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?