Again, the name about covers it.
An IMM basically is a couple of hundred Mini's and their enthusiasts getting together over a weekend, camping out and enjoying their favorite subject; Mini's.
In 2001 the IMM was be organized by the Miniclub Oberoesterreich in Pettenbach (OB = UpperAustria); between Salzburg and Linz (Not to be confused with the Pettenbach closer to Vienna !), from June 1st till June 4th 2001.
Thu 31st May.
Knowing how I am I'd taken the extra day off to prepare for the Meeting. I didn't sleep in till late (actually didn't sleep much at all :) and headed over to my Mini-shop to have a good look at the Van. Found one suspicious wheelbearing and some small stuff. Some if the tires also showed a somewhat weird wear-pattern. As the shocks weren't too new either they advised me to install adjustable shocks, which would also help against the tires hitting the arches at full load. I decided to go the full monty and have all shocks replaced for AVO Adjustable Shocks. All in all an enjoyable day at the Mini-shop. By the time I finally left there I didn't have much time to do my other errands though :) Turned out my 'local tire shop' had moved elsewhere and I didn't find another one to help me on short notice (like now! :).
I took a small nap and then headed off to Schiphol to collect an Australian fellow International Mini Lister(IL), Angus Grant, who'd be joining me on the way down to Austria. Although I was running late (so what else is new :) I arrived in time to find him at the gates and gave him his first experience riding as a navigator in my Van.Back at my house we watched Top Gear's first road-test of Ze New Mini(tm) and waited for Arnoud (an IL and Dutch Mini Lister(DL)), who would be joining us on the drive down, to arrive. After some chatting, drinking (nothing hard :) and lending a helping hand, we all found ourselves a place to sleep, be it short...
Fri 1st June.
The day of the start of the IMM. But we first had to get there :) Pettenbach is about 1000km from where I live and with the planned detour to meet with Paul Hampton(IL) and possibly Tom Francis(IL) it would be just over that. So we decided to start out early and got up around 3.30am. Around 4am we stopped some 20km down the road to have some coffee at my Mini Shop Mini Parts International. They were 'just about ready' and at 4.30am we had gotten 'the show on the road'. As we were going down south a bit more we took our own route and passed the others early on. We made good time but also had regular stops, either to take in fuel, or to take a couple of short naps as the night proved to have been a wee bit to short at times :) A large part of the time involved driving on the notorious German "Autobahn", where there are stretches with no speedlimits and drivers with no sense. Apart from one Saab hurdling down the road at high speed (I was only doing about 150km/h at the time :) who tried to beam me out of his way (which didn't work for some reason :), there weren't any close driving situations along the way.
As we came closer and closer to Munich it became clear that Paul's Mini wouldn't want to start. In the end neither Paul nor Tom made it to the IMM unfortunately.We continued to make good time while driving and relaxing while stopping. That is, Arnoud and I did. Angus had a different rhythm. He'd fall asleep minutes after we'd set off and wake up whenever we would stop again. The racket my Van makes while on the move didn't seem to bother him and even to help rock him to sleep. Good thing I didn't actually need a navigator and knew where I was going :)
We didn't have any troubles along the way. Other weren't as fortunate though. We stopped to help a couple who'd stranded with a broken throttle-cable (it was easy to spot who of the two was the Miniac :), but they didn't require any help. We later also heard of an unfortunate Dutch couple, who's Mini had flipped and who'd ended up in hospital. Latest news at the time of this writing is that they are doing well and coming back home, helped by various other Miniacs and attendees of the IMM.
On arrival at Pettenbach it turned out the weather hadn't been
as good there as we'd had all day. The roads on the grounds had
already turned into a mud-pool. Fun to play in (although you
weren't allowed :), but hard to keep your Mini in
concourse-condition. After a stretch (otherwise known as
'finding John & Yvonne') and bumping in to one or two people
we know (some of whom are a treat to bump into :), we stumbled
upon John and Yvonne (IL) and two other people I didn't know.
Or at least I didn't recognize! They were my long lost pals Steve Dix (IL) of Snorty fame, and Helena (IL) whom I go back with will way back MLM 8 time.
So there I was, with egg on my face :)
After an intimate greeting by Yvonne :), we pitched the tents next to them and started a weekend of 'lounging'.
Sa June 2nd & Su June 3rd
The lounging basically consists of hanging out, talking to people and the odd party in a tent, somewhere in a field (in Austria this time :). The weather was great (well, at least I thought it was :), the people enjoyable (apart from the boyfriend of some girl misinterpreting my c00l XI-dance :) and the Mini's... well standing there :)
I again met with loads of International Miniacs. Haven't counted the countries they came from but I make it to more than a dozen and three continents easily. This in fact _is_ an International Mini Meeting.
Sunday didn't start out to well, resulting a various people breaking up camp and heading out just after the raffle (nope, I didn't win the Mini). This also meant more room for the rest of us to play around in (Even if we still weren't allowed :). And as the saying goes; 'after rain there is sunshine', and that there was.
Not for long though :) That night the tent barely held on to it's last peg from being blown into obliviation. But it, and we, those who stuck it out, survived.
All in all another couple of great 'war-stories' and a good time re-finding friends from all over the world, somewhere in a field (in Austria :).
|The Drinking Game
|Arnoud Happy :)||Still in a field
Arnoud, Jukka, Angus
Mo June 4th
After getting up to early I found most of the troop I'd 'lounged' with over the weekend had already set off to warmer places. I couldn't blame them as the packing of the tent in the icy-rain with gusting winds nearly froze my hands off. It wasn't this cold in Finland last year! Jukka of course had to show that he is used to this kind of weather and declined the offers of a ride into town, as 'the walk would do him good.' Yeah right :)
Angus and I were heading for warmer places too. Vienna to be exact. Although Angus stayed awake this time (I took a nap along the way though :), his navigational skills were still not tested as a good map and a sense of where you're going is often all that's needed and I'd been there before.
Where ? At Martin ('Evil Swiss')'s place. He had courteously invited us to come and hang at his place for a couple of days. As it had been a couple of years since we'd met in person I took him up on that.
As Angus was flying out the next morning we did a small tour of some of the important buildings of Vienna (I think it's tram-line 3 that takes you past them :), en route to a sushi restaurant where we had... sushi! :) We weren't really up for a heavy night on the town so rented a movie (American Beauty) and stayed in.
Tue June 5th
Rise and shine and drop Angus off at the airport time. I made sure he got checked in alright and then headed back to Martin's for some more R&R.
I have some more friends in Vienna and as with meeting Martin one of the reasons to go there after the IMM was to hook up with them again.
One of them is Alex Braun, who we unfortunately didn't meet. Another was Patrick Hediger and his new wife Giovanna Dominguez.
So after going downtown to do some shopping and having a bite to eat in a local Greek restaurant, where we were joined by Martin's friend Andy, we met with Patrick back at Martin's place. The rest of the evening was spend lounging and catching up.
Martin, Patrick, Andy
Wed 6th June
My last day in Vienna. As Martin had 'places to go & people to meet', I slept in and went in town on my own. Spend some time hanging around some field (yes, still in Austria :) in a park. As I knew where Martin would be hanging out I tried finding him, but with the help of some locals ended up in a different bar, where he found me :) After finishing my drink we went over to another bar (no this wasn't a bar-tour :) to meet with Patrick and Giovanna and talked with them about marriage, work and their upcoming move to Madrid.
As luck had it a colleague of mine was in Vienna that day to, as was a former colleague who worked at the embassy there. We arranged a short meet at the 'Opera', after which we headed back to Martin's place. Dinner was served at a 'Stube' that evening and for the occasion we drove there in the Van; a new experience for Martin as he'd heard of my Mini's but never actually sat in one of them :)
Thu 7th June
All good things come to an end and so did my visit with Martin. He had a busy weekend coming up though, so he wouldn't be missing me much :)
On the way out of Vienna I found a local tire shop that helped me balance my front wheels that were in dire need of such treatment. They'd never seen a car like mine before (which told me they had no experience with it and thus I gave some advice on how to treat it :) and were very interested, specially in the tire side of it. They looked up all kinds of tires that might fit and even came up with two that I hadn't heard of before. (Surprisingly they didn't comment on my Kuomo tire :).
Then I went on towards Munchen to meet up with Paul and Tom. And I made good time doing so (yes there still are parts in Germany where there is no speedlimit :). Didn't have much trouble finding Paul's place or a parkingspot for the Van.
Met with Paul (no to hard to do when you go to someone's place :) and later Tom also joined us.
The latter had been ill, which showed in a loss of weight. So we decided it was time to get some 'meat on the ribs' again and headed out to a bar to get some good bar-food, served by a very friendly waitress :) After enjoying this German hospitality we got some drinks and went back to Paul's place to take in some English culture (Men Behaving Badly, The Fast show and such :). During the conversations it became clear Paul's Mini was in no state to drive anywhere, so they would have to miss out on the planned weekend at Francorchamps watching the Mini races.
Fri 8th June
Got up fairly early as Paul had to go to work and I had quite a drive in front of me. Then again, this still was largely on the German Autobahn so it didn't take me too long to reach Francorchamps :) There were Mini races there that weekend, so I walked in to the paddock and talked to a couple of people I'd met there last time. Among them were the Let's brothers, who were doing a bit better than last time. I noticed they had the Same shocks on their racers as I had installed the week before and they told me they were very satisfied with them ,as well on their racers as on their street cars.
After browsing the paddock I headed over to the infamous bar near the circuit (Tom will know which one I mean :) and had dinner there. Talked to some other people who wehre there for the Mini races, turned out one of them had relatives in the Netherlands.
Although I'd planned to stay there for the weekend I decided against it and headed back home, which was only a two hour drive away.
So after just over a week and some 2500km's I was back home in my own bed. Again a trip well worth taking with again the highlight(s) being meeting with long lost or newly made friends...