When you look back at 2022, what was your automotive highlight of the year? What made that particular experience special and memorable? Was it a road trip, a unique opportunity with special access, or something else?
When I look back at my 2022 calendar, aside from the semi-weekly Cars & Coffee runs and meet-ups with friends, I attended a number of memorable, standout events in 2022. Events like the Cherry Blossom Run, a day at BMW NA’s new Vehicle Distribution Center in Baltimore, the Deutsche Marque Concours d’Elegance, the Vintage, the East E30 Picnic, BMW Classic CCA’s Bucks County Tour, and the Rockville Antique and Classic Car Show—none of which would be possible without the driving forces and talents of the event organizers and volunteers behind these events.
Beyond organized events, there were a number of memorable, standout automotive-related experiences as well. I had the opportunity to interview fellow enthusiasts and photograph their vehicles, get a taste of what inspires them, and make new friends. I started as Editor at BimmerLife.com. Barry Bocaner introduced me to light painting. I learned about a whole new world of LEGOs I didn’t know previously existed. I took a fly-and-drive trip to purchase a new project.
Of these, what was my single most memorable automotive-related experience in 2022? Well, it’s hard to play favorites, but the choice is an easy one—the Vintage. For 2022, my second trip to the Vintage, I took my eight-year-old daughter Avery. I wrote about this in a story for BMW Classic CCA’s The Ultimate Classic magazine. We made the eight-hour, 500-mile drive from Northern Virginia to Asheville, North Carolina, caravanning with three other vintage BMW lovers.
During our time in the Asheville area, Avery and I took a day trip to Greer, South Carolina to see the Ultimate Driving Museum’s Power of M exhibit, we visited BMW CCA headquarters, and we stopped by the Zentrum at the BMW plant. We also toured the Biltmore, we hiked, and we spent time at the pool. To get to the main event in Hot Springs, we hopped on a caravan which took us on the Rattler, an epic road full of twists, turns, and elevation changes—Avery’s favorite drive of the trip.
It was a full four days of driving and activities. Avery enjoyed meeting so many fellow enthusiasts, taking photos with her camera, and experiencing new places. I enjoyed the one-on-one bonding time with my daughter. With our constant busy schedules at home, it was nice to get away from the daily grind and focus on other things.
Long drives in a classic BMW with questionable air conditioning, especially with temps in the mid to upper 90s, is a lot to ask from an eight year old. There were times that I was concerned she wasn’t having a good time. But those concerns went away when we got back to the hotel on our last night in Asheville. She tried on the Vintage shirt, an adult women’s small, we had purchased earlier in the day at the event in Hot Springs. It wasn’t just a little big, she was swimming in it. Completely unprompted, she said, “Well, this will fit me better when I come to the next Vintage.”
The next Vintage? She had a good time and she wants to go again? Score! And with that positive feedback, I’m hoping to convince my son to go this year. He’ll be nearly six come May and I think he’s ready for an epic road trip.
Call it a New Year’s resolution, but I’d like to include both of my kids in more of my automotive activities in 2023. Sure, it can make things more challenging than flying solo, but making those special memories that will last a lifetime is totally worth it.
Do you have a memorable automotive experience from 2022? Leave a comment and share!—Mike Bevels