Hey Mini Friends – It’s JUNE already! Time for our regular meeting at the Albany Pump Station Tuesday (6/4) at 7:15 p.m. And time to check up on everyone’s summer activities — got plans? Let’s make some…
Regular meeting – Tuesday MAY 7 at the Albany Pump Station at 7:15.
Rumor has it that it’s someone’s birthday so there will be awesome free cake! You do not have to sing to get any!
Also: MINI-related info like a Gymkhana on May 18 and Patroon’s track event at Watkins Glen June 10-11.
Last week I had my annual health maintenance exam (for some reason it’s not called an annual physical anymore.) Thankfully, all systems are a GO. I got the thumbs up for most everything – eating well (watch the cake), getting routine procedures (you know, the fun ones), taking my vitamins and extra calcium, and paying attention and wearing my seat belt while driving. (Whoops, did I fail to mention, I occasionally need to wear a helmet when I drive?) Despite all this good cheer, the doctor did wave her pointer finger at me for not exercising enough.
“Even if you manage just a short walk every day, it will do you a world of good.” Alas too many working hours (with a long commute) and not enough playtime! As I left the doctor’s office, and saw my MINI in the parking lot, it occurred to me that my MINI and I were rolling down the same highway. My VIVACE* was turning LARGO. Was it because the tread was a bit worn down on the tires? Hey, Abe’s head was in the groove and they were still taking the turns pretty well. There were a couple of bruises on the rims. I’m pretty sure the big one got there when I first bought the MINI and wanted to see how well it handled. I thought it would be great fun to slalom around the islands in a certain parking lot in the early morning hours. Fortunately, there wasn’t any structural damage done, just a nasty ‘island rash’ injury. Sort of like the ‘Attitash rash’ I got at MINIs On Top last year. (Please ask me about this.)
I walked around the front of my MINI to get to the driver’s side. The Chili Red color was super shining in the sun but talk about road rash around the grill! Darn those thruway miles! Eighteen wheelers and salt trucks constantly ping grit into the bonnet leaving a trail not unlike a bad razor on my legs when I’m in a hurry. And how did my white racing stripes burn up next to the scoop? They had turned the color of a golden toasted marshmallow professionally roasted by a girl scout over a campfire! Is there a whitener I can purchase to brighten them back to a ‘need-sunglasses’ level? Perhaps it’s time for a new paint job? Maybe I should consider a funky all-over vinyl and clear bra for extra protection? I wrestled with the door handle for a moment. Was it sticking or was my hand arthritic from all the computer work I’d done that morning?
It finally gave. I opened the door and I slid into the driver’s seat. I love this seat. It’s like getting into your favorite easy chair or climbing into your rocking chair when you were a kid, only better because it’s heated. So many great memories and adventures begin here. I turned over the engine and glanced at the odometer – almost 60,000 miles in less than three years. I sighed thinking about it. Guess that growly noise we make in the morning makes more sense now! And the occasional boot rattle…. Oh that’s right, the lights don’t jump right on – I’m pretty sure I need a new battery. Not to worry, I’ve got a MINI maintenance appointment set up for next week.
I sing on the way home – The sound system does a beautiful job of keeping up with me! I’m grateful for the cooling and heating that attend to my every hot flash and my chilly morning commutes! I stop to buy gas. As always, I calculate my mileage (the old fashioned way – who would rely on their car’s computer?) and I am coming up with thirty miles per gallon regularly – not too shabby – when you consider my driving…. MOST importantly, our fun factor is still at 100%. The MINI makes any drive, any traffic situation a piece of cake – mmm carrot cake, my fave. When I pull into the garage and turn off the engine, I listen to the cool down sounds for a moment. Yup, all systems GO. I walk into the kitchen and pick up our blood pressure cuff from my desk (yes, we keep track). Will a reading here be the same as at the doctor’s office? 110/70 even better! What a good drive will do for a body! Because I’d like to continue my MINI adventures for a long time to come, after dinner I tie on a new pair of ‘Rocket Dog’ sneakers and go for a walk. I think about the “Life is good” stickers which dot the ‘I’s’ on my MINI’s roof graphic and grin.
*VIVACE is my license plate. It is a musical term that means ‘lively and quick’. LARGO is also a musical term that means ‘very slow’
Spring cleaning is all about eliminating the excess baggage slowing you down. So if whatever’s in your garage doesn’t make you smile that’s a good place to start. Because nothing helps you break from the mundane like a shiny new MINI – except of course, saving a little extra cash on one. Here’s the inside scoop:
If you attend our event during the times listed below, you’ll get up to $750 off a new MINI.* So get ready to take a new MINI for a spin – it’s the quickest way to put boring in the rearview.
Event: MINI Spring Cleaning
Date: April 19-20, 2013
Time: Friday, 10-6, Saturday, 10-5
Location: Keeler MINI, Rte. 7, Latham, NY
Ed note: I hear they may have free swag.
Restrictions apply visit MINIUSA.COM/SCSEFinePrint for full details.
TUESDAY, APRIL 2 — regular meeting 7 p.m. @ BAVARIAN ROCKET SCIENCE aka R & D Automotive — 16 Tivoli Street – Albany 12207.
Tom will give us helpful advice on spring tune-ups and other pertinent MINI info to keep our motoring extra happy!
More details pending but mark your calendars now.
SATURDAY, MARCH 16 — the Flapjack Follies (or Re-Run to Rathbuns) is back! Meet at Espressohuis in Schuylerville before 10am (be there at 9:45!) for a scenic loop through the country on back county roads. The route should take 2-2.5 hours, depending on an in between stop at another sugarhouse, ending at Rathbun’s for pancakes in Whitehall, probably before 12:30pm. This year we will see the sugaring in action.
After brunch, the group can decide whether to soldier along some additional back roads or to split up and go our separate ways.
Please RSVP to this post or email@example.com if you plan on coming. Oh yes – there are flapjacks aplenty – and fresh maple syrup of course!
TUESDAY, MARCH 5 – regular meeting at the Albany Pump Station 7:15 p.m.
Driving School dates will be discussed (all trackies plz come to this meeting – we want you to meet each other).
Also dates for Minis On Top (Mt. Washington, New Hampshi) and Minis On the Dragon (Tail of the Dragon — U.S. Highway 129 — between Tenn. and North Carolina.)
Also dates for April Drive n Dine…..
BRING YOUR CALENDAR!
Today was a great day. Despite the grey and threatening weather, some MINI friends drove down to On Track Karting in Brookfield CT. We try to make a karting adventure once or twice a year because it’s fun and thrilling and a good way to see each other over the winter. We wanted to try the new Brookfield location (opened in May 2012) because it was a different track for us and, even better, an hour closer to home. On Track Karting is in a big warehouse that contains an indoor track, defined by stacks of tires, suitable for go-karts – rather fast go-karts.
The venue is computer savvy so your times are projected on a huge screen (yes, this can be humbling). The times and places of all the karts in each heat are printed out, so you can really see how you progress throughout the day. When we arrived it wasn’t crowded so I was hopeful it would be just our group on the track. However, they managed to fill up our heat with twelve drivers by the time we were scheduled to be out there. If you have been karting, you know there are two types of sessions: one – on a clear track where you can focus on the line and go for your best time, OR two – where you are driving in a swarm of karts, everyone vying for a chance to break free for a brief moment of clear track.
Most of today’s track time was spent in the vying mode. Not a bad thing but suddenly all notion of following a line went down the toilet. From the moment my foot hit the gas, it became survival of the fittest. After being bumped, clipped and t-boned I had to step it up or be eaten alive. Any opening I could get through, I went for it, sometimes the guy behind me beat me to it, sometimes I didn’t have enough speed to quite get by, sometimes I blew their drawers off. Obviously, I need lessons on racing strategy or I need to go karting more than once a year!
Another thing that would help tremendously is a lecture (or two) in physics. Amazing physics is taking place at every point on the track – speed, velocity, friction. If I could understand what forces were most influential on my kart, maybe I could drive smarter and faster! Unfortunately, the scientific side of my brain is not the dominant side, in fact it is sadly sub-dominant*. My husband says, “Don’t worry, if you know too much, you’ll tend to over-analyze.”
Undaunted, when I get home to a computer, I go to FearofPhysics.com. The website looks promising but it’s not spelling it out simply enough so I can apply it to the track. I also get side-tracked (sorry) by the creative Youtube videos in the sidebar that science teachers have filmed to demonstrate Newton’s Laws. I wish my physics teacher had been that cool. My next idea is to find a well written book on karting. With Google help, I find something even better, kartingconnect.com. Here are the helpful tips I should have read before I left home this morning – The Hidden Secret Behind Driving Smooth, How to Get Past Karts at the Start and How to Stop Getting Stuck Behind Slower Drivers. I make a bookmark because, right now, it’s late and I’m beginning to feel those areas that were bumped, clipped and t-boned. I smile remembering the tight spots I squeaked through. My times got better with each session despite my lack of karting skills and nil knowledge of physics. There must be something to just driving and the repetition of it all. At some point I will worry about the inverse relationship of my age and my driving ability, but not yet.
*for my music friends J
KARTING ON SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 23
FEBRUARY 23rd – indoor karting at OnTrack Karting in Brookfield CT web = ontrackkarting.com (make sure you click on the Brookfield location to take a look) RSVP by emailing Zeke at firstname.lastname@example.org or responding here so he can put in our reservation.
Rest of the details: To receive the 20% weekend group discount we need 20 or more races total meaning that’s our minimum goal (10 people running twice to five people running four times). A single race (8 minute heat) is $16 discounted. Assume you may want to go around 2-3x. There is also a $10/$40 membership cost (30-day/1-year, latter includes 1 race credit).
On Track’s website says half-off group trial memberships so we’re talking ballpark $37 to $53 for two to three races per person assuming trial membership cost.
View Larger Map
On Track Karting in Brookfield Conn. is located at 100 Silvermine Road (zip 06804). Let’s plan to be there as a group at shortly after noon — it’s a two-hour drive and a caravan leaves the Albany Pump Station at 10 a.m.
The karts are Sodi GT5s with 6.5hp, 40mph top speed, 30s on track. The track is 1,800+ feet with 19 turns. They have helmets, head sock with membership. Juniors are 7-15, adults are 16 and up. No heels or open toe shoes, gloves are recommended along with dressing warmly as track area draws in fresh cold air.
We are doing their “Arrive & Drive” option unless there’s huge interest warranting a reservation. I made reservations for 12 pm because they said they’re swamped (that was poor planning on our part) so we’re definitely in and looking for participants! For more information ask or visit www.ontrackingkarting.com.
RSVPs here or to email@example.com. Include how many, whether firm or maybe, and whether we’ll caravan or see you there.
Eat some place after?
Where does everyone want to go??