Archive for the 'MINI' Category

After Apple Picking

We drove over to the east side of the mountains today to see the fall color in the pass and get some fresh-picked apples and pears straight from the orchard. We were a little early – color hadn’t really turned yet and the pears weren’t entirely ready – but it was still a beautiful drive.

Maggie and the Fall Leaves
Maggie takes a break among the fall leaves.

the orchards
Dropping down into orchard country.

Apples on the Tree
Apples still on the tree – these are huge Sekai-Ichi variety, excellent eating but not ready yet.

Our favorite fruit stand, Prey’s, a few miles east of Leavenworth on Highway 2.

Endless Apples
Endless apples! They have dozens of kinds of apples, and the late varieties aren’t yet picked and available. We picked up 10 lbs each of Tsuguro, Granny Smith and Macintosh, plus some early Red Bartlett pears.

The squash displays were beautiful – plus, winter squash is yummy even if it is a lot of work.

I’m not sure if the bunches of dried peppers were decorative or for cooking/eating.

These sunflowers were really beautiful against the deep blue sky.

This picture has nothing to do with apple orchards – but the stark hillside and feathery clouds in the evening light were a really striking combination.

The lens flare is horrible on this shot, but I still like it. It was taken from the moving car, top down, as we drove into the mountains, directly toward the evening sun.

Note: After Apple Picking is a poem, by Robert Frost.

Posted on Saturday, September 27th, 2008 by Jeri
Under: MINI, photography, Puget Sound | 6 Comments »

Maggie feels very MINI

This very rainy afternoon we took a drive around the area in Maggie. One stop was the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, home to many decommissioned aircraft carriers and, currently, one active carrier undergoing refitting, the USS John C. Stennis.

Maggie and the USS Independence
Maggie feels especially MINI next to the aircraft carriers.

We pulled up next to the CV-62, the USS Independence, decommissioned in 1998, and got out and wandered around in the rain. This place is a photographer’s dream, or at least it would be in the sun. The huge bins of parts, the giant ships, and the juxtaposition of Puget Sound blue, rainforest green and battleship gray is pretty striking.

USS Independence
The USS Independence, slowly being stripped down.

It makes me think – if a mountain of metal could tell stories, what tales she could spin! The thousands of men who have lived aboard her, the journeys she’s seen, the battles, the heartache, the victories… the ghosts who walk her halls must be restless and agitated to see her dismantled around them.

It makes me once again thankful for the men and women who’ve dedicated their lives to serving, living aboard this giant floating city for months at a time while she charts her way from port to port.

The fishes that swim — the rocks — the motion of the waves –
The ships, with men in them
What stranger miracles are there?
     ~ Walt Whitman, “Miracles”

Posted on Sunday, August 24th, 2008 by Jeri
Under: military, MINI, Puget Sound | 8 Comments »

Road Trip – Olympic Peninsula

This weekend, we took Maggie out for a (child-free!) road trip, circumnavigating the Olympic Peninsula. The weather was only sort of cooperative – it didn’t rain, but it wasn’t particularly warm and sunny either. It’s a beautiful trip, and the winding road along the coast is a lot of fun to drive – I recommend it!

Maggie at Crescent Beach, just west of Port Angeles
Maggie at Crescent Beach, just west of Port Angeles, with the Strait of Juan de Fuca and Vancouver Island in the background.

Sekiu, Washington, on the road west
Sekiu, Washington – further along the road west. Again, the Strait of Juan de Fuca and Vancouver Island are in the background.

Maggie at Neah Bay, with Cape Flattery in the background.
Maggie at Neah Bay, Washington, with Cape Flattery in the background. Neah Bay is the center of the Makah Indian Reservation and there’s nothing much there but a marina.

Maggie at Kalaloch Beach, just south of the Hoh rain forest.
Highway 101 South hugs the Pacific Ocean for several miles; this is Kalaloch Beach.

Very pregnant deer outside our hotel room in Ocean Shores
We stayed at the Quinault Beach Casino in Ocean Shores, and both dinner and breakfast were good (if slow). The room was quite comfortable, and just beneath the balcony was this very pregnant deer.

Posted on Tuesday, May 27th, 2008 by Jeri
Under: MINI, travel | 5 Comments »

Road Trip!

Bryan and I are taking Maggie the MINI out for a road trip this weekend. We’re going to drive the Olympic Peninsula loop, including the spectacular winding, water’s edge road to Neah Bay, as northwest as we can get and still be in the contiguous US.

Today was a spectacularly sunny day – we’re hoping for more of it tomorrow and Monday. (The forecast is for increasingly cloudy, sprinkly weather by Monday, but weather forecasters have been wrong before.)

Enjoy your long weekend!

Posted on Sunday, May 25th, 2008 by Jeri
Under: MINI, travel | Comments Off

MINI Branding

According to Wikipedia, branding seeks to develop or align the expectations behind the brand experience, creating the impression that a brand associated with a product or service has certain qualities or characteristics that make it special or unique.

In our experience, MINI is a superb practitioner of this. Every interaction we’ve had with them has been classy, fun, and has had a very personal touch. Buying a MINI is not just acquiring a cute little car, it’s joining a community with its own benefits, culture and rewards.

Today, we got a package from MINI. Ostensibly, it was to send us roadside assistance cards and some finance information. But in the package was:

  • A personalized note from MINI
  • A pen, journal and rubber band – all MINI branded
  • Mousepad with lots of red MINIs and checkered flags
  • A static cling window poetry kit
  • Little metallic gold body decals
  • Dice antenna topper

Inside the box was a flap. Printed on it was “Nothing behind this flap. Zip, nada, zilch.” When we, of course, looked behind the flap there was an envelope marked top secret. It contained a MINI decoder template, a decoder prism and 3-d glasses. Apparently the decoder template can be held over a MINI ad for a secret message.

It probably didn’t cost much to put together and send, but the thinking that goes into their branding and marketing is amazing. Even more so, they’re not trying to gain our business – they already won it, months ago – they just want to ensure our brand loyalty years down the line.

The extended family-like feeling and superb customer follow-through make owning a MINI fun. If we weren’t already thrilled to bits with our car, it would certainly make us consider buying another one from the same company if we ever replace the one we have.

Plus, in this extended club drivers wave to each other. Random acts of friendliness are a major bonus. ☺

Posted on Monday, May 5th, 2008 by Jeri
Under: cars, MINI | 1 Comment »