Holiday Party 2017 - Details

  Holiday party time! Come join us at East Bay MINI for a Pajama PANCAKE Breakfast gathering. Pajama Pancake Breakfast, what?...

Pinnacles National Park Run Recap

MINIs Everywhere say it all about our drive to Pinnacles National Park.  We had a great turnout this past Saturday as we motored some back roads parallel to CA-101.  We had a total of 32 cars and I lost track of the number of people at 43, so there might have been more people than 43. We were joined by Silicon Valley Minis and a MOASF Mini.  It was great to have new members join us too on this run. Pinnacles National Park was a little disappointing as we were turned away at the entrance due to the park being full.   Boo! :-(

While we had a great, fun run, it was also a charity fundraiser.  We gathered $335.  We donated 1/2 to each of the following charities:
Great job everyone!

Thanks Johnnie C. for the collage picture that captures all the MINIs. As I said before MINIs everywhere.

Just because the park turned us away didn't mean our fun stopped.  We ended up gathering together at San Benito County Fair Grounds for lunch.  Other than a few RV's parked there, we had the place to ourselves.

Thank you to everyone who came out for my last run as your 2017 NorCal MINIs President.  I've had a great year planning the majority of the runs this year and creating a-MINI-zing Race for your enjoyment. (See the Madonna Inn - San Luis Obispo Run Details for a recap of the winners).

Our last official NorCal MINIs event for 2017 will be our Holiday Party gathering at East Bay MINI on December 11, 2017.  Please join me, as we focus on others, while we reminisce on this year's runs, say adios to our current officers & directors and welcome in the new 2018 officers & directors. Details are posted on website and email invites have been sent.  Be sure to RSVP.

California Auto Museum Run - with Silicon Valley Minis and MOASF Run Details

Saturday January 13, 2018


1502 N Vasco Rd
Livermore, CA 94551

ROUTE: 1 hour, 57 minutes


Hello NorCal friends!

Our first event of 2018 is set to be a visit with a private guided tour to the California Automobile Museum in Sacramento. There will be about a 1:10 ratio of docents to guests, so we will need a fairly accurate head-count by the first week of December if you plan to attend. This will be my first official group lead, and I am so excited for the opportunity!

The 411: We will meet at the Starbucks on 1502 N Vasco Road in Livermore at 8:00 and depart for Sacramento at 8:30 SHARP. The route will take us about 90 minutes to drive to the museum, and we want to be there for their 10:00 opening. The museum will most probably be blocking off the space in front of the museum for us to line all our Minis up front and center, which will provide a great photo opportunity.

The route departs our meeting point and heads north on Vasco road to Brentwood and Antioch via highway 4, then joins highway 160. We will cross the Antioch Bridge (toll) and motor north along highway 160 through Rio Vista and Clarksburg to the museum, enjoying the view as we course along the Sacramento River. We will plan around 2 hours at the museum, which is indoors so weather will not be an issue. Afterward, those who want can stay for lunch in historic Old Sacramento and depart for home as necessary.

Looking forward to seeing all of you there! Please RSVP by the first week of December so I can relay that information to the museum for their staffing needs. Happy motoring!

NOTE: This will now be a joint event between SVM, NorCal Mini's and MOASF. This will require all drivers - regardless of the club you belong to so sign the NorCal insurance Waiver. Thanks.

Paso Robles/Solvang Weekend Run (w/a-MINI-zing Race 2) Run Details


Saturday April 18, 2018 - Sunday April 19, 2018




Join us on a fun run south to Solvang.  This overnight trip will have lots of sights along the way and at our final destination.   Solvang has a rich Danish heritage. Founded by Danish immigrants in 1911, Solvang boasts authentic architecture, thatched roofs, old-world craftsmanship and traditional windmills.Named by Sunset magazine as one of the "10 Most Beautiful Small Towns in the Western United States," Solvang's rich heritage dates back to 1911 when adventurous Danish-Americans traversed the plains from Iowa to establish a settlement in the golden state of California. Over 1 million visitors come each year to experience the northern European culture, cuisine and unique boutique shopping. The pedestrian-friendly village hosts three museums, 15 inns and hotels, a full-service guest ranch, meeting facilities, 30+ restaurants and bakeries, 150 retail shops and the Solvang Theaterfest, an alfresco 700-seat theater. The feature film "Sideways" was filmed in Solvang and highlighted the regions' celebrated world-class wines.

The Solvang Conference & Visitors Bureau staffs a Visitors Center in Downtown Solvang.
Visitor Center, open 7 days a week, 9 AM - 5 PM, is located at: 

1639 Copenhagen Drive
Solvang, California 93463 

Phone - 805-688-6144

Where to stay 

Holiday Party 2017 - Details


Holiday party time!

Come join us at East Bay MINI for a
Pajama PANCAKE Breakfast gathering.

Pajama Pancake Breakfast, what? 
That's right, come in your PJs.

8:30 am - 10:30 am

East Bay MINI
4350 Rosewood Drive
Pleasanton, CA


Our December run isn't about the fun we can have with our fellow club members & MINIs, it's about what we can do for others.  Please join me, as we focus on others, while we reminisce on this year's runs, say adios to our current officers & directors and welcome in the new 2018 officers & directors.

Bring a toy, bring some food and make a donation!

Toys for Tots

Please bring a toy(s) to support East Bay MINI's effort for Toys for Tots.

Redwood Empire Food Bank

To help our neighbors in Santa Rosa area we will be accepting food for the Redwood Empire Food Bank, part of Feeding America.  

Their most needed items are:
  • Tuna & Canned Meat
  • Peanut Butter
  • Canned Soups & Chili
  • Rice & Dry Beans
  • Cereal
  • Canned Fruits & Vegetables
  • Granola Bars
Some general guidelines:
  • Please no glass items, which can break.
  • Please no perishable items like dairy, meat, chicken, fish, and fresh fruits and vegetables.
  • Check that items are still within their “Use before” date.
  • We can only accept unopened items. We can accept opened packages if the internal packaging is still intact.
  • We cannot accept home-made or home-canned items.


Help the Animals

Sonoma Humane Society provides a safe haven for homeless animals and most recently was instrumental in caring for and reuniting fire-victim animals with their families.  Your donation will be given to their ‘Where Help Is Needed Most’ fund. This will ensure that Sonoma Humane Society has the resources to support disaster relief efforts, as well as help the animals who need them now and in the future.
  • Bring Cash or gift cards - deposit in jar at the breakfast event.

 Breakfast Menu:
  • Coffee, milk, & orange juice
  • Bagels


 Mark Your Calendars, have some breakfast before you head
for a day of shopping & most importantly help others!



Hearst Castle Run Recap

Group shot atop Bitterwater Road on our way into King City

Hi Everyone,

We had a great turnout for our weekend run to Hearst Castle on October 7, 2017.  Twenty-four cars and 43 people came along for the fun ride out of Gilroy along CA - Hwy 25 through Hollister, past Pinnacles National Park, along Bitterwater Road before we arrived into King City for a restroom break.  From there we had to go on Hwy 101 for a few miles before taking off on CA Hwy 41 down into Morro Bay for lunch. We had the in-coming VP with us - Simon T., your new social media/communication officer - Bayley M. and the following 2018 in-coming directors on this run: Carolyn & John M., Tina & Steve S., Vickie C. & Mick B., Alison & Gordon L., Anita W. & Christoph, and Brian D. & Crystal T.

I'm sure everyone was wondering where the heck I was taking us as we drove through the middle of Morro Bay, into Morro Bay State Park on a dead-end road.  I love those little surprises you can find traveling down dead-ends.  Most of us had lunch at Bayside Cafe, 10 State Park Road in Morro Bay, Ca, with a few of our group venturing off to a different location for lunch.  The food was wonderful at Bayside Cafe and the view was picturesque.

View at the Bayside Cafe
Once we re-grouped, it was a short drive into Cambria, but first we had another dead-end road to explore the Town of Harmony.  Harmony has 18 residents and home to Harmony Glassworks and Harmony Pottery.

 Christoph, Tina, Vickie, Simon, Nikki & Anita
Members were on their own at this point to continue exploring Harmony, or Cambria, check-in to their hotels or just sit by the ocean and watch the waves until the appointed time of the evening tour at Hearst Castle. Check out the NorCal MINI Facebook group for more photos of the Hearst Castle tour shared by our members.

We couldn't end the weekend without a little more fun. I placed a NorCal button among all of the scarecrows in Cambria. The only rule for the game was the 1st to text/send me a picture of themselves with the button were the WINNERS!   I don't know if everyone knows this, but we have some hardcore 'gamers' as members.  Many of them looking before the morning light of Sunday.  

Congratulations to Phil & Valerie who found the button at 10:49 PM on Saturday night.

Here are the WINNER! getting their bag of goodies.  Yes, they got to keep the bag too!  Of course I placed the pin on MINONS.  Where else would I have put it?  All you had to do was find it FIRST.

Thanks to all of you who made the run!

I had to share this great shot of Matthew's car.  Photo ops abound during this trip!

Great beauty shot from Matthew H.

Annual Meeting: Recap and Results!

We had a wonderful gathering at Miner's Leap Winery with Carsen & Mike Band providing us with live entertainment.  Welcome to our new members who came today!  It's always fun when you get a few MINI's and their owners together. :-)

We raised $455 dollars that we split in half between Best Friends Hurricane Efforts & Feeding America.  Both groups are working towards helping those struggling from Hurricanes Harvery & Irma.

Jenn, Alan, Mick, Vickie & Christine

Gordon, Julien, Nikki, & Simon

Alison & Bayley
Valerie, Phil, Anita, Christoph, & Tim

Vanessa, Dolores, Rick, Carolyn, & John

Steve, Brian, Anita, Lucila, & Kerry

Rick, David, Lin, & Lynn

Kenny, Veronica & Michael

Your New 2018 Officers & Directors

Vice-President: Simon Tildesley

Financial/Treasurer: Dolores Quintero Sanchez

Secretary/Membership: Erika Hattenhauer

Social Media/Communication Officer: Bayley Mah


Vickie Casacca & Mick Brown

John & Carolyn Mifsud

Rick Sanchez

Steve & Tina Sandke

Christine & Michael Toibin

Top 10 Runs (with counts, there's a tie for the 10th Run)

1 42
2 42
3 38
4 37
5 35
6 34
7 34
8 34
9 30
10* 29
10* 29

Big round of applause for the following people who were a 2017 officer or director(s) who are no longer holding an office in 2018.  NorCal MINI's thank you!

Tara Hunter

Sharon & Richard Stevens

Stephanie & Steve Alaniz

Tom & DeDee Geiger

Pinnacles National Park Run Details

Hi Everyone, 

RAIN or SHINE we will visit Pinnacles National Park on Saturday, November 11, 2017.


7026 Santa Teresa Blvd
San Jose, CA 95139

We will take back roads parallel to Morgan Hill before cutting through Gilroy & Hollister on Hwy 25 to Pinnacles National Park.

ROUTE: 1 hour, 40 minutes

Restroom Break/Stop
1730 Airline Hwy
Hollister, CA 95023


Bring your own.
Make sure you have plenty of water.

Once we are at the park you are on your own based on your interests & ability to navigate trails & such offered at Pinnacles.

Pinnacles National Park

Entrance Fee:

 $15.00 or less with special passes

Due to higher visitation since becoming a National Park they will probably be using their shuttle service to take visitors to the top.

Shuttle Schedule (Eastside Only)

Pinnacles National Park is pleased to offer visitors a free shuttle on weekends and most holidays. The shuttle only stops at the East Pinnacles Visitor Center and Bear Gulch. Weekends are especially busy between 10am and 3pm. Wait times for the shuttle can exceed one hour.


Pets are allowed in the picnic areas, parking lots and on paved roads. Your pet must be physically controlled on a six foot leash. Your pet should be with you at all times.

It is prohibited to leave pets unattended in a vehicle. Please keep in mind that temperatures at Pinnacles National Park can vary widely. Temperatures upwards in the 90's are common in the summer months. Cool, cloudy mornings can turn into surprisingly warm days, even in winter. Please do not leave your chained pet unattended, even in the campground.

Dogs, and other pets are prohibited on Park trails. Domestic pets leave a scent that may disrupt, or alter the behavior of the native wild animals Pinnacles protects. Pets may also attract predators or transmit diseases to fragile habitat while in the park.

Hearst Castle Run Details

Hearst Castle Evening Tour Run - October 7, 2017

  6:50 Tour - SOLD OUT!  


SATURDAY - October 7, 2017



755 Cochrane Rd #100,
Morgan Hill, CA 95037

1301 Broadway St,
King City, CA 93930

Since we can't go down Hwy 1, we'll break-up the 101 route by going down CA 25 through Hollister, then Bitterwater Road into King City, before getting back on Hwy 101 for our drive to Morro Bay.

ROUTE: 3 hours, 10 minutes

Bayside Cafe
10 State Park Rd
Morro Bay, CA 93442


After lunch we will go up Hwy 1, stopping in Harmony, before arriving into Cambria.

ROUTE: 28 Minutes

There are a few restaurants on Moonstone Beach, most do NOT take reservations.
Upper and lower Cambria have other restaurants to choose from based on your own preferences.

Hearst Castle Evening Tour


You can still select a different tour time, you just won't be with the NorCal MINIs group.

Meet at: 6pm sharp at:
William Randolph Hearst Memorial Beach
750 Hearst Castle Rd, San Simeon, CA 93452
From here it is a quick 4 minutes ride up to their parking lot


I will be staying at the Sand Pebble Inn on Moonstone Beach in Cambria. 
The Cambria Inn group offers a variety of lodging options
You can also check San Simeon for other hotel choices.

SUNDAY - October 8, 2017

Enjoy your morning!  Visit shops & stores of Cambria. Go to Pismo Beach.  Search for the NorCal MINI pin somewhere on a scarecrow in West or East Cambria. FIRST person to find, take a picture of themselves with scarecrow(s) and text me the picture gets the goodie bag...including the bag.
You're on your own.

Annual Meeting: Miner's Leap Winery/Old Sugar Mill Details

Hi Everyone,

It's that time of year again.  Our annual meeting will be held on September 17, 2017 at Miner's Leap Winery.

Bring your CASH! Let's help those affected by Harvey.

We're going to collect money for Feeding America's Houston Food Bank and Best Friends' Disaster Relief Fund. ALL money collected will be split equally between the two organizations.

Meeting/Departure Time: 10:00/10:30 am

502 Center Ave,
Martinez, CA 94553

Isleton, CA - we will stop here in case there’s a need for a restroom break.

ROUTE: 1 hour 15 minutes
Have $5 for Antioch Bridge Toll or FasTrak


The annual meeting will take place from NOON until 3pm at:
Miner’s Leap Winery
54250 S River Rd,
Clarksburg, CA 95612

The club is picking up a portion of the cost for lunch, your cost will be:
$30 with wine tasting (2 whites & 3 reds)
$25 without wine tasting

Sale of lunch tickets ended on September 8, 2017 so the winery can give numbers to caterers.

* You do not need to purchase lunch to attend meeting. However, we ask that you do not bring in outside food & drink out of respect for Miner's Leap Winery hosting our event.

You will be able to pick, at the venue, from the following:
  • Tri-Tip Sandwich: Grilled Tri Tip, smoked cheddar cheese, lettuce, tomato, horseradish aioli on the side on artisan roll
  • Pesto Chicken Sandwich: Grilled chicken breast, lettuce, tomato, provolone cheese, creamy pesto aioli on focaccia
  • Caprese: Fresh mozzarella cheese, tomato, fresh basil on focaccia
  • Sides: Potato salad, green salad & potato chips
  • Water and tea will be provided
  • Soft drinks available for purchase (or bring your own)

After our meeting, it's a quick 4 minutes down the road to Old Sugar Mill, 35265 Willow Ave, for more wine tasting if you’re up for it. Take a right hand turn out of Miner’s Leap Winery and follow signs for Old Sugar Mill.

Ballots have been sent to members email address.  Vote today!

Voting ONLINE will close on Saturday, September 16, 2017 at 5:00 pm

Gualala - Ft Bragg - Glass Beach Run Details

August's run is a joint run with our friends in Silicon Valley Club, co-hosted by James Schenck (SVM) & Simon Tidesley (NorCal MINIs). This run has been expanded to an overnight trip too.

Here’s your chance to go through Chandelier Drive thru tree. Due to HWY 101 closure at the time of our Avenue of the Giants run in April we were not able to reach Leggett.

SATURDAY - August 19, 2017


132 Vintage Way
Novato, CA 94945


Upper Crust Pizzeria
39331 CA-1
Gualala, CA 95445

Best Western Vista Manor Lodge
1100 N Main St
Fort Bragg, CA
Book at bestwestern.com

The Atrium Bed & Breakfast
700 N Main St
Fort Bragg, CA
Book at booking.com

Both hotels range at about $160 per night


SUNDAY - AUGUST 20, 2017

Meet at Best Western Hotel

BREAKFAST: Please have your breakfast before 10am departure time.

We will go to the Glass Beach before leaving Ft. Bragg.

Then we will head north on 1 to Leggett to visit the Chandelier Drive thru tree. Then head home Sunday afternoon.


Have a great time.  Michael and I won't be joining this run as we're going to MINIs in the Mountains in August.

Christine Toibin, 

Madonna Inn - San Luis Obispo Run Recap

Let's just say we had an 'a-MINI-zing' time in San Luis Obispo.  By the numbers, we had 11 cars and 22 people who join in on the fun.  It was nice to meet new members: Jessica & Josh Larson and Dave & Anne Sitter.  We also had a couple guest who aren't MINI owners yet, but I think we might have convinced them it's time to get one.

Firestone Walker Brewing

We had a hard deadline to hit for lunch at the Firestone Walker Brewing Taproom Restaurant, so we just blew down US 101 to Paso Robles.  We arrived around 11:30 am. Lucky for us, we arrived before the heavy lunch crowd.  Firestone Walker Brewing did a good job of accommodating our large group.  After lunch, we headed to the James Dean Memorial.

James Dean Memorial

Visiting the James Dean Memorial has been on one of my bucket lists for awhile since moving to California.  Making the pilgrimage to Dean's Memorial with a few MINIs just made it more special for me.

The location of the actual crash site, the intersection of Highways 41 and 46 was dedicated the James Dean Memorial Highway in September 2005, with the memorial  located @ Jack Ranch Cafe, 19215 California 46, Cholame, California.  

B&E Vineyard

From the James Dean Memorial we headed on some back roads to B&E Vineyards located at 10000 Creston Road in Creston, CA.  It's a favorite of mine and when I'm in the area I have to stop in to replenish my stock of "Red Rhythm". I thought the group might enjoy a little wine tasting and the view from their tasting room.  The vineyard is family-owned and operated and they live on the property just a short distance from their tasting room.

Madonna Inn

Since we used more time at lunch than I anticipated, we all headed to the Madonna Inn to check into our rooms.  A few of us took the opportunity to relax at the pool before meeting for the 'room tour' we had before everyone went off for dinner.  The Madonna Inn really is a treat to experience at least once.  As I write this recap, I realized I didn't take that many photos of the rooms as I was too busy checking them out.  A few had little balconies with great views.  More photos of the rooms can be found in the shared album listed below.

Everyone was on their own for dinner. Our plan for Sunday was to meet at 10am for The a-MINI-zing RACE. I just hoped everyone found it as fun as I thought it would be when I was planning it.  :-)

The a-MINI-zing RACE 

Rules of the race:
1) No actual racing -  we have to responsible motorists don't you know
2) Do not get the clues out of order - they were numbered

3) You must text, email or use the GroupMe app to send your photo before going on to the next clue
4) Drawing prizes will be awarded, but the winner would be selected by Michael (PHIL) & Christine based on:
a) creativity
b) how well teams captured the essence of the clue

With clues in hand, off they went! 

As soon as the photos started coming into us we knew this was a hit and my fear of everyone wanting to kill me subsided. Whew!

Clue #1

Congratulations, you have spent the night at the historic Madonna Inn.   This landmark resort hotel, opened as a motel inn on December 24, 1958 starting with 12 rooms.

In 1966, the Inn’s original units were burned to the ground in a dramatic fire. It reopened a year later, and by the end of the decade, all of the rooms had been rebuilt in the unique & ornate style they are known for today.

Before leaving, take your ‘postcard’ perfect photo of your team & MINI at the Madonna Inn.

Your team will then be given all of the clues for the rest of the a-MINI-zing RACE.

Clue #2

Like an Egyptian

Proceed by MINI to: 2890 S. Higuera St.

Standing for more than 100 years, find the 25 foot structure sheltering the mortal remains of a mother and child in San Luis Cemetery. It is estimated, at the time of its construction, to have cost between $75,000 and $100,000.

Work as a team to complete the following task. ONE team member must be in the photo.

Capture your best “Walk like an Egyptian” with this structure.

Clue #3


Travel by MINI to:
700 block of Higuera Street, between Broad & Garden Streets.

Did it start after WWII as a San Luis Obispo High School graduating class event? Or was it in the late 1950’s as a rivalry between San Luis Obispo High School and Cal Poly students? Who knows, but this landmark became well established by the early 1970s and the tradition continues today.

Work as a team to complete the following task. Both team member must be in the photo.

Stick it to San Luis Obispo

Clue #4

3 Ring-a-Dings

Leave the MINI parked & travel by foot to the next location.

Named after Saint Louis, Bishop of Toulouse, founded in September 1st, 1772 by Father Junipero . It’s walls are 50-60 feet high according to Vatican law that states they must be as tall as the local tree – in this case, the pine.

Work as a team to complete the following task. Capture ONE team member & the

3 Ring-a-Dings. marks the spot.

Clue #5


Travel by MINI to: 793F Foothill Blvd

Open 24-hours a day, this SLO DO CO place is a coffee-study-music mecca with the busiest time of the day between 8pm to 12am.

Each team member must ask for their “MINI” treat. Be sure to capture SLO DO CO, your treats and both team members in photo.

Clue #6


Find Phil (Christine & Michael) waiting for you at the first of its kind in the world.

Located near the Apple Farm, this historic landmark was once a destination for movie stars on their way from LA to San Francisco by car.

Featured as a hoteldom in bungalows with free garages, this location is only a shell of itself from its glory days and closed down in 1991.

However, there are plans to return it to life in the form of a modern 55-room inn sometime later this year.

Capture your team, MINI & the only sign left of this landmark.

After a few minutes of deliberation, PHIL (Michael) and I decided Brian Dotterer & Crystal Tucker were the WINNER! of The a-MINI-zing RACE - San Luis Obispo.

For more photos from our weekend, including rooms at Madonna Inn and all of the teams 'checking in at the mat' just go to this album - https://photos.app.goo.gl/gqlNDuFPXKDZ6qCG2