Wednesday, July 4th
6am. Wake up. Take shower. Get dressed. At this time of day, two words are the most description your zombie brain can come up with. We drive the ~6 miles from the morgue to the drivers meeting at Mini Head Quarters.
We arrive at HQ and get into the line or row that we are flagged to go in to. There, we register, get our lanyards, and get our “Mini Shwag Bag.” From 7:15 when we arrived, to 9 when we left- we basically walked around, met people, joked with Uncle Sam on stilts, and saw a Mini stunt driving demonstration. The demo consisted of synchronized breaking, J turns, driving on two wheels and, the piece de resistance, (skid) parallel parking in the narrowest distance.
Jump to the highway. Jump to 70 miles per hour and CCR’s Fortunate Son playing in the background. To an open window and an American flag bandana around my head. There’s a little less than a thousand dollars divided into envelopes in the suitcase in the back seat. There’s enough electronic equipment in the back to sell for one fifth a key of cocaine.
It’s our nations 236th birthday and we’re on our way to the capitol to celebrate.
I am Hunter S. Thompson.
Set up are two Go Pros on the outside of the car. We start off traveling with the rest of the pack. In total there are about 400 Mini Coopers. After a while on the highway a bunch of us take a short pit stop at the Molly Pitcher rest area. Shortly after, we’re back on the highway and an NJ Statey nabs a blue Countryman.
Jump to Citizen’s Bank Park in Philadelphia, home of the Philadelphia Phillies. Apparently it is “Always Sunny in Philadelphia” because it was bright and hot. The group was stopped here for the first auto-cross (or MINIcross as MttS calls it) event.
We once again park in line formation and we end up second from the front right behind a Mini GP (a limited edition Mini). We don’t participate in the auto-cross but partake of the free lunch provided by Mini/the Phillies stadium crew. [able to see Flyers/76ers and the Eagles stadiums] I wanted to leave early because I wanted to get to DC in time to see some sights. However, we couldn’t get out intil the GP moved (and we didn’t know who the owner was) and by the time we got away from the group who we’d been sitting with (members of the Philadelphia Mini Club;who were nice enough, but still, I wanted to leave) the organizers were loudspeakering us to get in our cars and leave. As we roll out, we briefly meet the female owner of the GP!
Jump to Arlington, Virginia. To the Iwo Jima [memorial(?)] hotel. To check in and unloading our luggage into the room. To unpacking and repacking my backpack and walking to the subway station to the train that will take us in to D.C. We have four things to see before the fireworks tonight; The Air and Space Museum, the Capitol Building, the Washington Monument, and the Lincoln Memorial. All of them are set up in a straight line on Independence Ave.
We get off the subway at Smithsonian Metro station (the subway station architecture reminds me of a cross between 2001: A Space Odyssey and EPCOT) and walk the short distance to the Air and Space Museum. It’s 6:30pm and it is 100 degrees outside. The museum is busy, but it’s air conditioned and just as cool as I remember it being that last time I was there in 1998. We bounce around to all the “must sees”; the touchable moon rock, the lunar module, etc. We visit the current exhibit –Aircraft: Jet As Art– and Pete shows me his arm with the hairs standing on end and the goosebumps. The Air and Space will do that to you. Later, while walking into the space station a little girl looked up to me, smiled, and said “whoa.” After an hour and a half (the museum was only supposed to be open until 7pm but it actually stayed open till 8pm!) of admiring the vacant airplanes that shaped our history, we leave the museum and walk the short distance to the Capitol building.
We don’t actually go to the Capitol Building, but we do make it to a few blocks away with a clear head on view. A few photos and we move on to the Newseum where Mini was hosting an evening event. Booze and hors d’ oeuvres awaited us. We were on the 6th [?] floor and had two function halls to ourselves. We met up with the GP gal, who told us her name was Marina, and we talked about MttS for a while. At around 9, 9:30 we went out to the balcony to see the fireworks behind the Washington Monument.
Jump to the fireworks being over. To a thirty-something year old couple -Trevor and Christine- who we ended up talking to for about an hour. They were from DC and they asked if we wanted a ride to our hotel as it was on their way home. We declined and then after more conversation asked for a ride the the Lincoln Memorial. They dropped us off but we weren’t as near to it as we thought.* We started walking towards it and realized it wasn’t as close as we thought.
Jump to the taxi cab we shared with the three people we met after a while of walking down the street and realizing that we didn’t have the energy to make it there. We got out at the Federal Triangle Metro station and took the metro back to Rosslyn. (The escalator at the Rosslyn station was vertigo inducing).
We should have just gotten a ride to the hotel.
Jump to bed.
Trip distance: ~270 miles
*Don’t get me wrong, the gesture was more than appreciated, it just ended up going to waste is all.
Note: on the way from the host hotel to our hotel we drove right past the Pentagon.