#MTTS2016 Day 1 – Off and Running from Atlanta

The #MTTS2016 kickoff today in Atlanta was excellent and exciting. Even though it started at Zero Dark Thirty (6:30 AM), hundreds of MINI enthusiasts came out to line-up, drive fast and turn left on the Atlanta Motor Speedway. OK, we didn’t drive that fast (about 60 MPH tops), but hey, have YOU driven YOUR car on a NASCAR track? It’s really a photo/video op, but it’s still cool, nonetheless. This year we will be motoring on MANY tracks and for many people MTTS presents the chance of a lifetime.

MINI also served up a nice breakfast and various vendors were there to sell their wares. Feeding America was there too, and I picked up my fund-raising badges which I plan to put on the Beehive. I’m at $630 raised so far and will be in a position to eclipse my goal of $1,000 soon. Woohoo!

Check out this cool time-lapse video our son made of all the activity at the kickoff this morning:

The kickoff included a team of skydivers who jumped and tried to land in the seats of MINI Convertibles. Crazy, right? Two of them actually did it! I missed the whole thing because I was busy rigging a Garmin Virb camera on Hope’s MINI to capture her NASCAR debut (mission accomplished). She stalled at the start, but the MTTS organizers were very fun and kind, cheering her on as she restarted and launched. Awesome!

MINI also announced that this is the biggest MTTS ever, with more than 4,000 people registered and more than 900 going all the way! The “all-the-wayers” get an orange lanyard to designate their intention and each person received a small laundry bag for laundry drop-off in St. Ignace and pickup in Green Bay. The organizers think of everything!

After the track we joined the caravan on  the designated route, which took us through lots of small, southern towns that had really cool courthouses. I’m talking Mayberry R.F.D. towns, with beautiful red brick buildings and rich history that you could feel just by driving through. The locals were on street corners, making videos and Snapchats and Instagrams and Facebook Lives and all that stuff. Sure, several hundred MINIs in those towns created some traffic jams, but for most people it was too cool for them to care. And I will just never tire of being in long caravans of MINIs, on hilly, rural and twisty roads, when you look in your rear-view and up ahead to see nothing but MINIs in all shapes, generations and colors. It’s always a WOW moment.

In Sparta, Georgia on the way to Charlotte.
In Sparta, Georgia on the way to Charlotte.

Tonight we’re in a hotel for one more night before splitting up in the morning, and then the Beehive will be our home for the rest of the trip. We’ll be at the Charlotte Motor Speedway in the morning for another run, then Hope and I will continue on to Richmond as the rest of the family heads to Asheville for a few days before going home. Hope and I have a date with a special roller coaster at King’s Dominion tomorrow which a bunch of other MINIacs. More on that later.

We decided to skip the event at the NASCAR museum tonight, to get caught up on the social media accounts and to get some extra rest. We have a long road ahead, so we have to replenish when we can.

Fantastic adventures await! Thanks for reading and supporting our journey!

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