OK, I suppose I am part of the club now. What club you ask? Why the Dragonslayer Club!!! Yes, as part of my Labor Day weekend activities, I had the opportunity to take Mr. Mini Wuf for some motoring on the infamous Dragon. I'll touch on that some more in a bit. Even though the Dragon is often the goal of many a pilgrimage, it actually served as a punctuation mark for a much longer drive. Dubbed "Blimey's Tour of Terror II", our motoring for the day on Saturday, Aug. 30th, included runs from Canton, NC, down to Highlands, NC, a loop through South Carolina and Georgia, up to Robbinsville for some lunch, and finally some Dragon slaying and a little run down Hellbender on the way to Fontana Village.
As is often the case, getting to the starting point was the first adventure. In my case, I had to leave late Friday. I commute everyday up and down I-85/I-40 and while it is a boring drive, the relatively short distance and my Mini at least makes it tolerable. I was not looking forward to a four hour drive down to Canton. My suspicions of trouble were almost immediately confirmed upon merging from the Durham Expressway onto I-85 where there was a massive traffic jam, apparently caused for no other reason than all the people trying to merge down from 4 lanes to 2. I also came up on a wreck in Greensboro right after it happened (LEO was not even on the scene yet), but that didn't delay me too much. Between Statesville and Hickory I came upon another massive traffic jam due to some construction barrels in the road (though I never saw any problems with the road or any construction going on). So I made it, but I did discover two new chips in the paint on the front of my Mini as a result of that drive. They join a windshield chip I gathered later in the weekend.
Saturday morning brought an early start as we were planning to be wheels up by 8:00 a.m. Our group consisted of members of the Tar Heel MINI Motoring Club (THMMC) - Blimey (our leader), Vango(a last minute addition), Sgt. Pepper, abuzavi, x uhoh x, Salemgym, RudyT, and myself. After a few minutes of studying our course syllabus, we loaded up and headed out for a quick stop at McDs for some coffee to chug down on the tame part before we really hit the twisties. As you can see, we were initially socked in by some moderate to heavy fog, bordering on a light mist. The good news was that within about five minutes of getting out of Canton, that burned off and we were greeted to sunny skies.