DAY 1 (Thursday, September 18):

Most of us met at Comerica Park in downtown Detroit. A few arrived before we did and were waiting on the street leading up to the ballpark. There were signs that said “15 minute parking”, so we needed to find another place to gather which would allow us at least an hour. We had thought about this earlier and figured that Cheli’s Chili Bar would be a good parking lot to sit for a while. Luckily the gate on the parking lot was open. According to one of our members (Larry - Zmini), there was a security guard that asked if we had made reservations to park there. I believe that Larry had played dumb, because the security guard left us alone. Note to self: ask permission. However, I don’t always have good luck with that, so I subscribe to the notion of it being easier to ask forgiveness than permission. Anyway, it worked this time…and another time later in the trip…

At Cheli’s, we had 13 MINIs with us, we were to meet the other two in Windsor and Niagara Falls. While we were there, the MAW ladies came to take some pictures and to give us all our “wish wands”. Supposedly our event will be posted on their website.

As we drove off, we were able to do a photo op in front of the Tiger at Comerica Park. Phil (Xanda) was on hand to take pictures of each MINI and its occupants. Some went on to Duty-Free and others missed it totally (because of bad instructions given by “yours truly”), and just crossed the border by way of the Detroit/Windsor Tunnel.

Once across, we all met up again at Dieppe Park, which has a nice backdrop of downtown Detroit. This is where Don (Big Daddy) took over the reigns. He led us up the 401 until we got to Port Stanley, where we stopped for a buffet lunch at the Roxy Diner, and then taking the more scenic roads all the way to Niagara Falls.

While most of the party continued on to the Niagara Parkway to see the Falls, Jerome & I, Garth & April and Tori & Rachel headed to the hotel. I quickly ran down what was supposed to happen the next day at the rally; Hooters, MiniMart, Aero Car, Thompson Point, Floral Clock, Botanical Gardens, Pillitteri Winery, Simcoe Park, Wayside Chapel, Brocks Monument and then the final destination of Caroline Cellars. We then took them to their destinations to show them where they would be located. Everyone seemed pretty psyched, so that was good. We stopped at Pillitteri to drop off the cups and to purchase some bottles of wine for them to fill the cups with, but they told us that they have no problem supplying the wine to taste – that’s what they do. So, we bought some Ice Wine for ourselves – YUM!

We drove all the way to Niagara-on-the-Lake and stopped at Simcoe Park to make sure it all looked good and was not under construction since the last time we were there (May 24). We showed our group the gazebo at the end of the street that has a beautiful view of Toronto, then drove back to the hotel.

Jerome and I still needed to drop off clues and things at the MiniMart and Hooters, and afterward we met some of the group at TGIFriday’s. After dinner, we headed out to a grocery store to pick up eggs, whipped cream and some snacks for the final destination.
Then to bed.


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