Monday, January 14, 2013

THMMC New Year of Motoring Run Recap

On the one lane bridge
On the one lane bridge
Lots of changes in the Tar Heel MINI Motoring Club during 2012 with some of the older members moving on to new chapters in their lives. With this change comes the need for some transitions and folks to take over things previously handled by others. So, since the club has traditionally done a run to Stone Mountain in January, I figured I would try to keep that going. For the 2013 version, I went ahead and moved the date up to the first Saturday in January and dubbed the event the "New Year of Motoring Run". Since my Turkey Ramble route had been run three times over the previous two months, I decided to look for something different. Plus, running to Stone Mountain would have been a stretch to then get the gap runs back into an overall route.


The other change was to think about something different for lunch instead of Brown's Restaurant in Sparta. Brown's is a nice restaurant, but while we are doing new things, why not go all the way? I decided to take the route up to Independence, VA, just north of Sparta, via a loop running to the west of Sparta (which is just west of Stone Mountain).  The challenge for the run would be the fact that I was not familiar with some of the roads, Google's Street View was not available for some of them, and it appeared at least one of them was probably dirt/gravel, which always scares off some club members.

Stop for photo while cows check out the MINIs
Stop for photo while cows check out the MINIs
January 5th rolled around and we met up in Lewisville, just off I-40 west of Winston-Salem, at Joanie B. Moser Park. I figured this would be pretty empty on a Saturday morning in the middle of winter and I was right. We had the parking lot to ourselves as our small group assembled in what felt like biting cold weather. It was only 32 degrees with virtually no wind - maybe because we have had mild weather it felt colder. We started out and I managed to find some slightly twisty roads out of Lewisville, albeit residential in nature so things were pretty sedate. We then headed west toward Elkin on Hwy 67. I'm really not sure how they managed to build such a straight road through the foothills, but they did.

Once in Elkin we hopped on Hwy 21 to head northwest to the turn off to Stone Mountain. Along the way we got behind a tanker truck for a little while. Of course he held us up a bit as we started heading up the twisty roads, but he really was doing quite well considering. He ended up being faster than the Subaru that we all came up to. Eventually we got to Oklahoma Road, a wonderfully twisty road taking us into Stone Mountain Park where we stopped for a bit after picking up one more MINI along the way.

"All your chickens are smashed to the right..."
 "All your chickens are smashed to the right..."
Leaving Stone Mountain Park, we had to take a short stretch of packed dirt road before looping around Sparta. This included Spicer Mountain Road that had our second stretch of dirt/gravel road. And cows coming out to check out the MINIs when we stopped for a quick picture break. As we got into Virginia we got onto one of their unique roads (at least to me) where white lines mark the edge of the road but there is not centerline marked. It feels like being on a race track.

While in Stone Mountain Park and on some of the back road we came upon several one lane bridges. These were all similar to what it on Old Liberty Road - they tend to be very short, just long enough to span a creek bed. That is, they were similar until we reached the last one on Cox's Chapel Road where is crossed the New River. The one lane bridge here was long enough for our caravan of 9 vehicles to all stop on the bridge. Someone had cut off the railing that used to be on the bridge as well, so there was very little in the way of barriers on the sides of the bridge. Being low to the water, this created a wonderful photo opportunity for us.

From there, we headed on into Independence, VA, for some lunch at Aunt Bea's Express, before hopping back on Hwy 21 heading south back down to Elkin and then on to home. By lunch, the day had warmed up to about 50 degrees and felt much warmer. Overall it was a nice way to start 2013 - motoring, MINIs, and THMMC friends.

A quick post event note - below is my video for the event. After my frustration with iMovie and the poor quality videos I was getting out of it, I decided to get Adobe Premiere Elements 11 for editing purposes. I still have a lot to learn as it is quite a bit different in how things are processed compared to iMovie and really to the Vegas Studio software I was using on Windows. I think I may eventually get to where I like it better though. By the end I felt like I was decently proficient at grabbing clips out of the longer videos and was able to start to get into learning how to do my transitions (even though I know I should us jump cuts) and panning photos. In the end, I do think the output ended up being better quality and much closer to the raw footage I get to see on my own computer.




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