Blue Ridge Parkway
From the Dragon we drove to Cherokee and the start of the Blue Ridge Parkway. We made a brief stop in Cherokee and then got onto the Blue Ridge Parkway and headed north for the first time since leaving the museum. The ride up the parkway was awesome. The scenery from the lookouts was unbelievable and we took several pictures wherever we stopped. The road is a twisting two lane one with constant turns to conform to the side of the mountains. Mike was going through his gears and I gave the 'paddles' a good workout. But, it was fun driving and the car responded like it was built for this type of road. We could not really make good time, but I loved driving it and the cars ate it up. We picked another spot on the map that we had visited in the early 70s called Little Switzerland, it was a little north of Ashville on the Blue Ridge Parkway. This time we lowered our expectations. We figured we would arrive there about an hour before sunset and in time for dinner. Our calculations were correct...only this time our expectations were exceeded. Little Switzerland had really changed that much in the 30 plus years since we had been there. The place was like a Swiss Chalet, clean rooms and a very good restaurant. We had safe parking for the 'twins' and spend a comfortable, quiet evening.
The next morning, after an interesting breakfast which consisted of a little of everything, we got back on the Blue Ridge Parkway and headed north. It was another warm sunny southern day and we couldn't have asked for better weather. The scenery was beautiful but the driving was slow. So, by lunchtime we decided to leave the parkway and hit the major highways heading north toward Charlottesville, VA which would be out last stop before home. Once we hit the major highway, we were able to open up the cars and try out the cruise controls. Zipping along at 80 was like standing still. It had gotten warm that afternoon, so we left the tops up and the AC on. We made terrific time on the highway and arrived in Charlottesville and Monticello in time to get the last tour of Jefferson's home. The tour proved interesting but I was a little disappointed that we didn't get to see more of the house and hear more about the very important historical figure.
After the tour we drove into Charlottesville which is a huge college town and found a hotel for the night. We took a walk into the center of town and found great shops and restaurants along a pedestrian walking area. We had our last supper at an Italian place sitting outside with a bottle of wine. As we walked back to the hotel, Mike stopped at a liquor store and bought a bottle of lemoncello. We got back to the hotel, poured a couple of glasses of the lemon and settled in front of the big TV in the lobby to watch Monday Night Football. It was a great way to end another perfect day.
Home at Last
The last morning we awoke to a cloudy day. No rain, but just overcast. It was still warm and humid and therefore the A/C would be working today. We headed towards Washington DC and estimated a lunchtime arrival. Things were going fine until we hit the beltway around DC. Having traveled down here during my working days, I knew the roads well. Mike was listening to his NAV system, which we still hadn't totally figured out, as we approached the turnoff to the beltway. I veered off onto the ramp for the beltway north and Mike kept going straight...not good! Immediately we contacted each other on the cell phones and he turned around at the first opportunity he had. I got off at the first exit on the beltway and found a place where we could meet. After about 15 minutes of cell phone chatter and worry, Mike's car came into sight. Well, if that's the biggest mishap of the week, so be it. We got back onto the beltway and then onto 95 north. Once we passed Baltimore we stopped for lunch at a Cracker Barrel and thoughts of Corvettes at Carlisle passed through my mind. We enjoyed our last meal together on the trip and talked about all the sites we had seen and our impressions of the cars. Even the wives were pleasantly surprised on much they liked the cars and the ride. It had truly been a great trip and week. We then continued our ride north until we got to exit 7 on the NJ Turnpike where we parted company.
Mike continued north to his home and I got onto 195 to head to the shore area and my home. The following morning when we talked, Mike informed me that he had been in his garage until midnight cleaning his new car. When he called me, I was outside washing my new car. As part of the ride home we started calling the cars the 'twins'. We also named our cars 'Paddles' and 'Peddles'...a true Corvette guy would understand that immediately. A non-Corvette guy will have to think about that for a couple of minutes...which are you?