Six am came early, friends! We met at the Quality Inn since all of the DCMM people were staying there (except for me). We lined up and rolled into the Little Bear Arena at 6:25 and even though the doors weren’t going to open until 6:30 we were only about 40 cars from the front.
We spent most of the morning watching the rest of the cars roll in and wandering around admiring them.
At 9:15 they announced that cars were still arriving and they were delaying the drivers meeting until 9:45.
The excitement was palpable!
When it did start, it was really hard to hear and I missed where the official count would happen. I did know we had to maintain a speed of 22 MPH in the parade zone and that we had to stay in our lane on the bridge. Also, we were going to drive pretty far south and then turn around and cross the bridge again before we returned to the Little Bear Arena.
Corey and Brandy’s delightful offspring, Hannah wanted to ride in my car so I tasked her with a few photography challenges. Then we slowly rolled out though as soon as we turned the corner and left the arena grounds the cars in front of me suddenly took off! I learned Hannah had great balance when we careened around a couple of corners to keep up!
Traffic slowed WAY down as we approached the mighty Mackinaw Bridge. Our toll had been paid so we all proceeded through the tollbooth and slowly crossed the bridge.
Once we arrived on the Mackinaw City side, we stayed in the left lane and drove down to Seashell City.
As we approached the exit where we were going to loop back to the north it got even more fun! The entire time we drove the fourteen miles from our turnaround back to the bridge, there were MINIs heading south. I was so grateful Hannah was taking pictures which freed me up to wave enthusiastically to the MINIs on the other side of the freeway and only involved a couple of close calls with Corinne and Devin who were ahead of me (sorry Devin and Corinne!)
We drove back across the bridge, though this time we were in the paved lane and it was a lot less scary. Then we wound our way back through town, waving wildly to the locals who had come out to watch the show.
We parked and went into the arena to grab some lunch and wait for the official tally.
After a hamburger as big as a human head, chips and a cookie, I went out to watch the rest of the cars arrive. Eventually, I found my friend Katie and we sat with a few other drivers in the bleachers. That’s where my friend Gary from #MTTS2016 found me to tell me they’d added a Marauder’s Map to the top of their Harry Potter MINI! I wanted to go check it out so Katie and I headed outside to admire more cars.
There were some real beauties!
Eventually, we gathered back at the DJs tent for announcements and the final count. The event raised over $10,000 for the Van Andel Institute to research and cure Parkenson’s Disease. My friend Niki Pumphrey won an award for Best Dressed (well deserved, her Wonder Woman car is AWESOME) and then they broke the news. Our unofficial count was 1,328. We were 123 cars short of the new world record. So we all celebrated the fact that we were going back to Saint Ignace in 2019 to try again…