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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.

Winner!


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!


Malcolm!


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.

Date:
July 11, 2020


RSVP TODAY:
https://www.motorsportreg.com/events/almaden-valley-backroads-run-norcal-minis-256760

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

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

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

Route - Google Maps

Please review our new NORCAL MINIS - COVID-19 GENERAL EVENT POLICY AND GUIDELINES

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.

NORCAL MINIS EVENTS WILL:
  • 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
EVENT PROTOCOLS:

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.

POST-EVENT PROTOCOLS:

  • 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:
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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









Vickie Casacca & Mick Brown - Member Profile




I have loved everything British for as long as I can remember. My grandmother, Harriet, was born in Plymouth, England in 1904 and lived to be 96. She was at the heart of my love for all things from jolly old England. I grew up loving tea, mincemeat pies, clipper ships, the Royals and British rock and blues music. My fascination with British automobiles began as a young girl watching The Avengers and idolizing John Steed and Emma Peel tooling around in his Bentley. In high school I fell in love with the sporty little MGB, but it would be many years before I could finally realize my dream of owning a British car.

On the other side of the pond, Mick was also dreaming of cars. His first crush was on a Ford Cortina and he always had a passion for the iconic Jaguar. He graduated from high school at 16 and attended a mechanic trade school for five years, learning the ins and outs of all types of engines. He worked for British Rail and Volvo Truck and Bus Mick also loved music, although his favorite genre was ska, and he toured all over Europe as a roadie with the Lambrettas, a band from his hometown in Lewes, not far from Brighton. His wanderlust would bring him to the States in December of 1983. He found a job at a British auto repair shop and soon after purchased the business, while finding time to volunteer at Laguna Seca Motor Speedway.

The summer of 2002, our lives collided at the Penny Farthing, a British pub in Salinas. He always says I was stalking him but that was totally untrue. It was his intellect, charm, sense of humor and love of cars that drew my attention, although the fact he was English didn’t hurt. In the spring of 2003 we had seen many advertisements for the new MINI. We were both intrigued and made a trip up to East Bay Mini in Pleasanton to see what all the fuss was about. Of course, we fell in love with them and I decided this was the car for me, but there was one small problem, I didn’t know how to drive a stick shift. After giving the salesman all the options, I wanted and Mick test driving the car on the lot, he said there was one on a boat coming from England that matched my criteria and would arrive in six weeks. Sold, but there was still the issue about my manual driving abilities. Mick patiently tried to teach me in his Porsche, although I succeeded in learning I never felt totally comfortable behind the wheel. We took our new baby, with the personalized plates MINIWOW, on many trips and joined NorCal Minis in October 2003 becoming member number 30. 




In 2005, Mini decided to release an automatic convertible, my prayers were answered. We made another trip up to East Bay Mini and I ordered my new Cooper S Convertible with every option available. It arrived in July and I was finally able to drive my new MINI off the lot. Our first show was at Mini Meets West in Danville and my convertible with personalized plates NOTOP4S was named Best Convertible and featured in their ring of honor. In 2006 we were at the first Mini Takes the States at Laguna Seca in Monterey and witnessed the release of the new GP Minis to their owners.



We have enjoyed many road trips with NorCal and have attended several A Mini Vacation in Vegas (AMVIV) trips. The first Mini Takes the States we participated in was in 2014 and we left from the Polo Fields in San Francisco, going as far as Albuquerque, New Mexico before returning home. 





Mick was now getting the bug to buy his own Mini, so in 2015 he ordered the new 2016 Cooper S Countryman All 4. It arrived on Boxing Day, December 26, 2015 and the next day we drove to Reno where it was snowed on for the first time. Mick chose the license plate 16S4X4, which had a double meaning. We decided to do the full Mini Takes the States the summer of 2016 and shipped the car to Atlanta for the drive back across the country.



When we returned Mick said there was a 2015 Cooper S Paceman on the lot that had been there for a while. I really thought he was kidding when he said he bought it. As my two Minis were getting older, I started driving the Paceman and incorporated my love of the Dallas Cowboys with several Cowboy themed accessories and the plates DC (star)MINI. In 2018, we decided to once again tackle Mini Takes the States, but this time we chose to drive all the way to Orlando, Florida to meet up with the rest of the Miniacs for another fun run across the country. We put a few miles on the Paceman during that trip! 



In September 2019, I had the once in a lifetime opportunity to travel with some of my favorite NorCal Mini people to Scotland where I was able to drive a right-hand Mini on the left-hand side of the road, in an automatic of course. We stayed in a castle, ate fabulous food and saw some of the most gorgeous scenery in the world. The memories of that trip will always make me smile.



We had planned to do Mini Takes the States 2020, but Mick’s health and the COVID-19 pandemic put a hold on that. Mick had a triple bypass on May 19th and is on the road to recovery. We hope to resume our NorCal Minis road trips and to continue as directors for the club. We look forward to Mini Takes the States 2021 and more adventures in our Minis with our co-pilot, Dirk, our West Highland White Terrier.

Motor On,

Vickie Casacca and Mick Brown






Calaveras Road Run - June 20, 2020



NOTE: This is a PAID member run only.

It has been a while since we drove as a club and so to start with - we shall do a run that is shorter in time - but great for driving.

We will meet in Sunol and head towards Calaveras Road for our drive. We will head south stopping at Little Yosemite area for short rest stop. After that we will continue south down the twisties on Calaveras road towards Upper Sierra district in San Jose.

At the end of the run - people can peel off to do their own thing.

Hosts For The Run:
Simon and Nikki Tildesley

Meet Up Location:
Parking lot opposite Niles Canyon Railway on Kilkare Road in Sunol
http://www.ncry.org/

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

Route Google Maps:
https://goo.gl/maps/iHuzkVPbBqHBUg526

No Lunch Planned

Please RSVP for this event via MotorSportReg:
https://www.motorsportreg.com/events/calaveras-road-run-norcal-minis-860911



Please review our new NORCAL MINIS - COVID-19 GENERAL EVENT POLICY AND GUIDELINES

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.

NORCAL MINIS EVENTS WILL:
  • 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
EVENT PROTOCOLS:

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.

POST-EVENT PROTOCOLS:

  • 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.

You Must RSVP for this event via MotorSportReg:
https://www.motorsportreg.com/events/calaveras-road-run-norcal-minis-860911


---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

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










NorCal MINIS Virtual Town Hall Notes - June 6 2020

NorCal MINI’s – Zoom Town hall 6.6.2020

Below are the notes discussed at the virtual town hall this morning
·      Past runs 2020
o   Successful start to the year with 23 cars on the Back Roads of the Bay Area and 13 cars on overnight run to Santa Barbara.
o   Good fun, driving conditions and food were experienced on both events
·      March – Hwy 1 / Big Sur, April – A-MINI-zing Race / Mystery run, May – Lake Tahoe and June – Sonoma Lavender farms were all cancelled due to C19.
o   All the runs will be scheduled in the same months in 2021

·      Future runs
o   Runs to be reviewed on month by month basis – working within the State guidelines
o   11th July – Gold Country currently planned to take place. Difficulties may be with bathrooms and food. Anne to check
o   Aug – Dec – currently will remain in the calendar as planned and be reviewed in advance to ensure we can run effectively and safely
·      Change in format for runs until restrictions are fully lifted
o   PPE face masks MUST be worn and social distancing observed when not in your car
o   Sick / symptomatic people should NOT attend
o   Registration for the event will be online via MSR. Run host will make a note on the day of people that turn up
o   Runs will be reserved for PAID members only in the short term – no day passes permitted
o   Attendance at runs is voluntary and the club will not be held responsible if anyone develops any symptoms after
o   If a person does develop symptoms – then they MUST inform the club so others on the run can be informed
o   Safety of the members is the PRIORITY
·      As a club NorCal is operating within State and Federal guidelines as we are an officially registered “not for Profit” organization
o   The club is acknowledged by MINI USA as such we support following the same precautions they would
o   Insurance covers our members for injury by a non-member on a run

·      Other news
o   People profiles have been a way of us keeping the club active whilst we have all being SIP
o   Profiles from Simon, Dolores, Patrick, Anne / David & Larry have been published so far on the club web page. Vickie / Mick & Mike / Christine are ready for publishing
o   Anyone can submit a profile giving a story on how they got involved with Mini’s
o   Please submit your write up and photos to Michael Toibin who will get them published
·      Other possible events being investigated
o   Virtual Cars and Coffee using Zoom – so people can talk about any updates / mods / detailing tips they have with their car
o   Drive In movie being looked at – more details to follow
o   Drive on Calaveras Rd on 20th June. Meet in Sunol and drive down Calaveras Rd to San Jose. Simon to host – details to be posted this week. Start time will likely be 10.00 and leave for 10.30
·      Renewal feed for 2021 cancelled
o   Officers and Directors of the club made the decision to waive renewal fees for 2021.
o   Current membership is good till end 2021
o   New members who join will also get the extended membership
o   Next renewal will be for 2022 – this will open in Sept 2021
If you have any questions – please feel free to drop me or any other board member a message
Looking forward to us all being able to get motoring again and enjoy or cars
If the meantime – continue to stay safe and healthy. Hope to see some of you on 20th June
Thanks
Simon (President)

Larry Anderson - Member Profile


Larry Anderson

Larry, standing out in a crowd!


Hey everyone! I currently live in San Ramon, CA, but have lived in the SF Bay Area my whole life. I grew up around cars (dad is a legit motorhead from Merced and always had some sort of big block Chevy engine in various states of assembly lying around), but I never really was a “car guy” until much later in life. So how did I get into MINI’s? 

In 2005, my then boss proclaimed he was getting a brand-new car. This was an event in itself, because he’d been driving the same Mercedes E300 since I first met him in 1996. What was he getting? A MINI. “A what??” we all said. It was then that he shared with me the MINI experience; how he shopped for it, his test drive, how he got to watch the build happen in real time, everything. 6 months later, a blue R52 with a blue top showed up in the parking lot. We all oohed and aaahed, went for rides… and then more and more of them started popping up. Eventually 6 of my co-workers also had MINIs and you couldn’t walk from the parking lot without tripping over a couple of them.

Shortly after that I decided it was time to find my own MINI. I popped up AutoTrader and started my hunt. Not knowing much about the specifics of MINI’s at this point, I thought I’d keep things simple:

- stick with a first generation…
- gray (dark silver) would be nice…
- had to have the supercharger because vroom…
- gotta be a stick…
- had to have leather seats…
- navigation would be great…

Score! An almost fully loaded R53 showed up at East Bay MINI. The only options missing were powerfold mirrors and power seats, and the price had just been dropped by 5K. Made an appointment and headed on over, keys were grabbed and we headed out for a spin.

Soon I would experience the moment that hooked me as a MINIac. Our test drive took us down the side road running alongside I580 East (west of the El Charro exit), at the end of which was a dead end. The salesperson instructed me to turn around, hit the gas, and go as fast as I was comfortable, BUT… I couldn’t let it dip below 50 for the sharp left turn at the end of the street. Since I have my mom’s lead foot, we were shortly running at about 90. The corner was coming, so left off the gas a bit, downshifted (clumsily since I hadn’t driven a stick in more than 5 years), and at about 55, turned the wheel left. The car executed the turn perfectly without rolling, without any squeal or other protest. The “go-kart” handling that had been described to me was legit. Needless to say, I went home with the car and started enjoying the heck out of it.

Here he is in his dusty glory. Sadly, I only have this one picture of my first MINI to remember him by. However, the license plate, frame and bumper sticker were transplanted to the next MINI:





While the first MINI was fun, I wanted something that I could truly call my own… which is when in 2012 I decided it was time for an upgrade (I was getting seriously envious of the Gen2-owning members of the club). Went to my friendly neighborhood auto broker, put my R53 up for sale and ordered my new MINI: a 2012 John Cooper Works Clubman, British Racing Green II with Recaro seats, rear spoiler, black rally stripes, checker vinyl roof graphic and manual transmission. After a painful 4 months of waiting, RetroMINI made his entrance in August of 2012 (RetroMINI because of my fondness for classic videogames, if the license plate frame wasn’t a dead giveaway). Here he is the day I picked him up:





…and here he is in his current, meaner configuration (this was taken in 2016 at MTTS):



RetroMINI has seen over the course of his 8 years and 80k miles:

- 2 1/4 MINI Takes The States (4 stops in 2014, full coast-to-coast in 2016 and 2018)

- At least 30 US States

- All the usual breakdowns the Gen2/N14 engine is famous for (turbo, high pressure fuel pump, gas tank pressure regulator, 2 windshields, 2 sets of brake rotors), but is aging gracefully just the same

- More runs and twisty roads with NorCal MINIs and friends than I can count

My time with the club:

I found out about NorCal MINIs quite by accident. When I had my first MINI, a couple of co-workers told me about a run sponsored by East Bay MINI and thought I would see what all the fuss was about. That was when I met a bunch of the OG NorCal MINI’s crew; a quick jog around the Pleasanton/Livermore area was all it took for me to understand what the best part of owning a MINI was; the community and friendships that come with it. I joined right after that event and have been a member since 2010, director since 2019, and somehow have managed not to get kicked out of the club for my constant, biting sarcasm.

I can’t wait to get back out on the road with all of you in the near future. Stay safe and healthy everyone!

Dave & Anne Sitter - Member Profile

Dave & Anne Sitter

Anne & Dave

Meet Dave and Anne Sitter, NorCal Mini Club Directors, and their Mini Cooper Family:

Dave has always been a car guy his entire life – he is a lifelong career employee of the automotive industry. He’s owned many cars through the years including a few Fords, VWs, 2 Hondas and a Mitsubishi. He’s had trucks, cars, SUVs…. He’s also owned 3 Harley Davidson motorcycles and a Honda. His passion has always been in the automotive and motorcycle arena. A Corvette is still on Dave’s bucket list…….

For Anne, cars were simply a mode to get from point A to point B. Animals and animal welfare have always been, and continue to be, her passion. As a teen she shared a VW Dasher with her brother. She bought a Ford Escort and then a Mitsubishi Mirage later in her early 20’s. However, after seeing a beautiful red Ferrari convertible on the streets of Pasadena in 1978, her dream car became a red convertible Ferrari. With Ferrari being just a dollar or two out of her price range, when the long-awaited chance came in 2000 to purchase her “red convertible” she bought a red, 2000, Mitsubishi Spyder with all the bells and whistles, electric top, black leather interior…. She was single. It was a dude magnet. Other than that car, other cars were simply “a way to get me from here to there”.

Dave and Anne met in late 2003 and in early 2004 they combined their families of cars and animals into one household that included a Ford Expedition, Mitsubishi Mirage, Honda Civic, Mitsubishi Spyder and a 2000 Harley Davidson Wide Glide…. Plus, a total of 3 dogs and 5 cats. They married in December 2004 and each spouse officially adopted the other spouse’s “kids”.

There were a few other cars and more Harley Davidsons in between the time they met and the time they joined the Global Mini Cooper Family. However, the Sitters bought their first Mini Cooper in 2017 because Dave wanted a good, reliable, small commute car that could be easily parked at his office. Parking is a premium at the dealership and finding a spot can often be challenging. Anne was reluctant since she had no knowledge of Mini Coopers; She was also still angry because she had to get rid of her red, convertible hotrod a year prior. She had been firm on “it has to be a soft top!” because she was still pouting. One day Dave sent Anne a photo of the 2013 Mini Cooper soft top he found at Mini in Santa Clara. Because Anne loved convertibles and knew Dave really wanted a Mini Cooper, she agreed. They bought him in March 2017 and named him Ringo.




Once they joined NorCal Minis Anne started seeing different kinds of Mini Coopers on the monthly organized runs. Finally, she decided she wanted a Mini Countryman to call her own. She and Dave researched for several months, upwards of about a year, and then started looking. Having never had heated seats before, she was determined to make that a “must have” on her Countryman because Ringo’s seats were so warm when the heaters were on. It’s the little things…. No seat heaters, no purchase. She and Dave finally purchased a pretty, silver, 2015 Countryman they named Sterling in June 2018. Once he was home, Anne realized that, while the heated seats were A-MAZING…. her favorite part of part of Sterling wasn’t his heated seats or his beautiful silver paint that hid dirt so well…. It was the fact that he sported a handsome “Hidden Mickey” (Disneyland fans will get it) right on his dashboard in the form of his speedometer and heating vents.




Sterling is often used for long drives to LA to visit family and Disneyland, while Ringo is a warm weather, top down, commuter car for Dave. The Sitter’s COVID19 quarantine conversations have included talk of “what is our next Cooper… JCW? Electric??” and they both have done a little google surfing on what is out there. For now, they will be keeping Ringo and Sterling in the family and will be rotating them on runs depending on where the run is heading. Sometimes they ask each car which one wants to partake and have found, interestingly, that the boys do work together to figure out which one is best for upcoming runs.

This time away from the club physically has been a bummer but The Sitters, Ringo and Sterling are looking forward to the day when we can motor again as a club. The Cooper Boys are missing their Mini cousins and we are missing our Mini Family. In the meantime, stay safe and healthy, but keep on motoring.



Patrick Phillips - Member Profile



I live in Petaluma, CA which is a car town. If it’s not a truck or normal commuter car then it's mostly American classics, custom rods & muscle. Drove SUVs most my life, didn’t really even notice Minis that much until…

Last summer of 2019. Drove our Jeep up to Oregon to visit family. Long drive so we break it up into two days, stopping in Dunsmuir, CA. Stayed at this cool hotel that’s actually made up of train cabooses. The Railway Inn or something like that. I know many of you reading this know of this place because… there were Minis everywhere! I guess NorCal Minis or a similar club had stopped there as well. So I started checking out the Minis, and took lots of photos. Some cars that really stood out:

Daddy’s Little Monster with Harley Quinn graphics on the bonnet.

A blue Clubman with cool skull graphics on the A-pillars & wheel caps.

An orangish-yellow S with license plates that read “DB KUPR”.

Frankly, all the Minis were cool. I mean, REALLY cool. What the hell was happening? Why was I suddenly attracted to these very interesting little cars? Why couldn’t I stop thinking about them, or taking their damn picture? After the trip back from Oregon, I started looking at options for our second car. Set my Craigslist search filter from 1955 to 1975 hoping to catch an American classic that had been restored & in good shape. Maybe a 70s Bronco, or a Chevelle, or maybe even a Caddy. But soon, I found my fingers setting the search filter for…

Minis! There they were again! Burrowing into my brain, intoxicating me with their whimsical swagger & charm! So I gave in to the obsession, this mad Mini crush. I had 3 rules in my new search; low miles, low price but high performance. A very tough target to hit. But, after a few test drives of other Minis, the universe was kind enough to allow me to find a 2010 Clubman John Cooper Works on Craigslist. I had done enough research to know what the JCW package means. A nice man named Max in San Rafael was selling his. Six-speed manual transmission, beautiful black paint with a hint of colored sparkle, alloy wheels, sport exhaust, a low & aggressive stance, the entire clutch recently replaced & something called “walnut blasting” done to the manifold. And only 51K miles. I went to see it, and it was love at first sight. True Mini love. 




Max & I reached a reasonable number to purchase the car. I’m forever grateful to Max for letting me buy the coolest and funnest car to drive that I have ever owned. I love everything about it. The engineering, the simplicity, the interior themes & styling, the big performance crammed into such a little car. The way it sips gas compared to SUVs! I’m new to the Mini space, but I get it. I get it, and I’m so very grateful. 




This current pandemic is real, and it’s a very hard reality. Condolences to those who’ve lost loved ones, or who have fallen ill. My sincere hopes for your recovery, and for those you know who are trying to recover. My thoughts & prayers are with everyone here. Stay safe, and stay sane. Hope to motor with you soon.

Best,
Patrick Phillips
Petaluma, CA

NORCAL MINIS CALENDAR & OTHER EVENTS