You already read about the first half of the journey. Now that it is over, here is the rest.
You learn a lot spending 6-9 hours a day in a MINI. You learn new terms like Elephant Race. You learn that a JCW Roadster with the top down will not keep up with a 1 //M. You learn that a Countryman makes a pretty ok truck.
You also get an idea of the scope and size of the United States. Sure, you know the US produces most of the world’s corn, but until you drive across Iowa and Nebraska, you don’t really get it just how much corn it really is. I80 from Nebraska to Colorado isn’t as bad as everyone says the first time around. In fact, it’s quite majestic. And, in Arizona, it’s not always a dry heat.
There is also the people. This car that we all love so much is nothing without it’s owners. Besides being a crazy bunch, we are also some of the greatest people I’ve ever had the chance to meet, hang out with, race with, take photos of and with and everything else you can think of.
For example, after driving on The Dragon, everyone was asking about how epic I thought the road was. If I’m honest, it’s an ok road. But, I’ve not driven it during MINIs on The Dragon, which I would imagine is about the same as going to Vegas when it’s not AMVIV. Sure the road is great, but it’s the people that make it an unforgettable experience.
Todd and I spent every morning talking to the owners of 250+ MINIs during the morning meeting. Providing last minute route updates, tips about the weather and the occassion joke. This was a position of great power. With out suggestion, we sent 300+ motorer’s to an In-N-Out Burger in Indio. It was off the highway a few miles and took a bit of work to find. Amazing, since there was another about 3 miles further down the road that was right off the freeway.
We were also able to get people to remember to check thier oil. I even spent some time helping out a few owners who didn’t really know how or that they were even supposed to. There were a few other things as well and it all ended at Gladstones in LA with quite a few people walking up to us and personally thanking us for the information and the experience we provided. That’s pretty damn awesome.
Personally, I got to spend a little bit of time with a few MINI USA executives. While everyone asked them questions about the car and the brand in general, I was more curious about their experience working with BMW vs. MINI and working for Jim McDowell. These are people that love the car and the brand as much as we do! Each one was out every day, talking to owners, looking at their cars, buying lunch and sharing stories with us that were funny, amazing and sometimes both. To say I am envious would be a complete understatement.
**HUGE** props to MINI USA, TPG and all of the other vendors and sponsors that made this event so awesome. It went off without a hitch, everyone had a great time and made more friends! This was, by far, the best MINI Event I have ever attended, previously held by AMVIV 4 or 5 and MINI United 2008. It was awesome.
If you are ever looking for a way to spend 10 days, might I recommend getting about 6,000 of your closest MINI friends together and driving across the US. I’m glad I got to do it and it’s definitely something I will do again!
We still have a little bit of MTTS 2012 coverage for you to come. All of my photos have been uploaded and you can see them here. Stay tuned for more interviews and a little bit of video coming later in the week, plus a new episode of The World Famous White Roof Radio next week!