When MINIs go somewhere, they travel in packs. Winnie the MINI went to Solvang the weekend of October 8th to be with her friends, and for Craig and I to belatedly celebrate our 28th Anniversary. We arrived a day early, on Thursday, so that we could take our time and be rested when everyone else arrived on Friday. Staying right in downtown Solvang, in the delightful Royal Copenhagen Inn, was great because we could walk though the town and visit the shops that we like so much. (We did buy a few Christmas presents)
Here's the view from our hotel room, looking down on Winnie in the parking lot, all by her lonesome.
We headed off to the meeting place just before noon on Friday, to meet the rest of the MINIs as they rolled up in a caravan from the south. Promptly at noon, the gates of the Mendenhall Museum opened up and the MINIs scooted in. We hadn't looked up what the Mendenhall Museum was all about, so we were enthralled when we looked around and saw the glory of this incredible private collection. Here, amidst a stunning display of petroliana, we had a deli lunch on a long bench. It was hard to concentrate on the food as we craned our necks to catch every gasoline pump, sign, and classic car that surrounded us. I'm glad that I took a lot of pictures so that I can really study them! Remember, you can click on any photo to see a larger version.
Seriously, that's not even half of the collection, I have a slew more photos! There were also racing boats, motorbikes, and many more cars tucked into bays that were completely filled with memorabilia. It was almost overwhelming!
We headed back to the hotel, and this time there were MINIs in the parking lot. People started hanging around outside of the rooms, sitting in metal chairs and folding chairs, munching on dips and cheese and sharing wine that they brought. I did decline the wine-- no rum in sight, what's a Pirate to do?-- and later, Craig and I went to dinner by ourselves, having a nice quiet evening (and I had an Australia lobster tail as big as your two fists! It was divine!)
The next day, after breakfast, we all headed out for the Run. I think that there were something like 15 MINIs that headed from Solvang, westward to Jalama Beach. That route was chosen because it is twisty and scenic, and the MINIs kept pace behind the leader who called out the road conditions on a two way radio. When we reached the beach, we ate lunch at a great little snack stand, and chatted about the day, our cars, and each other.
The last photo is of Scott, who owns Motoring Magic and is caught red-handed putting one of his stickers up on the window of the snack shack, to show that the MINIs had been there.
Everyone met later that evening for a catered dinner, to honor a club member who had passed away two years ago, and amidst the scrumptious Santa Maria style barbeque held in the clubhouse of the Alisal Ranch golf course, the celebration was concluded in a gracious and delicious manner.
Home, now, seems very quiet and mundane, but we have many new friends who welcomed us and made us feel a part of their group. We look forward to future events and to joining our MINI companions on their twisty runs.