MUSICIAN'S ROOM: The Deja Vu Run, 03/08/2003


Click on pictures for full-sized versions.

MINI Coopers and Cooper S' from as far North as Brooklyn, NY (tagged as Connecticut) and as far South as Charlotte, NC gathered on a clear, sunny Saturday, March 8th, in Williamsburg, VA, for an event dubbed the Deja VU Run. The event took its name from the fact that it was designed around a previous, similar event hosted by the same MINI2 member, AprilWhine. AprilWhine brought the whole thing together, but at the last minute was called away on business. Members Obehave and Ron Harvey took charge in the absence of AprilWhine, driving her course the night before so they’d be familiar with it.

We met at Starbucks at 10:00 for a little jaw-jacking and coffee. At that point, there were eighteen cars parked all over the lot and making quite the scene. After a quick meeting, some organizational remarks from Ron, and distribution of the trip itinerary, the whole gaggle mounted up and proceeded to motor off in a generally southern direction, making for the Jamestown/Scotland Ferry via the back roads. Five miles later, we briefly lined up right next to the Jamestown Festival Park and the site of the first English colony in the New World before moving onto the pier.

Loading up! Note the ferry's interesting central deckhouse. This photo was used on the cover of a 2005 MINI publication!

The MINIs dominated the bow of the ferry...

once again making a scene and generating lots of grins and questions from fellow travellers. During the twenty-minute ride, there was time to pop some bonnets and take in the modified intakes, spark plug wires, and other assorted modified bits on several people’s cars.

Once off the ferry and reformed, we proceeded another five miles to the Surry House diner for lunch.

Interestingly, our reserved room was pre-empted by a large (both physically and in numbers) biker bunch, who, also interestingly, were pleasant and fascinated by our cars. No problem!

We made do at the tables and booths in the main dining room. The diner offered local specialties such as really excellent peanut soup and Smithfield ham. I hope everyone tried a little?

After the lunch stop, several motorers got a change to try a Whalen Shift machine shift knob on their cars for the drive. With bellies full and after the departure of some friends, the group mounted up for the main course, the piece de resistance: Trying out the local twisties and turnies of Surry’s country roads.

Yahoo!!! This is the stuff MINIs are made for! Though the Tidewater coastal plain is pretty flat, there were still a few hills and hops. Storms which had just departed the region even provided a few small impromptu streams to ford as we zipped around the countryside.

It was the first clear, warm day of the season. The weather was perfect for driving with windows and sunroofs open. The leaders kept the tempo down below autobahn speed and made sure to provide chances to regroup, so it was a collection of pleasant but exciting sprints.

Everywhere we went there were smiles and waves from the locals. Okay, smile and wave for the nice people… A little extra interest was added by Ron’s instruction to find a particular sign and license plate and fill in the blanks for a drawing at dinner.

The route doubled-back to the ferry for a return trip. We got another chance to open the bonnets, yak, and do P.R. for MINI. The ride also provided ample opportunity for the gulls to dive-bomb several helpless MINIs. After a re-grouping stop at Jamestown and warnings of radar patrols to come, the group set off, prudently below the speed limit, for a scenic drive up the Colonial parkway.

A couple of funny things happened on the way: 1) We picked up a new motorer in a shiny white Park Police car. 2) When we stopped at a waterfront wayside for a photo opportunity,

we were met by a surprise guest: a Mustard Yellow 1981 (registered as a ’71) classic MINI in excellent condition.

It was fun to see the origin of many of the design and engineering concepts behind our cars. Yup, the battery was in the boot. Eventually our adopted Park policeman tired of our sedate antics and moved on.

After passing under the Williamsburg Historical District via a winding tunnel, we continued up the Parkway, a two-and-a-half lane scenic affair, winding through the trees of the peninsula. We eventually arrived in Yorktown, site of the last battle of the Revolutionary War.

More bonnet-popping, tire-kicking, yakking, and fun. By this time, despite the departure of some drivers at mid-day, the MINI count was up to nineteen. After a half-hour stop, we loaded up for a few last curves and some hills

on the road to “Mirabella’s Italian Grill” on Richmond Road in Williamsburg. This is a great Italian/American/Surf and Turf kind of place, which provided the space for our dinner. The food was great (did I mention these folks love to eat?) and the conversation flowed.

There were door prizes provided by Checkered Flag MINI of Virginia Beach, the MINI2 website, and AprilWhine (Sherry). A person in just about every car went away with a prize which included two who won roof flags! By about 8:30, the gathering began breaking up, with the locals headed home and the long-distance folks headed for motels. The next morning, the fourteen MINIs and their owners who had stayed in the motels met for breakfast at Cracker Barrel before heading home.

Some observations: MINI owners are a profoundly individualistic bunch. Almost every car there had personalized plates. I don’t think any two cars in the group were even nearly identical. The owners were a diverse group from “twenty-somethings” to “fifty-somethings” and involved in careers from accounting to engineering to graphic design. There were quite a few mid-life crisis cars in the pack incluing one with the license tag:

Personal notes: Thanks to all for the invitation: I enjoyed myself thoroughly! It was great meeting you nice folks. Thanks especially to Paddy (on left)...

...for allowing me to ride in his “Erin” all day since mine was still on order. Erin is one great MINI, Paddy. I love the extra passenger...

...and the smell of the leather! Thanks to Sherry (AprilWhine) for organizing and hosting the whole affair. Finally, thanks to Obehave and Ron Harvey for picking up the ball and running with it after the leadership crisis. You guys did great!

Pictures by Obehave, Acetonic, gscooter49, and 2nd MINI

Narrative by 2nd MINI

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