Waking up, the trees were whipping around and Sprocket hardly got in a sniff and some water before we threw him back in the car to find a less tree debris laden area to get things packed up. We found a viewpoint and watched the clouds roll in. I started to recalculate a possible route if the weather didn’t improve–there isn’t much to do along the parkway if you can’t see the views! We drove up Mt. Mitchell in the fog–at 6,684′ it’s the highest point in North Carolina…and the highest one east of the Mississippi. It was foggy and cold so we just touched the top and ran right back to the car.
Once we got back down the mountain the fog was lifting and it actually turned into a beautiful day! Just as the road was getting really boring Little Switzerland popped up to give us a break. Although the Little Switzerland Cafe doesn’t open until 11, they poured us some coffee and let us check our maps. We decided to continue up the parkway for awhile but to bail and take US 221 if things got really boring.
We saw the North Carolina minerals museum and used their internet connection to research dirt tracks to catch a race. We took US 221 at Linville Falls after hiking out to the falls and traveled up to Linville before we got back on the Parkway to see the Linn Cove Viaduct, a 1,243′ viaduct that was completed in 1983 finally completing the whole Blue Ridge Parkway. We took the first possible exit after the Viaduct because we’d enjoyed going through the smaller towns. We followed 221 all the way up to Blowing Rock where I found some more free internet. I finally located a race track not too far from Chris’s house.
We got right back on the parkway and took it up to US 421, sometimes 45 MPH is the fastest way when you never have to stop for anything! We drove up through Winston-Salem where we made a brief stop at the Food Lion to buy some dinner before going to 311 Fastrack in Pine Hall. Forrest was very happy to go to a race! It was the “Carolina Clash” where the Carolina class circuit came to the 311…yeee haw! They were a lot of fun to watch, “very professional” Forrest noted. Chris and his son Andrew joined us just after the Carolina class qualifying was over. As fun as the big cars were to watch, I think the overall favorite class of the night were the “U”-cars: picture Geo Metros and Dodge Neons racing. Fabulous.
After the racing was over at midnight, we headed back to Chris’s house. We were rather in need of gas, our trip odometer was reading 421 but when we filled up we found that we’d gotten 24 MPG and weren’t even empty. Up and down mountains, cruising at 45MPH my jeep is a happy camper!