MINI Takes The States 2014

MINI USA has done an amazing job of encouraging the MINI community, including thousands of miles of MINI Motoring at the bi-annual MINI Takes The States events.

The original 2006 event is still probably the best, partly because it was rolled up with delivery of GP0203, partly because it was my first ever big American drive (Coast To Coast meant that my MINI had about 5,000 miles when it got home), and partly because I met great MINI friends including George, Robert – and of course the MINI USA folks including Jim and Trudi.
The 2010 event was fabulous too, because Margaret drove it with me – and we did a second Coast To Coast together that year, again in GP0203!
While I was not impressed by 2008 (no driving), and only squeaked in to the very end of 2012 (thanks, George!), I’m happy to be planning to join the 2014 event, with Margaret – and this time in a new MINI, Black Knight.

Margaret again will be traveling with me, and we’ve chosen to do just the second half of the event, joining MINI Takes The States in Memphis (the closest point to our new home in Florida) and then driving all the way to Boston – where we can then visit our old friends for a few days, before heading back south. It’ll be a fun time again I’m sure, and we’ll have more comfort this year too, in the bigger Countryman!

Mount Dora Brewing

Another fun weekend event courtesy of James & Lori (thanks to both). This time, meeting at Orlando MINI, then driving to Mount Dora for lunch at Mount Dora Brewing. Pictures from the day (including dead bugs all over Black Knight’s paint!):

Dragon Schmagon 2014

This weekends big MINI meet is MINIs On The Dragon, but for owners not leaving the Sunshine State, James and Lori organized an alternative rally drive and pub crawl (links on Sunshine MINIs and facebook, which Margaret and I headed over to this morning. Happily the rain did not put everyone off:

The rally was not something that we’ve done before – a route list to follow, but with things to spot along the way (“what does TLC stand for”, “what’s on top of the green mailbox”, etc) – great fun! We missed a couple of the answers, but didn’t get lost. Following the rally was a nice burger pub lunch at The Half Wall Beer House.
The day continued with a “pub crawl” and more drinking – but Margaret & I bailed and headed back home. And I needed to give Black Knight a wash!

She looks much better for being clean, and the rain just about held off (a little extra drying needed once back in the garage!)

A fun day – thanks to James & Lori!

Less noise, more sound

At the recent F56 launch event at Orlando MINI, I left Black Knight to have some service work done – and first of all I’m thrilled with the care and attention given to me by that dealership! My Motoring Advisor Greg had organized everything before my arrival, including ordering what was needed and getting the paperwork filled out – and Service Advisor Adante spoke to me both when I dropped the car off, and twice today, to keep me informed and to let me know when everything was ready.

So what was done? Well the most important thing was installing Sirius Satellite Radio! It was the one thing missing from an otherwise fully equipped car, and I couldn’t really understand why it was missing – even more so when I researched and found that all 2012+ USA MINIs have the electronics installed, whether Sirius is active or not.
So activating Sirius is a reprogramming / software only task – though one that takes multiple hours, which is why I left the car rather than waiting. And the proof of success was not only an email confirming my free one year subscription (Orlando MINI even configured that for me!), but also the displays and sound when I drove home tonight:


I also had the dealership hunt down the cause of an annoying rattle / rolling noise in the back of the car, which started a couple weeks after I took delivery; it sounded like a bolt rolling around in the bodywork, and that’s almost what it turned out to be!

Orlando MINI shop foreman Vann tracked the noise down to that wrench socket, the size used to fix the rear lights – my guess is that the socket stuck on the bolt during manufacture, and after a while it fell off the bolt and began rolling around. So I’m happy that noise is gone, too!

Black Knight’s BMW “twin”

Tonight we headed out to Saffron, an Indian restaurant we’ve not previously tried – and it was excellent! In the parking lot, we saw a BMW that looked to have a paint finish quite like Black Knight:


Interesting, but I didn’t realize that this car probably is EXACTLY the same paint (code U91), as BMW did release an M3 “Frozen Black” edition a few years ago. However that car was not a convertible, like the one I saw tonight – so I presume someone has had their BMW painted to mimic the production car.

On a less black note, another interesting car in the same parking lot: