Tuna. Racing. Coffee.

The weekend has come and gone once again. There just are not enough hours in the day, are there?

It was certainly another weekend for the books. Friday night was a last minute event for me. I joined 30 other MINIs at MINI of Peabody to rally down to Cape Ann for the for the annual Bluefin Blowout Tuna Tournament. Being that Saturday and Sunday consisted of so much car stuff, the even slipped my mind. Luckily, I was reminded and was sure glad I was. 20180803_1854511741285558927070456.jpg20180803_1907543195410691772193948.jpg20180803_1859168513643359646186068.jpg20180803_1902336773764247412153313.jpg20180803_1907487487127578392591686.jpg

Here are just a few phots from the rally prior to the actual event. My phone died while I was there so I was not able to get a photo of 610lb+ tuna that came in at the end… Luckily though, David did!

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Holy damn! That thing was huge! Very impressive, and the very last catch of the night. Friday was fun, and a long day. But Saturday proved to be longer…

Saturday August 4, 5:00AM

My alarm went off and startled me awake it was so early. Heart racing after a mini heart attack, I hit snooze and rolled over. The sun was barely peaking over the trees out my window.. It was race day though! I had been looking forward to this day for a couple weeks now. I was invited by one of my friends to come and volunteer at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, NH with NER SCCA (New England Region Sports Car Club of America). It was quite the interesting experience.

Being the first time I had ever done something like this, I was pretty much just observing. Morning consisted of checking in, getting a wristband and then I headed over to the Chief’s meeting with my friend Charlie. Although I obviously was not a chief (yet) I was glad to listen to get a feel for what the day was going to look like.

Now, I could not explain all of the classes and types of cars that were there on Saturday. I couldn’t keep everything straight in my head as it was… A lot of Miatas, one MINI, open V cars and many more. The races started at 8:20 and went all the way until 4:40. The first half of the day consisted of me observing down in Pit Lane. Basically, that consisted of making sure cars were not coming in and out where they were not supposed to, and directing them back to the garage when their time or race was up. It rained most of the first half of the day, which was less than ideal..

Around noon, everyone headed inside for lunch, which was the only portion of the day where it did NOT rain. Go figure…

The second half of my day consisted of  of being on Grid. That was more interesting for sure. Grid consisted of a super crazy bunch of older ladies. All super nice with very big personalities. I liked them a lot. Down in Grid, they are responsible for lining up the cars according to their previous race times if its the second one. There are sheets with every racers number, time, class, model, name, and position. Their car number and position is really all that needs to be looked at in Grid. From there, it’s pretty easy. Match the car number with position number. Countdown the clock and then let them go!

I enjoyed myself down in Grid because you get to get up and close and personal with the race cars. Grid also consists of making sure all of their safety equipment of checked and properly set up, they are secure and ready to go! Here are two photos from one of the races.

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I was not tired enough last night to forget my GoPro though! I captured video of almost every race of the cars leaving the grid. Check it out on youtube below!

I know what you much be thinking, getting up close in race cars was the best part. WRONG. The best part of the day was definitely being able to ride in the pace car!

That damn little Toyota was fast. Had to be to keep up with the racers! Riding around the track was so much fun, I did it a second time! After the pace car rides ended, I went back to grid to finish out my day.

I obviously should not have stayed out past midnight the night before having to get up so early the next day, because I fell asleep on my jacket on a picnic bench. I was a little embarrassed, but I got over it. There are worse things that can happen. I could’ve lost my shoe! Ha!

Anyways, after the day was over, there was a feast! salad, pasta salad, egg salad, chips and salsa and pulled pork (my favorite!). I hung around for a little while longer, making connections and what not. Then it was time to head home. I thought I would go right to bed, but I did not. I guess that 20 minute nap on the picnic table did the trick…

Sunday August 5, 5:30am

Another early morning! Time for Seacoast Cars and Coffee. This event was one of the very first cars and coffee events that I went to almost 4 years ago. To be honest, I did not have a lot of fun and wanted to leave… Now, I work for them and could not be happier.

I met up with Carson at his shop down the street from my house. We drove to Epping to pick up one other MINI to meet with us. From there, we drove in to Newington through some great twisty backroads. The Tutto Italiano show at Larz Anderson was happening the same day, so the show was a little quieter, but still as busy as ever! I’d say 1000+ cars rolled in and out of the show for three hours. It was hot, but the show was cool. I look forward to these every summer. I took a few photos, but not many, as I did not get a chance to walk around much.20180805_0853484524676788870237815.jpg20180805_0850148069699258979263850.jpg20180805_0852481933692376955547523.jpg20180805_0849027465293029534669210.jpg20180805_0846553885495775693836915.jpg20180805_0834519068544103597529491.jpg

After the show, Carson, Brad, Dave and myself all went to The Friendly Toast in downtown Portsmouth. If you live in the area and have not been, I HIGHLY recommend. I went there for the first time earlier this year and can’t get enough. From there we cruised around 1a again. Two new traditions after Seacoast.

The weekend is over once again, but more great memories were made. I made it through another crazy busy one! Until next time my friends.

Motor on.

 

First Bite Of The Big Apple

What’s up everyone! The time is 12:11AM, Monday April 16th. This past weekend marked my first trip to New York and boy what a trip it was!!

Friday I met up with some other MINI friends and we drove down together. Lots of highway driving and pit stops along the way made for a very long night. We left around 6:30, and arrived at the Wellington in Manhattan at around 11PM. Here we are arriving. courtesy of Tom!

We quickly checked in, grabbed out room keys and hit the streets.

Here are the first few photos I took of the city. It doesn’t look like much but it was something to see. I’ve never been to a big city outside of Massachusetts or New Hampshire, so this was truly spectacular.

Colbert Show!! We headed down to Times Square, the view was incredible. Talk about sensory overload. I had a hard time taking it all in. There was so much to see, so much going on, it was amazing. We walked through. The weather that night was gorgeous, and I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.

It was late, so we stopped in to the Hard Rock Cafe, had some snacks, a nice cold drink and then hit the streets again. We walked around and doubled back to the hotel but not before stopping for 99¢ pizza at a hole in the wall. I did not have any Friday night… Saturday was a different story. We got back to the hotel around 2AM and went to bed. I couldn’t wait to get up Saturday morning…

Saturday, April 14, 8:30AM.

Sleeping was a struggle after getting back so late and taking in all the energy of Times Square, but waking up the next day was not a problem at all. I was up bright and early and ready to go. SOME people though took a little longer… Oh well, all good. We stopped for breakfast at a place I cannot remember the name, it was tasty though. And off we went. Priorities first… NINTENDO STORE!!!

I

felt like a kid. The one and only Nintendo store in US was everything that I thought it would be. Expectations met. Aside from the kids running around, the store was awesome. All the lastest games, older games, original systems, new systems, and a whole display case of all the amiibo, EVER.

 

I bought a generic red Nintendo Store tank too, and I was satisfied. Next stop, LEGO STORE!!!!

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ne of two Lego stores that we saw in our travels, but the only one that we went in to. As I write this, I may venture there tomorrow (Monday) before heading home to get the sets that I was eyeing but didn’t feel like carrying around. From there we took an Uber over to the High Line, where we got some gorgeous shots and a gorgeous view of the city.

There was a lot of construction going on everywhere, but it was still awesome. We walked that for a little bit before hopping off. From there we went to the Lomography Store.

Since I bought my Diana F+ camera, I was in need of a flash for it. It just so happened that there was a sale going on this entire week (what luck!) So I didn’t hesitate to spoil myself. Next up was Forbidden Planet, a comic store.

There was a Pusheen in there, but I reframed from buying it because, again, I didn’t feel like carrying it around all day…

By this point we were all pretty beat and just wanted a place to relax. So we headed to Arts & Craft Beer Parlor. I don’t drink beer, but a nice cold soda was just what I needed. The weather was gorgeous, but it was really warm with all the walking. A quest for sure glasses was also proving to be difficult, but we eventually found some. The Beer Parlor was the last stop before heading back towards the hotel. From there, it was nap time before Bar Bacon with the crew!

Before you ask, yes, it is exactly what you think it is. Bar. Bacon. And everything in between. Pretty much everything on the menu was bacon themed or related in some way.

A plate of bacon, drinks, and a quaint looking front. I will definitely go back here again when I come back to New York. Still the city called me, so we headed back towards Times Square. Test guys all wanted(needed) to watch the Bruins game, so we stopped in a pub for another drink and to watch the game for a bit. Most of the group split after that, but the Friday crew held on strong and we walked over to Times Square for a bit.

It was almost midnight and it was time for 99¢ Pizza!! I got a slice that night, I had to. And for 99¢ it was some damn good pizza. I was very intoxicated at that point, so the pizza was downright delicious. Ha! One of the crew came arrived late Saturday, so we stopped for Cheesecake. I did not indulge in any cheesecake seeing as it was almost 1AM, but it did look good. The walk back to the hotel was short, and it was time for two hours of sleep before waking up for the rally on Sunday.

Sunday April 15, 4:30AM.

UGHHH. Was all I had to say, and a few other choice words when my alarm went off the next morning. Shower. Hair. Clothes. Out the door. No makeuo this early. My roomie was still sleeping away by the time I was finished… Ha!

We met everyone down in the lobby of the Wellington and off to get our cars we went. One by one, the valet pulled them up out of the garage and lined them up. LuLu and I got the lead the group for a little bit before someone else took over. We arrived at Grant’s Tomb a little bit before 6AM. The air was brisk to say the least. It was cold. It was dark. And I was tired. Oh well. It was rally time. I set up my GoPro and off we went through the streets of New York. TWO classic MINIs also joined in on the ride from New York. It was incredible.

Just look at their cute little butts!

LuLu’s butt is still the cutest though… Photo courtesy of fellow MINIACs!

I have to say though rallying around the streets of New York at 6:30 in the morning was an awesome adventure. Talking about it, does not do it justice. So I have prepared this video from the rally. Enjoy!

The fun didn’t stop there though. Around 9AM, we all stopped and had breakfast at Opry City Stage. The food was alright, I do not recommend though.. but onward!! The weekend still didn’t stop there. Myself and a couple others headed over to Museum of Modern Art. Much different from the museum’s I’ve been too around NH and MA. I thoroughly enjoyed it though. It was awesome.

This particular one (above) was my favorite.

After MOMA we headed over to Junior’s Restaurant & Cheesecake for lunch. A huge Chicken Salad BLT filled me up. Also, it’s not a bad thing to have a Moscow Mule at 2 in the afternoon right? As they say, it’s five o’clock somewhere. After that we jumped in an Uber and headed back to where we had parked out cars after the rally. As we said our goodbyes to the last MINI member who stuck it out, I was still not ready to leave. Luckily, my good friend Dave and his son were kind enough to let me stay with them for a night so that I could experience New York for one more day. We headed back to the hotel, and at this point, it was time for a nap…

Fast forward a few hours, and I was ready to go again. I fixed myself up and headed downstairs to meet up with them. We decided to take a visit to Madame Tussauds wax museum. I have to admit, it was really strange at first. I could not get over how accurate they looked. It was scary, but also really cool. here are a few photos. 20180415_1914201799150071.jpg

Madame Tussauds herself20180415_1907261217468383.jpg

Marilyn Monroe, her famous dress thing was an accurate representation of what my Friday night was like as I decided it would be a great idea to walk over a bunch of grates in the dress I was wearing. 20180415_1916532025897009.jpg

Emilia Airheart!20180415_191114485972402.jpg

WOOPIE!20180415_191729978966024.jpg

The Kennedys20180415_1917391285213330.jpg

Pope Francis20180415_193533776932119.jpg

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And Ed Sheeran

The day was almost done, and it was time for one more Moscow Mule before bed.20180415_2053341985313655.jpg

BUT, the fun didn’t stop there. We decided to head over to Dave and Buster’s that was right next door for a little bit, before heading back to the room. I had to g out again though and stop for some clothes as I stayed for another day.

Monday, April 16th, 7:30AM

No.. I want to go back to sleep. Monday mornings weather was MISERABLE. It was pouring rain and cold. I did not want to get out of bed. I decided to watch some Good Morning America. Do you know how weird it is to watch show that is going on live a five minute walk down the road? Wicked. When I finally decided to get up and out of bed I headed to Sephora to get me some makeup seeing as I somehow lost my eyeliner (and then promptly found it as soon as I got home…). After that it was off to B&H Photo Video Pro Audio. The store was incredible. Every piece of photo, video, audio, surveillance, digital drawing, you name it. It was in there. It took everything I had in me not to buy everything I saw. I settled on a nice pair of headphone though… The rain was still miserable, and as I walked to get some Starbucks to wake myself up, I decided it would be a great idea to step in a lake on my way there. Shoes soaked, spirit sad. I waited for my shoes to dry a little and then headed back to the hotel. I changed and tried to blow dry my shoes. I still had not seen everything I wanted to, but the weather was killing me.

I waited for a about an hour or so, and to my surprise the rain started to let up, and the sun came out. I was thrilled! My shoes were pretty much dry and I went to leave. As I opened up the door, Dave and Luke alms gave me a heart attack as I was not expecting to see them there. We talked for a few minutes, and they were soaked too from their endeavors. I headed over to Fifth Avenue so that they could clean up.

Tiffany and Co. As beautiful as any store I’ve ever laid eyes on. I did not take any pictures in there as I just in awe of how beautiful the store was. Everything was my color. That Tiffany Blue is iconic, and I love it. I spoiled myself. And unlike in B&H, I could not contain myself and bought a pendant and a small wallet. My salesman was quite the charismatic guy. William, from Brazil, was making small talk. Asking where I was from, and what brought me to New York. Naturally, I started talking about the MINI club, and the fact that the car charm they had looked just like my classic. So obviously I had to take out my phone and show him some pictures of my babies, and from the rally the previous morning. He thought it was awesome. Turns out William also likes cars and has a Ducati himself. I told him I liked the car charm, but was hesitant as it was not quite a MINI. He gave me his card and told me that if there was ever anything MINI related that he would give me call, as he would definitely remember me. Okay, William. You probably sweet talk all the ladies who come in to the store. But can I pack you in suitcase?

After that adventure I walked around Rockefeller Center some more. It had turned in to an absolutely gorgeous day after the horrific rain that morning. I then met up with Dave and Luke at Bryant Park. Another gorgeous spot. ON the walk there I passsed by Radio City Music Hall.20180416_1459321391325232.jpg20180416_1508491485368324.jpg20180416_152527146270602.jpg

It was later in the afternoon, and we headed to the Empire State Building. All I could think of was the movie Elf when we walked in. 20180416_1709041809080562.jpg

The views from the 86th and 102nd floor was incredible. Truly breathtaking to see the whole city form that high up. 20180416_1643061237686512.jpg20180416_164528172691762.jpg20180416_165108643075199.jpg

After that we headed out to eat, and then sadly back over to the hotel. Dreading this moment since I left for the city on Friday, it was time to go home. I think about moments in time, and how horrible it is to wait for something fun to happen. But don’t ever wish the time away, is what my mom always tells me. Because before you know it, it’s there and it’s gone again. I gathered my car from the valet, who was taking a peak at my puddle lights as he got out. Everyone loves LuLu. 20180416_2007302142283905.jpg

As I drove out of the city, and away from the millions of lights that make it what it was, I thought about the weekend that I had, and the experiences that I no doubt would never forget. My first trip to New York was such a success. I had an array of mixed emotions. I did NOT want to leave that city. It was everything that I thought it would be, and then some. Good to visit. But I don’t think I would ever live there. I like my little pond out in the middle of nowhere. The weekend was filled with great friends, cars, experiences and food. I will definitely be back to visit you again.

Until next time…

 

Easter Sunset

Hello everyone! I hope you all had a great Easter weekend. I’ll keep this post short. I had a chance for a little me time this weekend, which was a nice change. I spent some time at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston on Saturday to view the Takashi Murakami: Lineage of Eccentrics exhibit again before it was gone. The colors and creativeness of the exhibit was simply awesome. I got to view it at one of MFA’s Late Nights in early March with a good friend of mine, and I loved it so much I had to see it one more time. Here are a few of my favorites. 20180331_14550820180331_14561520180331_145903

Now on to the car stuff… On Sunday, some MINI friends and I got together again for a Sunset Rally around Cape Ann, ending in Marblehead, Massachusetts. It was a gorgeous day, but definitely could’ve done without the wind…20180401_17535720180401_17532220180401_193513

It’s always fun to rally around with friends. The weather is getting nicer and I can’t wait to for the rest of rally season. Below is a video from today’s rally, enjoy!