Wednesday, November 08, 2006

My First MINI Adventure

On Tuesday, I took a trip to Century MINI in Greenville, SC. It is one of the closest MINI dealerships to my home, and I decided to visit the dealer to meet the motoring advisors and talk to them about my interest in getting a MINI in early 2008. Just a little more than one year left before I get my MINI!!

The day was dreary with overcast skies and light to heavy rain throughout the day. The drive to Greenville was nice in spite of the rain as we wandered through the small towns of South Carolina along Highway 25. I have a choice between Century MINI and one of the dealerships in Atlanta, and the nice, leisurely drive to Greenville solidified my choice. A scenic drive through back country roads better exemplifies the spirit of motoring than a straight drive down an interstate at 70 miles per hour.

Century had quite a few MINIs on the lot. They had received their final allocation of 2006 cars while the factory in Oxford began the conversion to produce the R56 MINIs. There was a substantial selection of both convertibles and coupes. Although it was raining pretty heavily while we were at the dealership, my 2 year old son and I were able to enjoy walking around under the umbrella looking at all the different MINIs pointing out the different colors.

After the visit at Century MINI, we headed west on Highway 76 towards Dillard, Georgia. My wife and son were going to take a nap while I drove the 90 minute trip. Shortly before the SC/GA border, I was greeted with a nice curvey patch of road with changing elevation, surrounded by golden autumn trees in the foothills of the Smokey Mountains. I imagined what it would be like tossing a MINI through the corners. Of course, the Chrysler Town & Country minivan I was driving prevented me from fully enjoying the road, but I did my best to push the minivan and enjoy the drive.

When we reached Dillard, GA, we stopped at the Dillard House to partake some of the best Southern cooking in the world. My wife and I have eaten there several times, and it seemed like a great way to fill out our day trip to Greenville. For those who haven't been there, what's on the menu is what's brought to the table, similar to eating a meal at home. If you run out of something and you want more, all you have to do is ask. The highlight as always is Country Ham. Of course, my other favorite is fried chicken. Other items on the menu were barbeque chicken, country fried steak, green beans (my wife claims were the best ever), mashed potatoes, fried okra, a pumpkin casserole, stuffed peppers, creamed corn, and others I can't remember. You will definitely be given more food than you can eat. Desert was an ubelievably delicious apple brown betty.

After gourging at the Dillard House, we headed back out into the rain to travel home. Usually when I travel to Dillard, I come from home, so I easily remember the route back, but since I had come from Greenville, I lost my bearings a little and took a longer path than usual. It also was dark at 5:00, so it was even more difficult to note any familiar landmarks. I managed to get us home safe, but added about 30 or 45 minutes to the travel time back.

Although I don't have a MINI, I consider this my first MINI adventure. Ultimately, we traveled 400 miles to eat lunch. The journey was the point of the day, not the destination. We got lost, but it didn't matter, because we still made it home. Oh yeah, and there were MINIs involved.