Sturgeon's Mill/Occidental - Club Picnic

Sturgeon’s Mill is a 105 year old steam powered sawmill. It is a working museum that is open 4 weekends a year to the general public. On these weekends historians, gear heads, steam heads and students of California history come to “Step back into History” at their museum.

No dogs allowed! This is a firm rule.

Wear comfortable flat shoes and layered clothing as Sturgeon's Mill is only 7 miles from the Pacific and temperatures change rapidly.


Meeting Time: 8:30 am
Departure Time: 9:00 am

Meeting Location:
127 San Marin Dr,
Novato, CA 94945

We'll have a 1 Hour & 18 minute drive to Sturgeon's Mill

We will collect a $5 donation, per person, to support the Mill. Please have cash for this donation, as I will drop it off to them when we arrive.

We will collect this at time we do drivers sign-in. Everyone will get 1 ticket to a few items we'll have for drawings during the picnic.

2150 Green Hill Rd.
Sebastopol, CA 95472

At 12:30 pm, we will leave and go to Ragle Ranch Regional Park, just a short 10 minute drive, for our annual Club picnic. Please bring something to share with the group to eat and bring your own drinks.  You might also bring your own lawn chairs.

The club will provide:
hamburgers/hot dogs/buns
plates, cups, silverware, etc.

Ragle Ranch Regional Park
500 Ragle Road, Sebastopol

We have the Gazebo area reserved. 
There is a $7 parking fee per car.

Would it be fun to lead a run? Find out!

We need a leader for the August 12, 2017 Ft Bragg/Glass Beach run. 

Michael and I will not be available for this run. We are going to MINI in the Mountains in Steamboat Springs, Colorado.  I do not have any available time during the rest of August to reschedule the run.  Therefore, the club needs someone to lead this event.  It will be cancelled if there's no one to lead it.
Are you up to the challenge?  I'll give you support in planning the run.  Rick Sherman or I will help to promote it on Facebook, the website and via email.  You can select the route and activities. Want to make it an overnight adventure, you can do that too.  Have a favorite place to stop at...add that into the route.
Come on!  Give it a try!
Contact me via email at info@norcalminis.com
Christine Toibin
President, NorCal MINIS

Humboldt County - Avenue of the Giants and More

*** UPDATED APRIL 19, 2017

New time & meeting place as well as a new route. 

I highly suggest you bring some food, water, drinks to have with you for this trip. There are very few facilities on CA-36. 
We will now depart from Vacaville.  Due to 101 road closure in Leggett, we will go from Vacaville to Red Bluff, then head West along CA-36 towards Fortuna.

CA-36 is described as 140 miles of twist heaven. From what I’ve read it has a very good road surface ,though it does get a little rough in spots farther west, and the center line briefly disappears for a few miles farther west . There are lots of places without guardrails ,and long drops ,so be careful!!!.

Depending on the time of day we make it to the end at US 101, we might go into Ferndale to look around before driving down to Garberville.  We’ll have to play it ear as there are a few places along this road that has 1-way control in place and there will probably be more traffic than usual due to the Leggett /101 closure. 

On Sunday, we'll get up early to drive the Avenue of the Giants. Sunday’s agenda will depend on the status of 101 closure. If open, we will go to the North entrance to begin our journey home.  If 101 is not open, we will begin our journey at the South entrance before heading East on Hwy 36 retracing our journey we originally took on Saturday.



7:30 AM/8:00 AM
Peet's Coffee
Nut Tree Plaza, 1671 E Monte Vista Ave,
Vacaville, CA 95688

Either pick something up on Red Bluff or bring your own food.  There are very few facilities on Hwy 36.  Bring your own food, snacks, water and other drinks.

We will be stopping in Red Bluff to fill up our cars and have a restroom break before we begin our journey on CA 36.

Humboldt House Inn
701 Redwood Drive, Garberville, California, 95542

Includes full breakfast for everyone in your room
Wine/Cheese reception 5:30-7:30PM
Free Wifi
All area restaurants are within walking distance


SUNDAY - APRIL 23, 2017

Have breakfast at hotel before we departure. There's a complimentary full hot breakfast, Omelets and sausage, Biscuits and gravy available.

Be sure to fill up too!


The plan for Sunday will depend on whether or not 101 is open.  Details will be discussed at the morning driver’s meeting.

Reminder - we have t-shirts and magnetic grill badges and stickers available. See all the NorCal MINIs club swag.

New T-shirts, Magnetic Grill Badge & Sticker Available Now

Mary Miller with MINI Life Design has created new club merchandise for us that is now ready for purchase.  There are two t-shirt designs, a magnetic grill badges and a sticker available.

T-shirts are $15.00 and up depending on the type of t-shirt and size.  
Magnetic Grill Badges are $9.95.  
Vinyl Stickers are $4.99.  
Plus shipping on all purchases.

The first t-shirt is an update on an older shirt featuring three of the latest MINI Models. Buy Here!

The next one I like to call, "The Places We Go" t-shirt. Buy Here!

Grill Badges are 3 inches in diameter and made with waterproof, fade resistant magnetic material, and the color is imprinted into the material.   The vinyl sticker uses the same design as the grill badge.

Grill Badge - Buy Here

Vinyl Sticker - Buy Here!

Looking for a New Financial Officer

Hi Members,
We've really started the year out strong.  Our first run had over 32 cars, and we've gained over 25 new members this year.  I'm looking forward to our Mt. Hamilton Run on April 1st, and our first weekender up to Avenue of the Giants on April 22nd & 23rd.

In case you're not aware, NorCal MINIs is a 501c not for profit corporation. As a 'not for profit', we have a full board with officers & directors who carry-out various duties in support of everyone that is a paid member. NorCal MINIs also has a complete Constitution and Bylaws with full details on how we govern the club.

Key to having a board of officers & directors, required to maintain our 501c status, is having members who step up and take over a position when the need arises. NorCal MINIs has a current need to fill the Financial Officer role.  Richard & Sharon are the super heroes of financial officers as they've carried this role for the club for the past 7 years. 

Below you will find a description of the financial officer's role as defined in our Constitution & Bylaws:
c. Financial/Treasurer Officer

  • Maintain the Clubs financial records and account.
  • Implement financial policy as prescribed in the bylaws of the Constitution.
  • Keep books of accounts in accordance with generally accepted accounting practices and provide a financial report at each Club meeting for review and approval of the Officers.
  • Provide the Club President and Vice President with a monthly financial report on both the bank & PayPal accounts.
  • Along with the Leader, have the authority to sign checks and contracts; collect all dues, moneys and other remuneration from all sources, especially from other officers
  • Make an annual financial report showing income statement and balance sheet at the last meeting of his or her term.

Are you NorCal MINIs next Financial Officer? 

Sharon will be available to work beside you as you learn the duties of the role and all officers support each other in carrying out the behind-the-scene workings of the club. If you're interested,  please send an email to info@norcalminis.com or talk to any of our officers at our upcoming Mt. Hamilton run.

Christine Toibin
President, NorCal MINIs

Mt. Hamilton Run for Absent Friends 2017

Date Change: April 1, 2017

Safety First! 

Due to the heavy rains and road washouts the Bay Area has experienced over the last few weeks, we are moving this run to APRIL 1, 2017.

The date change will give time for hillsides to stabilize, road crews to clear roads of any debris and most importantly for us to have a safer journey.

** This is MEMBERS ONLY event **

This is NorCal MINIs annual run to remember loved ones who have passed. This charity run benefits the American Cancer Society and the Valley Humane Society. For each $5 donated to either or both charities you will receive 1 drawing ticket for several items we will have to give away during lunch.

Donate to your charity of choice or both of them today!

For each $5 donated to either or both charities you will receive 1 drawing ticket for several items we will have to give away during lunch**. (This will include the bag seen below!)

** No need to be present to win, but you do need to be a 2017 NorCal MINI member.

If you haven't joined or renewed for 2017 yet, do it today!!!!  http://norcalminis.com/

American Cancer Society

Valley Humane Society

THANKS MINI of Marin for our drawing items.

Run Details:
Meeting time: 10 AM
Departure time: 10:30

Meeting Location: 

Be cautious on Mt. Hamilton Road. The drive is scenic, but the road is narrow in some areas and also has many sharp curves. Fill up BEFORE meeting in the morning. There are no gasoline or automotive services at Mt. Hamilton or anywhere along the road outside of San Jose. Food services are limited at the observatory. Light snacks, coffee, and refreshments will be available for purchase at Lick Observatory.

Directions to Lick Observatory:

We should arrive to the observatory between 11:30 & 12:15 depending on the number of cars making the run and other bike/car traffic encountered on our way up.

The observatory opens at noon with a free talk​ for us.​ ​

As soon as the talk is over, we're back on the road for another 30-40 minute drive to have lunch at The Junction Bar & Grill.

Directions from Lick Observatory to The Junction Bar & Grill:

From The Junction we head down Mines Road to Livermore. From Livermore
you're on your own to make your way home.

Directions from the The Junction to the Telsa Road & Mines Road intersection in Livermore:

Please RSVP to your email invitation so that we have a count for how many cars to expect at Mt. Hamilton and lunch.

If you haven't renewed your membership, please do so before this run. This is a *MEMBERS ONLY event.

Join or Renew today!

RIP Albert Eugene Gordon (1930-2017)

Albert Eugene Gordon

Al was a long time member and many of you may remember him and may want to participate in his life celebration.

Long time NorCal MINIs member and motorer Albert Eugene Gordon, of San Carlos, born July 27, 1930, died Feb. 11, 2017, with his family by his side.

He was 86.

Al grew up in San Francisco, where he attended Polytechnic High School. It was there that he met his wife, Dorothy, of nearly 65 years. Al was proud to be a U.S. Marine, serving in the Korean War. His Shasta Lake home was his “heaven on earth.”

He is survived by his two daughters, Cheryl (Gary) Barrango and Diane (Tony) Demattei as well as his four grandchildren: Janelle, Ryan, Kristin (Staci) and Kaitlin and great-grandson Vincent.

“Of great importance and comfort to Al as well as his family, is our love and gratitude to the two most incredible caretakers life could send our way, Robert and Emeline, who will be a part of our family forever.”

At Al’s request for a “going-away party” his family will host a Celebration of Life Saturday, Feb. 25. For details please email his family at CelebrateAlGordon@gmail.com with your name and association with Al and/or his family for details and location of the celebration.

Bodega Bay Run - January 29, 2017

After having to reschedule this event from January 22nd to the 29th, the sun finally came out and the rain stop.  The run to Bodega Bay was on!!!!

We met up at Starbucks at 127 San Marin Road in Novato.  I was amazed at the number of cars and people we had at the morning driver's meeting.  Thirty-two cars!

Photos by: Phil Rotheram

It's always great to see one our fur babies and kids with us.

Photo by: Phil Rotheram

From Starbucks we headed towards Novato Blvd. then turned right on Point Reyes-Petaluma Road, followed by a left onto Hicks Valley Road, then left onto Marshall Petaluma Road to complete our fun little twisty drive towards Marshall, California. Once in Marshall, we turn North on Hwy 1 headed towards Bodega Bay.

Here we are all lined up before making the left turn at Valley Ford Road in Tomales, CA to keep on Hwy 1.

Photo by: Phil Rotheram

Once we all got past a couple bicyclists, it was clear for all the MINIs to stay together.

Photo by: Phil Rotheram

One last turn to the right for the side trip along Bay Hill Road which brings you into a great view above Bodega Bay.  Bay Hill road is where the scenes of Tippi Hedren driving her Aston Martin into Bodega Bay were filmed for "The Birds". 

Photo by: Phil Rotheram
Joining us for lunch at The Tides Wharf
Restaurant & Bar was ...

Thank you to Phil Rotheram for all of the great photos shared on this post.

Thanks everyone who joined us for the day.  There were quite a few of our new members who joined us.  Hank Miller, great job on the caboose job!
Photo by: Phil Rotheram
Photo by: Phil Rotheram

MINI Gatherings

Don't be sad there's no MINI Takes the States this year.  We have a few choices this year to participate in a MINI gathering.  Check out the list!

AMVIV (A MINI Vacation in Vegas)
May 18 - 21, 2017

NorCal MINI Facebook Event:

MINI Meets West 2017
June 26 - 29,  2017

NorCal MINI Facebook Event: 

Official Website & FB Page:

MITM (MINIs in the Mountains)
August 9 - 13, 2017

NorCal MINI Facebook Event:

Bodega Bay Run Changed to January 29th

Hi Everyone,

Bodega Bay run changed to January 29, 2017

I have changed the Bodega Bay Run to January 29th due to 100% chance of rain along with flood and wind advisories across the area.  Safety comes first and I hope everyone who was coming on the 22nd decide to join us on the following Sunday.

All other details of the run will remain the same.  See the calendar for all the details, plus I have already sent out new email invites for the new date.

Don't forget to purchase your  Castello di Amorosa tickets for our February 11th run.

Use PayPal link on this post:

Christine Toibin

Castello di Amorosa: Purchase Tour Tickets

Hi Members, 

As part of our February 11, 2016 run we will have our own private tour & wine tasting at Castello di Amorosa in Calistoga, California.

The tour is approximately 2 hours. Afterwards, we will taste 5 hand-crafted Italian style wines.

Cost: $55 per person

Tickets are no longer available.  You won't receive a 'ticket', you're name will be on our list of attendees as 'Paid'.  When you check-in for the run or meet us at the venue, you will receive a wristband for the club...not the venue.

We're looking forward to seeing everyone as we tour the castle.  More information on the run can be found in your Google calendar invite, NorCal MINIs calendar or on the Castello di Amorosa Facebook Event page.