Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Getaway in Appalachia - Days 1-2 of Sebring 2008

Mopars DO love mountains!

I'm currently in Burnsville, NC, way up in the Blue Ridge mountains. I started out on the drive on Sunday down I-81, but the sheer number of speed traps (15 in less than 100 miles) and the traffic incidents seemingly caused by people slamming on the brakes to avoid cops...

Well, it all got to be too much, so I diverted off I-81 onto Blue Ridge Parkway. Now, I've driven some of the most amazing roads in North America, but there is absolutely nothing that compares to this. I now have a very clear understanding of the term "breath-taking." I had to remind myself to breathe, it was that impressive.

As luck would have it, after about 200 miles of heaven, I ran out of road -- Blue Ridge Parkway is closed right near Boone, NC... so I had to re-route my course. This is where the road atlas came in handy: In the time it would take to re-program a GPS to map out a new course, I was able to duck into a Quik Stop, get coffee, check the atlas, and find Route 221 which leads down down to where I was headed.

What I didn't expect was for Route 221 to be the tightest, twistiest, least-forgiving ribbon of asphalt I have ever seen! This was like the Nürburgring, in North Carolina! I left probably 1/3 of the tread from my Falkens on that road, over a span of about 150 miles.

Where I'm from, if you take a curve too fast, you might hit some guardrail, or maybe a tree. Up here, you either eat a boulder the size of a small house, or... you fly off the side of the mountain.

Back home in DC, you might have to dodge a raccoon, a possum, maybe a fox or even a coyote. Up in Appalachia, the skunks are the size of small bears. I don't know what they eat, but I damn sure wasn't gonna' stop and ask.

Anyway, I'm rested-up, and will be getting back on the road to Sebring in just a few short hours. I'll probably be in touch sometime tomorrow, with a dispatch from the front stretch.

"there's more to life than gears and horsepower
not much, admittedly, but you get the point..." -- Road Kill

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