Playing with MINIs on the Dragon

We had some fun recently, for a needed and restful change, playing with our MINI friends. It was time again for MINIs on the Dragon, an annual event gathering MINI owners from all over the US and Canada. Although we are still in the window where My Sweet Babboo shouldn’t drive or go for long rides in a car, we could still go and participate in the other activities like dinners with friends, bingo night, photo ops and short runs to a nearby town for lunch. We were determined to have some fun! We stopped by the gathering point for a drive just to walk around and chat, then watch them as they queued up to leave.

We decided to run over to Bryson City for lunch, about 30 minutes away. Driving over, we enjoyed all the shades of green in the new spring leaves. I was doing all the driving this trip, so we pulled off on an overlook to get a photo.

We went to Bryson City a couple of times during the days we were there. On our last trip over for breakfast, the elk were visiting, wandering around town and munching on the shrubs.

We thought about seeing the railroad museum, but ended up just doing the courthouse one which had a history of the area. They had a very nice display of quilting history.

From here, it was only a six mile drive to the Road to Nowhere. We thought we’d see what that was. I have to say it was awful, the road was so full of potholes it was difficult to drive around. Some seemed big enough to swallow a MINI. At the end was a graffiti filled tunnel with no markers or anything educational. Apparently the road was begun to allow people access to a cemetery that was cut off when a lake was created. But the road was never finished. It looks nice enough from here, but it was really horribly defaced with paint and profanity. Sad.

One thing that was delightful, all along the path to the tunnel were butterflies, dozens of them! These are Red Spotted Purples. There were also Eastern Tiger Swallowtails, the big yellow ones.

Another day we drove over to Robbinsville, also about a half hour away, for breakfast. Twisty curves on tree lines roads made for a beautiful drive.

On the way, we had to stop and get a photo of this old barn and its quilt block. It was sitting in a huge meadow with forest behind it.

Back to the village, MINIs were gathering for evening fun. We had two dinners and a Dragon Bingo night over the week we were there.

Of course, everything is Dragon themed. On the stage, two enormous, blow up animated dragons kept watch with their wings moving back and forth.

We settled in for a fun night of Dragon Bingo. An adult libation and laughter with friends made an enjoyable evening. We had 15 rounds of cards to play, with four games on a card. I got close a few times.

Then, the big thrill of the evening, My Sweet Babboo was a winner of one game! The awesome prize was a little action camera (Dragon brand, of course) PLUS a Kindle Fire. Wow!!

Another day on our own, we went for a short drive to get to a trailhead, and took a walk in the woods.

You know I am going to stop and take lots of photos of things we see on the way. Another Red Spotted Purple butterfly was making himself at home on a pretty white flower.

Looking up, the majesty of the 100-foot tall trees was breathtaking.

On the last day, we got to the field for the panoramic photo early. We wanted to be on the front row, LOL! This is our red MINI on the end.

There were 116 MINIs registered for the photo. So the organizers planned three rows. But, as you can see on the left, they kept coming. There were 378 MINIs registered for the week, and over 150 showed up for the photo.

So more rows had to be quickly laid out. It ended up having five rows! It took almost 2 hours to get everyone parked as the cars needed to be in precise positions, all on their marks, with the same amount of space between each one.

The panoramic photos were taken by photographer Killboy.com with drones from high overhead. You’ll notice some cars appear to have white squares on their tops, most are a white top with a sunroof. First an overhead drone shot of all the cars as parked was taken.

Then several shots lower to the ground were composited for the panoramic view that makes it appear we were all in straight rows. Participants were standing next to their cars for this one. We are second from the right – the red car on the front row. Cool, isn’t it? The actual panoramic photo would print out at about 36 inches wide.

We had one more day of enjoying the scenery, and then the final farewell dinner. This year the cupcakes spelled out MOTD, for MINIs On The Dragon. I wish the black ones had been chocolate instead of heavy black food coloring. The announcements this evening included the totals for our fundraising efforts. Part of this multi-day event benefits two charities in Graham County – the food bank and breast cancer support – and this year the event raised over $16,000 for them.

One final stop at an overlook for a lovely lake and mountain view before heading home.

Now my attention will turn to the final publicity events for the Garden of Quilts show, more car club outings, and organizing a June picnic for another car club. What are you doing for fun now that spring is here?

28 thoughts on “Playing with MINIs on the Dragon

  1. Mary Stori

    Wow…..exciting post…..photos stunning…..all of them. And Yeah for your husband, scoring a new Kindle….I couldn’t live w/o mine and I got one sort of kicking and screaming that I preferred the physical feel of holding a book. That hesitation lasted a week…now I’m totally sold on the convenience of a Kindle.

  2. K

    Carole,
    Thank you.
    Your descriptive writing makes me feel like I am right there with you. I’m glad your husband is recuperating and that you both enjoyed an adventure. Thank you for sharing!

    Best,

    K

  3. Marilyn

    I always enjoy your writings, especially the ones about your Mini drives with your club. So wonderful to have a group like that to be a part of. I also enjoy your photos very much. Thank you for sharing with us who are unable to do such things anymore. It is a delight to see such comradery and photos of nature.

  4. You guys made the best of the time you had it sounds like. I know those wanderings through the woods are good for your spirit. I love seeing the butterflies. Those photos of the cars all artfully arranged are very cool too. Congrats on winning the kindle and the little action camera. Hubby got me one for Christmas and the first thing I did was order an accessory pack so I had a “floating handle”. I took it with me in January and used it for snorkeling. I used it just once on our lake trip when photographing the lake etc. Guess I better download those photos! HUGs. Great post

  5. karenfae

    that is a lot of mini’s! my granddaughter has one – didn’t know you had elk in NC – were they brought in to try to get them going in your state like Arkansas did some years ago?

  6. Judy

    That sounds like a lot of fun! It’s so good to get outside this time of year in WNC, isn’t it? The photos of the Minis are wonderful!

  7. What a fun event! Loved all your photos and the beautiful sights. The overhead shot of all the minis is amazing! We’re packing up to head to Boston for a reunion of Mike’s Navy group -looking forward to it! Hope your DH is feeling better all the time!

  8. kayakingquilter

    I love your mini club events. The scenery and animals. The elk with his new growth antlers. The butterflies including names. And the scenery. The pictures of the cars, especially from the drone, was a wonderful keepsake for you. Better than last year at this time. The fundraising total was much appreciated by the charities, I am sure.
    Supposed to be in the 70s this week, maybe 80 by Friday. Has been a cold and rainy spring in the Northeast. Ready to put some hardy flowers in the ground today and tomatoes and peppers next week. Critters ate the pea shoots so I have to replant. And Fox the garden gate.

  9. Cathy Walker

    That is quite a turn out! Car Clubs bring the best people. We were lucky to participate in the 356 Registry event there a few years ago. Our group lined up on the dam over the lake and a drone took photos and a video. Perfect location. Glad you got to attend.

  10. Joan Sheppard

    Gobsmacked! Such beautiful scenery, and the butterflies are so lovely. Even with my butterfly garden we don’t seem to attract many. Elk in the parking lot – now that’s one for the books! And so many Minis!!!!!! I’m enjoying your outing from my chair! Thanks

  11. Julie

    What pretty spring green. We’re finally seeing some trees & bushes leafing out, redbuds & crab apples are blooming, the magnolias are over. It’s always fun to take a vicarious trip with you & you even found a quilt exhibit. Your husband must have enjoyed getting out & visiting with friends. Forest bathing does a body good.

  12. MOTD looks like a super fun event. I’m delighted that you guys were able to go and enjoy, even if you weren’t able to do the longer road run events. Scenery is stunning and I’m impressed with those super large butterflies.

  13. Sue H

    What a wonderful time you all had. Friendship, activities, good clean fun. Loved the beautiful scenery you shared and the pictures of all those minis lined up was amazing! Glad you had a wonderful time and I hope your winning Sweet Babboo is feeling better each & every day.

  14. lynrose53

    What a lovely little trip and a great event to participate in!   Your pictures of the spring greens in all the trees are beautiful.   Here in the PNW our spring greens are also in full display, but they are always in a backdrop of evergreens- mostly huge Douglas fir, but also cedar and hemlock.   The contrast between the evergreens and the deciduous trees leafing out in spring green is wonderful…but heavier than the beautiful light that comes through the trees you photographed.    I have never been to North Carolina, but it is certainly a gorgeous place judging from your pictures.Take care, Lynda Duncan from Graham, WA

  15. Denise Wenzlaff

    Was the lake the fontana? We did almost the same beautiful trip in 2013. Brot back such nice memories. The train museum had such nice puzzles and nice trip on board.

  16. This looks like just the best time! I’m so glad that you could get out and enjoy what you could, even if you couldn’t do the whole shebang! It looks like all you did was terrific and I’m not sure how you could have added more to your time. How wonderful — didn’t it feel good?

  17. Kathie

    Thank you so much for sharing your adventures. I have enjoyed them so much. You show me places I never heard of, here in our own country. Your pictures are so beautiful.
    Thank you for making me feel happy reading your blog.

  18. Thanks for sharing all those lovely photos. I especially enjoyed seeing all the fresh green leaves. I don’t believe in magic but there is something magical about sunlight streaming through leaves in early Spring 🙂 The drone photos of the Mini cars were well worth all the time and careful parking.

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