Friday, August 10, 2007

Dragon Tales, Day Two: Cornucopia

FC with Dave's toy at the Tellico dam ... just before stumbling into the Dragon.

Things I learned today:

Indiana has lots of corn and it's really tall and healthy. The dense fields look like the kind of corn jungle Steven King might write about.

There's a lot of bean fields too and the plants are only slightly shorter than the corn. In fact, Indiana bean fields might make a good setting for the next King novel.

They are that dense and robust.

This morning, Dave and I left the 'Natti and passed through state after state. This is weird to a Floridian because you can travel almost 800 miles in Florida and never leave the state ... start in Pensacola and drive to Key West.

After Indiana, we slipped through Kentucky. I did not see any bourbon bushes or race horses, but I hear both come from Kentucky. We did see some pretty hills, but just as they were becoming mountains, we passed into Tennessee.

Tennesee's mountains completely blow Kentucky's hills out of the water ... if there were any water in this middle kingdom.

Out of Knoxville, we picked up US-129 and cruised along Tellico Lake and into the gorgeous mountains. I was digging this stretch because I recognized it as a stretch my family and I took when we dashed up to see snow one winter.
Dave had driven the entire way from the 'Natti along hundreds of miles of relatively straight I-75. Sometime after seeing Tellico ... at the dam actually, he said, "Hey, you had better drive some and get used to the Solstice before we get to the really curvy mountain roads."
I agreed this was a good idea, as I had not driven his sporty little ragtop yet and there were hills and curves to come. So, we switched seats and I took over on 129 in a relatively flat gently curving section of road.
This lasted approximatley 45 seconds as we went around a bend and the "nice" road transformed itself to a slithery snakey thing with a curve ... a sharp curve ... about every 3 minutes.
"Wow", we said in unison. "I wonder what the Tail of the Dragon is like if this road is so radically curvey?"
A dozen white-knuckled bends or so later, we started seeing cops on every other bend. Then the photographers showed up on the bends between the cops. The photogs all had dot com signs out and were obviously taking pictures of everyone who came through.
And then it dawned on us ... we weren't traveling to the Dragon ... we were on it!
My buddy Dave had handed over his car to me to practice with at the bottom of the Tale of the Dragon with it's 318 sharp curves in 11 miles.
The white- knuckles I mentioned above were his as he watched the greenhorn flatlander take his precious baby through tight curve after tight curve.
We did NOT crash and burn and it was so much fun that when we reached the top, we refreshed and then headed back to the Dragon, this time with Dave getting to drive his car through the dragon twice.
Pretty cool.
The big ride is tomorrow with almost 60 Solstices and Saturn Sky's doing the big road ralley.
Dave relaxing at the Fontana Village Resort.
Right now, we're sitting in the lobby of the Fontana Resort, chilling out after a great day on the road.
For a different take on this day, skip on over to Dave's blog.


Sharon said...

Looks awesome! Mom's from TN. Love the rear-view shot. :) Y'all drive careful.

threecollie said...

Tall corn and thick beans...a farmer dream

pablo said...

Does that Tellico dam leak?

rcwbiologist said...

After living in the west, near mountain ranges like the Rockies, Tennesse's mountains look like hills to me. If you haven't ever seen the Rockies you should do that some day. Quite impressive.

Deb said...

When I lived in California, going to town meant driving incredibly curvy roads for about fifteen miles, with steep gorges and no guard rails. Some of the views were beautiful, but I could not appreciate it as I clenched the steering wheel and focused on the road.

Cathy S. said...

I warned you! And poor Dave. Being in the passenger seat is much worse than being driving. Of course, the worst is being on the back of a motorcycle. Have fun and don't come home with a motorcycle for a hood ornament. We were there three weeks ago and two guys had gone off the side the mountain that weekend. They drive those bikes like fools up there.

robin andrea said...

Love that last pic, FC. Looks like you and Dave are having a blast. Glad you are enjoying journey.

roger said...

vroom vroooommmmm. wow. nice ride dude.

Peggy said...

Cool! You're in my stomping ground! I just got back from being a bit east of you last month, and will be camping near Fontana Lake in October! Pretty, eh?

My brother drove down from northern Ohio to meet me in that area a couple of years ago. He drove alone. He came to Tail of the Dragon knowing nothing about the end of an 11-hour drive. He was not thrilled to traverse it at that time but he did stop at the top on the way home to get a decal for his car to show the world he had survived it!

Have fun!

Floridacracker said...

TN is a beautiful state and the people are really nice folks.

These are good things ... and fat cows!

I hear all REAL dams leak.

I've hiked up past 14,000 feet out west, yup, they're bigger, but I still love these southern bumps.

My fingers are working again.
Actually it wasn't really that bad, because you never get a chance to build up speed.

Cathy S,
A lot of horizontal driving technique with knees brushing the ground.

We are having a great time. Too much laughing.

it is an excellent ride, but totally impractical just like my beloved JEEP.

Gorgeous up here. I rangered here in 1981 so it feels like semi-home.

OldHorsetailSnake said...

You NASCAR freak you.....