We had quite the full weekend! It started out with us rushing around Friday night to pack, clean the Mini, get Jack to Cary, and get Eddie to Fuquay. We didn’t get to bed until after midnight, which sucked because we had to get up at 6am.
Saturday we still had a couple things to do before we left town, like getting breakfast and some cash for the lunch. We also made a quick unplanned Wal-Mart stop for some glass cleaner after discovering how much the glass wipes we used the night before sucked. So, all of these little last minute things resulted in us not getting to Old Salem Tavern (in Winston Salem) until about 9:32.
The website for the Minipalooza had said to meet at the tavern and the group would be leaving promptly at 10:00. However, the night before we saw an update that said 9:30. Therefore we arrived thinking we would probably get there just as they were pulling out. But there was only one Mini to be found!
This Mini driver was glad to see us, as she didn’t know the route and was beginning to think she had the date wrong. We were equally glad to see her because we were wondering where the hell all the Minis were. Later in the day we met up with some other Mini drivers in Old Salem who said they had the same confusion, but eventually found all the other cars at the Visitor’s Center.
Apparently there were so many cars that they had to move to the Visitor’s Center because there simply wasn’t enough room in the street. And today we heard that they actually left even earlier, around 9:15. Needless to say we are left a little disappointed in the level of organization/communication. It was a good thing we had all way points programmed in the GPS!
The lone Mini driver followed us along the route, we had our own Mini Minipalooza. It actually was probably a bit more fun that way. There were lots of reports of confusion from other drivers, and apparently plenty of people went off-course. There were also people that were unhappy with how fast their leader was going. Since we were the lead car of our little pair we were able to set the speed and only had to worry about one other car.
For us, things worked out great. Sean drove while I navigated and kept our Mini-friend updated via walky-talky. I wish I had a paper map, it probably would have been easier. As it was, Sean had programmed way points into our Nuvi and printed a list of which order they came in. I had no clue where we were going, I just had to get close to the end point and program in the next one. It was an adventure!
And the mini has so much road, engine, and a/c noise that it is hard for the driver to hear the GPS… so we kept joking that I was like the Sci Fi show character that only repeated what the computer said. My acting as navigator let Sean concentrate on having fun driving the twisty roads while I concentrated on where we were going. I was also able to warn him of the sharper curves. It went well and we only made one wrong turn, but it was easy to correct even though the GPS tried to invent some roads. That is pretty good for travelling unfamiliar back roads! The course was great, and I am looking forward to going back and driving it myself later on. Navigating was fun, but there were some awesome curves along Hwy 8 that I am itching to try.
It was about 1:00 when we arrived at the vineyards. We exchanged $20 for commemorative wine glasses and tickets for food/wine. They had pulled pork, baked beans, and slaw served with a bun to make a sandwich if desired. The wine ticket was good for a glass of wine or a tasting. We opted for the tasting and decided we aren’t really fans of Westbend Vineyards’ wine. The BBQ was good though, and seeing all the Minis was great. There are so many great ways to customize a Mini, it once again made me want a Mini of my own… but I love my Rav4 too much.
Unfortunately, that was the end of our Mini event. Sunday we were supposed to go to Flow Mini for breakfast and then head to VIR, but it was canceled. There was no explanation given, but I assume it was due to weather. In all Saturday was fun, and I am looking forward to the next Mini rally event. There is one coming up next month, but I am not sure if we will be able to go.
But our weekend adventures were not over yet! Saturday evening we were left with some time to kill so we checked into the Augustus Zevely Inn (aka Augustus Zevely B&B) early and then wandered around Old Salem a bit. By 5:00 I was exhausted. A stop at our room to drop off purchases and have a little of the wine and cheese offered by the B&B turned into a short nap before dinner. We had 6:00 reservations at the Old Salem Tavern, which was conveniently located across the street.
The Old Salem Tavern was great! If you ever go to Old Salem I highly recommend both the Zevely Inn and Old Salem Tavern. The Inn was our first B&B experience, and I doubt we could have asked for better. Even though noises from the hall were easily heard in our room, it was still very quiet and peaceful. The Innkeeper was pleasant, and the breakfast was great.
After breakfast, we packed the car and hit the road headed for Ikea. Along the way Sean spotted a Beef Jerky Outlet sign and got so excited I just had to stop for him. The outlet is near Concord Mills, and was pretty neat if you like jerky and hot sauce. I am not a huge fan of either though, so it was mostly just for Sean. Many samples of jerky later we were back on the road to Ikea.
Ikea is always fun! For some reason every time I go there I find myself wanting to decorate a house, build a kitchen from scratch, and/or completely reorganize something. We picked up a few items and a few ideas from Ikea, then headed towards Burlington. We might be back at Ikea soon with the Rav4. :)
The reason I wanted to stop in Burlington was the Le Creuset Outlet. I have never been to one of their stores; I’ve always purchased from Williams Sonoma or Southern Season, and a seconds braiser from Home Goods. Going to a Le Creuset store was both fun and torture. I wanted so many pots, but I had to choose just one. Sean was willing to let me get a second, which made getting just one even harder. Their pots are simply too expensive to purchase more than one on a whim! After some deliberation, I ended up with a cobalt blue wok, a ceramic gratin dish, a metal knob, a silicone pot handle cover, some cleaner, and two cookbooks. Happy!!
I look forward to trying all the new recipes we are going to make. We used the wok to stir fry some asparagus and garlic for a side with dinner tonight. I was very happy with it. Definitely the best wok I have ever owned!