I have to admit that Clive, Mark's car, makes our New York experience highly abnormal. Unless you do pretty well, you can't own a car easily in Manhattan. Parking garages are expensive, and spaces on the street are hard to find. It's much easier to keep a car in Brooklyn, but moving your car twice a week to avoid street cleaning is a &^#$* pain.
Clive's name refers to his British roots. Mini Coopers are engineered by BMW and assembled in Britain. A Mini Cooper S, Clive has a 1.6 liter, 4-cylinder supercharged, 214 horsepower engine. Whatever that means. He's got a six-speed manual transmission, sunroof and all sorts of other doodads.
Clive travels like a little roadster (meaning, not a cushy luxury ride). He zips merrily along country roads but suffers a bit on the bumpy BQE, where some potholes just about swallow him up.
Instead of staying around during the marathon today, we journeyed to a Mini Rally of sorts in upstate New York. I say 'of sorts' because there were five Mini Coopers total. So...a Mini Mini Cooper Rally.
The idea was to tour around the scenic roads a couple hours north of the city to admire the foliage. I didn't realize til too late that this meant getting up at 7am on a Sunday and coping with a troubled tummy. It was a little rough at first, but in the end, I was glad to have gone.
We met the other drivers, many for the first time. Mini owners are 'enthusiasts' (a complete lie. They are nuts). These people love to congregate online and in real life to talk Minis. They love their cars.
Today began with the initial comparing of cars (2002 models versus 2004, versus 2006), tailpipes, rims (black, silver, the number of spokes), and gearshift knobs. Then there was a photo shoot. Someone brought a nice HD video camera. Finally, we launched onto the hilly roads in single formation, careening through the hairpin turns at top speed and stopping a couple times to admire the view.
The leaves were in full color and while we parked on the side of a mountain, we could see paragliders circling above, alongside the red-tailed hawks. It was a peaceful moment.
By the time we got home, it was only 2 pm. There were still some runners out, barricaded streets and policemen shepherding traffic. We got found a nice spot on the street without too much trouble.
For more on Mini Coopers, check out their very cool site here.
Top photo by Mark of Clive last fall in Long Island.
Other photos by myself today in upstate New York.