By now you know the routine…we get up early, we eat some breakfast, MINI gives out awards and prizes, we wait, we drive on a track then we drive to the next city. I call it a routine but really, it’s a formula for a new day of adventure and it’s up to us find the final mix. Today was a mixed bag for me, and I’ll explain why in a minute.
The track event was a little less crazy with what seemed like a smaller number of MINIs. It was a really short track too, and when I took my turn I misunderstood the event person on the track and went by him for another lap. Oops, sorry! (I really didn’t do it on purpose.) We headed out for Baltimore on a clean route that had us motoring through rolling tunnels of trees in short order. Virginia has some beautiful countryside, and we passed many picturesque horse farms and quaint churches along the way. We briefly stopped at the “Surprise and Delight” at the Belmont Farms Distillery, a family farm that turns corn into award-winning whiskey, moonshine and vodka. It wasn’t really our bag so we decided to keep moving.
The rest of the drive was short, and a couple of hours later we turned a corner, crossed the Potomac and we were in Maryland. Just a short time later we were setting up the Beehive at Patapsco Valley State Park. Hope took some time to update the stickers on our maps and I added all the Feeding America badges, including the one we were given today for being the #DefyHunger car of the day.
After that we headed over to the evening event at the B & O Railroad Museum. What a great event! Not only was the museum wonderful but MINI put out a first-class spread of food which included Maryland crab cakes! (I had a few, and they were delicious). The evening event was the true “Surprise and Delight” on this day. We left the museum around 8 PM, hit a Starbucks on the way back to use the WiFi, and made it back to the campsite just after dark. It was another great day, much less hectic than the previous two and with no real snafus.
Now, you’re probably wondering about my “mixed bag” comment earlier. Well, a few things didn’t go exactly as planned and some people were unhappy about that. In the morning, there was a short period when no breakfast items were available. At the “Surprise and Delight” they ran out the small mason jars emblazoned with the MINI logo before everyone got one. People were disappointed, I get that, but it was more than that.
I heard several people at breakfast making negative and critical comments about the food availability, saying that it was due to poor planning. In the afternoon when people found out the mason jars were gone, some of the comments I heard were just plain nasty. Really? I don’t know about you, but I have so much MINI logo swag that I’ve collected over the last ten years that my wife is begging me to get rid of it all.
And everyone needs to stop, just for a moment, and reflect on what it takes for MINI to put this gigantic moving party together every two years. If you have ever organized a MINI event you know that no matter how much you planned, things still went wrong. Now take your MINI event and multiply it in size and complexity by 100. That’s what the MTTS staff is facing as they host each day. And remember, MINI doesn’t have to do this but they still do, ya know?
So that brings us to the title of this post…What is MTTS really about? Well, that’s really for you decide, but for me it’s not about collecting every piece of MINI logo swag or about having the most buttons. It’s about people, memories, the journey and this time, it’s about helping people in need. You can make a choice every day to be happy, even when the person in front of takes the last breakfast sandwhich. You can make a choice to #defynegativity.
So today, here’s some of the rewards I received on my journey. Please share some of yours in the comments.
- Motored through beautiful tunnels of trees along the Virginia countryside
- Watched a group of barefoot boys with their bikes hoot and holler as we motored by
- Saw some beautiful black-eyed Susans growing wild on the side of the road
- Drove on another racetrack!
- Honked my horn to make a man look up from his weed whacker so he would see all the MINIs motor by
- Saw a sign for attorneys Butts and Butts. At the risk of being cheeky, I must say this really cracked me up and I bet they kick A$$ in court. 😉
- Spent another quality day with my daughter, in a MINI, motoring across the country. How cool is that?
- Raised more money for Feeding America
- Finally Met Nancy Homer, will finally be meeting Norman Nelson, plus many others.
- Maryland crab cakes for free. Need I say more?
The list could go on and on. For those who already live their lives this way, spread the word. For those who don’t, give it a try and if it works for you, I’ll send you a bill for one MINI mason jar. 😉
I’m so grateful to be here and I’ll see you on the road.