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 2000 the IMM was organized by the Mini Club Flying Finns ry
in Saariselka the 8th through 12th of June.
The 'preparations' for this trip started even as long as 1½ years before the actual event.
The actual preparations were done closer towards the event though; a couple of months in advance for most.
The pages used (by me anyway) to do the preparation can be found here.
Some scans of newspaper-article's and other IMM related documents can be found here.
As the event was getting closer, my Karma was getting worse. First, two of the people who were interested in joining me had to cancel, secondly just two weeks before the event and one week before the start of my holiday my gearbox sort of started to disintegrate, as you can read in my report of my Brussels - London - Brighton trip. My Mini-shop, Mini Parts International, came through for me big time though (no matter what others say :) enabling me to make the trip in my Van afterall.
Wed 31st May.
Had the day off to do all my preparations for the trip and clean up my house a bit as John & Yvonne, International Mini-List Lister (IL) and Andy (IL)& Manon , a Dutch Mini List Lister (DL), would be coming over on Sunday before we would leave on Monday. Didn't feel very well, so the preparations took a long while and I hadn't finished yet before I left for a short break in the south of NL with my family.
Thu 1st June - Sa 3rd June.
Was spend on a short break with my family.
Sun 4th June.
As I was away for the weekend before, I couldn't set off for Saariselka until Monday the 5th.
I was driving up north together with Mr & Mrs 'EngPow' (John & Yvonne England) in their Mini 40 and 'Andy in Belgium' and Manon in Andy's British Open.
I set off back home at around 11:30am and on my way stopped at Manon's place where Andy had already arrived. Drove back to my place, where John & Yvonne had also already arrived. So first we hung around a little, had lunch and talked for some time.
After lunch we parked the Mini's in a garage overnight and collected some extra beds for my guests to sleep on. I took one back in my Van and Andy 'walked' one back to my place. Was a weird sight; seeing someone walking a bed instead of a dog :)
We had dinner at a local restaurant and strolled along the river for a bit afterwards. Back at my place we talked some more and at a certain point John, Yvonne and Manon went to bed. As I hadn't quite finished my preparation or packing yet I spend the rest of the evening/night doing so, under supervision of Andy. By the time that was done I (being the email-junky that I am :) had to check my email. At which point I learned that Henko (DL) had blown his engine the day he was supposed to leave, but in the mean time had sourced another and replaced it and was afterall ready to head off for the North together with his navigator Dennis (IL/DL). I won't mention what time I actually did get to bed, suffice to say I didn't get too much sleep that night :)
Mon 5th June.
With the IMM starting on Friday we'd planned to arrive there Thursday evening. This meant we sort of had to keep a 'wo/men on a mission' pace for the drive up doing about 800km the 1st and 4th day and 600km the 2nd and 3rd day. To start off well we got up around 7am. Given that our getting-up-rituals weren't in sync yet we didn't actually start driving till about 9:45 though. Upon departure I got a SMS message on my mobile from HW (Hans-Willem to those in the know :) (IL/DL) and his navigator Remco who at that time just had entered Sweden. Their progress was reported en route on www.remcom.org, which gave those that had to stay behind a chance to get a bit of look and feel of the event. The SMS messages proved to be an asset to keep all the teams up2date of each-others progress and to set up meetings along the way.
Apart from a slight navigational glitch for Andy and Manon at
the start, due to an inclarity in their routedescription the
drive up to the Puttgarden-Rodby ferry was pretty uneventful. On
the ferry I caught up a bit on my lack of sleep of the night
before and consequently sort of missed to call to return to the
cars. Thus I found the others waiting in their Mini's on an
otherwise clear cardeck :) On the way through Denmark we saw a
number of bikers going our way. Through talking to a bunch of
them at gas-stops we found they were heading for a biker-meeting
in the south of Finland that coming weekend.
Around 7pm we got to the Helsingor-Helsingborg ferry. Lining up we met two guys from Birmingham in a Pickup who were having some problems which were quite clear given the smoke coming out of their exhaust. After the short crossing we made it to Sweden at around 8pm. Did a bit of a run-around town stopping at the tourist office to get some 'souvenirs' and trying to find the local campsite were we ended up hiring a cabin (caravan) for the night. After another bit of driving we found the local McD where they had their own approach at 'Fast Food' :) Yvonne spend some time shopping (nothing like Tesco's of course) and John and I hang at a table looking like Dodgy Geezers doing what we called 'The Colombian thing', which in our case does involve white stuff, but that's merely the sugar we put in our coffee :) Back at the cabin I got to sleep on 'the couch' and spend some part of the night keeping some of the others awake by talking to Andy. Got to sleep at about the same time as the night before :)
Tue 6th June.
As we were already a bit more in sync (as much as you can expect people with such different bio-rhythm's to get into sync that is :) we didn't get up until 8am this time. Not to leave till about 10am though. The day started out with rain but the weather cleared up after a couple of hours. The rain and the stretches of two-lane roads (basically a road as wide as a dual carriageway but with just two lanes, where the traffic moves to the side if someone wants to overtake) gave John his first chances at some of his 'Kamikaze' overtaking maneuvers. I guess he in his RHD Mini could see 'openings' that we in our LHD Mini's couldn't :)
In Stockholm we hit some rush-hour traffic. While moving along slowly we suddenly saw two Mini's parked on the side/up the embankment. Of course we stopped.
Turned out it was Henko and Dennis who were helping Rik (DL)
with some fuelproblems he was having. Eventually, with the help
of Andy among others, the problem was sorted (we thought :) and
we all continued on our way towards Uppsala, our destination for
that day to meet Micke (IL) and some other Swedish Miniacs. In
Uppsala we met Micke at the end of the highway. End of the
highway ? Yes indeed, from there on it was the before mentioned
two-lane roads all the way up.
We first drove to a very nice parking, in front of some old building, overlooking a park and part of Uppsala to have a small Mini-meet with some other Swedish Miniacs; Joel, Linnea, Joakim, Anders and Johan (who drove a MGA :) to name a couple. Star of the meet most likely was Joel's limo-Mini, which unfortunately is not likely to ever be roadlegal because of some weight-distribution-problems. After the meet we drove down to Micke's place and had a BBQ on the grounds of his flat. Theo (IL/DL) and Henk (IL/DL) had also just arrived there. Before we started the BBQ we first drove down to a meet of old-timers that was being held close by. While parking there Andy found that his ground-clearance wasn't as big as he'd thought it to be :)
After looking at some non-Mini material there we headed back to Micke's place for the BBQ, which by that time was already fired up. Although it already didn't get really dark in the evenings/night there anymore, it was a bit chilly outside, which didn't stop us from enjoying the BBQ (and some other things to keep us warm :) with the mix of international Miniacs though. Micke had offered a place to crash for the lot of us, as had HW & Remco done the night before, but given the sheer number of us a Miniac friend of his, Carin, also offered to put up with a number of us. So John & Yvonne and Manon & me followed her to her apartment. Which was easier said then done; she knows how to drive a Mini, I can say that much :)
|T - Torkel, M - Micke, L - Linnea, J - Joakim, H - Henko, D - Dennis, M - Manon and Andy's hands.|
Wed 7th June.
At 7:30am it was rise and shine. Well, for those of us who do that sort of thing. I just got up :)
Got to meet Carin's friend Staffan, had some breakfast and on our way we were. That is... not till after some who'd forgot a couple of things went back and collected them :). Meetingpoint with the others was at a gas-station just outside of Uppsala. We decided that driving a big convoy wouldn't be a good idea, so Henko & Dennis and Rik joined us while Theo and Henk joined Micke and his team.
Staffan&Carin, J&Y's 40's and my Van
The morning had started out again with rain and just before Gavle my wipers decided to give it a miss. Turned out the wipercable had broke close to the wiperengine. Fortunately Micke and his team stopped at the same place we had and he arranged for us to go over to one of his mates, Peter, home in Gavle, who supplied us with another cable, though a bit shorter one so I now only had one wiper left. While work was done on my Van, the others had a good look around the beautiful shop and Mini's that Peter has.
By that time the rain had gone and the drive up north was a sunny from there on. In Sundsvall we had agreed to meet Team M.I.N.I., consisting of Scott and Kim, Andy and Sara Browne and the Smith's; Chris, Ann and Emily, for lunch. We arrived there at about 2pm but found no other Mini's there. Nor had the people working there seen any other Mini's there yet that day. After a while Micke and his group caught up with us again. We had lunch till about 3pm, even spotted some English Mini's passing, but no show of Team M.I.N.I. Gave a call to Chris Smith who said he was about 2 hours behind Team M.I.N.I. which would mean they were already ahead of us. So we decided to head on as we hoped to reach Umea that day. Said goodbye to Micke and party, as they were heading for Ornskoldvik.
When we got to Ornskoldvik and stopped to take in some gas,
Rik's Mini was playing up again. The carb was pulled again, an
inline filter installed and things seemed to be fine again. In
the mean time Henko sorted a loom-problem by bypassing one of the
wires in it that had burned. While working on the cars, some
local Miniacs; Hakan and Micke (other-one :) also arrived. As I
had let Micke know where we were he had given them a call to see
if they could be of some help.
After about a mile or so we had to stop again. And yet again Rik's carb was pulled, new gaskets made etc. By then we had lost some time so I called ahead to the campsite in Umea and made reservations for the 8 of us for the night. While on the side of the road (some working on the Mini, others enjoying the sun :), Micke also stopped there for a while, as well did Hakan again. Chris Smith also stopped and told us they were also heading for Umea. When leaving Hakan's Mini gave up and he had to be towed home by some friends.
On route to Umea I got to show that John and Andy weren't the only ones who could do Kamikaze like overtaking maneuvers; it only looked like I drove under that truck though, in fact I was well clear of it :) At arrival on the campsite around 10pm I saw that Scott and party also had set up camp there. After saying hello to them we installed ourselves in the cabin we had rented and decided to delve into Henko and Dennis's survival supplies. While dinner was made Andy and I headed over to the BBQ the others were having and also said hello to the Browne's and Phil and Ken (of "Ken O'Hare Racing" fame), who had joined them along the way. Got a taste of, ehhh, talk to Kim, who was enjoying the trip very much, was doing excellent navigation and even got to drive Boris (the Mini) on the right side of the road. I guess in retrospect one could say that Scott had one of the best Babe-navigators :) We invited them to come to our cabin (where as it turned out Phil and Ken also were staying) for drink later and we went back to the cabin to get some food. The cabin was one whith separate bedrooms (with bunk beds) and a communal area. As luck would have it all the Miniacs were in the same cabin, as was one other guy called Lars, who got to share in the Mini-fun :)
|M - Manon, L - Lars, H -
J - John, R - Rik
By that time we had (obviously) learned that Andy Murray had not been able to make it to the ferry and thus was not able to make it to the IMM. I can't even begin to imagine how he must have felt, specially since the reason he didn't make it was a very trivial one. As a result though his navigator John Bullas was desperately trying to organize a alternative for himself just to make sure he would be able to make it to and back from the IMM. I got a call from him which I passed on to Scott. After a bit of deliberation we came up with some solutions, none of them had any guarantees though. In the end John made it to Rovaniemi where he was picked up by the Smith's. The rest of the evening was spend exchanging war-stories about the trip so far and Mini-talk in general. Don't know what time we got to bed, but can't have been to late as it was still light out :)
Thu 8th June.
Team M.I.N.I. had already left by the time we were ready to go and we didn't see them again till later that evening. The day's goal was Saariselka. Had the by that time usual problems with Rik's fuel-feed. Don't know if we stopped two or three times, do remember stopping in Skellefttea under an overpass and checking out the local 'Babes' together with John (when it comes to fixing cars I'm more of a supporter and consultant then an actual worker :).
Reached Finland around 5pm/6pm local time and continued on our way, stopping just north of Rovaniemi to do the 'tourist thing'; make a picture of the 'arctic circle' sign and a 'drive by picture' of Santa's post-office.
Around 10pm we arrived at Saariselka and after a short
run-around found the big 'IMM 2000' banner at the Tunturi hotel
complex. At registration we got to meet Johanna, who's looks
turned out to fit her nice personality. As Rik hadn't registered
nor made any other reservations yet, he posed as my
'babe-navigator', albeit bringing a Mini of his own :) While
registering I met Jukka (IL) and also caught up with Team
The apartment I'd arranged the 7 (John, Yvonne, Andy, Manon, Rik, Henk and myself) of us to stay in was a treat. Jacuzzi, Sauna, 3 bedrooms, living, you name it. As it turned out most (all ?) of the Dutch attendees were in the apartment next to us, which was even bigger.
After getting settled in we walked down to the bar and had a bite to eat. Also met up with Team M.I.N.I. there and got to talk to Kim a bit more as well as a lot of the 'old' and 'new' faces that attend IMM's. I guess it must have been around 3am when we got to bed. Although with no darkness at anytime to give you a hint whether it was day or night and since I don't really 'do' time to begin with, my sense of time and even days was already way out of sync by then.
Fri 9th June.
The official start of the IMM 2000. Which I missed because I was still in bed by that time :) I also missed Johanna being proposed to by Antti and accepting; I guess they'll remember this IMM till the lengths of time. I did get up around 10am, woken by my mobile that I'd forgotten to turn off the night before, followed by the sound of Yvonne filling the dishwasher. Didn't really wake up till about 12pm though after which I took a nice long bath in the Jacuzzi while some of the others set off for a trip to the Russian border. By the time I felt all revived again Henk had arrived and got settled and John and Yvonne had returned and we headed over to the display area where all the Mini's were parked.
There were several reasons I'd decided to go to this IMM. One being it was an IMM and these events usually are a lot of fun; a weekend long party with fellow Miniacs. A second was the fact that it was such a long way to get there; 250km north of the Arctic Circle, which only added to the adventure of it. Also, since the event was held a 'mere' 450km south of the North Cape, a place I've been planning to go to for some years, it was a perfect excuse to finally do that, and even in the Van as well. Then of course it meant meeting a number of my international Mini-friends again, some of whom I only get to see every other year or so. And last but certainly not least, through a couple of these friends I knew that Fins have a special attitude towards cars and Mini's are no exception. Although it was still a bit hush-hush, I knew there were going to be some very unusual Mini's there. So with three directives already accomplished (we were there, had met some of the other Miniacs and already had started the party :), we spend the afternoon meeting some more of our Miniac friends and checking out the Mini's on display.
Some that stood out were an off-road version of a Van, on some BFW with a BFE as well as the 8-port Mini that also attended last years' IMM. Two others were owned by Viku, a friend of Jukka; the green roadster (as already featured on Jukka's page here) and his new project' a 16V engine in a black Clubman (as featured on Jukka's site) . Although this has been done before; there are 16V heads for the Mini's A-series engine, as well as some known conversions using engines from other cars, Viku had taken another approach that some even after being told it was done, could not believe. He fitted a RangeRover V8 on top of an Austin Princess gearbox. All this was done with just a slight change of the subframe and consequently he'd built a 3.5l V8 Mini while retaining all the aspects of a Mini. An incredible job and very professionally done. I guess the only reason he won the 'best of show' prize with his roadster and not his V8 Clubman was because he didn't leave the hood open all the time. Another weird project involved fitting 15" wheels on a Mini that as later turned out belonged to the guy we got to know as 'Flea'. His reason for fitting them was 'they send me the wrong size so I made them fit'. But not all Mini's of interest were Finish. One immaculate looking, with lots of chrome, Innocenti Estate proved to be of a Swiss (NOT China or Chili :) IL-er Toni of the Mini Club Luzern. He said that while Innocenti Estates had been produced, this was not an original one but a converted Clubman Estate. He could have fooled me. Another interesting part on his Mini, to me at least, given it has the same rear-end as my Van, was his self-constructed 60l gas-tank. I could have done with one of those :) I also finally got to see Jukka's Turbo Intercooled Mini in the flesh as well as some of the 'usual suspects'; highly tuned Mini's with Turbo's, Intercoolers and lots of chromy bits :)
|a 16V||Another 16V ?||1400cc Roadster||Another 16V !||Tight fit||Viku and his Mini's|
|Just his Mini's||Big Wheels !||8 Porter||Pink||Next Year||Inno-Estate ?|
In the mean time some more IL-ers had arrived. John Bullas AKA
'Fat Bloke' for one had made it and immediately started a search
for a lift back as he'd only been able to make arrangements to
get to the IMM but none to get back. Also got to meet Marcin and
his wife Minna as well as Pasi R. in real life for the first
Walking back to the bar some really Dodgy Geezer tried to sell us all kinds of Mini-related stuff out of plastic bags. Naturally we declined :)
After having some bar-food again we got the idea of setting up a virtual meet with the people back home through the webcam in Saariselka. John and Yvonne already knew where the webcam was at so we placed my Van in a strategic position and I called my brother and Rien, a friend of mine, who then guided us to the place where we were sort of visible on the webcam. (See the, although not entirely accurate, entry for June 9th and 10th in Rien's online journal 'Reality Asylum') As the cam only took a picture every couple of minutes it took a while to find the right place to stand.
After having marked the correct position we tried to get in touch with someone who could put a message to as well the IL as DL to inform people we would be there the next night at 11pm local time. This proved to be a bit hard as no-one was answering their phone. In the end Micke and I headed down to the apartment of HW & Remco, as they had access to the Internet in order to update their website while on the move. While enjoying some of Micke's whiskey (yes I know I normally don't 'do' whiskey :) and looking at Remco doing his geek-stuff with the CAJUN (See their website http://ww.remcom.org for explanation of CAJUN), Dennis told me he'd send a message to CMC. As there was some confusion on the times though I gave CMC a call and he said he'd put a message on both lists for us. With the virtual meet set up, and the remote of the CAJUN running it was time to hit the bar again :)
|H - Henk, S - Scott, Ho -Henko, J - John B., T - Theo, R - Rik, A - I, An - Andy, N - Neil, Grms - Couple of German ladies, ? - ???|
Which we did. Also talked to the guys we met at the ferry in Helsingor again, who arrived from a roundtrip they made that day to the North Cape! They told some horrorstories about the roads leading up htere, but their PickUp was still going strong. At about 3am in the morning I think (it felt like it was 3am anyway, but as I'm supposed to have said; "I don't do time. I go to bed when it gets dark", which those who know me know not to be true :) we turned in.
Sat 10th June.
As this in fact _was_ supposed to be a holiday I figured I should at least get some 8 hours sleep for once, so I didn't get up till around noon. I'm told I'm very cute when I sleep and it seems there is some evidence of this around somewhere. Not sure if I'll ever get to see it though :)
We hung around at the apartment a bit, playing music and
talking... well Mini's mainly :) As we were as close as most of
us would get to it and since we were told it was quite and
interesting drive John, Yvonne, Henk and myself decided to visit
the Russian border that day. The first bit of road was quite
good, but about 10 miles after Ivalo it changed into a gravel
surface. According to the signs on the side of the road it would
be finished somewhere around September 2001. The road proved not
to be filled with big holes though, so was quite driveable and
with the sunny weather the scenery was nice too. The border
itself was just that; a border. Not much to see, but we took a
couple of pictures anyway to show we actually where there. After
'talking' to a non-English speaking customs person (or was he
military ?) and two German Miniacs who also showed up, we headed
back. This time using somewhat higher speeds; I'm sure the normal
speedlimits don't apply to gravel roads :)
Along the way we stopped to enjoy the scenery and ehhh... enjoy it some more :) When we got back it was time to wash the Mini's again as the sand was literally everywhere. I guess I'll still be finding some of it somewhere in my Van a couple years from now.
|Onto Russia||Henk @ border||Onto Murmansk ?
John & Yvonne
|Mini in the sand||Scenery
Yvonne & John
Saturday was the day of the 'traditional X-mas dinner'. No, they didn't confuse the dates, but in the land of Santa what other theme might you give a dinner for a bunch of foreigners ?! The food was very good, although the table of the IL-ers wasn't strategically placed, IOW; we were last in line :)
|C - Carin, S - Scott, A - I, J - John, Y - Yvonne, R - Rik, T - Theo|
After dinner and some (Mini ? :) talk we went outside as it was about time for the virtual meet at the webcam. Unfortunately this was one of the few times where it was raining and thus cloudy and a bit on the cold side. So the boys(m/f) were separated from the men(m/f) as some decided they liked the warmth of the X-mas party (Santa was singing the blues by then :) better.
|An - Andy, A - I, Ho - Henko, Y - Yvonne, T - Theo, H - Henk, Jb - John B., Mi - Micke, S - Scott, Ma - Marcin, Ju - Jukka, J - John, R - Rik, Ab - Andy B.|
After having done the virtual meet (and confirmation that we indeed had been seen by some), some headed back to the apartment and hung out there for a while. Gave Jukka the badge I'd brought for him and even talked a bit about his work. By the time Henk and I were about ready to hit the bar again Andy returned saying that the rest had already retired for the night (normally the dark part of the day, now just the same grayness :). We decided to go and have a look anyway and found at least some of the Dutch still going strong. So were some Germans and the Fins who'd won the breakdrum-shot-put competition. Although the latter were sort of cheating by drinking milk instead of the more serious liquids available. They qualified as a weird bunch anyway though, if not for any other reason then the way they'd decorated the Mini they'd decided to make the 1350km trip up north in.
At about 3am the party at the bar was unwinding a bit so Henk and I decided to head back 'home'. On arrival there we heard some strange noises coming from the neighbors' apartment and on further investigation we found a party going on where two Swedish brothers were playing 20-ies through 50-ies music on a portable record player for an international crowd of German, Swedish English and Finish Miniacs. The invitation to join (and add another nationality to the group) was not left unanswered and the first impression we made was a good one as we brought our own booze. Lateron Manon also joined the fun. I'm not sure what it was I did, might be that I was a bit to friendly to the women present or maybe they had a natural distrust of some Dodgy Dutch Geezer rolling his own cigarettes, but at a certain point I was strongly asked by the two Swedish brothers to 'Leave NOW!'. As there is not point in arguing with people who obviously had more then one to many I gladly accepted that 'invitation' too and headed back to bed. Not sure if it was the fresh air up there, or Henk's peach-vodka we'd been drinking, but I had some very strange dreams that night :)
Sun 11th June.
Got up at 11am as the raffle that Pasi H., one of the organizers, had been able to sell me a couple of tickets for was being held at noon. With my Karma not exactly back up to speed yet I of course didn't win anything. But Henko, Andy, Marcin and Pasi R. did win something so all in all we didn't do to bad. The grand prize was won by Philippe Delauw the Belgian organizer of the Belgian Mini Coast Tour.
After the raffle it was time to line up for a drive to Ivalo and the top of the 'mountain' (fell they call it), which is more of a hill actually. Pasi H. and his daughter joined John in their Mini while Yvonne hopped in the, by now nicknamed 'Shed', Mini of, by now nicknamed 'Shabby Geezer', Rik and Manon joined me for the drive. I was about last in line (wonder why that is :), as was Jukka who'd just returned from bringing his family to the airport in Ivalo. Since his friends in the green roadster and pink cabrio were a bit more upfront we had some overtaking to do on the drive to Ivalo. Although my Van obviously is no match for his Turbo-Intercooler Mini, I could keep up rather well with him. We're pretty sure we didn't break any speedlimits :) After the photo-opportunity in Ivalo, where the 8-port Mini had a bit of trouble starting as it was missing about 20cm of the starterring on the flywheel, another photo-opportunity came at the top of the hill near the hotel-complex. Although the structure didn't look to sturdy and a number of the steps on it's stairs were missing, I decided to live dangerously and climb a structure that gave a great overview of the Mini's as well as the hill and Saariselka at the bottom of the hill :)
|Jukka @ Fell||I on top||View from top||Andy, Jukka & I
(right) @ Fell
|Johanna & Antti @ Fell
Andy & Theo (left)
|Boris - Scott's Mini, A - I, S - Scott, K - Kim, H - Henk, Ab - Andy B.|
Back at the apartment we had a look at some maps trying to
figure out who was going where and when. In the end Andy, Manon
and I decided to head for the NorthCape, John and Yvonne planned
a route south that would enable them to visit some of the towns
along route and Rik was going to head home, dropping Henk of in
Rovaniemi on the way. I then first hit the Jacuzzi again before
we did another Walkabout of the grounds, to find that most the
Mini's hadn't returned to the display area. As some were already
leaving and others were packing up we said our good-byes to all
our Miniac friends and wished them all a safe return home.
Dinner was next and the rest of the evening was spend hanging at the apartment pre-packing, talking, drinking and basically being merry. As we all had a long day ahead of us we called it a night at about 2am.
Mon 12th June.
The official end of the IMM. Got up at 8am and sleepwalked to have breakfast, a first for me that weekend :) Finished packing and loading everything in the Van again. Rik, Henk and Theo already had gone their separate ways by then. Said goodbye to John and Yvonne who were going south and together with some of the Dutch Miniacs headed up north towards the North Cape. Some of the roads upwards were really bad ones, albeit having tarmac, but also a lot of holes and bumps in them, which made the wheels hit their bumpstops and the arches in a nasty way a couple of times. After taking in gas for the second time my remaining wiper decided to pack it in. Later it turned out the cable had got stuck on the 2nd notch and after a bit of persuasion it worked again. In Norway the scenery changed from what we'd been used to; forest and lakes to the more rugged view of the Porsangen Fjord. Although the roads were better then we had been told, there were some bad stretches of gravel road.
We finally did make it to the North Cape, basically a rock with a view on water and some touristtraps. In short one of those 'Been there, Done that, Got the T-shirt' places. And yes, we made it; were there, did it and got some T-shirts :) On the drive up we'd passed a couple of Mini's, of which only one Marcos showed up while we were there, as well did Theo.
As there really wasn't that much to hang around for, we decided to try and make it back to Saariselka again that day. On the way back we met Henko & Dennis, HW & Remco and their group, who'd taken a more relaxed pace. The overcast, chilly and at times rainy weather wasn't inviting for a 'stop and smell the roses' kind of trip though. We said good-bye to them and started out on our drive back again. Although reception had been open 24h during the IMM I'd gotten the impression this wasn't the case on normal days and as I found when I called ahead they indeed closed at 10pm. As Andy & Manon stopped in Ivalo to get some cash, I had to do some serious speeding in the end on what by that time were mostly gas-fumes in order to make it back time, but I did. We got a double bedroom apartment this time, again with sauna. I must say that the cost-quality level of the Tunturi hotel is at a very high level. The bar, where we got ourselves some bar-food, was a very different picture from the nights before, with now just the three of us there. Nice and quiet. Talked to the woman running the bar for a bit and learned that only about 4000 beers had been drunk that weekend. I guess a number of people came prepared and had brought their own :) After hanging out at the apartment for a while and looking at the MTV awards for a bit, we turned in at about 1am.
Tue 13th - Thu 15th June.
On Tuesday, after saying goodbye to two Austrian Miniacs in the red cabrio, we drove down to Umea where we ended up on the same campsite, although a different cabin this time as on our way up. My wipers failed again a couple of times and in the end we ended up cutting a bit more from the wipercable which solved the problems. Andy's exhaust had taken hard beatings the day before and decided to come lose, which was easily fixed. We'd been lucky enough to have mostly dry weather during the trip, but on way to Umea it really pissed. Unfortunately my Van doesn't like the combination of water on the road, pissing down and a hard front wind, so at a certain point it decided to pack it in. Turned out the main lead from the coil was misfiring to the oilcooler when it got really wet, which was solved by using a replacement Andy'd brought. Other 'highlight' of the day were the people in the cabin next to us, who obviously didn't realize how thin the walls between these cabins were :) Fortunately the 'chicken-noise' only lasted about 35 seconds :)
Wednesday was pretty uneventful. Made good time driving down to Stockholm (we'd planned to at least make it to Uppsala) but got stuck in the rush-hour there for a bit again. Arriving at Jonkoping we decided it would be best to take advantage of the good driving conditions and try to make it back to Helsingborg. Called ahead to the campsite we'd stayed at on the way up and sort of got a reservation sorted. One thing that did change along the way was the fact that it got dark again in the evening. So we now got to practice our 'creating 3-lane roads on 2-lane roads' techniques in the dark with trucks going both ways. Sometimes having a small Mini is an advantage :) After some 1250km we arrived at the campsite in Helsingborg around 'half 11pm' (23:30 for normal folks :) and after a call or three got the cabin sorted.
Made a small detour on Thursday driving to the ferry but got there around 10am. My Van had already started running roughly in the morning and this didn't improve over the day. As we still suspected some lose connection we spent quite some time fiddling with this, even in the queue for the Rodby-Puttgarden ferry. In Germany we decided to have a look at the points, just to be sure and they turned out to be the problem. After resetting the gap the Van ran as usual again, allowing me to play with the big boys on the German Autobahn a bit :)
During the trip down I'd been in contact with John and Yvonne who were always a day ahead of us. As such they could warn us of a heavy trafficjam near Bremen so we decided to follow the detour as indicated on the radio, which was a nice country drive. We made good time again and made it back to my place at around 21:30. The rest of the evening was spend eating, unpacking, letting people know we made it back alright and getting my puter back online to catch up with my email (yeah, yeah, I know I'm a junky by now :).
Fri 16th June.
After having my pictures developed and doing some other shopping John & Yvonne dropped by on their way home and we enjoyed lunch in the sun at a local bar, Had a look at the pictures and basically enjoyed the weather and the company for the last time in a while. At around 3pm as well John & Yvonne as Andy headed back home, which marked the end of this great adventure.
Over the weekend and the week after the reports came in of everyone arriving home safe and sound and without any major problems, the latter amazed some of us as we'd seen some big troubles in the cards for some. Those who weren't there; you've missed an experience of a lifetime. Those that were; I hope this report can bring back the memories of this great event every now and then. Next year is the IMM in Austria. I think it'll be hard to beat this one though...
Pictures (c) 2000 Andy Smith, Manon
Beavis, Rien Post and myself.
Unless stated otherwise descriptions are LeftToRight.
This page was 'sponsored' by Fotolux.
Can't get enough of these IMM 2000 Reports ? Below are links to a couple of others.
|Flying Finns (Pasi R.)||Tunturi Hotel||Marcin Dobrucki||Toni von Rotz|
|Theo vd Bogaard||Scott Beavis||Andy Browne||Dennis/Ernie|