Results 1 to 8 of 8
  1. #1

    Default NC to Talladega and back

    Gents and ladies;

    I just completed a 5-day 1,500 mile RoadTrip in my wife's no longer new Chevy Equinox. The routing was from Raleigh, NC to LaGrange, GA, thence to Talladega Superspeedway, and the next two days from LaGrange through Boone, NC, and back to Raleigh. The purpose of the trip was to attend a reunion of college friends from back in the early 1970s, spend a day fishing on West Point Lake, see the NASCAR race on Sunday, then two of us took in around 200 miles of the Blue Ridge Parkway (BRP) on the return trip.

    I got started at 0330 on Friday 30 October. I favor the I-95/I-20 route to the south side of Atlanta since it's barely longer and is much flatter. It also lacks much of the heavy truck traffic of I-85. Having left a couple of hours sooner than needed, I stopped by the Lake Murray Dam outside of Columbia, SC, where a friend from geology school days had spent around 8 years on the "backup dam" project.

    Having dawdled a bit, I was right on time to pick up some of the fly-in crew at the Atlanta airport. I often wonder why more airports don't do as is done in Salt Lake City: create a "cell phone lot" well away from the parking decks, etc, but within the "loop drive" to and from the terminals. Those picking up arrivals can wait there for a cell phone call from their arrival party. At SLC, there are even illuminated sign boards showing arrival and baggage status for each flight. It's a great system, but not employed at Hartsfield-Jackson Intl.

    A good day's fishing for striped bass on West Point Lake followed on Saturday. We got wet early on and the temps never rose above the high 50s, but we were properly attired and suffered little.

    Early Sunday morning, we set out for the racetrack, some 100 miles northwest and across the southwesternmost tail of the Appalachian Mountains. We took a side-trip to Cheaha Mountain, the highest point in Alabama, and one recently visited by Lifemagician on her epic cruise of the US. The race was OK (Talladega is my least-favorite track) but we had a rollicking good time with the crowd of mostly Junior Nation fans.

    On Monday morning, with one other, I drove via Interstates 85 and 26 to Asheville, NC and there got on the Blue Ridge Parkway. The weather was crystal-clear, so Mount Mitchell was on the agenda. At the point at which we got on the BRP, the bridge over the French Broad River is mere feet over 2,000' elevation. Around an hour later, the peak of Mount Mitchell, the highest point east of the Mississippi River, is reached, and the elevation there is 6,684'. We could clearly see Grandfather Mountain, Unaka Mountain (site of an early October cruise), and Mount Rogers, VA, the latter being some 80 miles distant. It was an awesome hour at the top.

    From Mount Mitchell, it was a very light-traffic 50 miles to the Blowing Rock exit, nearby to my family's vacation home. Much to my surprise and pleasure, we arrived mere minutes before the sun set behind Grandfather Mountain. We've always called it "bagging a sunset" so that was an unexpected pleasure.

    Early Tuesday morning, we ventured north on the BRP and got as far as Meadows of Dan, VA. Around half of that segment is new ground for me, so while the scenery in that part of VA isn't as dramatic as that along the BRP in NC, it was very enjoyable to be breaking new ground.

    Turning east on US 58 at Meadows of Dan, we stopped for a few minutes at "Lovers Leap", an overlook of the Blue Ridge enscarpment some 5 miles east of Meadows of Dan. Then it was down the mountain to Martinsville, VA, where we stopped by the historic Martinsville NASCAR racetrack. The gate to the track itself was open and it was surely tempting to take the 'Nox out for a few hot laps. Common sense prevailed, however.

    On the home stretch, we stopped by Virginia International Raceway (VIR). Our good luck continued as there was a testing session for the Porsche Rolex Grand Am teams, so we spent an hour watching some very fast V8 Porsches working over the 3.27 mile road course at VIR.

    Steaks and fine wine at Raleigh's Angus Barn rounded out the trip quite nicely. We're already scheming for the next outing.

    Foy

  2. #2

    Default

    The race was OK (Talladega is my least-favorite track) but we had a rollicking good time with the crowd of mostly Junior Nation fans.
    I've been a couple of times to the April race at Talladega and they were both pretty average. The crowd, on the other hand, were spectacular... the first visit saw a couple of scary #24 fans racing down from the top of the grandstand to discuss their differences with Jr fans near in the fence in VERY BIG LETTERS if you know what I mean! There was literally blood and hair on the ground afterwards...

    Second time Jeffy passed the #3 winning total... and was bombarded with (full) beer can as he nosed up to the wall and did a burnout. I figure the Jr Nation was unimpressed :) I've not been for the past couple of years but thanks for the reminder -- I must do it again!

    BTW - I hear that North Wilkesboro is back in business :)

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,749

    Default Cool.

    Hey Foy,

    Thanks for sharing, it sounds as though it was a fun trip. I know that feeling of temptation as the sight of an empty race track teases your thoughts, and from here on in, I too will be "Bagging sunsets" !

    Dave.

  4. #4

    Default I was there, too

    Quote Originally Posted by UKCraig View Post
    I've been a couple of times to the April race at Talladega and they were both pretty average. The crowd, on the other hand, were spectacular... the first visit saw a couple of scary #24 fans racing down from the top of the grandstand to discuss their differences with Jr fans near in the fence in VERY BIG LETTERS if you know what I mean! There was literally blood and hair on the ground afterwards...

    Second time Jeffy passed the #3 winning total... and was bombarded with (full) beer can as he nosed up to the wall and did a burnout. I figure the Jr Nation was unimpressed :) I've not been for the past couple of years but thanks for the reminder -- I must do it again!

    BTW - I hear that North Wilkesboro is back in business :)
    .....for the completely shameful and unprecedented downpour of cans and bottles when Jeffie "won" the race under caution, having just overtaken Jr by a nose seconds before the caution came out. In all of my years I've never seen the like of that.

    I suppose the Spring races will continue to be run under Daylight Savings Time. Sunday's had to have been the first in Standard Time for quite some time. Despite a timely start and a relatively caution-free run (save for the long red flag), the sun was very low at the checkers and had set by the time we walked to our cars. With no lights at 'Dega, it was just about critical.

    If North Wilkesboro is back in business, it's news to me. Somebody leased it last Spring, with plans to run some concerts and some sort of racing there, but I didn't think it had ever materialized. I passed by on US 421 in August enroute home from Bristol, and again in early October enroute to and from a bicycle ride. Looked pretty dead each time.

    And that's a real shame. It's a classic facility with a unique flaw: the backstretch is slightly downhill and the frontstretch uphill. The views of the Blue Ridge from the south and west grandstands are terrific, and it's only a handful of miles from Junior Johnson's shops at Ronda, NC (which you can still drive by and have a look at from the road--they're owned by his ex-wife Flossie).

    I maintain this thought, as I have for years now: I have less and less use for NASCAR as we now know it. But, if a group of engineers can take a pile of tubular steel and fashion a "2009 Impala SS" out of it, the same guys can build, say, a 1964 Ford Galaxie. Do that, put a de-tuned 427 under the hood, and run a "Seniors" series with the likes of Cale Yarborough, David Pearson, Harry Gant, and others. Run them at North Wilkesboro, Caraway Speedway, and at least one dirt track like Dixie Speedway in Woodstock, GA. Do it on small tracks close to the major NASCAR venues to catch the "spillover" from those with no interest in the Saturday proceedings at the big tracks. I'd buy tickets for that in a heartbeat. Bristol did a version of that in March 2009 when they ran the inaugural "Saturday Night Special", featuring Late Model Stocks driven by some legends. It was Junior Johnson's first time behind the wheel of a race car in 40 years, and the crowd went wild. I was there for that, too.

    Foy

  5. #5

    Default Well, I'll be..........North Wilkesboro IS back in "bidness"

    Quote Originally Posted by UKCraig View Post
    BTW - I hear that North Wilkesboro is back in business :)
    Sure enough, the website "savethespeedway dot net" is announcing a USAR Pro Cop date there for October 3, 2010. This is terrific. I've already been to races at Andy Hillenburg's renewed Rockingham Speedway and will look forward to getting back into the stands at North Wilkesboro.

    Now, if I could only talk Flossie Johnson into replicating her famous race-day morning breakfast. I've got 11 months to work on her about that.......

    Foy

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,272

    Default

    I've already been to races at Andy Hillenburg's renewed Rockingham Speedway
    You mean Rainingham?

  7. #7

    Default

    Better name than 'Crockingham' which our own Rockingham Speedway was given... the first real investment in a new British circuit for thirty years plus and what a waste.

    If it were down to me I'd have Nascar go back to its roots and can the 1.5 milers (and possibly even the super speedways after the last few efforts) and replace them with 1/4 and 1/2 milers. Chuck in a few dirt tracks for good measure and maybe an extra street course for the fun of it. The excuse for getting rid of the small tracks was always that there was never room in them for the amount of people wanting to spectate but, well, have you looked at the terraces lately?

  8. #8

    Default Preaching to the choir...

    ......yes, gents, that you are.

    Once NASCAR moved the "Spring" race at Rockingham back to late February (first event following Daytona), which I could swear is still very much wintertime, even in the NC Sandhills, it got to be right painful to go down there and endure temps in the 30s or 40s. And it just might rain on ya at that time of year, glc's right.

    But a 1 mile track like The Rock is perfect for my tastes: Big and high-banked enough such that the cars generate some impressive speeds, and short enough such that there is some real racing going on pretty much the whole time.

    Dirt-track racing was my first exposure to motorsports and I was a 14-year-old worker for the concessions at the NC State Fairgrounds when the last NASCAR top tier (then called Grand National) was run on dirt. We also had a small handful of USAC Sprint car races there.

    While NASCAR's success makes me happy for the participants and my home state, the status it's evolved to at this point brings very little excitement and interest to me. It's primarily a social event for my group of friends and a people-watching extravaganza these days.

    Foy

Similar Threads

  1. Bathurst and the Blue Mountains
    By UKCraig in forum Chasing Cars: The World Tour
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 11-05-2008, 02:39 PM
  2. Gaspe Peninsular, Quebec City, Montreal and Toronto
    By UKCraig in forum Off the Beaten Path
    Replies: 6
    Last Post: 05-25-2008, 08:02 AM
  3. Chasing Cars: Bristol (and the South)
    By UKCraig in forum RoadTrip Field Reports
    Replies: 35
    Last Post: 10-01-2007, 07:46 AM
  4. Chasing Cars: Houston/Talladega (and the Deep South/Texas)
    By UKCraig in forum RoadTrip Field Reports
    Replies: 55
    Last Post: 05-08-2007, 09:42 AM
  5. Chasing Cars: Houston/Talladega (and the Deep South/Texas)
    By UKCraig in forum Spring RoadTrips
    Replies: 15
    Last Post: 04-18-2007, 09:53 AM

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
  • Find the Perfect Hotel
    Search RoadTrip Motels
    Enter city name

    Loading...



  • MORE STORIES