annoying) so I decided to sit in my car and blog a bit. That’s when a New Nick approached my car! He politely asked me if he could take a picture and then we started chatting about some of my mods. I asked if he was in the club and it turns out he’d just joined! He and his lovely wife Brittney had just moved to the area from Alaska by way of Alabama (Montgomery) and were going to be here for the next four years! I walked with him to his car to check it out and meet Brittney who was sitting in the back of their MINI enjoying the show. We chatted for a few minutes until some angry lady from a mini van parked next to them came over and asked me to leave because they were watching the movie (Minions?!? Really? Who let the mini van in the MINI section anyhow?) I went back to my car to blog a bit more.

When the intermission arrived, the line for the bathroom was terribly long. Apparently that’s because people like Tad and Melissa mistook it for the snack line. I didn’t stick around to find out, I roamed around a bit, said hi to Rebecca and Mark and then chatted with Brandy, Corey, Celia, Rey and Krystal.

We all returned to our cars for the main feature, Pixels.

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We did learn one important lesson from Pixels. When aliens are pixelating your nation’s treasures and you stop to take a selfie ALWAYS use a selfie stick.

I’m not going to comment on the acting or dialog, I’m pretty sure you’ve read the reviews and besides, who cares? The MINIs destroyed Pac Man before he could pixelate New York City and really, isn’t that what matters?

The film ended at midnight and it was a long drive home. As soon as the credits began to roll, cars started pulling out. I forgot to turn on my radio and missed an opportunity to caravan behind Ali, Nick and Corey which is a damn shame because I heard Nick’s flaming exhaust was spectacular at night.

Huge shout out of thanks to Passport MINI of Alexandria for sponsoring the event and to Nick Wing and Brandy Brown for taking and sharing badass photos and especially to Erik Prime for being my guardian angel and leading our strays back to the fold!

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Brandy Brown captured this epic shot of MINIs at the drive in. Thanks Brandy!

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Modding My Precious, Like I Do

The day of the Drive In Rally to Pixels finally arrived and you could practically feel the excitement in the air. I decided to mod my new wind shield before the big event and since Melissa didn’t have any plans, she decided to join me. We met at Peets in Fairfax to power up and find a shady spot to apply my stickers. I had a bunch of flower stickers left over  and since my roll bars were looking slightly less than pristine so I decided to start there.

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Before you even ask, I got my flowers from Laura’s Custom Stickers on Etsy and HippyMotorsUSA.com!

Melissa documented my efforts and kept me company.

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Melissa is super helpful!

I gave her the Jack in the Box antennae topper I’d picked up for Jim Carman since he wasn’t going to make it to the drive in.

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Jack in the Box antennae toppers just scream happiness!

I also gave her my extra one to stick on top of DOMO. She had to enlarge the hole to jam it on her stubby antennae, so she whipped out her pocket knife and began carving.

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Who wouldn’t want a Jack in the Box antennae topper #adorable #sohappy

Then we applied the stickers to the windshield.

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Ta dah!

Youification is hard and we’d worked up an appetite so we popped into Chipotle for a quick lunch before heading home to prepare for the Rally to the Drive In to see Pixels!

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We deserved those burrito bowls! Youification is hard work!

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Sunday Mornings Mean Cars and Coffee!

It was the hottest day of the year with heat advisories already issues, but does that stop the DC Metro Minis from turning out to a Cars and Coffee event? No way!

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Early arrivals for Cars and Coffee

When I got there, Catalina and her brother, Nick and his roommate, and Quitta were already there. I wandered over to Cameron’s Coffee and Chocolates to get a delicious frozen coffee.

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Because it’s important to stay hydrated…

When I got back to the cars, Melissa had arrived!

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DOMO parked right next to My Precious. Like usual!

There were cars there that weren’t MINIs as well.

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Some other car Nick took a picture of because really I only care about the MINIs though I’m sure whatever this is is very nice.

We enjoyed chatting with Catalina’s brother until they had to leave. Quitta and Melissa talked discussed and showed off tattoos.

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The MINI family is very close.

Nick and his roommate had to leave to shop at Ikea.

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Roommates gotta shop.

The temperature was steadily rising so Melissa, Quitta and I decided to part ways before we melted.

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Sitting at a red light in the sun on the hottest day of the year is much more exciting when a GP rolls up next to you!

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Meet and Greet Madness

This month’s Meet and Greet was hosted by Passport MINI of Montgomery County and though the day began with heavy showers, everyone had a great time!

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Uh oh, not a great time to motor topless.

I met Melissa at her house so we could caravan up. Originally we’d planned to hit up a car wash on the way, but because of the heavy downpours we decided there wasn’t much point. We rolled into MINI and found a big crowd had already arrived!

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Nick and Lt. Dan beat us there and they’d already been to Katie’s Cars and Coffee. #EarlyRisers

We met Lisa, who was new to the MINI family and a member of C3M.

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Celia’s dad was handing out free t-shirts when we arrived #winning

Quitta arrived and we all chatted for a while.

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Always fun to catch up with friends at the Meet and Greets!

Melissa and Quitta checked out the new JCW 5 door.

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Melissa and I are going to get some lottery tickets now so she can have this new JCW 5 Door….

I found the new Paceman.

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These new tail lights… Ugh! I am not a fan!

We wandered over to the parts department to say hi to Celia. She’d been in the back waiting for us to Periscope our visit. Sadly I had a weak signal. Thanks T Mobile. Celia told us the wifi password so Melissa and I both streamed a bit.

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Shiny!

Then we wandered back to the parts department to browse through the MINI goods. Several people picked up some new MINI swag. We all realized it was close to lunch time and decided to have an impromptu After Burger. Since Dice Burger loves MINIs and the rain had stopped and we all love driving, we decided to head to Annandale.

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I was in front of Nick so I didn’t get to see the flames that shoot out of his exhaust. Dammit.

Melissa led the way. I pulled out right behind her and the caravan was off!

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Super excited to meet Lisa who was also adventurous enough to join us at the Dice Burger After Party!

Unfortunately, Melissa had avoided the Express Lanes since Nick doesn’t have an EZ Pass and Arnold Schwarzenegger got confused. Suddenly we were all weaving in and out of traffic and exiting the 495. We traveled around a few pothole laden roads and ended up on the 66 which took us back around to the 495. One of my favorite thing about MINI drivers is that we generally don’t get upset when the leader makes a wrong turn and we end up going the wrong way because MINI…

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Lt Dan avoiding the potholes behind me!

When we finally arrived at Dice Burger, there was plenty of room to park.

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MINIs love the Dice Burger!

They were really happy to see us, but wanted to know why Ali wasn’t with us! We ordered and got a table.They’ve added some new items to the menu, I got the shrimp sandwich.

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Dice Burger’s new Shrimp Sandwich, which I highly recommend!

None of us were successful at rolling the dice for free burgers, but we didn’t care because the food was delicious and the company was outstanding!

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I don’t know what Nick ordered but it looked delicious and it was nearly as big as he is!

Lisa asked about driving a MINI in the snow. Lt. Dan said he only drives his jeep in the winter and then told me about the Lava Jacket (which I am going to totally look into…)

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Nobody was successful with the dice rolling today, but who cares! We had fun!

We also reminisced about our adventures on the Dragon. MINIs Slay the Sleeping Dragon is coming up this fall. Although I will be out of town and will have to miss it, it looks like a LOT of fun.

Eventually the party ended and we said out goodbyes until the event next weekend… MINIs at the Drive In!

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The DCMM Pirate Picnic

When our ship arrived, we stormed the shores to plunder our picnic pavilion!

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DC Metro MINIs members sure know how to enjoy a picnic!

Ali had arrived early and strung up the backdrop for the photo booth and had already organized the grilling. Rey, Nick and Brian started grilling the hot dogs and Ernest grilled the burgers.

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Delicious burgers prepared by Ernest.

I set up the photo booth props and Melissa helped hang the club banner.

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Alex was probably googling how to hang a banner…

Pies and side dishes began arriving and were placed in a strategic area.

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When my palm trees melted in the heat, I was forced to rename my pie “Post Hurricane Pie” which still wasn’t enough to pull of a victory.

My favorite dessert was the cookies!

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Hilary made MINI shaped cookies and one that was shaped like a flower, which was the most beautiful and delicious cookie EVAH!

The photo booth area was a lot of fun. Little Rey performed the art direction for many of the shots and there were a lot of great props to choose from.

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Photo booth fun!

Everyone enjoyed a great lunch and some delicious side dishes and desserts and then it was time for the annual club awards!

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Alex captured the Biggest Broom Award for being a spectacular sweeper.

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Everyone loves the parks, so we all appreciate Corey’s donations in the form of a speeding ticket on Skyline Drive.

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Tyler won an award for organizing gokarting events, always popular with the club! We do love to drive!

 

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Hilary won for Clever Costume and Happy Hour Heroine. Well deserved!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Of course Craig Baron won for being most helpful and reading Ali’s mind. He is the most helpful person I know!

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Haemish won for highest miles at a Rally after his stunning performance at the #EpicMINIRally

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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New Dragon Slayers!

Medals were given out for the pie contest and the side dish contest.

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First place prizes went to Treasure Island Pie and a fruit salad.

Finally, everybody helped clean up, pack our booty and we all said goodbye and many of us left for the post picnic run…

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#sherrirocks still best hashtag ever!

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