Happy Holidays!

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Eastern Iowa MINIs extends its sincerest wishes to all of our friends and families for a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Motoring Year!

See you in 2017!

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Award-Winning EIMers

Award-Winning EIMers

The Year 2016 certainly had its share of ups and downs, but without question EIM enjoyed another great year of MINI motoring adventures and fun. We took a moment to reflect on those good times and to share our memories and laughs during our last official event of the year — the EIM Meet-n-Eat at the Country Junction held in Dyersville this past Saturday. It was great to gather together with old friends and new faces and reminisce on all of MINI goodness during this past motoring season.

We took time to recognize some of our noteworthy peers, both in gratitude and in jest, with the awarding of our annual recognition awards. You had to be there to see the “prizes” awarded 😉 but you can view the associated award certificates using this link: 2016 EIM Recognition Awards.

Congratulations to all of the award winners, and a special nod to Steve & Bobbi M., our EIM Motorists of the Year for 2016.

A few photos from the luncheon can be found in our Photo Gallery, and are directly accessible via the following link:

Photos from the EIM Meet-n-Eat at the Country Junction, Dyersville, 11-19-16

Sincere thanks to all of the folks who help make EIM such a fun group. See you at the Wig and Pen Pub in Iowa City in January!

EIM Returns to the Ozark Mountains

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EIM enjoyed another fantastic trip to Eureka Springs, Arkansas and the surrounding Ozark Mountain region during our group’s participation in the annual 2016 MINIs in the Ozarks event from 20-23 October.

Our motorists were blessed with absolutely perfect weather from start to finish. EIM essentially took over all of the cabins at the Brackenridge Lodge in Eureka Springs and turned the place into our own little MINI-themed resort and base of operations. The perfect weather even includes the fog bank we found on the White River as we crossed over the Beaver Suspension Bridge, making for a unique and somewhat mysterious passage. Friday’s day of motoring also included some great twisties in southern Missouri around and across Table Rock Lake followed by the MITO 2016 group photo and massive MINI parade through the downtown streets. Saturday was a full motoring day as we headed south on the famous Pig Trail and continued south to spectacular views from Magazine Mountain, followed by a run north that included several of our favorite roads and stops in the vicinity of the town of Jasper, AR. We enjoyed some great meal stops, the most notable being our unplanned stop at the Smokin’ Taters Barb-e-que in Paris, AR where our MINIs made quite an impression on the locals and we made some new friends in the process. Saturday evening was the cherry on top as we partied around the fire pit during a great take-out pizza feast, enjoying a variety of libations and listening to the Cubs win the pennant. It was a fabulous four days with an amazing group of great MINI friends. As seems to be usual for our distant motoring adventures, the time to head home again came all too soon.

We extend our thanks to Scott & Jenny Johnson at the Brackenridge Lodge for all of their hospitality and for enduring our four-day MINI invasion. We enjoyed our stay!

Photos from our trip to MITO 2016 may be found in our Photo Gallery and are directly accessible using using the following link:

Photos from EIM at MITO 2016, Eureka Springs, AR, 10-20-16 to 10-23-16

November includes our final Meet-n-Eat of the 2016 season. Don’t forget to sign up if you’re coming. Thanks!

Tour de Bluffs & Bends

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The morning mist last Saturday did not deter a record total of 33 MINIs and over 50 motorists from Eastern Iowa MINIs and from the Central Iowa MINI Club from joining up for a great autumn drive through the bluff country of northeastern Iowa as part of the 14th Annual MINI Cooper Iowa Fall Tour.

Our route for the day began in Nashua at the Little Brown Church in the Vale and finished in Dyersville. The route in between took advantage of the winding roads and great scenery along the Turkey River Valley and included stops at the Fort Atkinson State Preserve in Fort Atkinson; the Montauk Governor’s Mansion in Clermont; lunch at Dotzy’s Restaurant and Saloon located in Elgin; and the Mississippi Scenic Overlook just south of Guttenberg. Despite the large size of the group, we somehow managed to stay together for the entire drive without losing anyone along the way. Great job to all of our motorists!

Thanks to everyone from both clubs for the great showing. Special recognition goes to Greg B. from CIMC who has not missed a single Iowa Fall Tour since its inception. A true MINI enthusiast!

Photos from the day’s activities are now in our Photo Gallery. You can access them directly using the following link:

Photos from the 14th Annual MINI Cooper Iowa Fall Tour, 10-1-16

See you next year for the 15th Tour!

Apple-licious

Apple-licious

EIM enjoyed a fun run up to Gays Mills, Wisconsin the past weekend as part of our Gays Mills Apple Run ’16 event. The roads heading north out of Dubuque are always a treat, as are the orchard visits, the views, the apple cider doughnuts (yum!) and apple pizza a la mode (yum x2!). We ended up making our return via twisty WI-171 out to the Mighty Mo and down through the river towns of Prairie Du Chien and Cassville to an ad hoc, early afternoon lunch stop at the Potosi Brewing Company in Potosi. We consumed more yummy stuff there. 😉

Check out photos from our drive in our Photo Gallery via the following link:

Photos from the 2016 Gays Mills Apple Run, Gays Mills, 9-10-16

Thanks to all who joined us for this thoroughly enjoyable day of MINI motoring. Hope to see you at the Fall Tour in three weeks!

EIM on Parade

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Thanks to all of the EIMers who came out for this year’s Holy Cross Festival and Parade held in the town of Holy Cross this past Saturday. The weather turned out to be spectacular and the parade (including our little “party” at the assembly point) as fun as ever. The parade-goers certainly enjoyed our decked-out MINIs.

This was the first year assembling at the mansion de Roling following the parade for the always superb after-feast. We can’t thank Linda & Tom R. enough for all of their hospitality, for the amazing (as always) local broasted chicken, and for opening up their home to the MINI masses. We enjoyed seeing their new home and were especially impressed with their driveway in terms of MINI Cooper capacity! The purple haze home brew was a real treat too! Thanks also to everyone who contributed all of the delicious additions to the food selections. Safe to say that no one went away hungry.

Some photos from our fun day may be found in our Photo Gallery and are directly accessible using the following link:

Photos from the 2016 Holy Cross Festival and Parade, Holy Cross, 8-13-16

Details will be released within the next week on the upcoming EIM-CIMC 14th Annual MINI Cooper Iowa Fall Tour scheduled for Saturday, Oct 1st. Save the date!

EIM at the Heartland British Auto Fest

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Congrats to EIMer Jim M. on his award winning entry in this year’s Heartland British Auto Fest held in LeClaire this past Saturday! It was a perfect day for showing off all of the UK classics. Thanks to the EIMers who came out and supported this event.

Additional photos may be found in our Photo Gallery. Enjoy!

Bandana’s, Banana Gloss, and Banana Splits

Bandana's, Banana Gloss, and Banana Splits

It was wonderful to see the superb showing of EIM MINIs and motorists at our recent EIM “BBB” Meet, Eat, & Shine, starting out at Bandana’s BBQ in Coralville, transitioning via some curvy country backroads to the Riverside Auto Spa in Riverside (owned by our own EIM MINI mate Bill. S.) and finishing up back in Iowa City at Dane’s Dairy for some sweet, cold treats. It was a treat to meet up again after an extended hiatus with long-time EIMers Tim M. and Fred & Maria H. Congrats to Fred on his brand new F56, and good to know that they’re still a two-MINI family!

We extend our sincere gratitude to Bill & Alyce S. for all of their event preps, and a special nod to Bill for hosting us in such regal fashion at the Spa, complete with goodie bags, refreshment, shade, and wash tokens. Much appreciated!

Feel free to check out some photos from this event in our Photo Gallery. They are directly accessible using the following link:

Photos from the EIM “BBB” Meet, Eat, & Shine, 6-25-16

At the present time, our next scheduled event is the Holy Cross Festival & Parade on 8/13. Stay tuned for a possible local meet-up in the interim. In the meantime, we’ll be cheering on EIM stalwarts Bill & Alyce S., Brian & Tracy K., and Ed & Camille V. as they represent us coast-to-coast in MTTS 2016!

A Recap of the EIM Black Hills Stampede

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Not counting multi-club regional and national events, there are very few MINI groups in the U.S. who rival Eastern Iowa MINIs when it comes to exciting and fun-filled, multi-day, out-of-area MINI motoring adventures to special destinations. This year’s 2016 EIM Black Hills Stampede, held on 18-22 May in the scenic Black Hills region of southwest South Dakota, was certainly no exception. A cadre of 26 fun-loving EIMers and 14 MINIs covered more mountain twisties and took in more scenic vistas over the long weekend than one can enumerate or imagine. This was EIM’s fourth trip to the area since 2008 and, by all accounts, it was one of the best.

Our decision to bivouac on Wednesday evening in Blue Earth, MN was excellent as it provided more time to socialize and get psyched up for the transit west, provided for some awesome photo ops at the Jolly Green Giant, and facilitated a sufficiently early departure on Thursday morning that provided ample time for exploring Badlands National Park, Wall Drug, and stops in Rapid City on the way into our base of operations at the K-Bar-S Lodge just outside of Keystone, SD. The weather was close to perfect and allowed our group to fully enjoy the exploration opportunities at all of the stops.

Friday’s skies dawned cobalt blue and after a few cold showers in one unit (we don’t know anything about who might have turned off the gas valve in the dark instead of the car wash water hose bib…do we Phil N.? 😉 ) we were off early to our nearby favorites, Mt. Rushmore National Monument and a hair-raising run down US-16A / Iron Mountain Road. After a stop at the new Custer State Park Visitor’s Center we enjoyed a superb buffet lunch at the CSP State Game Lodge, a spot on the National Register of Historic Places and serving as the Summer White House for President Coolidge back in 1927. After lunch we circled the CSP Scenic Wildlife Loop (fortunately only the MINIs and not the bison were stampeding) followed by another exhilarating run north on the Needles Highway, with stops at multiple overlooks including the “Eye of the Needle,” and a much-needed rest stop at the Sylvan Lake Lodge. Then it was down the mountain into Hill City, a stop for some at the Prairie Berry Winery for a little tasting and shopping, and a transit back into Keystone under increasingly threatening skies. That threat materialized into a whopper of an evening thunderstorm that sat over the mountains over several hours and upped the “pucker factor” with heavy rain and four separate instances of pea-sized hail, enough to accumulate like snow. It was rather tense for a while but thankfully the storm never devolved to the point of causing damage to our beloved MINIs. Not wanting to venture out en masse into the storm, the night was capped off in grand style when Laura R. and Peggy J. made a pizza run into Keystone (on behalf of their reluctant spouses, Mike R. and Steve M., who balked at getting stuck out in the weather). This turned into a true “Thelma and Louise” adventure complete with the dodging of flood waters, a solid stream of hilarious and “colorful” text message dialog, some Russian beer, an almost-missing-persons APB, and the ladies finally returning late to the K-Bar-S lobby with some great pizza and laughing so hard they were having trouble controlling their tears and their bladders. Of course, their virtuoso telling of the story had us all rolling on the floor laughing. Great times!

Saturday morning saw the bulk of our MINIs making a misty mountain run north on US-385 with stops at the Pactola Reservoir Overlook and at the brand new Homestake Visitor’s Center in Lead. Then it was southwest over the ridge on US-85 and then a spirited run north (after dispatching the student driver in front of us) on the Spearfish Canyon Highway, with several stops along the way including Bridal Veil Falls, with Cindy C.‘s “shoe incident” thrown in for good measure. That was so much fun, we decided to make a return trip up the canyon and back through Lead on our way into Deadwood for lunch and shopping. This group then filled the afternoon with a run west on US-14 to the outskirts of Sturgis and then south on Vanocker Canyon Road, Nemo Road, Norris Peak Road, and back on US-385 toward Hill City. Other MINIs in our group checked out the Crazy Horse Memorial, the Reptile Gardens, the Rapid City Bear Park, and other destinations. A gathering at the Ruby House Restaurant in Keystone for supper made a great exclamation point to a fun-filled day of MINI motoring. As our MINI mates started their independent return trips home on Sunday morning, it was hard to believe how fast the time had passed.

In addition to the folks mentioned previously, we want to give a shout out to Chris G. for his timely OBDII code reader expertise (and for the MINI “music” during the tunnel passages!) and to Steve & Juli B. for the GoPro video footage. A sincere thanks to all of the EIMers who participated in this trip and made all of the memories that much more special.

We’ve added lots of photos from our adventure in our Photo Gallery. You can access them directly using the following link:

Photos from the 2016 EIM Black Hills Stampede, 5-18-16 to 5-22-16

Be sure to check out the EIM Facebook Page for even more photos and memories.

Another Successful Skirmish…

Another Successful Skirmish...

…and no Gophers or Badgers (or MINIs!) were harmed in the process. Simply wonderful to be able to enjoy excellent weather, superb twisties, and great companionship this past weekend at the 2016 EIM Border Skirmish Drive. After meeting up at the Decorah Trout Hatchery and enjoying the views, feeding the fish, and checking out the famous eagles, we headed north into Bluff Country for some amazing curves and spirited motoring, and lunch in Caledonia, MN. Then it was back down along the Mighty Mo and the scenic cliffs through New Albin, Marquette, and Guttenberg to our final destination and supper in Balltown, IA. It was a special treat that the best roads had been completely cleared of their winter sand deposits, allowing us to exercise our MINIs properly!

Thanks to all who came out and joined us. It was a special treat to have EIM Plank Owner Daryl H. drive down from his home in Minnesota to motor once again with his old MINI mates. It was great seeing him and LEO again. His unexpected stop in Houston, MN will keep us laughing for quite some time (he radioed that he was stopping for “air” and the leaders soldiered on, thinking he had said “beer.” Beer? Not Daryl!). We enjoyed meeting and motoring for the first time with EIMers Paul and Sue P. Their son and prom date, incidentally, met up with us in Balltown so they could trade cars with Mom and Dad and make the MINI their prom chariot! Likely some future MINIacs in the making.

Photos from our Border Skirmish are posted in our Photo Gallery. You can go to them directly by using the following link:

Photos from the 2016 EIM Border Skirmish Drive, Decorah to Balltown, 4-23-16

Time to get psyched up for the Black Hills Stampede next month!

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