View Full Version : Trips in a Mini

06-24-2003, 12:28 PM
What's the longest trip you've taken in your Mini?

Tell us all about it!

06-24-2003, 11:39 PM
Charlotte to Spring Thing in St Petersburg FL and back. 650 miles each way, Straight through on the way down. Coil died on the way back and cost me an overnight stay in Jacksonville. It turned out OK though. My boss lives in a very nice section of town and invited me to stay at his house. After replacing the coil, I made it the rest of the way with no trouble.

There were several folks at Mini Meet East in Charleston last year who drove their Minis from Canada...Wow!

06-25-2003, 04:42 AM
Funny story about Mini Meet East a couple of years ago (when Montreal, Quebec hosted):

A whole bunch of Mini's from Florida convoyed up (quite certain they were going to get the long distance award). They were beaten to the punch by one person who drove a Mini all the way from Vancouver, BC (a route that would have taken in most of the country)

06-25-2003, 02:52 PM
I'm assuming that it is easier to cross Canada West to East than the US due to cooler temps. Although, this in no way lessons their achievement since there are probably fewer towns and cities enroute across Canada, increasing the risk of breaking down with no one around to help.

06-25-2003, 10:44 PM
Then there's Chuck Heleker. He purchased a South African Mini, had it delivered to Miami, Fla. Picked it up in Miami amd proceeded to drive it home in Seattle, Washington. He published a Journal of his trip, all 6100 miles @ Mini Mania.
<https://www.minimania.com/MM/Wolseley_Across_America_10___INTO_NORTH_CAROLINA.h tm>

06-26-2003, 04:53 AM
<blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><hr> Huck6 said: I'm assuming that it is easier to cross Canada West to East than the US due to cooler temps. Although, this in no way lessons their achievement since there are probably fewer towns and cities enroute across Canada, increasing the risk of breaking down with no one around to help.

In some ways I think it might be a tougher drive, depending on which route they took. If they drove through northern Ontario across the north side of Lake Superior they would have had some big hills to go up and down - this route is also a great extended sports car driving road, at least six hours of sheer driving exhileration with hardly any towns to pass through. images/icons/tongue.gif

And here's another great Mini trip chronicled at the website below, in short... purchasing a 1965 Mini delivery van in Saskatchewan and driving it back home to Ontario - https://www.thetouchupguy.ca/MiniVan/

06-26-2003, 08:59 AM
I read both those "long drive" stories with my morning coffee.....I liked the bit about yielding (in a Mini) to Army tanks! Great stuff.

06-30-2003, 06:52 PM
Well, since I started this thread, I might as well tell one of mine......Hartford, CT to Sebiring, FL and back. Three Thousand Miles In A Mini.

This was back around '67 or '68...in addition to doing some racing, I was also an SCCA Flagman. Every year I used to take some vacation from work and drive down to Sebring to work the 12 hour Grand Prix of Endurance.

This particular year, I had just picked up a used '64 Morris Mini-Cooper 1071 "S" and thought that would make a grand little car for the trip.....oh, to be so young and stupid again!

Another flagging buddy of mine decided he'd like to come along, and we left a bit early so that we could take the "scenic route" down. So, the two of us 6+ footers squeezed 2 weeks worth camping gear into the back of the Mini, and off we went.

We took the Garden State Parkway down to the southern tip of "New Joisey" and camped overnight at a State Park near Cape May. In the morning we took the Cape May Ferry over to Delaware.....then trundled along the Delaware Coast, thru Maryland, into Virginia and crossed Chesapeake Bay on the Kiptopeke Ferry.

We decided to take the "real costal route" and drive down thru the Outer Banks of North Carolina. We camped overnight at Cape Hatteras Lighthouse. In the morning took the ferry to another island, then another ferry to the mainland. As I started the Mini up to drive off the ferry.....SMOKE! Lots of SMOKE! Drove off the ferry and popped the bonnet. The fan belt had self destructed.

Well, this was in early April, and the weather was pretty cool, so we soldiered on to the first available help. It was a small gas station/garage in absolutley the middle of nowhere! The "mechanic" discovered that the water pump had seized......solid! His southern accent was so strong we could barely understand him, but he said something like: "If'n this here thang is anythin' like the old Furds, meybbe I can squeeze some grease in there to free it up so's you can get a bit further." Well he did....and it worked! He even found a fan belt (for a garden tractor, or something) that fit......sort of.

So......off we went, buzzin' right along down the coast of North Carolina, into South Carolina on two lane roads (the Interstates hadn't been built yet)....thru the rural south with it's billboards "Help Save America. Impeach Earl Warren. Join the John Burch Society"....and it's many small "Jesus Saves" signs (under which, one wag had scribbled "S&H Green Stamps" ).....until we got to Mt. Pleasant, just before Charleston.....the......SMOKE! Again. Well, we pulled into the nearest gas station and inquired as to where we might find a water pump for the Mini.

Now, mind you, the Deep South in the '60's was not exactly a hotbed of LBC activity.

The gas station owner (after the usual "We don't see many of them furrin' cars around hyar") allowed as how "Snarling Ed's Auto Parts" (or some such) over in Charleston would be the only place that "jest might" have some furrin' car parts.

Off we went, steaming, to see Snarling Ed. Well, of course Ed didn't have a water pump for a Mini 1071,......said he might be able to order one, but it would probably take a week or so to get here. But he said, "If'n you boys is in a hurry, you might try "Stumpy Sam's (or some such) Junkyard" about 10 miles south of town. He's got a few furrin' wrecks over there." He gave us directions, and off we went.

Stumpy Sam's was way out in the boonies, but after getting lost a few times, we finally got there.....after closing time. So, we camped outside the gates for the night.

In the morning, Sam showed up in a beat up old Ford pickup. "You boys need sumthin?" (S**t no, Sam. We like camping out at junkyards!)

Turns out that Sam was a really nice fellow. "Wal.....I've prob'ly got sumptin' at'll fit, and if not, we'll make it fit." We pulled the water pump from the Mini, and he pulled the water pumps off every BMC car he had in the yard (about 7 or 8) until we found one that looked pretty close. He even made us a new gasket out of some gasket cork he had. I put it on, found an old fan belt that fit, and when we were finished, asked him how much. "Walllllll.......would 7 dollars be too much?" Stumpy Sam, we love you!

Onward to bigger and better things. We had another taste of southern hospitality in Claxton, GA ("Fruitcake Capital Of The World...Home Of The Famous Claxton Fruitcakes"). We stopped at a State Campground for the night. There was nobody at the gate, so we went in and spent the night. As we came out in the morning there was a Ranger at the gate, so we stopped to pay. "Walllll.....I didn't catch ya comin' in, and ya couldn't have done much campin in somethin' that small......so I guess I didn't catch ya comin' out either. Have a nice trip." And added, "If you boys are goin' south, be careful goin' thru Ludowiki......they got some mean speed traps there."

Stopped for breakfast in Claxton, and on the way out, the girl at the cash register told us, "If you're goin' south, go real slow thru Ludowiki.....they run a speed trap there." And....as we were headed out of town, a cop that was directing traffic motioned us over, and told us the same thing.

Nice town, Claxton, Georgia. If you like fruitcake, make sure you buy one made in Claxton.

Well, we crawled thru Ludowiki (I think we got passed by an old lady using a walker) , resumed speed and continued southward toward Florida.....and got nabbed for speeding at some other flyspeck town. Fined 25 bucks on the spot, and off we went.....poorer, but wiser.

We finally made into Florida, and picked up the Sunshine State Parkway. The traffic consisted almost entirely of blue-haired old ladies in Cadillacs going 40 miles over the speed limit. We pulled off into a rest area for a stretch, and in came a beautiful BRG GT-40 with Pennsylvania plates. We asked about the car and the man and his wife told us they had to stop every half-hour because of the heat. "Does the engine overheat?" "No, the engine's fine....but the **** cockpit gets so hot, we can't stand it".

Off we went again and came upon a shiny red MGA by the side of the road with it's bonnet up. Young guy and his wife on their honeymoon. "We just bought the car last week. It's been going just fine, and then it stopped." Got in and turned the key. Dreaded silence. "Have you got a jack and a knockoff hammer?"
"Yes", he had. I jacked up the right rear, took off the wire wheel, and gave the SU fuel pump a whack with the knockoff hammer. "Ticka....ticka....ticka....". Problem solved.

We continued south, playing leapfrog with the GT-40. We'd be cruising at about 80 and they'd give a little honk and a wave as they blew our doors off.....then at the next rest area, there they'd be, out of the car, parked with the doors open. We'd give a toodle on the horn and a wave......and a few minutes later, Zoooooom, there they'd go again.

We finally got to Sebring at about 9 in the evening and drove out to Highland Hammock State Park where we had camping reservations.

A large contingent of flaggers from New York and New England Regions of the SCCA usually went down to Sebring every year to work the race, and we all made reservations for the same area at the campground.

We entered the park, past the large "No Alcoholic Beverages Allowed" sign, and checked at the Park Ranger's Office. "Are you part of that group down from the Northeast?" I said we were. "Well, when you get over there, please tell those guys to keep the noise down....or we'll have to go over there and confiscate all the cheap wine they don't have."

As we pulled in, the annual "Great Armadillo Hunt" was underway. Since Duncan and I were sober, we were unanimously selected as scorekeepers. The game usually took place as the sun was going down, and the contestant's blood alchol level was going up.

Now for you who don't know what an armadillo is.....it's a small four legged critter with an armored hide (sort of like a miniature Sherman Tank) that, when frightened, rolls up tightly into a ball.

The rules were thus: with a piece of chalk, mark out a bunch of squares on the top of a picnic table, and put a contestant's name in each square. Each contestant would then take a flashlight and go hunting their prey. When they found one, they'd rush back to the table and place the armadillo in their square and go search for another one. Of course, after a couple of minutes, the armadillo would poke his head out, see he was safe, uncoil, hop off the table, and trundle off into the night. When the tipsy contestant returned with another capture, he'd see his square empty and accuse all and sundry of having stolen his armadillo.

The night air was rent with song...."Praise the Lord, and pass the armadillo"...and saying..."An armadillo a day, keeps the doctor away!" Eventually, with enthusiasm and energy spent, the contestants would stumble off to their respective tents and pass out.

The next morning we went over to the course, registered, and were assigned our corners. We worked the three days of practice and the 12 hour race.

To tell you the truth, I don't remember that much about the race.....and the trip back to Connecticut was (relatively) uneventful.....but I'll never forget that trip down.

After all, getting there is half the fun....isn't it?

07-02-2003, 05:00 AM
Brilliant.....I love stories like that.

Cheers graemlins/savewave.gif graemlins/england.gif graemlins/savewave.gif

07-02-2003, 12:25 PM
Thanks BeeJay.

I made many trips down to Sebring......almost all of them uneventful, but this particular trip, something happened almost every day.

We had in our group, a young couple, Dave & Linda who drove down from Massachusetts in their Corvair convertable. Linda was familiar with the area because her parents lived just a bit north of Sebring. She said she knew of a nice restaurant where the food was good and the prices reasonable....so after the day's practice on the course, we formed a convoy for the restaurant with Dave & Linda leading.

The road was a 4 lane divided "city-type" highway with outside guardrails and a large drainage ditch on the south side. As we were coming into Sebring, all of a sudden, Dave slammed on his brakes......they both got out of the car and Dave said "Linda thinks she saw a car in the drainage ditch!" Well......we ran back, and sure enough, there was a car on it's left side in about two feet of water. There were two young ladies inside, and the passenger was holding the driver's head out of the water. We got a tire iron and busted out the back window and one of our smaller flaggers crawled in and held the driver's head while we dispatched one of our cars to go phone for help (no cell phones back then).

Shortly, the police and Fire Rescue arrived and took over. The ladies were pretty shaken, but not really badly hurt.

Funny thing.....when we went back and looked where the car went over, there were no skid marks or tire marks of any kind, and no marks whatsoever on the guard rail. How that car got over that guard rail, we'll never know. And if Linda hadn't just been looking to the right at that particular time.......

By now, Duncan & I thought that we'd had our fill of adventure...but....the next evening a bunch of us were invited to a barbecue at Linda's parents' house, about 20 miles north of Sebring, near a town called Frostfree. With Dave & Linda leading, we took a narrow two lane backroad there. The barbecue and hospitality was excellent, and we all left to go back to the campground at about 10PM.

About halfway back, we ran into the strangest fog I've ever seen. It was a very dense ground fog that ended about 3 feet high....right up to the base of the windshield. Above it, it was just as clear as can be. The stars were out, you could see the upper parts of trees, but if you were standing on the road, you literally couldn't see your feet. We were afraid to continue because on either side of the this narrow road were 4 to 6 foot deep drainage ditches....and we couldn't see them, or the road. After about a half and hour a truck came along at about 10 miles an hour. They asked where we were going and we told them "Sebring". They told us to follow them, so we did......well back. How they knew where the road was, I'll never know. After about 5 miles, the fog disappeared as suddenly as it had appeared. Spooky.....like something out of the Twilight Zone.

The next day was the last day of practice, so there was a night practice session. We all joked that everything would be OK because we'd been given box suppers and wouldn't be following Dave & Linda anywhere for the evening meal. images/icons/tongue.gif

[ 07-02-2003: Message edited by: Xracer ]</p>

07-03-2003, 03:06 AM
It's not quite a Mini story...

But one guy here in Ontario has racked up 283,000 total miles on a Triumph TR3A

- three years back he racked up 16,000 miles during an organized Cross-Canada classic car tour, he was one of two or three import cars with all the other cars being American ones

- two years ago he drove it to the Maritimes for a vacation and to take in the Prince Edward Island British car show (not sure of exact mileage, but enough still)

And last spring one couple I know drove their 1966 Morgan across from southern Ontario to Victoria, BC for a wedding (I would guess close to 6,000 or 7,000 miles total trip), and they even got some snow on it in Manitoba during the trip (terrible!), actually they are one of many Morgan owners around here in Ontario who drive their cars quite abit and don't believe in pampering the cars too much