I normally start my blog posts with “Hey MINIacs” but now my audience has expand to everyone far and wide, not only MINI drivers!
I’m blogging right now at an adorable cafe in Nova Scotia called “Herring Choker”. I ended up here because the MINI Takes the States event concluded and I wasn’t happy. Maybe one day I’ll blog about why but for now let’s focus on what comes next. I wanted that feeling back that I felt in South Dakota, Montana, and down the Pacific Coast. The feeling of freedom and adventure. I called my Mom in Boston and asked her what to do. She subtly suggested I take the long way home, so here I am!
Where I am now and where I’m going tomorrow!
So I’m all fuelled up (my MINI and myself) and we are going to drive the Cabot Trail!! I am GoPro-ing the whole thing so don’t worry, you won’t miss out!
The Cabot Trail is a 298km (185mile) loop around the top of Cape Breton island in Nova Scotia. Read about it here: http://travel.nationalgeographic.com/travel/road-trips/cape-breton-nova-scotia-road-trip/
I am falling even more behind on catching you up with my blogs, but the ferry ride to Newfoundland will be a great opportunity to do some more writing! Most video editing will have to wait until I’m home and have the power of an iMac rather than a MacBook Air!
Thank you all for your support donating to Driving for Dreams and for your friendship en route!!
The trip is not nearly done, but it’s time to hit the road today! Love you all, xo LILCOOPR
Making this one quick as I am about to hit the road again!!!
I am currently near Dayton, Montana at a MINI friend’s parents’ lake house! It is so serene and beautiful and the perfect spot to recharge after the craziness of the last few days!
This is where I am right now!!! Look how far I’ve come!
I’m headed towards Seattle. Was originally going into Calgary then Banff and across to Kelowna and Vancouver but the schedule was interrupted by my tire problem and I’m actually happy it was. A blessing in disguise.
I’ve had the opportunity to enjoy some incredible national parks: Badlands (South Dakota), Yellowstone (Wyoming/Montana), and yesterday I motored on Going to the Sun Road in Glacier National Park (Montana).
Stopped to enjoy the view of Heaven’s Peak at Glacier National Park (Montana)
STELL4 is breathing beautiful sweet mountain air in Glacier National Park (Montana)
STELL4 and I enjoying ‘magic hour’ in Yellowstone National Park (Wyoming/Montana)
Alright, now it’s time to hit the road. I have 8 hours ahead of me to Seattle!! Check in with you during lunch! Having the best time! Wish I could blog longer and show more photos but I’m enjoying nature instead!
The irony of the name Rapid City is not lost on me! I’ve been delayed here for a day and a half with a flat tire, cell phone issues, and a maxed-out credit card due to mistakes from Tmobile’s billing. So I’ve been stuck in Rapid City, South Dakota and I spent more time there than I planned to! Originally Rapid City wasn’t even going to be an overnight destination. After waiting more than 8 hours and multiple phone calls to AAA, CAA, and TD Gold Travel Club, I was still stranded. I was feeling very discouraged because of the distance I’ve yet to cover and the time clicking away faster than the miles were. I camped out at the McDonalds in Rapid City hoping to get things resolved so I wouldn’t need to spend another night in a local hotel and instead hit the road. I met a cowboy named Johnson and he came over to ask why “such a pretty girl looks so sad”. We started chatting – including an offer to marry him (??) and he made a couple calls. An hour later, his friend who has a tow truck came and jacked my MINI up in the parking lot and added a patch over the rear passenger side tire. I ran over a cat eye in the road and had a bolt about 1.5″ in diameter stuck in my tire. My rim is slightly bent too (could have been previously or from something else) but it was determined I was only leaking air from the bolt hole. I offered to pay for the service but instead they were just happy to see me hit the road again! I took photos and video of the adventure in the McDonald’s parking lot on my iPhone but then restored my iPhone to factory settings to try and fix the no calling/no data issue and didn’t backup the phone first. Since I hadn’t connected to wifi, my camera roll didn’t update and I lost over a dozen photos The memory will always be in my mind and I’m grateful for their assistance! I headed towards Keystone, SD to do a quick tour of Custer State Park, Iron Mountain Road (rock tunnels), and Mount Rushmore. Custer Park is incredible!! As I’ve found with all national and state parks so far (2 and counting!) the roads are some serious blacktop… beautiful paved and barely a crack. Such a treat for my MINI baby after putting her through the stress of Toronto roads. To be honest, it doesn’t feel like I’m driving the same car that I push day to day in rough Toronto city gridlock. The fact that the vinyl wrap was completed literally the night before I left helps her feel like a new car… Anyways, I digress. Custer Park was incredible and I did the “Wildlife Loop” road which was the perfect time to see animals as it was “magic hour”. The photos turned out incredible as well! Also, a bison came RIGHT UP to my MINI and I swear he was hoping to hitch hike!! Ok it’s time to hit the road again and the blog isn’t finished!! Many more stories and photos to share! I’ll catch up with you over lunch! XO LILCOOPR
Busy day with lots of motoring yesterday! Over 10 hours on the road and 678 miles (according to Google maps). I am in a rush so I don’t have time now to calculate the exact route.
I left Detroit Tuned in the morning and headed for downtown Chicago. I was supposed to meet a friend for a late lunch but his flight was delayed and instead I did a driving tour of downtown Chicago. Chicago is everything I wish Toronto was. The downtown has a mixture of old and new architecture. The waterfront is beautiful, developed, and easily accessible hence why it looks like a popular spot. The traffic flows – I was there from 3-6pm on a holiday and there was a huge volume of cars, but the intersections cleared faster than Toronto (with the exception of the Magnificent Mile in Chicago due to pedestrians slowing down turns). I have some cool video of motoring through Chicago (was rendering and uploading all night – 1080p GoPro footage – hours later it’s not done, ARGH).
Un-edited snap from my GoPro
After Chicago, I headed back on the interstate towards Austin, MN. There are a lot of miles to cover to reach the Rockies and the West coast so I planned and am prepared for lots of straight driving. It was going well until the sun set. My energy levels were still reasonably high but the animals came out in full force!! I had to dodge full sized deer and coyote roadkill that took up 2/3 of the two lanes. Twice animals ran in front of my MINI and I was terrified of hitting one. Not only because I love animals, but because I love my car. Best case scenario is lots of yuck to wash off, worst case scenario is a collision where my MINI could be totalled or I could die… I’ve seen it before online and cars don’t fare well vs deer. It was also high-beams only with no lights along the road and the occasional cateye along the lanes. I prepared myself for these drives but didn’t fully think about the roadkill/animal aspect. I am rearranging my driving schedule for the next couple days. Hitting the road now and will see how far I make it before sunset but at sunset I am checking into a motel, no exceptions! Safety first
I have a million blog ideas in my head about the contrast of yesterday’s drive (downtown Chicago to the farmlands of Wisconsin in a couple hours), about the states I’ve passed through, about the sights and sounds observed. Right now my main priority is hitting the road, picking up a SIM card, and motoring west!! If all goes well with the SIM, I’ll be checking in at my next rest stop
I am having a BLAST. The absolute time of my life. I have learned so much already, seen so much and it’s only the beginning of day 3!