JCWRallye
MTTS2016Map

So summer is here, it’s an even year, and you want to go on a mighty road trip with your MINI, and a few hundred friends. Lucky for you then that MINI Takes the States is a thing. Whether you’re doing the whole thing, half, or even just a single leg, you’re going to want to make sure everything is in order before you set off.


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Things to do before you go:

  1. Have any time/distance-based maintenance that will be due during the trip done before you leave.
  2. Unless your car is brand spanking new you should probably have it inspected:
    • Tire tread level and tire pressures (rotate if neccessary)
    • Check alignment
    • Check brakes
    • Check fluid levels (oil, coolant, power steering, brakes, windshield washer)
    • Test battery
  3. Call your bank and credit card companies to make sure they know you will be traveling
  4. Book your hotels and plan your route to and from the venues
  5. Study Google Maps of the areas you will be in:
    • all major routes in and out
    • construction and detours
    • places to stock up on goods for the cooler
  6. If leaving Canada you’ll want to secure a data plan for your phone (normal roaming costs a small fortune)
    • Rogers phones are compatible with T-Mobile/AT&T
      • Rogers offers”Roam Like Home” for $5/day (capped at $50, usage cap based on plan)
      • Unlocked phones can use pre-paid plans from T-Mobile or AT&T
    • Bell & Telus phones are compatible with Verizon
      • Bell offers “Roam Better” for $5/day (no cost cap, data cap of 100MB/day)
      • Telus offers “Easy Roam” for $7/day (no cost cap, usage cap based on plan)
      • Unlocked phones can use Verizon pre-paid plans
    • World phones come unlocked and are compatible with any network by definition
  7. Create a mix tape on your phone (~12 hours of music per day, downloaded in advance)
    • CDs & MP3 players are acceptable substitutes (you Luddite)

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Things to bring with you:

  1. Proof of insurance and roadside assistance membership card
  2. Passports if you intend to leave the country
  3. Co-pilot (at least one human)
  4. Phone charger (USB outlets in cars are usually USB 1.0 and can’t charge a modern phone fast enough)
  5. Paper Maps (never hurts to have them as a backup)
  6. Emergency Rations (drinking water and non-perishable food)
  7. Cooler for snacks and beverages (not to be confused with the above, restock at grocery stores)
  8. Flashlight (there are times where your phone just won’t cut it)
  9. FRS/GMRS radios, chargers, and extra batteries (usually tuned to channel 7/21)
  10. Cash (especially if your in rural parts of the USA where debit and credit are not as prevalent)
  11. A spare tire if there is room for one, or an air compressor that runs off 12v and a patch kit if you don’t
  12. A spare towel (always have your towel)
  13. Sunscreen
  14. Brimmed hat or driving cap
  15. UV protectant sunglasses (polarized lenses also help)
  16. Gravol (sometimes people get motion sick)
  17. Chapstick
  18. Folding chairs
  19. Bug spray/repellent for outdoor events (30% Deet, or 20% Picaridin)
  20. Cameras, GoPros and Drones (Oh my!)

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Things to do during your trip:

  1. Familiarize yourself with any route books/sheets by following them on a map or plotting them into your GPS
  2. Make friends (especially locals, they often know better routes than the official one and places to eat)
  3. Take lots of pictures and video (post them each night to make people insanely jelly)
  4. Plan out food/rest stops based on time, not distance and have backup plans (pee every chance you get)
  5. Look out for wildlife (even when you’re not out in the back country)
  6. Pack fewer clothes and take advantage of overnight laundry at your hotel (if they provide it)
  7. Drive safely (there have been serious MINI on MINI collisions in the past)
  8. Clean your MINI at every opportunity (OR refuse to clean your MINI the whole trip)
  9. HAVE FUN!!!
  10. And trust me on the sunscreen…