Monday, July 11, 2011

Winnie goes to the Drive In

In searching for information on MINIs, one of the most useful forums is run by the So Cal Mini Maniacs... a car club for Minis and MINIs. (There is, actually, a distinction-- the MINI is the new version, and the Mini is the old version) That forum has a lot of good reading regarding every aspect of the cars, with real life experience and enthusiastic help. What did we ever do without forums? So, of course, I joined the club.

A week after Winnie came into our lives, we found ourselves joining a club event way up in Ontario, California. Saturday afternoon, everyone met at the MINI of Ontario dealership, who supplied hot dogs and hamburgers, and various snacks (and a grill that someone cooked lovely salmon on for the crowd also) Our first foray into all of the MINI products from the official product line, and we were still a bit broke from the down payment, so all I indulged in were two nice keychains and a set of valve stem covers with Union Jack flags on them :-) We brought home a couple of accessory books to dream over, also... think Sears Wish Book for MINI owners! We met several people who were very nice, mostly new members also. Then everyone headed to the Mission Tiki Drive In, in a long line of Minis (maybe 50 cars?) of all vintages. Instead of the freeway, we drove the surface streets to show off our cars and enjoy driving them together. People stopped and stared as we drove past, a long serpentine line of little cars. At the drive in, we all parked together right up in front, and pulled out the chairs and tables and stereos, and had a tailgate party for the next couple of hours! (no grills, though) Here's Winnie at the drive in:

 The guy who parked next to us had this little vintage 1971 Mini in yellow:

This is another vintage Mini, I love its little 'face'...

 A new version, with a racing number and stripes, and EYELASHES (click on the photos for larger images)

A lovely vintage Mini, in red:

Here's a very racy one, someones pride and joy:

The old ones are just so CUTE! Uncomfortable and super small, but CUTE!

The longest Mini.... oh no, it's a GTO.... gorgeous:

This MINI was a special edition of 50, but I can't recall the name of the edition:
 As the sun went down, we settled in to watch the movies. It was a surreal vista, watching Transformers 3 on the screen, and seeing the Minis with their little scoopy snouts pointing upward, as if they were watching the movie too. I quite liked Transformers, though I had not seen the earlier ones. Lots of special effects, though they didn't show off as well on the drive in screen as they do in a theater. I kept thinking that the plot was either extraordinarily simplistic, or exceptionally subtle... guess which one it was?
We also saw Super 8... it was okay, but I wouldn't have gone to see it in the theater. Can't put my finger on why it was not as moving as some of Spielbergs previous moves (ET anyone?) except that the ET here was not cuddly, and you didn't know whether to fear it or cheer for it, so you never really got on its side.
We spent the night in Ontario and met Jeanene Bernardin and her trainer Tammy, had lunch and exchanged horse boxes, and then headed home. Quite a nice weekend. Oh, and Winnie has some new decals...

 Applying the decal, using the back of a plastic spoon to burnish it

 This is on the chrome button that opens the glove box:
I also bought an "Eject", a "Boost", and an "Escape". Of course, I don't drive like a racer, so they are pretty much just silly. :-)  It's okay to be silly with a MINI, dress it up and have fun with it. I'm looking at larger, more ambitious graphics when we have a bit of dosh to spend again!

While I was applying these decals just now, Mandy from MINI of Escondido called to check up on Winnie and us. We've been so pleased with Mandy's help and with MINI of Escondido, it was a very pleasant buying experience and she has called several times just to see how we are doing. (waves hi to Mandy)

On the way home from Ontario, we took Hwy. 74 instead of going straight down 15. It was Craig's idea... he who always wants to take the fastest and straightest route!! So we detoured, just because we could! And we drove Winnie on the twisty turns behind a Corvette. I couldn't keep up with the Corvette usually but he had a few cars in front of him, so the pace was generally at the top end of my comfort level on twisty roads, and well above what I would usually do. (though still within the speed limit, sort of.. mostly...well, sometimes.  :-) Craig pushed back his seat, cranked up the 70's channel on the Satellite radio (free one year subscription!) and we drove JUST FOR THE FUN! He's sort of getting into this whole MINI thing, but don't tell him that you know! ;-) Winnie took the turns like she was built for them.. which she was!!

Travels with Winnie

Craig and I have had a lot of cars in our married life. Twenty-eight years this August, that we have been married, and in that time we have had mostly hand me downs, or well used cars. We did buy a new Hyundai when Bob was born (who is now of drinking age, that was a while ago wasn't it?) Hyundais, at that time, were almost as cheap as a used car-- and we were lucky with ours, it ran for quite a long time, unusual for an early Hyundai. After the Hyundai broke down, Mom gave us her old Cadillac- a 1977 Coupe de Ville, a real 'boat' and about as long as they come! We drove it until things started breaking down that we couldn't afford to fix. You could literally watch the fuel gauge move toward empty as you went up a hill, it was so heavy! Those were lean days, being a stay at home Mom and making it on one income. Macaroni and cheese days. Suave shampoo on sale days.
Fast forward to our lives now-- the kids are grown and have taken on their own responsibilities, Craig is doing very well as a Journeyman Electrician, and I make shiny horses for my friends. ;-) So when my nice little Nissan Sentra would be a good option to give to Mom to replace her old Honda (that she drives Gram around in, and it was getting old and cranky), Craig said that I could finally go and get the car I have wanted for TEN YEARS-- ever since they were re-issued- a Mini Cooper!! The Nissan would be right next door if I needed to drive Gram, and of course Craig has his truck for big hauling or driving four people, so there were no more excuses!
Meet Winnie:

She had nine miles on the odometer when we signed the contract! WHOO HOO!!! Brand new off the ship! (In fact, I already had her VIN# when she was in transit, and 'watched' the ship as it came across the ocean and rounded the Panama Canal, I knew when it arrived at Port Hueneme and when she was put on a truck to come to the dealership... it was awesome!)

Winnie is a 2011 MINI Cooper hardtop, with an automatic transmission, in Chili red with white top and bonnet stripes. Nothing fancy in her, except an iPod adapter, otherwise she is a basic model. I do plan to buy things for her (they call them 'modifications') but that is for the future. For right now, she is shiny and clean and slick and fast... and I just am over the moon happy!

She came home to live with us on July 2nd, and of course the family was all together, so everyone who wanted to, got to drive her. We put 200 miles on her over the weekend, just in test drives! The guys were impressed with how zippy and responsive she is, and the gals liked the mood lighting, the radio, and the overall cute smallness.

We considered putting her in the Fourth of July parade, but it was cool enough so that the dogs could make a lap, and neighbors had been encouraging me to be in the parade with them this year... now that we have the new Trike! Here are a few snippets from the parade:

Craig, Mom, and Gram. Not sure what Mom was reacting to! There are more people IN the parade than WATCHING the parade! This is our ninth year having a Terramar parade, and we all love it!
We're a surfing area, so of course we need a wave float! This year, the wave with Snoopy also had a surfer with moving mechanical arms! It was fantastic!

A couple of the neighborhood vehicles, with cheering and clapping going on.
The dogs and I. Yasha is in the foreground, Bear farther away, and Casper in the basket. They had already done a lap, pooped, and barked at EVERY DOG so they were tired to start with. We only did one lap, and then I put them in the nice cool house to drink and flop. It was great!