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!

Gays Mills Apple Run — Sept 16th

Gays Mills Apple Run -- Sept 16th

EIM is making another Gays Mills Apple Run to Gays Mills, Wisconsin on Saturday, September 16th.

We will meet up at our traditional meet-up spot for drives up into Wisconsin — in Dubuque between the Wendy’s and BP station on East 16th Street, just prior to crossing over the US-151 bridge. Take the Kerper Blvd exit to the right from northbound US-151. Our notional meet-up time in Dubuque is 9:00 am, if it changes we will update this announcement. There is a rendezvous location map link below (click on the Read More link from the home page).

This drive is one week prior to the massive Apple Festival so the apple supply at the orchards (including the Honey Crisps) and the availability of pies, tarts, doughnuts, etc. should be plentiful.

RSVPs are not necessary but it’s always nice so we know who to look out for at the rendezvous.

See you there!

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!

Road Salt, Gator Toes, and a Cadillac 500

Road Salt, Gator Toes, and a Cadillac 500

A fine and fun-loving group of area MINIacs gathered together in Davenport yesterday for our 2017 instantiation of the EIM Quad Cities Meet-n-Eat. Even the most punctilious detailers among us (thinking of you, Larry H.!) sucked it up and accepted the reality of winter road grime in order come together for great food and even better MINI fellowship. Although our local area weather quality has waxed and waned of late, the recent smattering of warm, sunny days hints at the promise of the upcoming EIM motoring season — our tenth year together!

We can’t thank Sandy & Denny B. enough for yet another February of hosting our group for this gathering, especially on the heels of several weeks of out-of-area travel. Their generosity and graciousness are unsurpassed and greatly appreciated! Thanks to all of the MINI folk in attendance for your participation and for bringing such a variety of unique and tasty goodies to share. Thanks also to Chris G. for his creative documentation of the event (see the photo link below), to Jeff N. (of gator toes fame) for the drone operation, and to Steve B. for giving us a peek at his boss Chevy truck (and its Cadillac 500 power plant).

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

Photos from the EIM Quad Cities Meet-n-Eat, Davenport, 2-25-17

Next up is our March gathering in Cedar Rapids and our first visit to Zeppelins Bar and Grill on Saturday the 18th, thanks to the creativity and planning of Phil & Louanne N. and Chris & Sarah G. Get it on your calendar!

Flying Tomato Under the Union Jack

Flying Tomato Under the Union Jack

Thanks to everyone who braved a somewhat drizzly (but relatively warm) Saturday in January in order to join us at our first meet-up for 2017 — the EIM Meet-n-Eat at the Wig and Pen Pub hosted in Iowa City on 1/21. Loved catching up with good MINI friends, enjoying good eats, and laying out some of our adventures for the upcoming motoring year. It was a treat to be part of the very first MINI event for little Darla…thanks to Jay and Kristin for introducing her to our MINI family!

If you missed the EIM Calendar Photo Quiz, all is not lost. Here you go — see how many of the EIM events and geographic locations you can identify for each of these photos: EIM Calendar Photo Quiz. Yep, these pics are all from past EIM Calendars and taken from past events. Lots of good times remembered.

There are a few photos from this event in our Photo Gallery. You can access them directly using this link:

Photos from the EIM Meet-n-Eat at the Wig and Pen Pub, Iowa City, 1-21-17

Hope to see you at our next meet-up in Davenport on 2/25. Details coming soon.

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