Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Deals Gap/Tail of the Dragon 2024

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

    Deals Gap/Tail of the Dragon 2024

    Hi friends,
    The same friend group which arranged an 11-car convoy down from the Metro Detroit area to Robbinsville, NC last year is doing it again this year, with approximately 20 invited cars.
    The thread where I described this last year is here: http://www.grandmarq.net/vb/forum/si...he-dragon-2023

    In a nutshell:
    The "Dragon" or "Tail of the Dragon" (latter more typically refers to one specific location) is a stretch of US 129 in the vicinity of, and crossing the TN-NC border near Robbinsville, NC.
    It is so-named for its profile on a map vaguely resembling the shape of the back of a dragon.
    The famed stretch is known for going through 318 curves over only 11 miles, making it a fun place to take a car that handles.
    The area is beautifully scenic, and the tourist popularity of the road itself means there is somewhat of a local tourism industry despite the area being otherwise pretty natural and rural.
    One of the novelties of the area is an assortment of photographers who take photos of vehicles at strategic spots through the stretch of highway, so you get some neat action shots of cars with scenic backgrounds.
    In addition to US 129, there are other phenomenal driving roads nearby, such as the Cherohala Skyway.

    Last year I took my '85 Country Squire, which did remarkably well despite being driven pretty hard. This year, I'd like to take my '84 Town Car, but I have a lot of work to do to it if I'm going to achieve trustworthiness for this length of trip. The wagon is a reasonable fallback plan, and so would be (though this might come across as a surprise since I haven't driven it in ages) my '91 Grand Marquis. At the present moment, it would need a similar length of laundry list to the '84, with one notable exception being it already has a nearly brand new front end so the items on that laundry list are perhaps easier.

    Anyway, car choice aside, the plan at present is to do the exact same trip again.
    That is, drive down in the large convoy on a Thursday, arriving in Robbinsville late Thursday night.
    Driving and socializing throughout the day Friday.
    Saturday morning, more of the same. Mid-day, split from the group and most likely tent camp in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
    Sunday, drive in the direction of New Jersey, starting out via the Blue Ridge Parkway before jumping over to interstates for a speed advantage. Lunch likely in or around Asheville. Arrive somewhere in the vicinity of Baltimore, MD that night.
    Monday, continue into NJ and visit with a friend near Atlantic City.
    Tuesday, long haul drive home.

    This is tentatively set up for May 9-14.

    As much as I am going with a group of other friends, we do not have a fixed agenda for each day (other than the destination-specific benchmarks and goals), and there will be time to, for example, have a car meet nearby on Friday or Saturday. Doing so on Sunday, Monday, or Tuesday would significantly impact my time to arrive back home, but could easily be done if it was simply to grab a meal and chat.

    I'm leaving this very open-ended and don't want or intend to make a big thing out of it, but if anyone is relatively local to the path I'm taking, we should discuss the viability of doing something.

    Best days and places for something to work:
    1. In the vicinity of Tapoco/Robbinsville/Stecoah, NC, on Friday or Saturday.
    2. In the vicinity of Bryson City, NC, on Saturday.
    3. In the vicinity of Baltimore, rather late on Sunday (perhaps for dinner, but probably pretty close to dark)
    4. Maybe some sort of lunch thing somewhere midway across PA on Tuesday.
    So...got an idea? Toss it in here and let's see if it can work. Last year I didn't do a great job with creating opportunities for this so it'd be nice to make a plan that can work this time around.
    Last edited by kishy; 02-10-2024, 11:07 PM.

    Current driver: Ranger
    Panthers: 83 GM 2dr | 84 TC | 85 CS
    | 88 TC | 91 GM
    Not Panthers: 85 Ranger | Ranger trailer | 91 Acclaim | 05 Focus
    Gone: 97 CV | 83 TC | 04 Focus | 86 GM
    | Junkyards

    #2
    If you happen to be into historical Naval stuff there are a few options in Baltimore. The Torsk and the Constellation in particular, depending if you're into WW2 diesel subs or the last all-sail warship built by the US Navy. There is also a Coast Guard cutter and a lightship there.
    86 Lincoln Town Car (Galactica).
    5.0 HO, CompCams XE258,Scorpion 1.72 roller rockers, 3.55 K code rear, tow package, BHPerformance ported E7 heads, Tmoss Explorer intake, 65mm throttle body, Hedman 1 5/8" headers, 2.5" dual exhaust, ASP underdrive pulley

    91 Lincoln Mark VII LSC grandpa spec white and cranberry

    1984 Lincoln Continental TurboDiesel - rolls coal

    Originally posted by phayzer5
    I drive a Lincoln. I can't be bothered to shift like the peasants and rabble rousers

    Comment


      #3
      Originally posted by gadget73 View Post
      If you happen to be into historical Naval stuff there are a few options in Baltimore. The Torsk and the Constellation in particular, depending if you're into WW2 diesel subs or the last all-sail warship built by the US Navy. There is also a Coast Guard cutter and a lightship there.
      Forgot to list it, but obviously lunch with you when I get into NJ is an option if it works for you at the time.

      The problem with Baltimore-area activities is that it's roughly 8 hours from Asheville. Bryson City to Asheville is a little over an hour (fair bit more actually given the preferred route which is slower but nicer to look at). 9 hours of travel time plus a lunch, there's no way I'm ending up near Baltimore at a time when a) things are still open on a Sunday or b) there's much sunlight left, if any.

      Last year I pushed on to Owings Mills just north of Baltimore and grabbed a hotel there. Looking at a map, I'm not exactly sure how that ended up being the stopping point, but I'm sure if I map the actual route I took avoiding tolls and traffic, it would make more sense. I believe the check-in time was between 10-11pm. Honestly Sunday's a pretty awkward day in general, unless I stop earlier (e.g. before Baltimore) and push more of the travel onto Monday.

      It did seem like a good idea to try to be past DC before Monday morning, but without a good sense of what direction everyone is going for work on a weekday morning in the area, maybe it doesn't really matter.

      Current driver: Ranger
      Panthers: 83 GM 2dr | 84 TC | 85 CS
      | 88 TC | 91 GM
      Not Panthers: 85 Ranger | Ranger trailer | 91 Acclaim | 05 Focus
      Gone: 97 CV | 83 TC | 04 Focus | 86 GM
      | Junkyards

      Comment


        #4
        I'm probably around and I'm still fat so food is generally good with me.

        More weird stuff to do in NJ since you're heading towards Atlantic City, go see Lucy the Elephant. Its slightly south of Atlantic City in Margate.

        The largest operational pipe organ is in the Atlantic City Convention Hall

        86 Lincoln Town Car (Galactica).
        5.0 HO, CompCams XE258,Scorpion 1.72 roller rockers, 3.55 K code rear, tow package, BHPerformance ported E7 heads, Tmoss Explorer intake, 65mm throttle body, Hedman 1 5/8" headers, 2.5" dual exhaust, ASP underdrive pulley

        91 Lincoln Mark VII LSC grandpa spec white and cranberry

        1984 Lincoln Continental TurboDiesel - rolls coal

        Originally posted by phayzer5
        I drive a Lincoln. I can't be bothered to shift like the peasants and rabble rousers

        Comment


          #5
          Getting to Baltimore by Sunday night is smart. There's rarely a good time to cross the Potomac/drive on the Beltway, but if you had to plan for one, late Sunday would probably be it. The American Legion bridge is usually jammed up, as is 495 coming up to it from Virginia due to roadwork. Not sure what conditions are usually like if you crossed at Alexandria, but it's likely more of the same.

          Maybe the surest thing is to skip the DC area altogether, drive up 81 to Winchester, then cut over to Baltimore by way of Harpers Ferry to Frederick. That route is probably better even if you had to make it on a weekday.

          I'm down to say hi should it work out this year. Anywhere from Northern Virginia to Baltimore is doable if lined up in advance.
          1987 Lincoln Town Car - Signature, "Prudence"

          Comment


            #6
            My hotel is booked in Robbinsville for the nights of May 9 and 10 (Thurs-Fri), checking out Saturday morning.
            Will most likely book a campsite in the Smoky Mountains for Saturday night.
            Playing with the map and hotel options, I believe my goal is Towson, MD for Sunday night.​

            Last year, it was a bit of a pain finding a room as a walk-in at 10PM on a Sunday. Rates and availability were unfavourable. I'm planning to book the room ahead, and the Comfort Inn in Towson looks like it has an acceptable rate.

            Originally posted by gadget73 View Post
            I'm probably around and I'm still fat so food is generally good with me.

            More weird stuff to do in NJ since you're heading towards Atlantic City, go see Lucy the Elephant. Its slightly south of Atlantic City in Margate.

            The largest operational pipe organ is in the Atlantic City Convention Hall
            Thank you, I also enjoy food, and weird stuff.

            Originally posted by Lutrova View Post
            Getting to Baltimore by Sunday night is smart. There's rarely a good time to cross the Potomac/drive on the Beltway, but if you had to plan for one, late Sunday would probably be it. The American Legion bridge is usually jammed up, as is 495 coming up to it from Virginia due to roadwork. Not sure what conditions are usually like if you crossed at Alexandria, but it's likely more of the same.

            Maybe the surest thing is to skip the DC area altogether, drive up 81 to Winchester, then cut over to Baltimore by way of Harpers Ferry to Frederick. That route is probably better even if you had to make it on a weekday.

            I'm down to say hi should it work out this year. Anywhere from Northern Virginia to Baltimore is doable if lined up in advance.
            Because I am following the "avoid tolls" route, I will come into the Baltimore area from the west on I-70, then go up around the north side of Baltimore on I-695. This looks like it's the route you suggested​. It's very likely the path I took last year too, and it worked just fine. This does look like it puts us pretty close together, so as with last year I'll try to update you on how the timeline looks. Maybe dinner or something in your area.

            Last year was very uh...disorganized. Leave at a random time with only "New Jersey" and "avoid tolls" as the rough goals, then drive until too tired to continue. Maybe with more planning it'll work a little better.

            I am wanting to try to get a little more mileage on the Blue Ridge Parkway heading out of Asheville, but there's only so much of that which heads in the right direction. But if I drag the line on the map to put me on it, it doesn't really add much time for a few chunks of it at least.

            Current driver: Ranger
            Panthers: 83 GM 2dr | 84 TC | 85 CS
            | 88 TC | 91 GM
            Not Panthers: 85 Ranger | Ranger trailer | 91 Acclaim | 05 Focus
            Gone: 97 CV | 83 TC | 04 Focus | 86 GM
            | Junkyards

            Comment


              #7
              You can swing up to Connecticut from Baltimore and visit me, check out the sights and then take a different route to go home. WagonMan
              89 Colony Park
              90 Colony Park
              70 HEMI Daytona Convertible

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by WagonMan View Post
                You can swing up to Connecticut from Baltimore and visit me, check out the sights and then take a different route to go home. WagonMan
                Not the worst idea, nor an impossible one, but doing so pretty much adds a day (maybe 2, depending on timeline for leaving Atlantic City - keep in mind the intended destination is visiting a friend near AC, so the earliest I leave AC area is Monday night).

                OTOH, I've never been to NYC, and the path to you goes directly through there. Silly tourism opportunities. I'll see what I can work out in terms of my time off balances at work. Don't want to short change myself for things I want to do later in the year.

                Current driver: Ranger
                Panthers: 83 GM 2dr | 84 TC | 85 CS
                | 88 TC | 91 GM
                Not Panthers: 85 Ranger | Ranger trailer | 91 Acclaim | 05 Focus
                Gone: 97 CV | 83 TC | 04 Focus | 86 GM
                | Junkyards

                Comment


                  #9
                  You should take your wagon, that way you can grab some parts from me. LOL! WagonMan
                  89 Colony Park
                  90 Colony Park
                  70 HEMI Daytona Convertible

                  Comment

                  Working...
                  X