Great Lakes (and Mountains, Waterfalls, Lighthouses, and Twisties Too)

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The EIM to the Lake in the Clouds event, our MINI Cooper adventure to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, just wrapped up this past Sunday after five incredible days of exploration and fun. Mother Nature blessed us with great weather and the sights and sounds of Houghton and the surrounding area couldn’t have been any more enjoyable.

Our Thursday drive took us west to the Porcupine Mountains (known locally as “The Porkies”) with an initial stop at the park’s visitor center. This was followed by the climb up to enjoy the view of the stunning Lake of the Clouds. We then followed the South Boundary Road around the park with a stop and short trail hike up to Summit Peak, the highest point in the park. Lunch in the town of Wakefield was facilitated by the time zone change that managed to get us in the door prior to closing time. The afternoon was consumed by our transit back to Houghton through the emerging fall colors.

Friday found us skirting up the winding roads along the western edge of the Keweenaw Peninsula. The scenic and interesting stops along the way are almost too numerous to mention, but here are just a few: the Eagle River Bridge and Falls, the Jampot monastery-owned shop, Jacob’s Falls, the Eagle Harbor Lighthouse, the beach at Eagle Harbor, the Brockway Mountain summit, and the scenic overlook along Brockway Mountain Road above the town of Copper Harbor. Lunch and shopping in Copper Harbor was followed by a transit south along beautiful, curvy US-41 and then east along Lac La Belle Road along the coast for a stop at Haven Park Falls and ultimately to the town of Gay (and its famous bar) for ice cream prior to our return trip to Houghton.

On Saturday we headed southeast along the Keweenaw Bay towards the town of Baraga and a stop at the Bishop Baraga Shrine. We then did some fun exploring around Silver River Falls located a few miles northeast of L’Anse, and followed more roads south through Alberta and Covington, and then north along Plains Road (until we ran out of pavement!). An early return to Houghton allowed our folks to break off for individual adventures. Among these included a sojourn into the deep bowels of the Quincy Copper Mine, the center of the massive copper mining industry that defined the area from the mid-1800s until the 1940s. We all gathered for our get-away meal that evening at the eclectic Continental Fire Co. in Houghton and toasted our series of fun times and another set of great memories. Thanks to all of the EIMers who were able to come along and be part of this adventure!

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

Photos from the EIM to the Lake in the Clouds, Houghton, MI and vicinity, 9-12-18 to 9-16-18

Looking forward to our Gays Mills drive this Saturday!
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Gays Mills Apple Run — Sep 22


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The Gays Mills Apple Run is EIM’s semi-traditional fall drive to Gays Mills, Wisconsin and the local apple orchards there. This drive takes place on Saturday, September 22nd.

We will meet up at our usual meet-up spot for drives up into Wisconsin — in Dubuque at the BP Station at the corner of Kerper Blvd and East 16th Street, just prior to crossing over the US-151 bridge. Our departure time from this location is 9:00 am so you’ll want to arrive a bit early to take care of any housekeeping/fuel-up chores. There is a rendezvous location map link below (click on the Read More link from the home page).

(Note that the northbound Eagle Point District/Greyhound Park exit off US-151 is under construction, so if coming from the south you’ll want to take the N US-52/9th St exit and then turn right on Kerper Blvd at the bottom of the ramp.)

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!

Our Parade of MINIs

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Thanks to all of the EIMers who came out for this year’s Holy Cross Festival and Parade held in Holy Cross this past Saturday. The weather was superb and the parade (including our pre-party at the assembly point and the bountiful feast afterward) as great as ever. Over the past decade of involvement our MINIs have become a Holy Cross Parade staple and enjoyed by everyone.

As always, our heartfelt thanks go out to Linda & Tom R. for their hospitality, for the amazing (as always) local broasted chicken, and for opening up their home to our group. The “Purple Haze” home brew was an extra special treat. Thanks to everyone who contributed their delicious additions to the food selections.

Photos of the entire evolution may be found in our Photo Gallery and are directly accessible using the following link:

Photos from the 2018 Holy Cross Festival and Parade, Holy Cross, 8-11-18
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EIM Takes the Heartland Autofest

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Congratulations to Jim & Brenda M. from Clinton for taking First Place in the MINI/Mini Category at this year’s Heartland British Autofest held in Le Claire on Saturday, August 4th. This annual event is hosted by the Quad Cities British Auto Club. Way to go!

Muscatine County Meet-Up and Motoring


Photo credit: Jeff Noe
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Our thanks to all of the local MINI folk who came out on a toasty summer day for our EIM Blue Grass to Wilton Meet-n-Eat held on June 16th. The Corner Grill in Blue Grass turned out to be an excellent lunch venue with a separate room perfectly sized for our group. The short drive over to Wildcat Den State Park was highlighted by our passing the massive (50+) herd of friendly Quad Cities Jeeps on IA-22 headed in the opposite direction. The Pine Creek Grist Mill was nice, shady, and an interesting place to visit. Finally, the recently renovated Wilton Candy Kitchen in Wilton was superb (especially the ice cream) with the new ownership providing massively improved and much welcomed serving efficiency to big groups like ours. It turned out to be a most enjoyable capstone to the day.

Feel free to check out the photos from this event in our Photo Gallery. You can access them directly using the following link:

Photos from the EIM Blue Grass to Wilton Meet-n-Eat, 6-16-18

We’ve added the Holy Cross Festival and Parade on August 11th to our calendar. More fun MINI times ahead!

For any of you headed out to MTTS 2018…be safe and have fun!

Des Moines Auto Festing


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A nice collection of both MINIs and Minis (i.e., new and classic) from EIM and from the Central Iowa MINI Club participated in the Central Iowa British and European Auto Fest hosted by the Des Moines British Auto Club in West Des Moines on June 3rd. The weather was perfect and everyone enjoyed meeting up with old MINI friends and checking out the large assortment of cool cars.

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

Photos from the Central Iowa British & European Auto Fest, West Des Moines, 6-3-18

See you in Blue Grass on 6/16!

Great River Region SCCA Auto-X #4 Recap


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EIMer Jay T. represented the MINI faithful at the recent Great River Region SCCA Autocross #4 held in Mt. Joy on May 28th. Both he and the MINI were looking good! Enjoyed seeing the great 360 degree panoramas and video clips circulating in his Facebook circles.

A few more photos have been added to our Photo Gallery and can be found at this link:

Jay T. photos from the GRR SCCA Auto-X #4, Mt. Joy, 5-28-18

Well done Jay!

Buffalo River Reflections


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Our annual out-of-area May drive took place last Thursday thru Sunday (May 17-20) and this year’s event took us to the Ozark Mountains of north-central Arkansas. The EIM MINIs in a Mountain Home managed to meet and often exceed our own lofty standards for fun times and great memories. As you can see from the photos from our trip (link provided below) it was a superb time filled with unique experiences and adventures.

Our base of operations at the Buffalo River Lodge provided our group with exclusive access to the resort and all of its amenities, located ~14 miles south of Yellville, AR smack in the middle of a plethora of great mountain motoring roads and just a stone’s throw from the scenic Buffalo River. The proximity to the river allowed several folk in our group to take advantage of the Lodge offering of an amazing Friday kayak trip (with beautiful, clear, cool waters and current sufficient to result in two capsizings (Cindy C. and Peggy J., both documented on Steve B.‘s GoPro) and participation in an ad hoc rescue of a stranded canoe and rounding up their lost belongings, complete with Steve B. pearl-diving to the river bottom to recover a sunken treasure. Except for Cindy’s lost shoe and sunglasses, none were the worse for wear.) The remainder of the group (the “dry” ones) enjoyed some thrilling motoring through the rocky bluffs to the south and west, with a nice lunch stop in Clinton, AR. The end of the day Friday was much like Thursday and Saturday — encamped around the fire pit on the grounds, taking on food and beverage, and having a fun time sharing all of our experiences from the day’s activities.

Saturday’s drive headed east through the Buffalo National River area south of Mountain Home, AR with an unexpected but fun entry in the Pioneer Days Parade in Norfolk, AR (We just happened to arrive at the right time and hooked up at the tail end of the parade. Most of the locals thought our ad hoc entry was pretty cool!). That was followed by a trip over the historic swinging bridge (!) in Allison, AR; lunch at a neat local BBQ joint just north of Mountain View, AR, and then some spirited motoring back to the northwest to a mid-afternoon refreshment stop at Gravity BrewWorks, a thriving craft brewery seemingly in the middle of nowhere. The warm temperatures supported a swim call at the river after our return, followed by a cookout at the Lodge, more time around the fire pit, and disbelief that we had to head home the following day.

Our thanks to all of the participating EIMers who made this such a fun and memorable event!

Photos (including those from the kayak trip) may be found in our Photo Gallery and are directly accessible using the following link:

Photos from the EIM MINIs in a Mountain Home, Yellville, AR, 5-17-18 to 5-20-18

The Central Iowa British and European Auto Fest happens next in Des Moines on Sunday, June 3rd. See the Event Calendar for the entry form. We’ll also be announcing soon a local lunch gathering for our MINIs that will happen later in June. Hope to see you there!

On the Road Again — Our 2018 BSD


Photo Credit: Jeff Noe
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With Spring finally showing some evidence of arrival and despite the cool temps and remnants of snow in the shade and on the north-facing slopes, it was a great joy to get out on the road in our MINIs for the 11th EIM Border Skirmish Drive (BSD) this past Saturday. Our rendezvous in Decorah at the trout hatchery offered some nice social time as well as fish feeding and Decorah Eagles watching (even live on our smart phones while standing under the nest). Even though northeast Iowa and southeast Minnesota had received a foot of snow three days earlier, the Driftless Region roads were amazingly clear, dry, and as twisty as ever. We enjoyed our lunch stop in Spring Grove, MN at the Ivy Grove Cafe followed by some of the best roads of the day. MN-76 north of Caledonia, County Road 13 west of Houston, and MN-43 south of Bratsberg are always among our local favorites.

Our final stop back in Decorah at the world famous Toppling Goliath Brewing Co. was a real treat, both in terms of the experience and the libations. Our group extends its sincere thanks to Director of Hospitality Josh White for the cheerful gift of his energy and time in providing us a special, dedicated tour of the TG Brewery operations. It’s truly an amazing place.

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

Photos from the 11th EIM Border Skirmish Drive, Decorah and vicinity, 4-21-18

Our next events include the Quad City Gearheads Spring 61 Kartway Cruise Night from Davenport to Delmar on May 5th followed by the EIM MINIs in a Mountain Home down in Yellville, Arkansas on May 17th-20th.

Fun MINI times ahead!

Fusion Resolution

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After a two-week delay due to Mother Nature’s poor sense of humor (i.e., Springtime snow) it was nice to have blue skies for our EIM Spring Fusion Meet, Eat, and Race this past Saturday in Marion. It was great to enjoy the company of such a large number of MINIs and MINI folk. Our lunch at the Cibo Fusion Restaurant was superb, and the follow-on kart racing at nearby Speedeez Karting was an absolute blast.

EIM extends sincere thanks to Louanne & Phil N. for all of their planning and organization of this event, not to mention their accommodation of the revised date. It was an excellent choice of venue and much appreciated by everyone!

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

Photos from the EIM Spring Fusion Meet, Eat, and Race, Marion, 4-7-18

Hope to see many of you on 4/21 for our first drive of the year, the traditional April Border Skirmish Drive. Can’t beat those Driftless Region motoring roads!

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