The cross-country road trip has become an iconic American tradition, memorialized in literature and film, and, of course, kept alive by daring travelers. Since 2006, MINI enthusiasts have paid homage to the road trip by participating in MINI TAKES THE STATES, a 15-day cross-country trek.
This year, MTTS began in San Francisco on July 26 and ended in Boston on August 10. The journey was completed by MINIs of all kinds--from rainbow-painted to pirate-themed--and by drivers from all over the world.
Among the diverse attendees was David Lata, an NYC-based MINI owner who led #4guys1MINI, a team composed of four gay men.
"My fiance, Allan, and I planned the trip, and I asked our roommates Samson and Rick, who are also a couple, to join us in this adventure," said Lata. "We became 'MINI famous' for two weeks. We had people coming up to us asking for photos, wanting to hear about our story. It was hard being in a two-door with four different personalities. But we all worked through any issues that arose, and we are stronger friends for it."
Other notable participants included skate legend Tony Hawk, who kicked off the event by (drumroll, please) jumping over MINIs, and Alex Coyle, whose original MINI blacklight design won the Final Test Test Drive contest back in the spring. There was also the adventurous Torre Sauter, a devoted fan from Germany who had ridden through Russia and Asia, and then shipped his MINI overseas in an attempt to drive around the world! MINI owners have proved to be quite the determined bunch.
In the cities visited along the way, there were many MTTS surprises. Right off the bat, a couple found love on the road and married in Reno! Then, between Reno and Wendover, contestants threw their shoes on a tree to leave behind a rather literal footprint; next, between Wendover and Grand Junction, the Mystery Machine from Scooby Doo was parked in front of Papa Joe's Stop and Go. Fortunately, Papa Joe handed out cool drinks and not Scooby Snacks. On the rest of the route, riders received free museum entrance, food, and most importantly clean laundry.
Throughout the 15-day trip, MTTS partnered with the charity Best Friends Animal Society, an organization that keeps homeless animals away from shelters and helps them find new homes. Adoption events took place at various MINI dealerships on the road and donations were accepted. But there were also animals onboard! Over 150 pets co-piloted the adventure with owners.
"Big thanks to everyone involved," said David Duncan, Vice President of MINI of the Americas. "I encourage all MINI lovers around the globe to come out and join in the celebration."
Though MTTS only takes place every even year, it successfully revitalizes the strong sense of community and comraderie between MINI owners. The epic road trip lets drivers rediscover what it feels like to blast the radio, stretch their hand out the window, and breathe in the air as they move from state to state.