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Long Trips

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  • Long Trips

    For those of us who have made some long trips in Minis, and enjoy long tips in Minis, and maybe brag about them every now and then; occasionally, we get put in our places. Books like, "Don't kiss me -- it's very terrible" by John & Carys Pollard, and "The Journey That Never Was" by Jeanne de Ferranti come out. There's one I haven't read titled, "Moke Erasure" by Edward Lang, but I will when I can find a copy. Edward's little trip in a Moke was from Australia to England.

    I'm likely the only person in the club that belongs to the English, Mini Moke Club, but their latest, small magazine (it's too big and nice to be called a newsletter) is running a short version of a trip taken by John Whittaker and girl friend in a Moke. They ran the same drive as Lang, but went Birmingham, England to Australia. 10,125 miles. In 1968. In an English, 848cc Moke.
    The more I know about Minis, the more I know I don't know about Minis.

  • #2
    While I'm proud of my hard earned Yellowstone National Park grille badge you won't find me enjoying any trips outside of Western Washington, Oregon, or British Columbia. The deserts have always given me the willies going back to the childhood trips to the grandparent's farm in Grandview. Long straight roads of the prairie? Yikes!

    So, Chuck and the Dos Amigos, what's the draw of the long trip?

    Don, glad we're not in Kansas Toto, Dixon.


    • #3
      Oh, man, Don. I don’t know where to start.

      You can hate the drive to Portland because you think I-5 is boring, or you can have a terrific time paralleling the freeway on a series of secondary roads that sweep, twist, turn, climb and drop you into Oregon. Same destination, vastly different experience.

      We all understand there are long straight roads east of the Cascades. And plenty more east of the Rocky Mountains. So any long trip, whether it’s to Idaho or Ohio, means you’re going to spend some of your time on those tedious straights. But with a little planning, you can temper those straight stretches with some of the most amazing roads anywhere.

      The Three Amigos have enjoyed some incredible drives in some of the most unlikely places. Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, Wisconsin, Minnesota and, yes, even North and South Dakota; all have roads that follow different kinds of tortured topography. For instance, South Dakota (which actually invented boredom in 1888) has hundreds of miles of scenic and sensational roads. Vanocker Canyon Road out of Sturgis is an amazing bit of pavement that launches you into the beautiful Black Hills and the Badlands beyond.

      Most any state has something to offer the Mini driver. You just have to go looking for the river valleys or other scenic features. It means getting away from the Interstate Highway System and onto the blacktop that actually pays attention to the lay of the land. We’ve managed to find routes in Iowa that challenged our Minis!

      On top of all that, there’s the simple pull of the new. Places that are interesting just because you’ve never been there before. People you’ve never met. As you well know, Minis are the goodwill ambassadors of the automotive world. They cause doors to be opened and welcome mats to be laid down. We once ran into a guy (not literally) who rearranged parking so we could line up in front of his restaurant. In Wyoming, our photo stop tied up traffic at the entrance to Devils Tower because so many people pulled over to look at the little cars. One young fella followed us across Spearfish, S.D. (that’s a longer drive than you might think), to take pictures of the Minis for the local newspaper.

      We’ve seen the Sleeping Bear Dunes along the eastern shore of Lake Michigan. We climbed Pikes Peak. We’ve visited the source of the Mississippi River and been to the birthplace of Kool-Aid. We’ve met all these people and seen all these places from right down here at Mini level. But we had to drive a few straight roads to get there.



      "If you don't know where you're going, any road will take you there." -- George Harrison


      • #4
        Another take is the ability to explore one very big country. Normally, people drive a car (like everybody else's car) to an airport like other airports to get into an airplane and fly maybe thousands of miles without seeing any of the country. Then the plane lands at an airport like the one left a few hours ago. A car (like everybody else's car) is rented and a little driving around a town like most other towns is done. Boring.
        There are a lot of interesting roads, once away from the freeways, and a lot out there to see; especially, from those roads.
        The more I know about Minis, the more I know I don't know about Minis.