MINI Takes The States 2012 (MTTS) has drawn to a close and so has my very own personal MINI trip of a lifetime. A fast-track 11-day trip where I crossed four time zones, checked in and out of eleven hotels across America, and took almost 1,500 photos. But what does one really experience when one crosses the American continent from East to West on such a fast-track journey?
Specific goal in mind: The skyline of Los Angeles.
An incredible amount, that’s what. And yet at the same time one experiences very little of the individual places along the way. Because even though I can now tick off having been in the so many new places like Philadelphia, Washington D.C., Nashville, Chicago, Boulder, and Los Angeles, I usually spent a maximum of a single night there. With stages up to 500 miles (800 kilometers) long, MINI Takes The States gives you more of a sweeping panorama of the United States rather than an up-close-and-personal look at every stop along the way. Still, we took in some incredible sights. Up to 300 MINI fans with their multifarious MINI celebrated across the nation on museum rooftopss, in country music saloons, in baseball stadiums, on race tracks, in zoos, shopping malls, and MINI showrooms… even a swimming pool!
Trophy collection after 11 days of MTTS.
There’s hardly any time to breathe, as time races by like a film on fast-forward. It's in the evening, over a cool beverage and good eats after a long day on the road that one finally gets the chance to sit down with MINI compatriots and hear their stories from the road, their unique ways of customizing their cars, and the reasons they have for embarking on this grueling but invigorating tour. It’s their passion for the time-tested brand and the friendships that stem from a common love. And as is the case with any healthy community, sharing is a must. On the race track near Chicago, a fellow traveler whom I had met just moments ago let me take the wheel of a MINI Cooper S Sidewalk Cabrio, on the sole condition that she ride along and I tell her all about the riding on the famed Nürburgring Nordschleife. Everyone’s eager to share their unique MINI perspectives.
MINI Space article: Thanks to MINI Connected can be read and heard everywhere.
Even though the trip was undertaken at a remarkably fast pace, it allowed me to meet many like-minded individuals. And almost all of them confirmed one thing: I’m not the only one living my dream!
Driving highlight of MTTS: "The Dragon" – Also conquered by Axel and without a traffic ticket!
Even during the more tedious points on the trip – like when the road stretched straight and flat all the way to the horizon – we all had to make the same journey together, and knowing you were part of a team really helped. The impressive expansiveness of the Great Plains between Chicago, Illinois and Boulder, Colorado left me truly astounded. So much space, it was almost overwhelming.
What makes MINI Takes The States so special and how does it create such an indescribable team spirit? It’s those unique moments when all come to a halt after hours straight on the road, and there, at one of the very few gas stations in a tiny town in the middle of nowhere, one suddenly finds oneself in the midst of a troupe of MINI drivers all beaming with joy. We spend a few brief moments chatting and laughing together, then reconvene the convoy and continue together westwards. During those moments, one has this sudden realization on this trip of a lifetime: MINI has achieved something truly unique worldwide. MINI connects so many, but it’s not just about the car – it’s the people who are driving it. This realization stayed firmly in my mind for the entire journey through 16 American states. MINI Takes The States – an unforgettable trip in fast-forward, which I will remember for a long time to come!
Not every trek made it to the Pacific. Many stayed behind in New Mexico.
Would I do this trip again? Definitely! Can one repeat the trip of a lifetime? That’s a more difficult question. But a new MINI Takes The States has already been announced for 2014, with a new route, probably many familiar faces. The wanderlust will surely draws the MINI masses again. Who’s game?
Accomplished! On day 12 of MTTS it was to the beach of Los Angeles for the final group photo.