1,017.7 Miles, 2.5 Days, 127% Fun
It's Friday August 1st, 2008. Day 1 of MINI Takes The States 2008! The day started with waking up kinda early and getting on the phone with my MINI dealer of choice to try and schedule a last minute Oil change and fluids check on MINI before we headed out on the 300+ mile trip to Los Angeles (just to be safe). We got to the dealer at around 9:30am and they hooked me up right away and we were out within the hour, with the usual 15% discount :)
From the Dealer we headed toward the infamous Interstate 5. Some of you may know of I5, some of you may have heard stories of I5, and still some of you may have even had some alone time with I5. Either way, it is I5! It's long and it's boring; in fact it’s about 90% of the trip from the Bay Area down to Los Angeles. By the way from now on Los Angeles will now be known as LA because it’s shorter to type. Moving on. We made it down to LA in pretty good time, with a few stops to eat / drink / stretch.
We got down to the hotel around 3ish that afternoon. We stayed at the Hilton, not one of their better properties I would say, but alright. We were forced to use valet parking, which I’m not a huge fan of, but whatever. That night there was going to be an "Owners Only" party at Jillian's at the City Walk in Universal City. The idea was to gather up everyone that already owned a MINI and let them hang out and chat. It was a good time! The entry into the event was cool too, you had to have your MINI key to get in; talk about steep $30,000 cover charge! :) Upon finishing up the Owners party, we were left to get a little lost in LA heading back to our hotel to attempt to get some sleep before the big first day of MTTS!
Day one was to start with a meeting at the UCLA parking lot at 9:00am. After a slight problem with the waking up process (oops) and a wakeup consisting of a light smack to the face (completely accidental I’m sure) ;) we made it to the parking lot around 9:30 (not too bad). Let me just say WOW, there were MINIs as far as the eye could see, with every possible color / modification combination you could think/dream of! It was like MINI Heaven. After walking around for 30 min or so gawking at all the wonderful MINIs, we had to get ready to rally to the Rose Bowl!
After a beautiful drive and a looooong line of MINIs (with a short stop at the top of a mountain to get a special surprise) we had arrived at the Rose Bowl. Since we were starving from missing breakfast at the UCLA parking lot, food was priority one! We grabbed some food from the vendors then grabbed our official MTTS goodie bag. Throughout the day we checked out all the vendors (some multiple times) and met a ton of cool people. We met Fireball Tim (he had the matte black police MINI there; soo cool!), DB and Todd from White Roof Radio (got a limited edition motoring badge), and a few other MINI people. After all that fun and excitement, we decided to retire a little early and check out some of the LA area while we were there and pickup where we left off on Sunday.
And like that, it was Sunday! We managed to get up on time this time and got checked out of the hotel. After getting some beloved Starbucks, we were off to the Rose Bowl for the last time. First thing that morning was the MINI costume contest! We were more than ready for this since we already had a costume ready for the Halloween costume contest that NEVER happened the year previous! We got MINI all dressed up and sure enough HE WON A PRIZE!!! After the costumes, we went back to the vendors and made more purchases. Today was different however, everything was on sale!! We picked up some JCW scuttles for Valerie's MINI and some assorted MTTS swag, all at crazy sale prices. After going back and forth between the stores and MINI 3-4 more times, it was time for the last rally of the event. This one took us high into the mountains then back down and around to the Rose Bowl. Another beautiful route. Waiting for us when we got back was a nice MINI USA BBQ. After filling up on some hamburgers, we took one last go around at the booths, said our goodbyes and headed out to get back on the road to go home.
That’s it right? well, no. About an eighth of a mile outside the Rose Bowl after leaving we almost got slammed by a SUV that wasn't paying attention. But all was ok after some swerving maneuvers. We decided to take a detour through some of LA and Beverly Hills, then off to I5 to go home!
This should have been a simple task, but about half way back to the Bay Area, they decided to put all of I5 North under construction until 10am the next day. This caused us to do some fast maneuvering via Garmin GPS and iPhone GPS to find an alternate route through what smelled like potato fields, and through some parts of the state where no one should live. After all this, we got back to the bay in a lighting quick 7 hours.
MTTS was so amazing! We already want to go back, but are forced to wait until MTTS 2010! :)
Cya guys there!