All Runs Cancelled Until Further Notice

Hello Members. I hope you are all doing well. In light of the latest directive from Governor Newsom for Safer at Home, ALL Nor...

All Runs Cancelled Until Further Notice

Hello Members.

I hope you are all doing well.

In light of the latest directive from Governor Newsom for Safer at Home, ALL NorCal MINIs runs will be cancelled until further notice.

The club will continue to monitor the situation and we will update you all once we have the OK to start runs again.

A revised calendar will be discussed and agreed between the Officers and Directors and be notified to you all.

In the meantime, please stay safe and healthy.

Simon (President)

RECAP Paso Robles to Santa Barbara Overnight Run February 2020

Paso Robles to Santa Barbara (via Foxen Canyon and San Marco Pass)

Your Hosts: Simon and Nikki Tildesley

Our first overnight run of the year started in Paso Robles. This run gave people the options to start their weekend on Friday or Saturday. For those who opted for the additional Friday night stay – some of us took the option to visit the Sensorio Field of Light to enjoy the creation by Bruce Munro. See the photos link below for some great pictures.

Saturday morning gave us a later than normal start to allow for those who had not opted for the Friday night stay to drive down to Paso Robles without having to start too early. The day start chilly with the threat of some showers all day but the usual coffee at the drivers meeting kept us warm. 13 MINI’s were going to drive this event, which was taking us on some new roads for the club. 

We set off from Paso Robles taking US 101 before heading onto Highway 46 passing many wineries. Some miles down the road, the group turned off onto Old Creek Road giving us 9 miles for pure fun twisties allowing us to enjoy our MINI’s more.

Old Creek Road led us on the infamous Highway 1 where we drove south towards Pismo Beach. Exiting Highway 1, the group proceeded to pass through Pismo Beach so we could continue on Highway 1 South towards Santa Maria. Unfortunately, the group got a little split up in Pismo Beach due to the number of turns and stop signs with some of the group passing in opposite directions. However, with a 5 min wait on the side of the road – the group was back together and we continued our journey.

As was continued our drive south – we drove through the vast farmlands of California before making a short comfort break in Santa Maria. Heading from Santa Maria – we picked up the Foxen Canyon Road which was the second opportunity on this trip to enjoy some twistities and get our MINI's doing what they do best – have some fun!!

Leaving the twisties behind – we turned onto Highway 154 (San Marco Pass) which is a great driving road. Lots of good paving and clear views of the road ahead. Our lunch stop was now only a matter of a few minutes away at the Cold Spring Tavern.
As we arrived at the tavern later than planned – we unfortunately lost our seating reservation. I was not able to call ahead as there was no phone service in the mountains. This did not spoil lunch though as plan B kicked in. We grabbed a tri-tip sandwich from the walk up counter, and sat outside with a beer and enjoyed the atmosphere. The tavern is a bizarre little place and well worth a visit if you are ever in the area.

After our late lunch, it was time for the final part of the drive to head down the San Marco pass into Santa Barbara. This is a great piece of road as the roads clings to the mountainside and gives great views out towards the Pacific Ocean. Once in Santa Barbara – everyone split off to their own respective hotels. The evening didn’t have any particular agenda – people made their own arrangements and just enjoyed the city for what it had to offer.

The Sunday optional run to the military museum didn’t take place as most people had opted to do their own thing.

A great run on some great roads.

Simon & Nikki 

Check out the great pictures from the run.

Don't forget to sign up for the March run to Big Sur 


A-MINI-zing Race - April 18, 2020

Hi Everyone, 

Will we have repeat winners for 2020's a-MINI-zing Race on April 18th?

Who's up for the challenge against 2017 a-MINI-zing Race San Luis Obispo Winners,  Brian D and Crystal T. 

or Team Stitch&Co from 2018 Solvang a-MINI-zing Race Winners.

What is a-MINI-zing Race? 
As a lover of  'Amazing Race' on CBS, I created 'a-MIN-zing Race'. However, the point is NOT who gets to the finish first, but who captures the essence of the clues the best.  There are various types of clues just like Amazing Race.  
  • Route Info - Tells you how to travel, by foot or by MINI, and what your team needs to accomplish to complete the clue
  • Detour - All team members participate where you have a choice between two tasks, choose the one you think you can complete quicker, if you can't complete it, you will need to complete the other option
  • Roadblock - A task that only ONE team member must perform. 
  • Pit Stop - Find "Phil" at the mat to end the a-MINI-zing Race 


Since we have some really competitive club members, I've tried to up my game for this year's a-MINI-zing Race.  Before each clue is opened, you will need to solve a Cryptogram.  

What is a Cryptogram? 
A cryptogram is a type of puzzle that consists of a short piece of encrypted text. Generally the cipher used to encrypt the text is simple enough that the cryptogram can be solved by hand. We will be using a substitution ciphers where each Number is replaced by a different Letter. You will be given a few number/letter combos to get you started and the same key will be used for all clues. After you'd solved a few you pretty much have the answers for the rest of them.  You will use information from Cryptogram to get address locations of enclosed clue.   

Using Instagram This Year
For this year's a-MINI-ing Race, it would be great if you have an Instagram account. 

I ask that you tag your photos with:
  • @norcal_minis
  • #AminizingRace2020
  • #YourTeamName

As part of your RSVP, how about posting on Instagram a photo of your team with your MINI.  Don't forget to include your Team Name. This way everyone will know who the competitors are for 2020's a-MINI-zing Race.

Be sure to Follow @norcal_ministhe Official NorCal MINIs account for Northern California's premier MINI club since 2003.  Do NOT use @norcalminis as we do not know who created that account and it's not the official club account.

Christine & Michael Toibin

Meet Up Location:
Parking Lot
2505 Riverside Blvd, 

Sacramento, CA 95818

There's a Starbucks inside and a Valero gas station across the street. 

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

Optional Lunch:  TBD

RVSP by April 10th is required, as I have to have time to prepare all of clue envelopes.


By the way if you are not a fully paid member of NorCal Minis there is a $5.00 fee for the event but can be applied to your membership fee for the year if you join up. Check out the details below: Create your MotorSportReg Account and Join Today! Use the NorCal MINIs Membership link below:

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

Highway 1 Coastal Run to Big Sur - March 14, 2020

Your Hosts For The Event:
Dolores and Rick Sanchez

Enjoy a beautiful casual scenic run through the south bay farmlands from Morgan Hill through Watsonville to the coast. It is an amazing drive down Highway 1 past Moss Landing, Sand City, Monterey, Carmel and on down to Big Sur. Beautiful scenery we all love and enjoy. 

If the weather gods are good to us it will be a gorgeous run. Bring your cameras to capture the wildlife and scenery along the coast.

Meet Up Location
Peet's Coffee
755 Cochrane Road
Morgan Hill, CA 95037

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

Route Google Map

Everyone, please park on far side of parking lot opposite Peet’s Coffee. We will line up against the back white fence prior to leaving the parking lot.

We will exit parking lot then turn right onto Madrone Parkway. At intersection, we will turn left onto Cochrane Road and then veer right onto Highway 101 South. We will continue on South 101 for 41 miles to Exit 347 for Highway 129 West to Watsonville. At the off ramp turn right onto Highway 129.

In approximately ½ mile, pull over on right shoulder at Lupita’s Catering to meet up with other members.

Meeting Point 2:
Highway 129/Highway 101 Turnout

2201 Chittenden Road
San Juan Bautista, CA 

Arrival Time/Departure Time
Approximately 10:00am/10:15am

We will continue on Highway 129 for 14 miles and continue through the city of Watsonville. There are 7 signal lights on Highway 129 in town. Stay in the left lane thru town and continue to the onramp for Highway 1 South to Monterey.

Re-grouping Point:

Steaming Hot Coffee and Espresso
7990-C Highway 1
Moss Landing, CA 

Upon arriving in Moss Landing city limits, we will park in front of Steaming Hot Coffee and Espresso (next to The Whole Enchilada Restaurant) to regroup. We will stay for about 15 minutes. NOTE: The coffee shop has ONE bathroom.

From here, we will then merge back onto Highway 1 and continue south for 35 miles to the famous Bixby Bridge.

Note: there are 4 signal lights going through Carmel so we may become separated but communicate via radio so we can stay as a group. Our approximate arrival time to Bixby Bridge is 11:45.

Photo opportunities at Bixby Bridge:

Option 1
We will attempt to park across Highway 1 on Old Coast Road to take photos of the bridge looking towards the ocean. More details during the drivers meeting

Option 2
Those not interested in photos can park at the large turnout near the Hurricane Point View. Again more details during the drivers meeting.

Depart Bixby Creek Bridge at approximately 12:15 and continue south on Highway 1 for 10 miles. Arrive at the Big Sur River Inn and Restaurant (park in the lot on the east side of Highway 1). The run is officially over at this point.

There is NO formal group lunch, however, feel free to bring your own food to picnic in area or check out the options below.  If you're interested in the restaurant at Big Sur River Inn you might consider making a reservation based on our proposed timeline.

Big Sur River Inn Restaurant is open lunch

FYI, River Inn Restaurant will not allow outside food eating on their patio.

You can also purchase food at the General Store & Burrito Bar.
River Inn General Store

Also, there are other places to eat as well as you motor a little further south.

Please RSVP for this event via MotorSportReg:


January 2020 Backroads Bay Area Run Recap

Your Hosts For This Event: Anita Weemaes & Christoph Fritsch

The first NorCal Minis run of 2020 was a great success! Due to popular demand, we started an hour later than usual, meeting in Woodside at 9:30am on a sunny Sunday. Despite having communicated this time change in all of the media outlets, there were still almost 10 cars there before 9am, they were so eager to get started! We had 23 cars including some new members on their first run and 2 Facebook members who joined on a day pass (we hope they had such a great time they will join the paid membership with full benefits for 2020). We also had 3 dogs join us - hope they didn’t get car sick on the twisties!

We started the run with a slow jaunt through the town of Woodside, avoiding most of the car clubs and big groups of bicyclists with our late-morning start. The climb up Kings Mountain Road was scenic, and the few bicyclists we encountered were courteous and waved us on to pass when it was safe. When we reached Skyline, the lot across the road was NOT a mudpit, so we gathered there and waited to regroup. It turns out we had too many cars to fit, so we had to move out. We were fortunate to keep the group together with not many non-Minis in the mix.

As we turned on Highway 84 and passed Alice’s restaurant, we gawked at all the motorbikes and other fancy sports cars, and I’m sure we turned a few heads too! The drive down to Pescadero was twisty and fun, except for when we were slowed down by an SUV or Prius (yes, really).

We spent about an hour in the sleepy town of Pescadero, and it ALMOST felt like a mini version of MINI TAKES THE STATES 2016 when we swarmed into a small town, wandered their shops buying local crafts, and freshly-baked pastries (and garlic artichoke sourdough bread).

Instead of heading straight out to Hwy 1 from there, we took the long way around on Stage road, which was a beautiful drive through the hills, albeit with some loose gravel to keep the speed reasonable to avoid rock chips.

We arrived at Moss Beach Distillery, which has its own ghost (too bad we didn’t see her though) https://mossbeachdistillery.com/history-ghost/.

The parties with dogs went out to the patio, which got quite crowded until it started raining, and then they braved the cold and the rain to move into the GOOD seats by the fire when everyone else moved inside.

Our big group of 35 were seated after a short wait, and the service was excellent for such a large group. We even celebrated Vanessa’s 14th birthday!

Thanks to everyone who came out to kick off the new year, and we look forward to seeing you on the next run!

Dunsmuir Railroad Resort - November 6th to November 8th, 2020

Hi Members,

Yes, we know it's still January and November is a long time from now, but the Dunsmuir Railroad Park is unique in that it has a limited number of Cabooses, cabins or camping spots to stay in, so it's better to plan ahead.

Your Hosts For The Event:
Christine & Michael Toibin

Full details on this run will come at a later time, but here are the details on reserving your caboose.  They also have cabins and offers camping.

Dunsmuir Railroad Park is a very unique place where you can sleep in a caboose. If you'd like more information on the Dunsmuir, check out their website: https://rrpark.com//

Reservation Details:
You're reservation can be made online. If you want to, they also have camping options. Your credit card won't be charged until you arrive. It is Pet Friendly.

As of the initial writing of this post there are 18 cabooses & 4 cabins available. 5 Cabooses have already been reserved.

To Reserve your caboose, cabin or camping spot:
  • Click on the "Check Availability" button at: https://rrpark.com//
  • Set the dates for arrival Friday, November 6th to Sunday, November 8th
  • Click "Search" this will then set the results to show you what's still available
If you decide not to come up on Friday, you will most likely miss most of Saturday's daytime activities if you arrive on later in day on Saturday.

MUST cancel 48 HOURS prior to arrival or you credit card will be charged for 1 night.

· Base rates include 2 people, each additinal person is $10 plus tax.
· NO SMOKING Smoking in lodging units will incur a $250 cleaning fee added to credit card.


· Base Rates Include 2 people and 1 vehicle per site
· Each additional person is $3.00 plus tax
· Extra vehicles may park in overflow parking area for a $5.00 fee
· Max of 2 Tents per Tent site
· Maximum of 6 people may occupy an RV or Tent site

By registering with Dunsmuir Railroad Park you, agree to the rules and polices .

Friday - November 6th

Simon plans to leave Bay Area around noon on this day.  We will share more details on this close the event date, otherwise just get to resort when you can on Friday. Friday night dinner will be on your own.

Saturday - November 7th
On this day, there will be planned activities that will probably start around 9:30 am.  We're also working on a group dinner in the Diner Car.

Sunday - November 8th
Maybe a short drive before everyone makes their way home.

A few other notes we can share now.
  • Wear sensible shoes for hiking during the day. 
  • Bring your own food, drinks, snack etc. for Friday & Saturday (except for Saturday lunch & dinner as we hope to plan for us to dine together).
  • Bring a chair to sit by the campfire at night.
  • Radios - Channel 7/21
  • Blankets - it will be cold - it's November.

No Need to RSVP for this event yet, the key is making your reservation.  When details are finalized we will send you an email with the RSVP link.