Saturday, January 29, 2011

Do It Right Rally Recap

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Back on January 15th, the THMMC did a run up to Stone Mountain.  This seems to be bordering on an annual event for the club in January.  Alas, I did not get to attend this year.  The run was originally scheduled for Jan. 8th, and I could have made it that day, but a snowstorm sweeping through NC that Friday and Saturday forced a postponement.  So I ended up missing the run.

I had not been able to make a run since November (and prior to that no club runs since the BRP due to the soccer schedule), so the motoring opportunities have been scant.  I decided I would just have to do something about that, so I slapped together a short-notice run for Saturday, January 29th.  After scanning through my library of routes, I decided something in the area of the 2009 Covered Bridge Run would be good.

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To help mix things up a bit (especially since I might have to use some of the same roads again for a Covered Bridge Run), I decided to lay out a route that only used right hand turns.  I also knew I wanted to get in the Flint Hill Ramble and Burney Mill Road.  So I fired up MapSource and figured it out.  I ended up having to create five "loops" where we would normally make a left turn but for this run, we would go past and then use a series of right hand turns to get back to that point.  This meant programming in roads I had not been on and would not have a chance to pre-run.  It also meant programming in at least one dirt/gravel road (and the risk of losing a possible participant as some MINI owners don't run on dirt/gravel roads).  The one road I knew to be dirt/gravel also include an old, one lane bridge that looked to be constructed of wood.  Interesting that this would even qualify as a public road in North Carolina (or my cynical side would say, no, it is not interesting).

Old, rickety bridge - yes, this is a public road in NC!
The day got off to an early start as I picked up the Triangle contingent as they came through Graham.  This turned out to be a surprise - I was expecting two MINIs and instead, six showed up!  From there, we made the run over to Trinity for the rally point.  We ended up with twelve MINIs participating.  With fewer MINIs participating than some other events, it definitely meant the stress level would be a tad lower.

After a quick driver's meeting, we headed out and immediately encountered our first challenge.  This was leader-induced as I missed our second right turn and almost got us stuck in a neighborhood.  Fortunately, I was able to use my GPS-fu to find an escape - one that used only right hand turns.

From there, it was off into the country for some motoring.  It was a beautiful day if a bit on the chilly side.  But still warm enough for me to put the windows down and open the sunroof.  We did run into one additional dirt/gravel road - maybe a quarter mile long.  In a funny twist, the dirt road with the old wooden bridge ended up being one of the busiest traffic areas we had as we met two oncoming trucks on what essentially was a section of one lane road. Fortunately, MINIs are small enough to squeeze through spaces other vehicles fear!

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Perhaps the only other "incident" occurred about 4 miles from the end of the run when I had a dog come barreling out of a yard and into the road in front of me.  I think it was paying too much attention to another dog to realize it had wandered into oncoming traffic.  Had to get on the brakes pretty hard.  Probably would have hit him if he had kept on crossing, but he turned back.  Fortunately, everyone behind me was able to check up as well.

Otherwise, it was lots of great twisties and gorgeous countryside.

We finished up with lunch at Silo's Smokehouse on the outskirts of Asheboro for some BBQ, slaw and hushpuppies.

For the drive home, I took a run up Old Liberty Road.

You can check out the photo gallery for some more pics (I don't get many when I lead).

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