Archive for May, 2016
I’m a firm believer in using vehicles as they’re intended and while that normally means commuting, running errands, or simply getting from Point A to Point B, there are few things I enjoy more than putting a vehicle through its paces. Having already driven my ’87 Porsche 944 Turbo on track this month during the Morrie’s Luxury Auto track day, I figured it was only fair that my next automotive adventure would be to take my ’99 Toyota 4Runner off-roading on one of the few designated ORV (off-road vehicle) trails in Minnesota. With nothing more than a map, my wife and I packed a lunch, loaded up two of our dogs, and headed about two hours north to the Gandy Dancer Trail with a buddy and his newer 4Runner. The trip was mainly to shake down my own truck and see what it was capable of but I figured it wouldn’t hurt to have a buddy along in case I got in over my head, plus I wanted to see how my 17 year old 4Runner compared to the new model.
Although I have no idea how the Gandy Dancer got its name, it sounded like it’d be interesting. In reality, however, it ended up being about 30 miles of straight, dirt road cutting vertically through Nemadji State Forest. Luckily, when we got bored just driving on the same bumpy dirt road for mile after mile, it wasn’t too hard to find some interesting trails that broke off in every direction from the Gandy Dancer. Some trails were marked better than others, which might explain why we got some weird looks from the numerous ATV and dirt bike riders we saw as we drove through water crossings, over rocks and through narrow, tree-lined singletrack. Compared to driving around a race track, I’ve gotta say – this was the most fun I’ve ever had going below 20 MPH for hours on end.
Six hours later, we’d both worked our way through a full tank of gas and decided to head back before it got dark. Aside from a broken exhaust hanger (which might’ve rusted itself loose before we left), both trucks fared well on the trip. The new 4Runner is undoubtedly more comfortable and feature-rich but I got the sense that my 1999 model is at least as capable, if not more-so, due to its slightly smaller footprint. Neither of us really pushed our vehicles anywhere near their ultimate limits but I could see that changing soon. As we left the trails, we stopped at one of the state park entrances we saw on the way back to the highway and found a picnic site to have a quick bite for dinner before loading back up and making the boring drive home. After the fun we had this weekend, we can’t wait to get back out on the road and find more trails to explore! Maybe the Trans-Wisconsin Adventure Trail will make the list this summer?
Forever Young Prom - May 27th
Did you go to your Prom? If not, you can now! First Ave will be hosting the Forever Young Prom which will probably be a bunch of old people dancing poorly (Josh) to bad music from the 90s and early 2000s. Head downtown on Friday, May 27th in the main room.
Grand Prix de Monaco - May 29th
Morrie’s Luxury Auto will host a viewing of the Monaco Grand Prix viewing party on Sunday, May 29th. The Monaco Grand Prix may be one of the most prestigious racing event held in the world, maybe even more so than The 24 Hours of Le Mans. It is a long-running tradition of yachts, champagne and burning rubber on Circuit de Monaco. We will be catering in something special from our friends at Edelweiss Bakery. The doors open at 6:30 am and the race starts at 7:00 am.
Soundset Festival - May 29th
Minnesota is known for our locally-built music label Rymesayers Entertainment. They have a huge summer music festival called Soundset that is celebrating its ninth year. This year features over 35 performers who will take the stage on Sunday, May 29th. Tickets are available for the all-day event that takes place at the State Fair Grounds.
Memorial Day Weekend
As long as the Minnesotan weather cooperates with us this weekend, Memorial Day is the perfect time to be outdoors. As far as events go, step outside your front door. Go to the nearest tent. Buy things on sale. Done.
We wanted to compile our favorite summer road trip vehicles with a list of reasons why we think they are so great. With the Memorial Day weekend rapidly approaching we want to first ask what happened to May and secondly, where are you heading with the other approximately 38 million people on the road this weekend? May seemed to have disappeared right before our eyes, but hopefully you’re heading somewhere fun and we want to give you a list of our Top 5 vehicles to take on a road trip. Whether it’s the entire family or just you hitting the slightly traffic congested roads alone, we think we have the right picks for you. Also check out our pre-made Morrie’s Summer Playlist for all the Spotify users out there, it’s the music you’re going to need on your next Summer Road Trip!
In between preparations for Mother’s Day, we got up bright and early for the monthly MN C&C. The sunny, spring weather was everything we could’ve asked for this month and it brought a ton of amazing cars out to the show! Thanks everyone for joining Morrie’s at MN C&C and making it a great show!
MNC&C – Saturday, May 7th
After the downright chilly April MNC&C we’re looking forward to a little more warmth there this Saturday. We’re expecting a huge crowd and figured we may as well bring out the big guns. We’ll have a handful of exotics from Morrie’s Luxury Auto on hand, a couple of your favorite heritage cars and a couple racy Subarus thrown in for good measure. First time to MNC&C? The event runs from 8am to 11am at theAutoMotorplex in Chanhassen.
Wizard Worlds Comic Con – Friday, May 6th through Sunday, May 8th
If slipping on spandex and dressing up like your favorite superhero is your thing you probably already know about Wizard Worlds Comic Con. Seriously though, it appeals to more than just comic fans. The event brings it all – Movies, Comics, Toys, Video Gaming, Games, TV, Graphic Novels, Horror, Wrestling, MMA, Original Art, Collectibles, Anime, Manga & More! Anyone know what Manga is?
Artful Living Kentucky Derby Party – Saturday, May 7th
Join us at Artful Living Magazine’s second annual Kentucky Derby Party this Saturday. Morrie’s Luxury Auto will be hosting rides in Aston Martins, Bentleys and Maseratis at the party. Expect big hats, mint juleps, cigars, delicious food and prizes.
Complicated Fun: the Minneapolis Music Scene – Friday, May 6th and Saturday, May 7th
The 1980s were a storied era for Minneapolis music with group like Suicide Commandos, the Suburbs, the Replacements, Hüsker Dü, and Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis hitting the airwaves and taking to local stages. While we can’t take you back to that era (because our Delorean is broken) you can attend a tribute at Complicated Fun: the Minneapolis Music Scene.
Now that spring has sprung, it’s time to pull off those car covers, dust off the maps, and hit the road. To help, we’ve assembled a few of our favorite roads within about an hour of the Twin Cities. Depending on where you’re from, we picked multiple routes to be convenient but they’re all worth exploring if you can find a spare hour or two for a cruise.
East of the cities, near Afton Alps is Stagecoach Trail which snakes around the hills and bluffs near the St Croix River. Admittedly, at only a little over 15 miles, you’ll probably spend more time driving there than you will on the road itself, but it’s scenic enough that it’s worth a few laps on its own. And then when you’re done, just hop back onto Hwy 10 or 94 and head home. Or stop by Afton State Park for some beautiful scenery along the river or load up the golf clubs and play a round on the nearby golf course.
For those seeking a longer route, take Stagecoach Trail south to Hwy 10 and cross the river into Prescott, WI and enjoy following the other side of the St Croix River south along County Hwy 35. The alphabet soup of great driving roads – including County Roads O, OO, K, VV, C, EE, and A – are all easily accessible from County Hwy 35 and serpentine through the hills while offering some challenging drives and beautiful scenery near the Lake Pepin area.
Heading straight west out of the cities on 394 will take you onto Hwy 12 out to County Rd 6. Follow that west to Watertown, before turning south onto County Rd 25 for a couple miles to Hwy 7 which will take you back towards the cities. It’s an easy loop around Lake Minnetonka but the real highlights here are the number of great little diners and cafes along the way to stop at for a bite to eat, or take any number of little side streets to find access to the lakes in the area. This isn’t a route that is meant to be at all challenging or a test of a driver’s skills, but it’s great for a casual cruise on a warm summer evening.
If you’re on the west side of down and looking for something a bit longer, take Hwy 7 west out to County Rd 11 and head south to Hwy 5 in Victoria where you’ll take a left followed by a right to stay on County Rd 11/Victoria Drive and keep heading south for as long as you like. Depending on how much time you have, you can cross the Minnesota River into Belle Plaine on State Hwy 25 and head back on 169 N or continue south down to Henderson or LeSeur and follow the river back however you’d like.
We hope to see you out on the road this summer! And obviously, Morrie’s Automotive Group advises you to follow all posted speed limits and obey all traffic laws while you’re at it.