Almaden Valley Backroads Run - July 11, 2020

Note: This is a PAID member run only. Unfortunately, due to some local county concerns and restrictions, a Gold Country run at this...

Christine & Michael Toibin - Member Profile

Christine & Michael Toibin

Toibin Trio (Abby, Malcolm & Zera)

We took a long route to our MINIs.  As a teenager, back in the 70's, I loved Hot Rods especially a Ford 32 Coupe.  In the summers visiting my sister and her family, I would attend Rod Runs.  The group always had a great time gathering together and just enjoying their cars. 

Fast-forward to the 2000's!  I saw my first R50 MINI driven by a person I worked with and I must say I was impressed as he was a very tall individual.  LOVED IT!  However, I was busy raising children driving a Ford minivan.  It was just not the time to have a MINI.

Then around 2004, one of my sister and her husband got an R52 Cabrio. Instant jealousy I tell you, but while she was tooling around in her convertible, attending runs with her local club and The Dragon a couple times, I was still raising children.  She let me borrow it for a little drive to visit a friend on back roads between Hilton Head and Beaufort, SC. Needless to say my 'want' was increased after that point.

By 2008 the children were adults and I had moved myself from Kentucky to California where for the first 6 months I didn't even have a car.  I did rent a few MINIs for day trips.  Wheeee!  Michael came into the picture at this time too.  Lucky me!  After my first 6 months in California I decided it was time for a car....and I bought a Toyota Rav4!  WHAT?  I've lusted after a MINI all this time, I wasn't raising children, I could do what I wanted right? Yeah, I just thought the Rav4 would be more practical.  

Over the years I kept telling Michael, "I want a MINI", but his reply was they're too small. To convince him they were not too small I rented a Countryman for us to take on a road trip to Jacksonville, Oregon for a weekend. He liked the Countryman and said it would be OK, but not the smaller ones.

In early 2014, it was time to replace Ravy and I went straight to East Bay MINI and test drove a 2012 Countryman.  I looked at a brand new Countrymans too.  At the end of the day I drove home with a Ford Escape!  WHAT?  Not again!  I was trying to be practical again as my son-in-law works at a Ford assembly plant making the Escapes, and Michael was going to be retiring soon and at the time his car was a company car...so, I'm thinking we need an SUV.  Hard to shake that 'practically' out of me.  However, a friend of ours in Hawaii got on the phone with me and yelled at me to get the damn MINI, it's all I've ever heard you talk about. MINI, MINI, MINI.  The Escape went back to the Ford Dealership and I brought Zera, my 2012 MINI Countryman, home on March 16, 2014. 

Zera and Ravy on the day I brought her home.

By the end of Zera's first day I had joined the club and went on my first run April 12, 2014 for Redwoods & Calaveras Big Trees Tour where the first person I met was Tara Moore-Hunter, the President of the club at that time.  From here, it's not an understatement to say I became obsessed with all things MINI.

We attended our first MINI Takes the States in 2014 which was hilarious. WE LOVED IT!  We attended the best kickoff party at MINI of San Francisco the night before. Met up with Christine Kingsley in San Ramon for the drive to Golden Gate Fields for the kick-off to #MTTS2014.  This was the year Tony Hawk skated over MINIs leaving to start the trip. 

We only went 1/2 a segment, San Francisco to Sacramento.  I didn't know anything about this event and we'd already had our vacations scheduled so, we couldn't do anymore than this 1/2 segment.  We laughed, met new people, and of course got LOST in Napa.  If you've never tried to follow a route sheet provided by MINI during one of these trips you just won't understand how we got lost in our own backyard.  It was a RIGHT turn...not a LEFT turn we should have taken.  About 2 hours later than expected we finally arrived into Niello MINI in Sacramento.  As MINI's left to go to Reno for the 1st stop, we had to head home, however we'd already decided 2016 OMG we're going All the Way!

Here we are leaving Golden Gate Fields the starting point of #MTTS2014.

After #MTTS2014, I realized Zera needed some accents, so she got her strips soon afterwards.

Zera, she's black and white and Zippy like a Zebra.
Zera won MINIUSA's Photo Challenge in April 2015.


We shipped our Zera to Atlanta to start #MTTS2016 and went all the way with a fantastic group of other NorCal MINIs members as well as members from Shasta MINIs and CapCity MINIs. During the entire trip Michael kept saying he wanted a Roadster, I want a Roadster.  By the end of the trip I got it...he wanted a Roadster.  Abby, the 2013 Roadster, arrived in September 2016.

Abby, 2013 Roadster

I spent 2017 as the President of NorCal MINIs with the support of my wonderful husband, Michael. We went to some amazing places and had a great time.   I ripped off CBS's Amazing Race and created "a-MINI-zing Race" which was a huge success. We some very competitive members!

Crystal & Brian - Winners 2017 a-MINI-zing Race!
In 2018, we shipped Zera to Orlando, Florida for the Eastern Route meeting in the middle in Keystone, Colorado. 

Zera leaving Dallas Cowboys Stadium for Oklahoma City, OK.

It was during #MTTS2018, after talking with Stuart Miles, a representative from the MINI Oxford plant, that we wanted a new JCW Hardtop.  I already knew what color I wanted. Rebel Green!  We wanted him to arrive in time for us to take him on #MTTS2020 and in celebration of my 60th birthday.  We finally were able to pick him up from MINI of Portland in October of 2019.  Meet Malcolm.  He's dark and handsome!


Unfortunately, Malcolm has to wait until 2021 for MINI Takes the States and he's been waiting patiently for his first run with the club. It was suppose to be in April for the next A-MINI-zing Race, but stay-in-place orders have kept us at home.  He still has less than 2,000 miles on him.

We're crazy about our MINIs and at this time we still have all 3 of them.  We've driven across the country a few times and are always up for a road trip.  Even though we relocated to Oregon in 2018,  Michael and I remain active in the club, currently he is the Social Media Officers and I am a director who handles MotorSportReg events and emails to club members.

We can't say enough about the folks we have met, not just in the club, but across the country from owning our MINIs.  We are truly blessed.

Let's Motor, 
Christine & Michael Toibin

Almaden Valley Backroads Run - July 11, 2020

Note: This is a PAID member run only.

Unfortunately, due to some local county concerns and restrictions, a Gold Country run at this time is not feasible. Given that, the July run has been modified to be a more local, shorter drive.

This is a run from Hollister, north through the backroads into the Almaden Valley. Once in Almaden the end point will be the Bass Pro Shops/Safeway lot on Almaden Expressway where there are some places who might be providing food to go/outdoor dining if people are hungry.

There will be a short period on the front end of this run that is freeway northbound from Hollister and a short period on the back end of surface streets into Almaden. The rest of this run is backroads that can be narrow and windy in places and straightaway in others.

Social distancing and facemasks are required.
PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) will NOT be provided by the club
Registration is by MSR ONLY.
Bathrooms are not guaranteed.
No lunch is being arranged.
No radios will be lent out.

July 11, 2020


Your Hosts For The Run:
Dave & Anne Veen-Sitter

Meet Up Location:
Target - Hollister
1790 Airline Hwy
Hollister, CA 95023

Meeting Time/Departure Time:

Route - Google Maps


NorCal MINIs is committed to providing events that place participant safety as the number one priority. In light of the current COVID-19 situation, every attempt will be made to minimize risk of exposure to the virus. Therefore, the club is following new processes and procedures for events going forward.

  • Be for paid members ONLY at this time
  • Not offer day passes whilst under restrictions
  • Follow state and local guidelines in relation to COVID-19
  • Require all participants to wear masks, for not only their own safety but for the safety of everyone on-site when not in your own car
  • Ask participants to stay at home if they are at higher risk for severe illness, or if they are sick or experiencing COVID-19 symptoms such as fever, cough or shortness of breath
  • Conduct drivers meeting in open air with face masks with social distancing and might be conducted via our radios on channel 7/21, if need be for everyone to hear

The following guidelines are our best attempt to secure your safety given what is known at this time. They are by no means comprehensive, and we cannot predict every circumstance. Therefore, we are counting on you to exercise your best judgment throughout the event. Please have an awareness and understanding of the following COVID-19 safety protocols:
  • NorCal MINIS asks that anyone who is at higher risk for severe illness, feeling unwell, or who has been in contact with anyone that is sick in the last two weeks to STAY HOME
  • ALL participants are required to wear cloth face coverings or masks when outside their car
  • NorCal MINIs will encourage everyone to wash hands regularly (with soap and water for at least 20 seconds), especially after using the restroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
  • NorCal Minis will NOT share Club Radios during this time; we suggest purchasing your own radios and can provide you with recommendations on compatible makes/models
  • Physical contact is discouraged. Please refrain from shaking hands, high-fives and hugs, except with family or those you have been quarantined with
  • Participants are required to bring their own personal protective equipment (PPE), including masks, hand sanitizer and disinfectant. NorCal MINIs will NOT have any PPE items available
  • Participants will be required to Sign Waivers Electronically
  • Be cautious when sharing/posting event photos. Even photos of groups maintaining proper social distancing can be mistaken for an inappropriate gathering.
  • If necessary, remind each other gently and respectfully to observe these guidelines

Anyone who continually or willfully violates these guidelines will be asked to leave by a club officer or director.


  • Any participant that falls ill within 2 weeks after the event MUST contact NorCal MINIs and share a description of their symptoms, related test results and movements during the event
  • NorCal MINIs will make every effort to alert affected participants privately of the situation

Ultimately, it is your responsibility to assess the risk to you and make a responsible decision on whether or not to participate. You assume all risks and agree the Club holds no liability if you or anyone in your party should develop any Covid-19 symptoms afterwards by attending a NorCal MINIs event. Participants are required to follow these guidelines; any participant may be asked to leave the event for non-compliance.

Please RSVP for this event via MotorSportReg:

Join Today! Create your MotorSportReg Account to become a PAID Club Member, use the link below:
NorCal MINIs Membership

Instructions for joining MotorSportReg and joining NorCal MINIs can be found in the following document:  Instructions