By Mike Hoinowski
It’s been a few years since I was actively involved in the Motoring Challenge, little kids tend to keep you busy. Both of my daughters are getting more easily portable as they get older, and they both love our old cars so I figured it was time to get involved again!
Starting out the year I took a look at the list of items and quickly realized that many of them I already knew where I could find. Some of the moving targets proved to be unpredictable and tricky to nail down—but fun and worth the challenge! I thought the blimp or seaplane would be the hardest to find, but it ended up being the “Just Married” car that took the longest to track down. We started the year off with the Wienermobile (aka “the hotdog car” as Iris called it) knowing we’d need to find it and a blimp to be competitive…plus we were free that weekend and it was a good excuse to get the Jag out after the worst of winter had passed. On the following Monday Iris proceeded to tell her daycare teachers about how she rode in the “kitty cat car” (her name for the Jag—because of the leaping cat hood ornament) to find “the hotdog car”… Her teachers wouldn’t admit it, but I’m sure they thought she was insane!
I enjoyed some of the semi-open ended categories this year (like perfect timing, mother nature, never seen this before, rite of passage, etc.) that allowed some room for interpretation. In some cases that made them easier, in others harder. The writer’s road block category was also entertaining! Not going to lie, I had to google a few of the terms since my recollection of middle school grammar is a little lacking. I wasn’t sure if I needed both words represented in the picture for an anagram, so I’m hoping one of my submissions work as a “scene”. Ridge/(funeral) Dirge (at a graveyard), Points/Piston (points from the Herald, piston from the Jag), and stop/pots.
Just as in years past, most anyone I met and pestered for pictures along the journey was great. The only exception being one guard at independence hall who felt I was driving a little too slowly over the rough cobblestone street—I just preferred to keep the exhaust system on the mini for the ride home out of Philly! Some of my favorite places to visit this year were the airports. I stopped at four different ones and at every one the owners, pilots, and workers were awesome! I had great conversations at all of them as pilots took selfies in the mini and owners/managers said sure you can pull right up next to the hanger! I found my blimp at the Solberg Airport in New Jersey. I took pictures from across the runway, spent some time talking with a flight instructor, and went inside to ask to use the facilities before making the 1.5 hour drive home. The owner and I were chatting about the Mini, I told her about the Challenge, and she responded by saying, “Well you want to get closer to the blimp than that then!” She proceeded to draw me a map of how to loop around to the dirt road back entrance that goes past the radar station and right up to the blimp’s mooring location. Once out in the field the crew member stationed with the blimp said I could leave the dirt road and go even closer. I let him walk over to show me how close I could get (which was probably 200 feet closer than I would have thought), and then both he and I took pictures of the mini while I learned a lot about blimps. If you’re involved with aviation I think you have the same “sickness” we in the car world do, just with slightly different toys, so we have that mutual respect of each other and our silly hobbies.
For roughly half of the trips my four year old daughter Iris joined me and usually got to dictate which car we drove. Often her logic was impeccable, such as the day she suggested we take “the Herald car because it’s sunny and warm and that car has no roof”…fair enough! Other times she reasoned that we hadn’t driven one of the cars in a while and it was lonely and wanted to get out of the barn to go for a drive. Something tells me she’ll be looking to drive our British cars as soon as possible…probably on the “ziggy zaggy roads” which are her favorite. (Mine too!) Iris brought her own toy camera and at times took better shots than I did! I’ve added some of her photos at the end for you to enjoy. For other trips I rode solo or was accompanied by my wife or dad making it a pretty solid family effort.
It was great to get using the cars more this year, I used the challenge as an excuse to take them out more often than I have the past few years. Other than the Mini our cars aren’t necessarily standard Moss cars with their own catalogs (I like the quirky cars), but the Herald is all Spitfire and the Jag is all E-Type under the hood and we’ve enjoyed using them for past challenges. I figured we could get a lot of the items on the list this year, but once we got going we were able to make semi-weekly trips and cover more ground then I initially thought. We’ll see how we do in the end, I think we made a pretty solid showing with all but the two Moss Warehouses. Regardless, we had a great time meeting lots of unique people, and finding random roadside items while cruising back roads in our old cars…certainly can’t complain about any of that!
And as a special treat, here are Iris’ photos!