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The Ultimate "Driver's" Road Trip

Cole2999

Go Kart Champion
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Holy hell I'm finally here. I've been prepping and planning for weeks and I'm finally here on my road trip. For reference, I'm actually on night 2 as I type. Just the way it worked out.

Halfway through my stay-at-home order, I heard about some guys setting the new cannonball record, and it made me realize I need to do the cannonball at least once in my life. And then I realized... When will there ever be a better time? I'm being paid not to work, traffic is thin, had prices are rock bottom, and I'll never get 3 weeks in a row off for at least the next decade. Why 3 weeks?
Well, I also realized that driving straight to LA and back would be boring as fuck (since I have no passengers and I'm not trying to do it fast), so I decided to add the PCH in. And then I thought about adding in some fun driving roads. And then I added in every fun driving road.
I'm on a round trip around the US attempting to hit almost every "driver's" road it has to offer. Now, that opens up two questions:
- what defines a driving road?
- how do I pick which ones to drive?

I define a "driver's" road as one meant to be appreciated primarily by the driver: Tail of the Dragon. Pikes Peak. Mulholland Highway. Twisty, curvy roads that don't need tossed of horsepower to appreciate - even if all you have is a GTI, or an AE86 😉

I'll briefly go into my car and how I'm laying it out, but what I've done can be found on my build thread here.
I decided that, since I don't have a passenger, I can free up space and remove the passenger seat. I wanted to tote everything, but I didn't want totes and coolers and stuff sliding around on tight turns, flying around under heavy braking. So I took the cargo net and - with the help of some paracord - redesigned it to cover my back seat.
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My journey starts in NH with a car full of parts destined for a couple of our very own members. Two stops in CT and one in NJ, and I'm officially obligation-free.

Along the way I'm going to see the Blue Ridge Parkway, Tunnel of Trees, Mulholland Highway, Tail of the Dragon, Pikes Peak, PCH, Bonneville Salt Flats, and tons more.

I'm gonna try to segment the individual days into their own comments so I can add more than 10 pics.

This whole thread will prob be worth checking through, but you can get the highlights in these links:
 

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Cole2999

Go Kart Champion
Day one:
I saw an old NSX, a C63 AMG Black Series, a Charger widebody something, and a naked man on the side of the highway.

Left at 6am to meet 3 different forum members, two in CT one in Jersey. Then I need to continue driving through Jersey, which I've now decided is hell on earth. It's hot, it's straight, empty roads, and the roads are shit.
Eventually, however, I got to Virginia, which blew me away. Beautiful landscapes, amazing smells, wise open country roads. I had a preconceived idea of Virginia and this wasn't it.
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I was there to take the skyline drive to the blue ridge parkway. However, skyline drive was shut. Didn't even matter. The highway that leads to one of the second entrances to the drive, Lee Highway, at Thornton Gap Entrance Station. This is the peak, and both descents are equally fun. 5 minute accent/descent, so you need to worry about heat soaking your brakes or anything dumb. One banked turn must be over 10°, it's an insane turn.
I slept at the peak, pulled off on the side. However, since I forgot my rain fly and bug net, I had to camp under the stars in my hammock. The stars turned into rain. Luckily I cocooned myself in the hammock so I stayed dry.
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Best part of the day: Thornton Gap
Worst part of the day: New Jersey

Jump to next day: day two
 
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Cole2999

Go Kart Champion
Day 2: that time I 50/50d my car like a skateboard???
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Wake up, cook some bacon, and get on the road. I head straight for the Blue Ridge Parkway. I have to tell you, it's absolutely beautiful.
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And then it got foggy. Real foggy. Can't see headlights until they're 15 feet in front of you foggy.
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After the fog cleared I found a beautiful pull off. Decided to cook myself a grilled cheese.
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I was on track to get to tail of the dragon early tomorrow, so I decided to check the weather: thunderstorms, the next 4 days. But today it's sunny. So I had to skip half of the BRP to beeline to TOTD.
On the way I went through Little River Road, which is this insanely cute road in a gorge. Didn't get any pictures, though, it was too populated. Then I took 441 south, got stuck behind a lot of dickheads who didn't want to over the sign "Slow cars use pull offs"
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Then it was time for TOTD. And time to learn a few skateboard tricks.

First of all I made a few mistakes, namely treating the road like it was a race track. I didn't realize I was doing it so try hard until after, and I can't change doing so. I was driving at about 90-105% of my limit, even though there were other drivers on the road. I was very cautious of them, and you'll see that in the vids once I find some wifi to upload them, but the point still stands that was a dangerous idiot.
Second, the road was a ton of fun. My car handles perfectly. I cannot describe how planted my car is. Between adjusting my sway bar and upping my XDS to 2, i never once felt understeer or oversteer. There were a couple of times I ploughed through a turn, but mostly because I didn't brake enough.
Unfortunately I didn't take pics, though I'm not sure what I would've taken a pic of. I have a ton of driving footage I need to upload, and in it you'll see my great mistake.
So on that, I took a left hairpin to wide and got spooked by the oncoming driver so I didn't pay attention to my car's position, and then I was over the embankment, grinding my car like a skateboard along the edge of the road. The passenger side skid tray is, amazingly, the only thing I damaged.
I pulled over, checked everything, and kept driving. A bit later I noticed my brakes were heat soaking, so I pulled over to check. There was so much smoke rolling off my car from my pads you would've thought my engine was catching fire.
I'm lucky I didn't kill myself or my car today. By all accounts, I was definitely trying to.

Jump to next day: day three
 
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torga

Autocross Champion
This sounds like a fun journey and I am subbing. Gonna be some nice photos in this thread.
 

MrFancypants

Drag Racing Champion
Given that you're in the area, if you can get to Deal's Gap and the Cherohala Skyway, they're both worth a bit of a detour to drive. Both are fantastic roads.
 

alpha3

Go Kart Newbie
I love the Blue Ridge Pkwy and all those associated mountain roads in the Blue Ridge mountains and the Smoky's. You've definitely gotta be careful though on some of the grades and hairpin turns, very easy to lose it if you don't concentrate.

Then it was time for TOTD. And time to learn a few skateboard tricks.
So, I have to ask the 'dumb old guy' question. Skateboard tricks?? In a car?? What is that :unsure::unsure:
 

Cole2999

Go Kart Champion
Given that you're in the area, if you can get to Deal's Gap and the Cherohala Skyway, they're both worth a bit of a detour to drive. Both are fantastic roads.
I actually drove both of them, absolutely beautiful. I think I liked Deal's Gap a little more than TOTD, the bends weren't nearly as harsh.
You've definitely gotta be careful though on some of the grades and hairpin turns, very easy to lose it if you don't concentrate.
So, I have to ask the 'dumb old guy' question. Skateboard tricks?? In a car?? What is that :unsure::unsure:
So at the top of the post I said I 50/50d my car; in skateboarding, a 50/50 is when you grind a rail on the trucks (axles). With a car, bottom out length-wise on a crest. I went way too hard with my driving and pushed it to the limits, and put my right wheels over a sharp, short drop. Commence grinding like a skateboard.
 
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jay745

track sl00t
And if you're going through the smokies to the blue ridge parkway and cherohula, make sure you hit the moonshiner 28. You'd do yourself a favor just spending 3 days or so in that area. Last summer I went for 5 days and put on 1000 miles just hooning those roads.
 

MrFancypants

Drag Racing Champion
And if you're going through the smokies to the blue ridge parkway and cherohula, make sure you hit the moonshiner 28. You'd do yourself a favor just spending 3 days or so in that area. Last summer I went for 5 days and put on 1000 miles just hooning those roads.
I had no idea 28 had a name attached to it... I've been going up and down that road for decades and the southern end has such a perfect rhythm to it that it's probably my favorite road I've ever been on. It used to be my preferred route to the Dragon.
 

jay745

track sl00t
I had no idea 28 had a name attached to it... I've been going up and down that road for decades and the southern end has such a perfect rhythm to it that it's probably my favorite road I've ever been on. It used to be my preferred route to the Dragon.
I've heard it called moonshiner 28 or hellbender 28. I'm 100% with you, probably my favorite road that's not a track I've ever been on.

Starting in Almond NC take 74 south (scenic) to Wayah Rd which is very similar to tail of the dragon except tighter and less traffic, that's a white knuckle drive for about 45 minutes until you get to Franklin TN. From there hop on 28 back up through Almond and ending at tail of the dragon. It's about a 3 hour drive all together but probably one of the best times I've ever had. We got out of the car at the tail of the dragon store after that trip and I let out a huge Rick Flair WOOOOOOO because I had so much fun. I'm itching to go back this year.
 

Cole2999

Go Kart Champion
Well, I'm at a shop getting an alignment. My steering wheel was off center before I went off, but now it's a bit worse, and I was getting some vibrations in the 2 miles I was on the interstate. I might grab some brake pads somewhere, but I'm not worried. I have more than enough stopping power for 550 miles on the interstate (my route for the day) but I will want new pads before I get to canyon roads in the next few days.
And if you're going through the smokies to the blue ridge parkway and cherohula, make sure you hit the moonshiner 28. You'd do yourself a favor just spending 3 days or so in that area. Last summer I went for 5 days and put on 1000 miles just hooning those roads.
Unfortunately I'm already halfway to Nashville. Honestly, I don't think I should stay around there anyway, it's dangerous for both my and my car's health😅 I definitely want to make another trip down here at some point, and it's not a bad drive down
 

Cole2999

Go Kart Champion
Hmm... Doing some looking, though. I guess I didn't drive the Cherohala Skyway, even though it was on my list. And 28 looks fun. My goal was to make it to the Ozarks today, but maybe I'll just stay in Tennessee for an extra day. Plus, if I do, I can pick up a free down pipe tomorrow 🤔🤔 I think y'all convinced me. Shit, it's not like I've got anywhere to be 👍🏼
 

jay745

track sl00t
Hmm... Doing some looking, though. I guess I didn't drive the Cherohala Skyway, even though it was on my list. And 28 looks fun. My goal was to make it to the Ozarks today, but maybe I'll just stay in Tennessee for an extra day. Plus, if I do, I can pick up a free down pipe tomorrow 🤔🤔 I think y'all convinced me. Shit, it's not like I've got anywhere to be 👍🏼
Just make sure your brakes are in order, high temp fluid! Those are not the roads you want to test your boiling point on. Have fun!!!
 
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