Day Zero – Thursday 7th June 2007
I closed Windows down, put my jacket on and left work. Outside Peanut was waiting packed and ready in CheckBeast. It was 5.30 and our holiday had begun! We had a two hour drive to
Day One – Friday 8th June 2007
The mission for today was to go directly from
Some fast roads in our favour were called for and
Day Two – Saturday 9th June 2007
RVW had rung us earlier in the week and mentioned that a lot of the gang fancied a trip to
After an initial drink together in a street café not far from the car park, we all went our separate ways to explore
We broke the journey home with a stop for a meal. It had been a hot, tiring day and we all appreciated the chance to sit down and relax with a bite to eat. At this point RVW presented Beastie with a little gift he had found in
Day Three – Sunday 10th June 2007
We went down for breakfast with no real plan in mind of how to spend the day other than we wanted to do some fun driving. Paa100 told us what some of them were planning which involved driving a few passes, a cable car ride and some ice cream. It sounded good so we plumped for that. Others in the group were doing the cable car ride, followed by a walk in the snow and mountains and some photography. That sounded good too but you can’t do it all and we wanted to drive!
The day was awesome for us and the fun started straight away as the hairpins began almost as soon as we left the hotel and headed for the cable car. This was real James Bond stuff as the cable car seemed to ascend almost vertically up the side of the mountain. Our ears had been popping just on the drive to the bottom of the cable car. They popped with a vengeance as the cable car rapidly ascended the mountain. From the top the views were stunning, the drinking chocolate hot and gloopy and the snow ball fights plentiful. There seemed to be a large hole in the mountain which the snow was pouring down but we couldn’t get close enough to see properly. Wigley did his best to see to Jane’s consternation. Every step closer he took was punctuated with the worried tones of Jane saying “Stewy… Stupot… STU…” Fortunately he heeded Jane’s warnings and lived to fall down another hole in the future. Finally, it was time to descend in the cable car and I thought of Minisoopercooper and his dislike of heights. This was not the ride for him at all! Halfway down we spotted some climbers who were halfway up the vertical cliff we were rapidly dropping down and my hands went all clammy just looking at them – my God what they were doing looked scary.
From here we did our first real pass of the day. Stu led the way; Spaci went second, followed by us in CheckBeast. Paa100 brought up the rear in his X3 with its humongous wall of torque. The three minis were pretty evenly matched in performance and an exhilarating rhythm of speed was established as we demolished hairpin after hairpin. A brief stop at some bizarre souvenir shop gave us all a rest before we headed off for lunch at the top of yet another pass. Chrisandjax had been flirting with us all morning in their GP while catching us all on their video and they too joined us for lunch. More fun driving followed in the afternoon which was also punctuated with a few fun stops.
First we stopped at a rather interesting shop which specialised in some fine metal sculptures and Wigley, Chrisandjax and Paa100 all bought some pieces. My personal favourite was Wigley’s which was a small flock of birds in flight which hung on a wall, as this reminded me of the Breitling planes you see in jeweller’s shops behind their Breitling displays! Next we went about half a mile down the road and had a pleasant walk along a very deep and narrow gorge which was spectacularly crossed by a narrow road bridge above us. Spaci braved the icy waters of the river which flowed along the bottom and had a wee paddle. My suspicion is that he did not feel his feet for two days after that! Paa100 knows that any good day is incomplete without ice-cream and while we were at the sculpture shop he had made enquiries to find the best Gelateria in the area. We arrived at a bustling square in a small village by a lake and miraculously found the last 5 car spaces all together seemingly just waiting for us. Lacking imagination myself, I blatantly copied Kev from the
RVW and Storm and ourselves were staying in Canazei for an extra night but for the rest of the group this was their last night. We all dined together as one large group (much to the chef’s distress) and naturally the fun got more raucous as the night wore on. My pinny got another airing to the great amusement of those who hadn’t yet seen it and Paa100 had another of his party games up his sleeve. The man really is a class leader in the party games department. March had seem him excel when he brought balloon modelling to The French Weekender and now we had to follow diagrams to produce paper aeroplanes! The winner would be determined by flying them from his balcony to see which flew the furthest. Nathalie proved to be the victor in this game. Great fun! A little later on Jaffa showed us some of his photos from his day and they were stunning – a wonderful close up of a bird in flight with the twisty hairpins of a pass on the ground below as a backdrop and a delightfully evocative photo of a girl prostrate along the top of a wall with a huge sky of moody clouds behind her, were just two that stuck in my mind. I had to show Peanut and disappeared off to find her. She was downstairs with the rest of the gang and silly me, I immediately forgot why I had gone looking for her. Er yep it was that kind of a fun night! Fortunately she saw the photos at breakfast the next day. (Ady)
Day Four – Monday 11th June 2007
At breakfast we said our goodbyes to the rest of the group and shortly afterwards we waved them off as they did six laps of the roundabout in front of the hotel before roaring off down the road with their exhausts a popping in the wonderful way the Mini exhausts do. RVW’s red mini and CheckBeast were left all alone and you could see their headlights droop and their bumpers sag as they started to miss their mini mates already. First job then was to cheer them up with a wash and clean and we promised to take them out for a fun drive in the mountains.
The four of us opened a large map on one of the tables in front of the hotel and pored over it with great intent. It did the trick, it fooled the minis into thinking we knew what we were doing and they cheered up and we promptly set off to do the dozen or so passes we had found on the map! In the end we got round to doing 3 or 4 but it was great fun nonetheless.
The first pass we did was through a lot of forest and was single track and very twisty. Not especially fast but immense fun and with some stunning scenery. A lovely log cabin supplied us with a fortifying cup of hot chocolate and we were all fascinated by a man in a shed outside making polenta in a large wooden bowl. The whole process looked a bit like mixing concrete only it was bright yellow. Before long we were on our way once more and our next hurdle was to navigate past the 311 large cows that had suddenly appeared to litter the road in front of us. Intimidating on its own but each cow had its own large and very loud bell and seemed to be in no hurry to get out of our way! Eventually we got past without incident but I kept thinking that this would be Chrisandjax’s worst nightmare, as they had encountered a horse in the recent past which mistook their GP for a park bench and tried to sit on it – the result wasn’t funny.
Meanwhile high in the skies above us dark forces had spotted RVW and to let us know he had been seen, a smattering of rain and dark cloud was sent our way. We took no notice and the Gods got angrier. More rain and wetter roads resulted and now we found we weren’t going round the hairpins quite as we should, the cars didn’t turn when we turned the steering wheel and walls started to loom on our flanks closer than we liked. The Curse of RVW had truly reared its head, so as a nod of respect we curtailed our driving and pulled in for lunch, which was a modest but tasty ham and cheese panini.
A little more driving followed after lunch as we headed back for the hotel. We got there about 4 o’clock and had tea and Kit Kats in RVW’s room and had a play with his laptop which sported Microsoft’s all singing and dancing Vista operating system. RVW had a fine set of pictures from the trip and I was most impressed. Anyway after a while we retired to our room as Storm said she wanted wild sex with RVW and as this would require lots of imagination on her behalf she needed a bit of time. We arranged to meet later for dinner in the hotel.
Dinner was not the raucous affair it had been the previous night but was very pleasant nonetheless and the wine still went down rather well. Peanut and I had a lasagne and tagliatelle which we split between us - very nice. All too soon it was bedtime on our final day in the Dolomites.
Day Five – Tuesday 12th June 2007
We met early for breakfast and before long we were ready for the next leg of our adventures. We were heading 450 miles south to our home in Port Cogolin and the excitement of playing with speedboats, while RVW and Storm were heading north to rejoin the Miniacs and their fun and craziness at
Our journey south took us past
Well our Dolomite adventure was over and we had emerged almost unscathed (I’m sure we need to change our brakes – and they have only done 12,000 miles!) and speeding ticket free. For us it was a great adventure and it felt very special meeting up with all our Mini friends for a few days of fun in the Dolomites. We always come away from these adventures hungry for more and we can’t wait for our next mini adventure! (Ady)
PS. Our days in Port Cogolin that followed the Dolomite adventure were full of glorious sunshine. However, on Friday 15th June the Gods noticed that RVW had once more stepped on French soil and was loitering in Le Wast near