The morning meet-up at the Blue Ridge Parkway Visitor’s Center started the day with an immediate change in plans.
The gates to the Blue Ridge Parkway (BRP) were closed with the barriers up barring entry. Today’s drive was all about the Parkway and it wasn’t starting too well.
Early arrivers David and Mary Stori and Jean and Robert Larsen immediately pulled out maps and their knowledge of roads to the west to assist Drive Lead Jim Moore in planning a new route.
As more drive teams arrived it was learned that the Parkway was closed because of trees being down. David Angelus got on the BRP Interactive map and identified that the Parkway was only closed for a mile. If we could identify a route around the closure with a different entry to the Parkway we could drive the original route planned for the day. It was agreed the Swannanoa entrance would serve the purpose and the line of 13 Porsches were off and running.
The big advantage to the closure was the Parkway was a clear road allowing the drive to be at a good pace instead of the normal sluggish pace from the slow moving sightseers. We did have bicyclists to deal with but everyone safely maneuvered around the bikes.
With the clear road and solid pace to Mt Mitchell we arrived early in the midst of a fog-laden summit. A quick “audible” provided for a detour into the empty restaurant parking lot for a group photo of all the cars before reaching the summit parking lot. The early arrival at the summit with a thick fog caused our next change in direction when it was decided to drive on and have lunch at the end of the drive as opposed to eating at the damp, visual-challenged summit.
It was a slow drive out of Mt Mitchell under the watchful eyes of the Park Rangers who had just written tickets to other fast moving cars. The Porsche Club was not going to succumb to the same fate. When we hit the Parkway we were able to start driving our Porsches at 45 mph instead of 25 mph.
Let the fun begin!
There was a sign warning of rough roads and unfortunately a “pothole large enough to eat a Buick” ate a Porsche instead providing for a flat tire. We are hoping the rim was not damaged but an after-drive inspection will determine that. Porsches don’t include spares but this 911 owner came prepared buying the optional spare and was able to change the tire in a blinding rainstorm avoiding the dreaded flat bed ride home.
The other 12 Porsches attacked the Devil’s Whip and had the good fortune of a fairly clear, spirited (and legal) run through the curves, unlike the Wednesday Crack the Whip 1 drive teams. The conga line of Porsches did follow a very strange van with roof lights and decal messages but its pace wasn’t too bad in allowing us all to have fun.
Lunch was a picnic at the McDowell County Visitor’s Center. The sun was hot, but shade was found and conversation was had among old members and the seven new members and guests experiencing their first Appalachian Region Drive & Dine.
Crack the Whip 2 had 13 cars (15 registered) with 21 people. Combined with the Wednesday Crack the Whip drive groups we had 42 cars with 70 members participating. This is one of our largest Drive & Dine events to have occurred in the past few years.
SUV Lookout at Wayah: On August 29 we’ll exercise our Porsche SUV’s driving down the Nantahala Gorge to the Forest Service Road that will take us up to Wayah Bald to visit one of the Fire Lookout Towers built by the Conservation Corps in 1937. This drive is recommended for SUV’s but it doesn’t have to be a Porsche. You can “drive what you brung.” Here are details on the Appalachian Region web site: https://aprpca.org/356B/index.php/events/appalachian-event/806-suv-drive
Registration has not opened yet, but watch for President Don Therien’s note announcing when registration opens.
Time Lapse Video Driving the Devil’s Whip: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F3qewAujqjU&feature=youtu.be
Leaving Mt Mitchell in a 911 GTS: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZHmVIGCAHbY&feature=youtu.be
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