Cesca’s Patio

Tomorrow morning I’m off to Seattle and Bob starts his new big league job so we decided to meet for dinner. Also, I won’t cook anymore so I had to go somewhere. We picked Cesca’s Margarita Bar and Grill because they have a patio and it was a temperate 66 degrees (winter is coming…).


Nice night for a stroll

We opted to sit on the patio, because it probably won’t be open much longer. It was super cute with metal tables and chairs, umbrellas, festive lights, and lots of peppy reggaeton music.


Patio time!

I had a mango margarita because I wanted to be able to tell you how delicious they were. They were delicious. We both ordered the tortilla soup and a burrito. The portion size was ginormous so I only finished about half of mine, but it was delicious and I’m already planning to go back for more soup after the first snowfall! The burritos were American style but tasty and nearly as big as Bob’s head.


Delicious burrito

If I didn’t have a 6AM flight I’d have stayed to sample more margarita flavors. Guess I’ll have to go back…

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Adventures in Andersonville

Last spring I moved to Andersonville, because why not? I love Chicago and Andersonville is my favorite part.


Moving into my place

My work schedule keeps me on the road a lot. And I was gone the entire month of July for my epic cross country road trip (#mtts2016). So I’ve decided to explore as much of my new town as I can when I am home!


My neighborhood candy shop… Candyality!

I’ll share it with you here…


The world outside my window

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Richmond to Baltimore on #MTTS2016

I had every intention of blogging each night on #MTTS2016. Sadly, the schedule got away from me and I was having too much fun! So I created a series of videos from each leg of the journey. Here are my memories of Richmond…

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Motoring on the Charlotte Motor Speedway

When I woke up it was still early and very, very dark. I grabbed my stuff and stumbled out to the car and discovered I’d lost a wink smiley cover and the light it was covering! The other light was  intact,  but it was also impossible to take out without tools.


Man down!

I threw my stuff in the car and made my way to the track since I knew somebody there would have the tools I needed. I was fourth to arrive began by cleaning my wheels and windshield while I waited for someone with tools to arrive.


Sunrise at the track.

Catalina arrived not long after me and her copilot figured out I’d need a screwdriver to remove the bulb that was intact. Thankfully Dallas had one. After I removed the light and finished making My Precious pristine, I wandered over to the breakfast area. Charlotte knows how to work a theme, the napkins and utensils were served in shop drawers!


Looks good. Tastes good too!

I wandered around the vendor tents and picked up a free t-shirt and some other goodies. They had positioned the bus perfectly so I stopped to record my current distance.


320 miles of fun!

After all the raffle prizes were called, we all headed back to our cars.

Since Catalina and I had arrived so much earlier, we were going to finish our laps and then pull over and wait until everyone else was finished and hop in front of them. They were MUCH farther back so it was like sitting on the sidewalk and watching a parade roll by. Everyone waved and lots of people honked as they rode by. When the rest of DCMM pulled up, we reorganized and tried to hop back in line but the cops were trying to stop traffic and held us in place for a while. Even sitting in the sun on a hot summer day was fun, because MINI!

Ali and Mark took the lead and I wasn’t too far behind them. The cops provided rolling street closings for the first 20 miles and then lined up to wave to us as we rolled out of town.


Photo break somewhere along the way in North Carolina.

We drove a bunch of twisties and had a blast and then eventually Mark found a place we could stop for lunch. Another Countryman had joined our caravan and they pulled in to eat as well. We invited them to join us and scored some sharpies and a few NorCal MINI buttons!


Christine and Mike and their grandson provided Sharpies and great conversation. Most of the fun of this rally has been seeing old friends and making new ones!

Lunch for nine takes a while and while we had a fantastic time chatting, we had fallen way behind schedule!


Virginia again!

We ditched the suggested route and got on the freeway to try to make up some time. Sadly we arrived at the Surprise and Delight too late for whatever they were giving away, though we still found a way to have a bit of fun.


The DCMM gang takes a big seat!

I drove from there to my sister’s house to spend the night at her condo. She was in town to hang out with me so we went out to dinner at Supper and Lunch.


Supper and Lunch knows their way around a big salad!

We found a car wash and gassed up to be ready to rally. Next stop Baltimore!

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Driving on Racetracks is Cool

I got up very early. I think I was too excited to sleep! There were other MINIs in the parking loading up but since I’d already loaded most of my gear, I was the first one out of the lot. When I arrived to enter the track there were about 25 cars ahead of me and I ended up fifth on the second row.


Early arrival totally pays off!

I headed to the tents to do a little shopping and score some breakfast.


Pastries and sausage, egg and cheese sandwiches for breakfast. It’s the most important meal of the day.

I met a lovely couple from North Carolina who let me share their table/trashcan.


Making new friends one of the best parts of #mtts2016

Around the time I found my DCMM friends they started herding everyone to the stands for the big show.


I’m about to drive on the Atlanta Motor Speedway!

I sat between Rey and my new friend Devon, who is also going all the way (mostly solo) and is picking up her dad to ride along for the second half.

The show began with a stirring rendition of the National Anthem and the announcement of the #defylabels grand prize winner. There were several MINIs parked in front of the stands and our announcer Desiree climbed to the top of a tower in front of the stands and narrated the rest of the show. The top accuracy sky divers in the world jumped out of a plane above us and then landed in a MINI on the track. It was incredible! I wish the footage MINI USA had shot was on their website so I could share them with you. Wow!

When the show ended, we returned to our cars and fired up the engines! The cars began pulling out and the Pit Crews were there with checkered flags to wave us on.

Once our lap was completed they ushered us off the track and there was a police escort waiting to help us get out of town fast. I was about 20 cars from the front and since I hadn’t ever figured out how to synchronize the Google map to our route without constant reroutes every time I got off course I just followed the car ahead of me. They were doing a great job and I trusted them cause I could see there were two of them in there and anyone with a navigator is already doing better than me! We drove through a few charming towns and I got slightly distracted and totally missed it when those lovely New Jersey folks turned right. I kept going and so did the cars behind me!I realized I had made an error when I noticed Jim Carman hang a quick U-turn behind me. Eventually all of the cars behind me turned around so I thought maybe I should too. But as soon as I did six other MINIs came flying past me. Feeling profoundly vindicated, I whipped back around and followed them.

After a few miles they pulled into a country store. My first thought was “awesome, bathroom break!” The guy from the lead car started working his way back to the other cars in the line to give us an update. I struck up a convo with Ethan, a nice young guy from Nebraska in the car next to me. When the lead driver got to us he said they’d found a new route since the car they were following had made that bad turn (that would be me!) and they were going to get us back to the official route. He jumped back in his car and took off. Since I had no idea where we were I decided to skip the bathroom and follow along.

We drove forever! Well, a long time. I didn’t think my bladder was going to make it but they suddenly stopped at a small gas station so everyone could take a break. While we were there, the lead guy told me they were using channel 7/21 (the official channel) on the radios in case I needed them to stop in the future. Great guy! I chatted with Ethan and a couple of other drivers and then we all got back in our cars and took off again.

Our first destination was a tiny little southern town with a charming tea shop. Inside the tea shop, they were giving away some fancy MINI cups and free tea. I got mine and then walked down the street to a little BBQ joint. I had a sandwich and met some lovely folks from NJ, PA, and CA. We all talked about our MINIs (what else!) and then I headed back to my car. I noticed another MINI pulling out so I got behind them. We caravaned for a few miles before they turned off. The signs were still pointing me to Charlotte so I continued on and made good time to my hotel.

After I checked in, I decided to find a car wash and some emergency repair supplies. My Aux jack has issues and anytime the cord moves, I lose sound in one speaker. I was able to repair that with the creative use of tape and finally got a tool to scrape off my old VA inspection sticker.


It’s not pretty but now I can hear the radio as I’m singing along.

I hit up the car wash and then drove downtown to the first event at the NASCAR Hall of Fame. They had a cash bar and lots of delicious food. I enjoyed the mac and cheese and some BBQ sliders.


Look at the beautiful MINIs! I must be in the right place!

Then they called out the prizes. I won a complete car care kit! No idea what is in it but My Precious is going to be very well cared for! I had to scream, very loudly, so Desiree would know I was there and didn’t slip my name into the Pocket of Doom before I could run across the main floor and then up the ramp in time to claim my prize!


I’m a winner!

Along the way, because MINI people are who they are, everyone congratulated me and stepped aside so I could make my way to the stage. They took my name and address to ship me my car care package, which is fantastic because nobody has room for anything extra!

As the event wound down, I said goodbye to all my new and old friends and headed back to the hotel to get ready to rally to Charlotte.

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And So It Begins…

After breakfast with Jane and working from Greensboro, I finally made my way to Atlanta. It was a long hot drive!


Lost my super cool shades somewhere in South Carolina.

I made excellent time. Mostly because it was so damn hot and the only way to stay cool was to drive really fast. While the wind felt a lot like a blow dryer, at least it was moving.


When I stopped at the rest area they asked if I was going to that MINI thing. I guess a few MINIs had gone before me…

I found my way to Buckhead for the early check in but then found out that all my DCMM friends had gone to the midtown check in at the Ponce Market so I headed over there.


Are you kidding? Georgia has been on mind since they announced the route!

I found a parking spot in the garage with a magnificent view.


Everyone following rule number one.

I went to the Market and found all my DCMM friends enjoying a cold one after their long hot drive!


This lovely lady gave us all an arrow to remind us of her car!

We wandered outside to the site of the evening event. They were setting up balloons but as soon as they anchored them a strong gust of wind would blow them over and they would pop.


This crew really had their work cut out for them!

There was a car raising funds for #defyhunger and for a small donation I scored a t-shirt, a sticker, and I got to sign it.



I googled my hotel, which I thought was close to the track for the morning event. It was close-ish. Melissa had booked a room that was half the distance of mine and she had Rey, Colin, Mark and Ali staying with her. I knew I was going to get up much earlier than they were and since the balloon event wasn’t even going to start until after dark, I decided to skip out and head back to my hotel room so I could gas up and reorganize my packing.


Still not dark and it was getting late. Luckily there was a fantastic car to park next to!

I was officially ready to rally!

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It’s Good to Have Friends

Mike and Jane Glynn have been friends of mine since high school and the best part of taking an East Coast route was finally getting to visit them again! I spent the morning working from the beach house in Sandbridge and then loaded up My Precious to make my way further south.


I’m going to miss breakfast with the Webb family.

Angel made another excellent breakfast and then I gave everyone a ride to the beach.


N8 still had watermelon hair.

When I finished work, I took off and drove down the road to Greensboro.


Mike could tell there was rain coming and set up a tent because nothing interrupts Grillmaster Glynn.

While we waited for dinner, I met Jane’s new granddaughter who entertained us with some lively tunes.


Mixmaster Evie

We enjoyed a delicious meal.


Grilled corn wins. Forever.

And some tasty brews.


Gaelic Ale was Mike’s favorite.


The Poet was my favorite.

We listened to Mike’s new favorite music which turned out to be Bluegrass. I haven’t been forced to enjoy that since Tyler played with the band. Afterwards, we talked about politics and each vowed “never trump” and to have a “trexit” and somehow when Gogo came home we ended up singing Cabinet Battle #2. It was all very American.

It was late and I’d been drinking so we decided to call it a night. The next day I was making the final leg of my #mtts2016 pregame and so clearly I needed some rest!

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