Country Junction Wrap-Up

Country Junction Wrap-Up

Thanks to everyone who joined us in Dyersville on 11/11 for our final get-together of the 2017 calendar year, the EIM Meet-n-Eat at the Country Junction. It was great fun looking back at all of the memories made over this past motoring year and sharing ideas for potential new adventures in 2018.

Congratulations to all of the annual EIM awardees who were recognized during our luncheon, and thanks to those who allowed us a laugh or two at their expense…always in good fun! The set of 2017 awards can be viewed at the following link:

2017 EIM Annual Recognition Awards

Congrats also to Brian & Tracy K., our 2017 EIM Motorists of the Year. Their two MINIs covered a lot of ground in 2017!

Photos from this event may be found in our Photo Gallery, directly accessible via the following link:

Photos from the EIM Meet-n-Eat at the Country Junction, Dyersville, 11-11-17

We hope all of our MINI motorists and their families have a joyful holiday season. Our next scheduled gathering is our traditional January meet-up at the Wig and Pen Pub in Iowa City, which is planned for Saturday, January 27th. See you then!

15th Annual MINI Fall Tour

15th Annual MINI Fall Tour

EIM extends its sincere thanks to Jake M., Laura R., Jeff G., and all of the folks at the Central Iowa MINI Club for planning and leading this years 15th Annual Iowa MINI Cooper Fall Tour this past Saturday. The drive began in Pella and wound its way across south-central Iowa to a lunch in Eldon and a finish in Iowa City. The wet conditions did nothing to damper the spirits of the motorists or the fun time together.

Our Photo Gallery includes several Facebook-harvested photos of the drive. Credits are due to the motorists who shared them…thanks! They are directly accessible using the following link:

Photos from the 15th Annual Iowa MINI Cooper Fall Tour, 10-14-17

Our final event of 2017 is our annual Meet-in-Eat in Dyersville on November 11th, where we’ll look back on the year and reflect on all of the fun times. Hope you can make it!

How Do You Like Them Apples?

How Do You Like Them Apples?

Our group of MINI folk had another fun drive up to Gays Mills, Wisconsin on 9/16 for the ’17 version of the now seemingly annual Gays Mills Apple Run. The weather was nicely cooperative and, as usual, the orchards, apples, apple slushes, apple cider doughnuts, apple pie and apple pizza a la mode–not to mention the curvy roads, fall colors, expansive views, and MINI companionship–were all superb. Several in the group made their return visit via the Potosi Brewing Company for some sampling of additional good stuff. Thanks to Sandy & Denny B. for leading us on some fine county roads and avoiding the road construction on US-61 north of Lancaster. Thanks also to the new folks who came out and joined us!

Photos may be found in our Photo Gallery, directly accessible via the following link:

Photos from the Gays Mills Apple Run, Gays Mills, 9-16-17

Hope to see you at the Fall Tour on October 14th!

Happy 10th Anniversary EIM!

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On August 31, 2007 a small group of MINI Cooper fans from various eastern Iowa communities gathered together for the first time at the Sonic Drive-In in Coralville. These folks had come to know of each other through posts made in an online MINI enthusiasts community and shared an interest in establishing an avenue to get together on occasion with their fellow Iowa MINI mates. Five weeks later, a smaller subset of folks met for breakfast in Dubuque, scratched out some ideas and action items on a napkin — and Eastern Iowa MINIs was born.

The Sonic Drive-In in Coralville no longer exists. Most (save a few) of those original MINI fans have left for other locales or ventures. All of those wonderful MINIs present that evening (except LEO!) have been sold or traded in (usually for another MINI). Yet EIM continues to thrive, bolstered by a wonderful cadre of genuinely good people who comprise the core of its MINI enthusiasm and an organizational formula that seeks to minimize bureaucracy and free people up to simply have fun together with their MINIs. As of its 10th Anniversary, EIM has either organized or participated in over 150 local, regional, or national MINI events! Every single one is documented in our Photo Gallery and it’s pretty cool to go back and revisit those early gatherings.

Here are the photos from that first get-together:

Coralville Sonic MINI Gathering, 8-31-07

See if there are people and MINIs you remember or still recognize. 🙂

Thanks to all for a wonderful 10 years. Here’s to 10 more!

EIM Catches its Breath After Two Amazing Weeks of MINI Fun

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The first half of August 2017 has been an incredible, historic, and enjoyable time for our MINI enthusiasts in EIM, with active participation in four separate motoring events spread out over 1,500 miles!

MINI on the Mack 2017 was the third iteration of this massive gathering in St. Ignace, MI. The event held on August 5th set a record for the largest gathering of MINIs on U.S. soil (1,328) and helped raised thousands of dollars for local charities. Our EIM motorists in attendance thoroughly enjoyed representing us in this event and exploring the Upper Peninsula.

The annual Heartland British Autofest, hosted by the Quad Cities British Auto Club on August 5th in Le Claire, included multiple EIM entries. Our club managed to walk away with top honors in the Mini class. Lots of other EIMers came out to support the participants, including several who were actually starting their transits to Colorado for the following week’s MINI activities!

That Colorado event was in fact MINIs in the Mountains 2017, hosted by the Denver-based MINI5280 Club from August 9th – 15th and held this year in beautiful Steamboat Springs, CO. After a five-year hiatus, no less than 12 MINIs and 22 motorists from EIM made the trip out west in order to enjoy the wonderful mountain scenery and superb motoring roads. Several folks enjoyed extended vacations and traveled to points of interest all across the area. It was another fun and memorable adventure for our group with a great bunch of MINI friends.

Last but certainly not least, EIM honored its annual commitment to the Holy Cross Parade and Festival in Holy Cross, taking place this year on August 12th. Our parade participants enjoyed fabulous weather, another phenomenal post-parade meal, and the other Festival amenities (not to mention all of the great roads getting to and from the area). Thanks to everyone who came out and supported this event!

Special thanks to Linda and Tom R. for their gracious hosting of our group in Holy Cross (as they do each year), including the coordination and the always appreciated broasted chicken and home brew. Their generosity is deeply appreciated by all.

Thanks also to EIMers Peggy J., Steve M., and Alyce and Bill S. for the group’s use of Wyndham time shares in Steamboat Springs. It’s always fun when our motorists are able to colocate and have a base of operations to plan, socialize, and reminisce. Thanks also to everyone who brought and purchased food and drink and helped prepare meals at the lodge (Alyce, those breakfast sandwiches were the best!).

Thanks to Jeff and Sue N. for all of the fantastic drone footage out in Colorado. The drone logistics are no small feat and our group greatly appreciates the fruits of your labor. We’ll continue to features these videos on our homepage over the coming months.

A special nod to Brian and Tracy K., who participated in both MINI on the Mack and MINIs in the Mountains. Over 4K miles of motoring fun in their Roadster in less than two weeks (and a lot of it top-down)!

Lastly, thanks to all of the EIM folk who came out and supported these events. Your MINI enthusiasm is infectious and we are always grateful for your friendship and camaraderie.

Photos from all of these events are posted in our Photo Gallery. Use the following links to go directly to the event-specific galleries:

Photos from EIM at MINI on the Mack 2017, St. Ignace, MI, 8-5-17

Photos from EIM at the Heartland British Autofest, Le Claire, 8-5-17

Photos from EIM at MINIs in the Mountains 2017, Steamboat Springs, CO, 8-9-17 to 8-13-17

Photos from the Holy Cross Parade and Festival, Holy Cross, 8-12-17

See you soon!

Some Joe and Some Suds

Some Joe and Some Suds

The weather could not have been more perfect last Saturday for our EIM Joe & Suds Meet-n-Eat in the Quad Cities. We had a great, early morning showing of MINIs at the Cars & Coffee in LeClaire and enjoyed seeing all of the other fine vehicles that came out for the event. The highlight clearly belonged to Tom & Linda R. who surprised us with their brand new MINI Countryman! (Don’t worry faithful EIMers, the Black Eye Purple GOZER is still in their now two-MINI stable.) Following this gathering, we savored the short, scenic drive along the river to downtown Davenport to rendezvous with several other EIMers and check out the Freight House Farmers Market that, due to the beautiful weather, was overflowing with shoppers. Thanks to Steve B.‘s recommendation we made a last-minute shift for lunch to Sippi’s American Grill & Craft Beer, a one-block walk from the Freight House. We had a great lunch and sampled some nice brews on the outdoor patio. Following lunch, several of us made the three-block walk over to the River Center and the Davenport MakeFest, where we were entertained and educated by our very own technology wonk Jay T. who was demonstrating his custom-made 3-D printer. It was fun seeing Kristin and Darla too!

You can check out the photos from our day of fun over in our Photo Gallery, and access them directly using the following link:

Photos from the EIM Joe & Suds Meet-n-Eat in LeClaire and Davenport, 7-15-17

August is a massively busy MINI motoring month! Please see the event listings on the home page!

A Half Rack with a Side of Twisties

A Half Rack with a Side of Twisties

The barbecue was almost as good as the MINI company last Saturday at the EIM Meet-n-Eat at Jimmy Jack’s Rib Shack in Iowa City. We followed our excellent lunch with a spirited drive on some of the best roads in and around Coralville Lake, along with a stop for photos below the spillway. We capped off our day with cold treats for all at Heyn’s Ice Cream in North Liberty. Thanks to all who were able to join us!

There are some photos from this event in our Photo Gallery that you can access and enjoy directly using the following link:

Photos from the EIM Meet-n-Eat at Jimmy Jack’s Rib Shack, Iowa City, 6-17-17

We plan on a lunch meet-up (details TBA) on July 15th as a lead-in to an August that is chock full of MINI fun. Stay tuned!

Springtime Indiana

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“Here across the miles we ramble…” intones singer/songwriter Sandra McCracken in the first verse of her 2001 ballad Springtime Indiana, a fitting recapitulation of another superb EIM multi-day excursion (now a traditional mid-May outing) to French Lick, Indiana for the EIM Hoosier Hoodang. This was the first ever trip for our MINI group to this region and it produced another great series of fun and memorable experiences.

There is always a bit of risk in planning routes that include roads not pre-driven and known only by the descriptions made available by second-hand observations and online biker resources. It’s always a pleasure when those routes end up exceeding the most hopeful expectations. That was certainly the case throughout the Hoosier National Forest area comprising most of our motoring. There were lots of great twisties (and gravity defying roller coaster humps too), good quality road surfaces, and not too much traffic save the seemingly omnipresent red pickup trucks. In particular, IN-62 from Corydon to Saint Meinrad, IN-450 from Shoals to Bedford, and IN-66 from Sulphur to Cannelton were highlights and worth filing away for future reference. Even US-150 between Paoli and Shoals was a delight during the multiple times we used it. The backroad discovered by Jeff & Sue N. between Paoli and French Lick was pretty cool too. About the only thing we didn’t anticipate in advance was the prevalence of Eastern Box Turtles trying to “get to the other side.” It is our firm belief they all made it safely, even the one given a bit of a thump by Cindy C. 😉 We dealt with a few nusance showers/storms during our two days in the area but they always passed quickly and the roads seemed to dry out in good order.

In addition to all of the fun motoring, other fun stops included a tour in Marengo Cave National Landmark, the French Lick Resort and Casino, the West Baden Springs Resort, the Branch of Lick Creek Covered Bridge (thanks to Juli B.‘s cajoling), the Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial, the Jasper City Mill, the Providence Home Geode Grotto, the Schnitz Brewery & Pub, and the indoor karting track in French Lick where Jeff N.‘s autocross experience put the rest of us would-be racers in our proper place (i.e., not in 1st). Eating stops of note included the Ohana Hawaiian Grill & Bar in French Lick, the Overlook Restaurant in Leavenworth with it’s fantastic view of the Ohio River, the Power Plant at the French Lick Resort, Porky’s Barbecue in Paoli, an ice cream stop at the Sonic in Cannelton, and our last night’s pizza party (seemingly becoming another tradition) at the Comfort Suites, our group hotel near French Lick. Special thanks to Steve & Juli B. for allowing us to rendezvous at their home prior to the trip. It was a fun-filled adventure from start to finish with a super group of MINI friends.

Photos from the Hoodang are posted in our Photo Gallery and are directly accessible using using the following link:

Photos from the EIM Hoosier Hoodang, French Lick, IN, 5-18-17 to 5-21-17

Hope to see many of you next month in Iowa City at Jimmy Jacks!

Southern Skirmish

Southern Skirmish

What a fantastic day for our first motoring event of 2017!

Thanks to everyone who joined us last Saturday for the 10th EIM Border Skirmish Drive, an event that has evolved into an annual April tradition and our first organized drive of the calendar year. This year’s drive emphasized our borders to the south (MO) and east (IL) with much of the route on the Iowa Historic Hills Scenic Byway. Our rendezvous in Wildwood Park in Ottumwa was followed by fun stops at the Air Power Museum in Blakesburg, the American Gothic House in Eldon, a trip through twisty Lacey-Keosauqua State Park, another stop in quaint Bentonsport, and to a fabulous lunch at the Bonaparte Retreat. After lunch we headed east to the Mississippi River and a stop at quirky Dave’s Meat Market in Montrose, south along the river to Rand Park in Keokuk, then across the bridge and back north along the Illinois Great River Road. There was another stop along the river at the Hoot Owl Rest Stop, giving EIMer Derek P. the chance to drive a golf ball completely across the Mississippi (well, maybe 275 yards of it anyway). Then it was on north to the Joseph Smith Visitors Center in Nauvoo, back across the river at Ft. Madison (where we experienced the drawbridge first-hand), and finally to Burlington where we capped off the drive with a photo opportunity on famous Snake Alley.

EIM survives on the volunteer spirit of our EIMers, and in this case we are indebted to our motoring mate Jeff N. for all of his efforts in planning, organizing, and executing such a fun drive. He also gets kudos for organizing the Friday spirited pre-drive and for the Snake Alley drone video now featured on the home page. Many thanks Jeff! Thanks also to Steve B. for the companion Snake Alley GoPro video.

Photos from this event may be found in our Photo Gallery and are directly accessible using the following link:

Photos from the 10th EIM Border Skirmish Drive, Ottumwa to Burlington, 4-22-17

Looking forward to next month’s Hoodang!

MINI Zeppelins

MINI Zeppelins

Thanks to all of the EIM faithful who joined us last Saturday in Cedar Rapids for the Zig-Zag to Zeppelins, our traditional Rite of Spring Meet-n-Eat held this year for the first time at Zeppelins Bar and Grill. The biting northwesterly winds curtailed our outdoor loitering just a bit, but the dry roads and eventual sunshine were welcome relief from the earlier dead-of-winter events. The restaurant turned out to be an almost perfect venue for our group, with great food and drink to boot.

We extend our deepest and most sincere thanks to Phil & Louanne N. and Chris & Sarah G. for their planning and organizing of this gathering, not to mention the awesome raffle prizes and high-quality goodie bags for everyone. Their generosity was greatly appreciated by all of our MINI folk! Thanks once again to Jeff N. for his drone expertise and resulting video.

We enjoyed meeting new EIMers Karen & Bruce W. and Riley & Grayson B. Thanks for joining us, and please come back again soon!

Photos from this event may be found in our Photo Gallery and are directly accessible using the following link:

Photos from the EIM Zig-Zag to Zeppelins Meet-n-Eat, Cedar Rapids, 3-18-17

Next month…we motor! Stay tuned for forthcoming details regarding the 10th EIM Border Skirmish Drive on April 22!

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