Major Mini trip

Local women’s trek promotes new car dealership


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Cassie Sandall, left, and Chelsey Homan pose with “Skipper” during their recent road trip in a Mini Countryman from Portland to Anchorage. The trip was part of a promotion for a new Mini dealership in Anchorage. Both women are Chugiak High graduates.

Courtesy Chelsey Homan

There was nothing mini about Chelsey Homan and Cassie Sandall’s road trip from Portland, Ore., to Anchorage.

Expect their vehicle.

Riding in a Mini Countryman, the Eagle River women recently led the Mini Major Road Rally to celebrate the construction of the new Mini dealership in Anchorage.

Lithia Automotive Group, Inc., who sponsored the rally, contacted Sandall — the Mini Motoring Club of Alaska co-founder — to help promote the new dealership. Sandall and Homan’s weeklong trek ended in Anchorage on Sept. 19.

Sandall, a 2001 Chugiak High graduate, started a group for Mini enthusiasts three years ago. The group’s first rally had just six Mini’s. Today, the club has 90 members.

In the summer months, club members take to Southcentral Alaska’s curvy roads.

“We look for fun roads,” Sandall said. “Twisty roads. Windy roads.

“We always go to Cooper Landing because we drive coopers,” she said.

In the winter, the club meets monthly.

Homan, a 2007 Chugiak grad, likened the group to Harley motorcycle riders.

“When you’re a Mini owner, the big thing is to get with other Mini owners and go for a rally,” she said. “If you’re a Mini owner, there’s a lot of camaraderie.”

On the drive from Portland, other Mini drivers joined Homan and Sandall for portions of their journey.

“It was just a blast getting to meet other Mini Cooper owners,” Homan said.

The duo drove to Bellingham, Wash., then took a ferry to Haines. More people joined the women as they neared Anchorage.

“By the time we hit Palmer, we had about 12 Mini’s,” Homan said.

Stellar performance is the Mini’s best attribute, Homan said.

“It’s an absolutely fun car to drive,” she said. “It’s kind of got that go-kart feel.”

And they do just fine in the snow, Homan said.

“I’ve never had a hard time getting around,” she said.

Sandall said she loves the culture that comes with owning a Mini.

“You’re not just buying a car,” she said. “The community aspect is really, really cool.”

Personalizing your car is also popular among Mini owners, Homan said.

“No two Mini’s are alike,” she said.

It’s a vehicle that appeals to all ages, Sandall said.

“There’s people in their 70s that drive Mini’s and there’s young kids in high school that drive Mini’s,” she said. “It’s a special car.”

 

Contact Mike Nesper at 694-2727 or mike.nesper@alaskastar.com.

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