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North meets South

It started with an email from Simon Tildesley, president of NorCal MINIs, inviting SCMM to collaborate on a joint event along the Central Coast. After weeks of discussion and planning between Tildesley and SCMM’s Nancy Homer, the two clubs got together on February 23 for two days of MINI camaraderie and fun.

Morro Bay and its famous rock.

The gathering of both club’s members, and 39 MINIs, kicked off with lunch at Bayside Cafe overlooking Morro Bay, giving members an opportunity to re-connect, or in some cases meet for the first time.

“It was so good to see so many cars together,” said Tildesley. “We should plan on doing it again at some point.”

The big group shot

After lunch everyone gathered in the parking lot for the first group photo of the weekend and driver’s meeting, led by Tildesley. It was just then a guy in a 1959 Morris Minor 1000 convertible, with a really cute dog in the passenger seat, rolled into the lot and immediately drew a standing ovation from the MINI crowd. Following some words of mutual admiration being exchanged, the Morris (and dog), drove off to another round of applause.

Riding shotgun in a 1959 Morris Minor

From Morro Bay the parade of MINIs set off for Pismo State Beach for a drive on the sand. This unique part of the California coast is home to the 3600-acre Nipomo-Guadalupe Dunes Complex, a popular recreation area for off-highway vehicles. At low tide, the beach leading to the dunes becomes wide and flat, allowing normal vehicles (and MINIs) to easily navigate the hard-packed sand.

Cruising on the sand at Pismo Beach

“Pismo beach sand! All over the floor liners,” said NorCal member Leanna Sassman Goulart in a Facebook post. “Normally this would bug me, but considering it is sand from a drive on the beach, [I] may leave it in there a day or two. I live less than two miles to the ocean. What made this special to me as it was the first time we drove our MINI on the beach with a bunch of other MINIs.”

Once we had our fill of playing in the sand, and taken the second group photo, it was time to check into our motels and head over to the “Wolfman’s Lair” aka Nancy Homer’s ocean view room at the swanky Inn at the Pier, for some liquid socializing before dinner.

“Well, another fabulous MINI run is in the books,” said Homer. “NorCal MINIs from the bay area communities met SoCal MINIs for a bayside lunch in Morro Bay State Park, drove on the sand at Pismo Beach, enjoyed happy hour drinks/dinners at various locations and walked through the Monarch Butterfly Grove. If you missed this exciting and fun-filled weekend, you may have another chance to experience this quaint beach town in the very near future. Rumor has it that we may be planning another similar run. Stay tuned.”

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