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Deal’s Gap Wrap

Deal’s Gap Pix

Deal Drive/Tail Trip Day 2

We awoke to 32 degrees and fog. We met as agreed early in the morning to contemplate our morning run of the Dragon. We had coffee and breakfast at the hotel. We had more coffee and soon we determined that it would be best to pass on the early run. Tom also reported that he fixed the problem with his hat blowing off his head. He says he did something with double-sticky tape. More later.

We were joined at breakfast by two additional cars. Rolf and Annie joined us, then Brenda and Kelly. We left the hotel at 08:30 for a spirited drive to the Dragon. We got to the start point a little after 09:00 AM and lined up after two other groups. We spent 30 minutes shopping and then at 09:30 we started the run.

Kurt led the drive. The road stayed open with just a couple slower cars that, for the most part, yielded. The group got a little separated and one car got in between the pack and just wouldn’t cooperate. All-in-all a great run. We assembled at the end just before the bridge and shared our stories. There were some great cars at the base from the groups that left before our run. This was Rolf’s first run of the Dragon and he reported that it was fun. His recently purchased Club is still in one piece. It was Glenn’s first run with the club.  He says he has driven the Dragon before and he seems to have it figured out.

After the run we decided to take the optional loop along the Tennessee Foothills Parkway. The fog was still hanging around, but we managed to get some great views looking back to the East at the mountain range peaking through the fog. The parkway was a great choice. It was an easy drive (after the Dragon) with color everywhere. We exited the Parkway at Route 321 and headed toward Maryville. We made a fuel stop at a small convenience store. Several cars fueled up and we spent some time there but left in a hurry. Something about the toilets overflowing. I remember that I saw Dennis purchasing some 90 mile an hour tape. I didn’t hear all the details but the image in my mind made the decision to leave quickly a rational one. The drive along the E. Lamar Alexander Parkway went quickly. Coming into Maryville we passed several interesting businesses. Great antique stores and some restored classic cars for sale. Next trip we may want to spend some time checking those out.

The drive through Maryville went without incident. We managed to hit the lights just right. Then it was off to Tellico Plains. We took Route 411 to Route 68. As we made the turn, we got separated a little. There was a large group of Corvettes that divided our group, so we stopped and regrouped. At first, I thought the Corvettes were going to join us but at the last moment they went on by.

The next stop was at the Tellico Grains Bakery. As usual the food was great. We got to sit together on the inside. After our meal we decided to do The Bald River Falls option. We turned off the Cherohala Skyway at five miles and followed the narrow road back to the Bald River Falls. We followed a meandering river to a bridge where the falls are located. Parking was very limited so most of us parked along the road. Tom went ahead and found a turnaround point that we were able to use to make our exit. There were restrooms there as well.

After we took all the pictures we wanted, we left the area. We reentered the Parkway headed toward Robbinsville. The parkway is in great shape and the route provides a variety of twists and turns some slow speed and others higher speed with wider radius curves. Super Fast! Super Fun!  Returning to Robbinsville we were on our best behavior entering the city and during our parade past local law enforcement. Honest officer we drove like this all day long – NOT!  The group assembled at 6:00 PM to decide where to go eat after a fantastic day. We decided on Lynn’s Place and the food was great.

Six Miatas and one Corvette zooming through the hills of Tennessee. It was a memorable event. Thanks to all those who attended this year’s drive. I hope you will join us again next year. By the way, my strategy was good. I kept the ND in fourth gear for most of the run. I followed Kurt and was almost able to hang with him. I never exceeded 5000 RPM and I didn’t hear Trudy scream once.

Deal’s Gap/Tail Trip Day 1 Report

Tops were up as the group assembled at Gregg’s Gas Plus. It was 49 degrees and not warming at all. Karen & Kurt Breitinger, Dennis & Karol Mason, Glenn & Deb Link, Hal & Trudy Scott and Tom Varallo were all locked and loaded for the trip. Rolf and Annie Wilms decided to drive on their own and we plan to hook up with them at the hotel. We headed out with four Miatas and a Corvette. We made our way to Route 28 and planned to follow the yellow brick road all the way to Robbinsville with a few stops along the way. Our first stop was to be in Abbeville. About McCormick we decided to stop. That set the tone for the day. No time limits for us. We did stop in Abbeville as well for a quick snack. After that we headed for Anderson with a short drive through quaint downtown Abbeville. About Anderson we thought it might be time to put the tops down but there were no takers. On to Walhalla, SC where we planned to stop at the McD’s on Scenic ByPass. We bypassed it since it was closed for renovations. We stopped nearby. The tops came down and it was on to Highlands.

We entered Highlands looking for our lunch spot the Ugly Dog Pub. It wasn’t the only thing there that was ugly. Parking was, as usual, a problem. After a brief tour of the lake in Highlands (didn’t know they had one) it was every car for themselves. We assembled back at the Ugly Dog for lunch. The food was OK and the prices were high. We decided we would meet up at the Mobile station on the West side of town. We all made it there in good shape. Dennis and Karol wanted to spend more time in Highlands, but we convinced them to head for Franklin. Franklin should have been a good stop. The lead car (Hal) made a quick lane change at the last minute and the rest of the pack passed him by. Thinking the pack was going to head straight for Robbinsville, Hal headed out to catch them. I think they call that leading from behind. Fortunately, Hal was able to reach Tom on the radio and learn that they were parked behind the McD’s in Franklin. Eventually Hal rejoined the pack waiting patiently behind the McD’s and they were off to Robbinsville.

We made to the hotel safe and sound at just after 5:00 PM. We met for an evening meal at the Moonshiner’s Steakhouse. Good food and good prices. Tom found his favorite craft brew to mark a great end to the day. The drive up was full of color. The reds, yellows and greens against a crystal blue sky were memorable. Top down, heater blowing, and beautiful scenery. It doesn’t get much better than that! Our plans for a late afternoon run of the Dragon changed to an early morning run and return to the hotel for our regularly scheduled run.

This is the first real road trip we are making in the new ND. I was anxious to see how this baby would perform. One word. Impressive! The curves in this part of the country are made for sports cars and the ND is a true sports car. It is the right blend of power, weight and stability. Since we only have 1500 miles on the car, I set a limit of not to exceed 5000 RPM. I thought the curves on 28 would give me an idea of how I wanted to approach the Dragon. I learned that fourth gear should work best. The new engine seems to be able to spool from 2000-4000 rpm quickly without hesitation. It is a predictable response. You let momentum carry you into the corner and power out. The car goes where you point it, powers you up and out of the turn with little effort. You are in and out quickly and ready for the next target. This thing is what I imagined a good sports car should be like. Stable, responsive and more importantly just plain fun! Time to go now to shave and shower. I want to be ready to meet the Dragon. I just hope I can wash this smile off my face.

Deal’s gap Weekend

Friday Departure (11/1/19)
08:00 Meet at Gregg’s Gas Plus, 1295 W Martintown Rd, North Augusta, SC 29841. We will take W. Martistown Road North to Woodlawn Rd then West to Highway 28 and take that all the way to Robbinsville. We will stop in Highlands, NC for lunch.
Saturday Drive (11/2/19)
07:30 – 08:30 Breakfast at Hotel
08:30 – 09:00 EnRoute to the Tail of the Dragon Store
09:00 – 09:30 Shop at the TOD Store
09:30 – 10:00 The Tail Run
10:00 -12:30 EnRoute to Tellico Plains Bakery
From the end of the Tail take 129N to TN-72W to US411S to TN-68S in Madisonville. Follow TN-68 toward Sweetwater/Tellico Plains. Stop at Tellico Grains Bakery at 105 Depot St.
12:30 – 14:00 Lunch
This place is usually very busy so if the weather is nice, we may eat outside.
14:00 – 16:00 Return to Robbinsville along the Cherohala Skyway (165)
The Cherohala Skyway is a wide, paved 2-laned road maintained by the Tennessee Department of Transportation and the North Carolina Department of Transportation. The elevations range from 900 feet above sea level at the Tellico River in Tennessee to over 5400 feet above sea level at the Tennessee-North Carolina state line at Haw Knob.
16:00 – 18:00 Open
18:00 – ? Dinner
The Hub
Moonshiners Steakhouse
Lynn’s Place
Tapoco Tavern
Pizza & Beer at the Hotel?

Sunday (11/3/19)

Depart on your own.