Annual MidCal MINIs Potluck Christmas Party


Santa MINIGreetings all MidCal MINI Peoples.  A great deal has taken place in all of our MINI lives this past year and as a result the Club has been rather dormant.  Work, family and life in general has kept everyone hopping and our MINIs have been quietly and faithfully taking us where we needed to go and where we needed to be.  Tina (MINIEOR) and Tom, the Club President and her husband have been busy with adorable Zoey, John and Suzie are moving to San Jose and Jim and Janet are never far from their bikes.

With that being said, Tom and Tina are hosting the Annual MidCal MINI’s Potluck Christmas Party again this year and are looking forward to seeing old Club members again.  Tom will resume his crown as Master of the BBQ so the mainmouse_drinking_wine_lg_wht course is provided with the rest being whatever you want to bring, as this is a potluck and BYOB event.  Early afternoon arrival (3:00) is encouraged to expand the time for enjoying the great scenery and to catch up on the past year with expanded chat time.  As usual, all are welcome to stay as long as you want and if you partake of the Holiday libations and you don’t want to drive home, just bring your sleeping bag and stay the night.  There are two bedrooms available, one with a futon and one with an air bed (first come, first serve so reserve early) and of course their is plenty of room on the living room floor.  The party venue also has room for a trailer or motor home; no hookups are available however.

If the group would like to do a MINI run before eating begins, let Tina know if you would like to volunteer to lead it.

As per tradition all are welcome to participate in a gift exchange.  The RULES are not to spend more than $20 and try to select something with a MINI theme; either for a MINI or having to do with a MINI.  If you want to play, bring a gift.  Tina is also thinking about holding an ugly sweater contest.  Any one game?  Let Tina know.

RSVP as soon as possible so that Tina and Tom know just how much to BBQ and so all those attending can be informed as to quantity of potluck goodies to bring.  A MINI Club meeting will be held as well to begin the plan for 2015.

DATE:     Saturday, December 13, 2014

TIME:      3:00 pm start

DINNER SERVED:  Around 5 or 6 pm

mini-cooper-parking-onlyLOCATION:  Once your RSVP, you will receive an email with complete directions

PARKING:      MINIs will park along each side of the driveway.  Please leave a path for cars to enter or exit.  For those intending to stay the nigh, ask Tom or Tina where to park.


Wawona and Monthly Meeting Cancelled – BUT…

DSQUARED-HALSTUCH-MINIWhile the House and Senate may have avoided default on the US debt, they caused such uncertainty that we are defaulting on the proposed run to the Wawona Hotel for lunch this coming weekend, October 19th.   Given the lateness of these developments the Off Road Adventure will be pushed back a few weekends as well.  In addition the MidCal meeting this coming Friday, October 18th is being shifted too.

So here is the new proposed plan:  OPTION 1 – meeting on Friday November 1st under the normal itinerary – dinner and meeting; or OPTION 2 – meet up on Saturday November 2nd for the Off-Road Adventure and lunch.  Either day, November 1st or 2nd would be the last meeting of the year.

Please email Tina right away to let her know your preference and specify November 1st or 2nd.   Email with your choice ASAP.


October 19th Run to the Wawona Hotel for Lunch or Off Road Adventure?

Wawona frontThe annual Tioga Pass Run to the World Famous Whoa Nellie Deli has long been a favorite of the MidCal group.  But after much discussion at the last monthly meeting it was agreed that this is a very long run and the turnout has been dwindling over the past several years.  Still wanting to take in the mountains and fall colors near Yosemite, it was agreed that a run to the Wawona Hotel in Yosemite for lunch and perhaps a visit to the Pioneer Village would be a nice trade-off.  The question however is whether or not the Park be open on October 19th?  If the Park is not open, the Off Road Adventure will take the place of the Wawona Hotel lunch.

Watch this site for more information as it develops with respect to availability of the Wawona Hotel or the Off Road Adventure Route.

The Wawona Hotel is a National Historic Landmark and rests upon verdant meadows and beside rushing streams.  The tranquility of this Wawona pioneer centerVictorian era lodge in Yosemite makes it a favorite of those who prefer a relaxed environment and the gracious charm of a bygone era.   Wawona Hotel in Yosemite is located just four miles from the Park’s south entrance, cradled between the majestic Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias and the bustling activity of Yosemite Valley.  Yosemite’s Badger Pass Ski Area is a short 30-minute drive for those who love to ski.

From strolling the property’s  historic grounds, golfing, enjoying a stable ride, cross-country skiing or snowshoeing in the winter or exploring the Pioneer Village Museumpu_wawonadiningrm or even simply enjoying a the view in one of the Adirondack chairs, Wawona is always lovely to visit.

The Wawona Dining Room is well-known for its culinary excellence.   Cuisine features an array of seasonal specialties as well as traditional favorites, including Pot Roast, fresh Trout and a delicious grilled Flat Iron Steak.  The Wawona Dining Room itself is traditional Victorian with a rustic flare. Hand-painted hanging lights featuring giant sequoias and strung with small sequoia cones are replicas of original hotel lamps from the 1800s and cast a warm glow throughout the room. On warm summer nights, the veranda, which is adjacent to the dining room, is a classic spot to enjoy Wawona’s sumptuous fare.

If you are interested in taking part in either of these Runs, Wawona or Off Road, email MidCal at with your preference.


Clovis British Car Round Up September 28th and 29th

Don’t forget this coming Saturday and Sunday, September 28th and 29th is the annual Clovis British Car Round Up. Sponsored by the Valley British Auto Club, this group celebrates the British car hobby in the Central San Joaquin Valley. This is the only official car show entered into by the MidCal group.  The car show is held in conjunction with the annual Clovis Antique and Collectibles Fair and provides attendees with plenty to see and do.  Restaurants, coffee houses, live music and exceptional antiques and collectibles are all within walking distance of the car show.

The two-day event starts on Saturday September 28th at 9:00 am in front of the Clovis Cole Hotel for a group tour and Run through the Sierra Foothills. At noon a cateredMINIs at Car Show lunch is served with a short program about the Nature Center. One hundred percent of the luncheon event proceeds benefits the Clovis Valley Nature and Education Center. At 7:00 pm there is a “meet up” no-host dinner at Yosemite Falls Cafe in Clovis for old and new friends to enjoy time together.

Sunday, September 29th, the Car Show kicks off from 9 am to 10 am for registration. The arrival location is new this year and is at Bullard and Woodworth so be sure to click on the registration link below for an entry form and check-in map. Drivers are instructed to park their cars in assigned areas by marquis and model. From 10 am Garage 001to 2 pm, British car viewing and treasure hunting at the Clovis Antique and Collectables Faire is held.

You don’t want to miss this fun event, so click here to find the registration form and more information. All registrations are due no later than September 26th but to be safe, get them in by September 20th.

Check here for more pictures of the 2012 great event including pictures of the MidCal contingent and here for a Video and Slide Show of the event.



MidCal Monthly Meeting – September 20th.

Calend1It is the third Friday in September and you know what that means; MidCal MINIs monthly meeting!   We will be meeting again this month at MOTHER MARY’S ITALIAN KITCHEN.  We are trying new places and welcome your suggestions, but on September 20th, the place is Mother Mary’s.

When: September 20th at 6:00 pm sharp.

Where: Mother Mary’s Italian Kitchen, 1345 N Willow Ave Clovis, CA 93611 mini-cooper-parking-only

Directions: Take 41 to Nees and then head east to North Willow. Make a left turn onto North Willow, turning right into the parking lot.

Parking: Just look for all of the MINIs in the center of the parking lot just in front of Mother Mary’s.

RSVP: Don’t forget to let us know you are coming, we need an accurate head count to ensure you have a place to sit with the group. Remember to bring your chairs for the after dinner parking lot meeting. Folding chairs are encouraged!

Send your RSVP via email and be sure to account for each individual that will be in attendance. Reservations are by person, not by car or by couple. See you at the meeting. ;)

September 14th – MidCal MINIs Winery Run

mouse_drinking_wine_lg_whtThe date has been set in stone for the annual MidCal MINIs Morro Bay / Paso Robles / Winery Run. As in years past, the group of MINIs will head over to the coast by taking Highway 41 to the twisties on Highway 46 with a stop at Rotta Winery for some wine tasting. The date has been set for September 14th with the band of merry MINIs departing the Starbucks at 41 and Shaw at 8:00 a.m. The group will begin assembling at about 7:45 a.m. to coordinate and set walkie talkies on the same frequency. (These are important when traveling in a large group as it helps to keep us together, so don’t forget yours!)

The MINIs will arrive at the Winery at approximately 11:00 a.m.  Upon arrival there is a $5.00 wine tasting fee which will be credited toward any purchase you make in the winery store.  This year lunch will be a BYOL (Bring Your Own Lunch).  RSVPs will be needed no later than September 9th.


Rotta Winery, in Templeton California is located west of Hwy 101, just south of Hwy 46, at 250 Winery Road. The group spends several hours at the winery and then it is Rotta Winery Mapevery MINI for itself. Several of the MINIs in the past have headed over to Cambria, Morro Bay, Hearst Castle and other nearby locations for the night and to take in some local sites and events, while others have headed back home.

Rotta Winery, founded in 1908 by the Rotta Family, is the only remaining family owned “original” winery in San Luis Obispo County. Mike Giubbini, grandson to the Rotta Family and Mark Caporale of Napa, combined their talents to “bring back to life” the historic and rustic winery. Today, Rotta Winery, just as in days of old, specializes in premium red and white wines along with flavorful and distinct dessert wines. The 20-acre Rotta estate vineyard has 15 acres in Zinfandel and five in Cabernet Sauvignon. For now the Rotta label is focusing on red wines such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel, Merlot, and Black Monukka– a dessert wine and Zinfandel Port. All of the fruit for the label is being sourced from local vineyards, especially those from the Westside.

For those traveling to the coastal area for the first time, below is just a bit of history related to the area.


Morro Bay, a favorite of the MINI group, generally provides the much needed cooler weather for those from Fresno who have endured enough  days of temps over 100 degrees. Now predominately a tourist town, Morro Bay was founded by Franklin Riley in 1870 as a port for the export of dairy and ranch products. He was instrumental in the building of a wharf which has now become the Embarcadero. During the 1870s, schooners could often be seen at the Embarcadero picking up wool, potatoes, barley, and dairy products. Since the beginning of the 20th century, the town has been a center for beach holidays. Tourism is the city’s largest industry. The most popular beach is on the north side of Morro Rock, north of the harbor. There are also excellent beaches north and south of the town which are now owned by the State of California.

In the 1940s, Morro Bay developed an abalone fishing industry. Having peaked in 1957, stocks of abalone have now declined significantly due to overfishing, it remains a fishing port for halibut, sole, rockfish, albacore, and many other species for both commercial and sport vessels. The town now combines the fishing industry with coastal tourism. In addition, oysters are farmed artificially in the shallow back bay.


Another coastal area popular with folks living inland is Cambria. Early settlers were drawn to the area by its fertile lands, streams, and lumber. Additionally, miners were attracted to the area by the 1862 discovery of cinnabar, the mineral in which quicksilver is found. For awhile, Cambria was a boomtown, with $280,000 worth of quicksilver shipped out of San Simeon between 1867-70.

Originally an American settlement called Slab Town, it was centered at Leffingwell cove of today’s north Moonstone Beach, which also housed a wharf. As lumber, ranching and Quicksilver (mercury) mining increased in the area, the village adopted the more dignified name of Cambria, influence by a local transplant surveyor from Cambria County, Pennsylvania.

Other notable locations in the town include the historical Old Santa Rosa Chapel which was built in 1870, and as one of the oldest churches in the county of San Luis Obispo, held Catholic mass until May 26, 1963. The church fell into neglect until 1978, when the chapel and cemetery were restored.

The primary economic activity of Cambria is tourism. Located on the Pacific Ocean the area has rocky cliffs and beaches. There are many hotels and bed & breakfasts, especially along Moonstone Beach Drive. Cambria is home to the Cambria Historical Museum in the historic East Village and Hearst Castle is located approximately six miles north of Cambria with the Northern Elephant Seal rookery at Piedras Blancas just fifteen miles north.

A favorite spot for visitors to Cambria is the J. Patrick House. J. Patrick House Bed & Breakfast Inn is an authentic Early American-style log home decorated in country decor and features a garden tucked in the forest, and a charming carriage house with eight guest rooms with fireplaces and private baths offered. A full breakfast and evening wine and hors d’ouvres are included, and if you are lucky enough, you might even have the Stuffed French toast with Pure Maple syrup!

So if you are looking for cooler weather, an easy drive with twisties thrown in and perhaps a night out of town, this is your run.

Announcements at the MidCal Meeting on August 23rd.

imggFriday night at Mother Mary’s was a reunion of sorts with numerous MidCal MINI members getting re-acquainted with other Club members separated this year by a host of summer activities that kept us all occupied with non-MINI activities.  The MINI event also welcomed several new MINI owners eager to share their passion with other MINI lovers.  Club President Tina Kell announced that several club members will be assisting her with organizing events aid in planning and coordination responsibilities.  Tina’s time is appropriately being fully absorbed by her daughter and our youngest club member Zoie these days.  Jon Brothers, Steve Phillips and Robert Fisher will be assisting in planning runs, coordinating dates and reaching out to other Club members for ideas and suggestions for MidCal events.  We want to hear what Club members are interested in, but  more importantly, this is your Club and members are encouraged to take part in assisting with Club events as well.  The group is looking to organize various types of events which appeal to those who love to drive the curves, those who don’t, those looking for car care information and anything else the members would like to see on the Club roster of events.  Tina reviewed upcoming events for the balance of 2013 and shared a preview of preliminary items calendared for 2014.  She also handed out a suggestion form and asked attendees to share ideas, thoughts and suggestions for what the group would like to see in 2014.

Something new in 2014 will be the “cross-pollination” of the MidCal group with the Valley British Auto Club and the invitation for the two groups to share information on runs and events that each club organizes.  OVBCS logo smallerne such combined event that has been a favorite of the MidCal group has been the tradition of participating in the annual Clovis British Car Round Up celebrating the British car hobby in the Central San Joaquin Valley. The Car Roundup is held once a year on the last weekend in September and is sponsored by the Valley British Auto Club. This year the Roundup celebrates its 11th Anniversary and continues its tradition of offering car enthusiasts the opportunity to see up close, British cars from around the state. Cars built-in England like Triumph, MG, Jaguar, Healey, Range Rover, Austin, Morris, Sunbeam, Riley, Lotus and MINI/Mini Cooper all out for a day of friendly competition. The car show held in conjunction with the annual Clovis Antique and Collectibles Fair provides attendees with plenty to see and do and is enhanced by the number of restaurants, coffee houses, live music and exceptional antiques and collectibles all within walking distance of the car show.  This year the event will be on September 28th and 29th.  More information can be found at

The MidCal  group was also asked whether or not there is interest in holding the Annual Whoa Nellie Deli Run since participation has dwindled over the last several years.  This is a long run but if have never been, it is worth going at least once.  Saturday, October 12th has been tentatively selected as the date for the annual Tioga Pass Run to the World Famous Whoa Nellie Deli.  In the past the Fresno contingent meets at Starbuck’s at Shaw just east of 41 at 7 am. At 7:30 am sharp,  the group leaves to caravan to the second meeting location in Oakhurst and then rendezvous at about 8:00 – 8:15. The Oakhurst meeting location is the Raley’s Parking lot on the corner of HWY 41 & HWY 49. After a brief pit stop, the expanding caravan heads back onto 41 and takes the scenic drive through the edge of IMG_0502Yosemite National Park. Upon entering the park and paying the $20 entry fee it is then on to Tuolumne Meadows and over Tioga Pass into the town of Lee Vining and the Famous “Whoa Nellie Deli”!

The Whoa Nellie Deli is located in a Mobil gas station on a hilltop just west of the intersection of U.S. Route 395 and California State Route 120, one mile south of the business district of the small town of Lee Vining, California. (22 Vista Point Road, Lee Vining CA.)  Geographically, this location is where the eastern edge of the Sierra Nevada meets the western edge of the Great Basin. Mount Dana and other High Sierra peaks are visible to the west. The eastern entrance of Yosemite National Park, located at Tioga Pass, is 12 miles to the west. Mono Lake, a uniquely salty and mineral saturated body of water, is visible from the restaurant to the northeast. The gas station also offers a gift shop, a small grocery store, and picnic facilities. Live musical performances are featured about 30 times each year from late spring to early autumn, usually on Thursday and Sunday evenings. The restaurant is closed in the winter.

Also discussed was either an alternative run to the Whoa Nellie Deli or an additional run on October 19th.  This run would be in the Bass Lake Powerhouse area , so what this site for more information.

Happy Holidays MINIAnd of course the Annual MidCal  MINIs Christmas Party was announced for December 14th.  Tom and Tina (MINIEOR) are hosting another Annual MidCal MINI Potluck Christmas Party.   The party will again have an early start to extend the time to enjoy the beautiful California foothill scenery, wonderful weather and to enhance  quality chat time with your MINI family. All are welcomed to stay as long as you want and those partaking of the Holiday libations (drinking) and those not wanting to drive home, are encouraged to bring a sleeping bag and to stay the night. There are two bedrooms available, one with a futon and one with an air bed (with first come – first serve, so early sign up will be encouraged) and of course the living room floor is once again open for business.  The party venue also has room for someone to bring a trailer or motor home however there are no hookups.

As per tradition for those wishing to participate, there is the ever popular gift exchange. The ONLY RULES: Don’t spend more than $20 to $25 and preferably something with a MINI theme (for a MINI or having to do with a MINI or even for the MINI owner).

Watch this website for more information on each of the above referenced events with even more to come.  A calendar of currently proposed events for 2014 will be posted in the next few days.

MidCal MINIs August 23, 2013 Club Meeting

Hey all MidCal MINIs, don’t forget that the club meeting for August is Friday, August 23rd at 6:30 p.m. at a new location.  Join us at Mother Mary’s Italian Kitchen and PizzeriaMother Mary's, located at 1345 North Willow, Clovis. If you have not heard, their claim to fame is daily fresh dough and sauce made from scratch! Please RSVP no later than Friday, August 16th.    This is a new location and we would like to give them as much of an early head count as possible; we don’t want to be banned from ever coming back after only one meeting! Please note that the meeting is one week later than usual. Mark your calendar now, so you don’t forget!

We have 22 people signed up so far with lots of new members!  It has been a while since we have all gotten together so let’s make this a great get-together.  This will be a big planning meeting with lots of items and scheduling being put on the table. We hope this to be a very productive night with a new system being introduced to assist in the organization of the MidCal group. Come with your ideas for meetings, events, runs, scheduling and anything else you can think of. Come be a part of the planning for the MidCal group as we head into our Fall and Winter season.

WHAT: MidCal MINI’s Monthly Meeting:

WHEN: Friday, August 23, 2013 @ 6:30PM

WHERE: Mother Mary’s: 1345 N Willow Ave Clovis, CA 93611

DIRECTIONSmini-cooper-parking-only: Take 41 to Nees and then head east to North Willow. Make a left turn onto North Willow, turning right into the parking lot.

PARKING: Look for all the MINIs!


Friday, August 23, 2013 – MidCal MINIs Monthly Meeting

The MidCal MINIs monthly meeting for August has been set and a new location is being  tried on for size.  Join us at Mother Mary’s Italian Kitchen and PizzeriaMother Mary's, located at 1345 North Willow, Clovis.  Their claim to fame is daily fresh dough and sauce made from scratch!  Please RSVP as soon as you can as this is a new location and we would like to give them as much of an early head count as possible.  We are always open to new locations to try out so if you would like to suggest locations for future meetings, just let Tina know.

Please note that the meeting is one week later than usual.  Mark your calendar now, so as not to get confused!

This is anticipated to be a big meeting with lots of items and scheduling being put on the table.  We hope this to be a very productive night with a new system being introduced to assist in the organization of the MidCal group.  Come with your ideas for meetings, events, runs, scheduling and anything else you can think of.  Come be a part of the planning for the MidCal group as we head into our Fall and Winter season.

WHAT:  MidCal MINI’s Monthly Meeting:

WHEN: Friday, August 23, 2013 @ 6:30PM

WHERE: Mother Mary’s: 1345 N Willow Ave  Clovis, CA 93611

DIRECTIONS: Take 41 to Nees and then head east to North Willow.  Make a left turn onto North Willow, turning right into the parking lot.

PARKING: LoPark hereok for all the MINIs!

CANCELLED – Off Road Adventure, Saturday July 13, 2013

Sun graphicThe heat and rising gas prices have taken their toll and the Off Road Adventure scheduled for Saturday, July 13th has been cancelled – to be reschedule for another weekend.  You can still get the MINI out however and either early in the morning or late in the evening, treat it to a “SPA day” by giving it a nice sudsy bath, cool rinse andSunny Baby MINI Cooper extra TLC (Tire-Black, Liquid-levels , and Clay-Bar).  Avoid the heat of the day (MINI deserves  a break too) and make sure to hydrate yourself.

Do not despair, the event will be reschedule.  Keep watching this website for more updates.

For more information contact us at
All information copyright MidCal MINIs.