If you've noticed a slight lack of new posts in the past week, there's a good reason for it. I was down below the Mason-Dixon for an unforgettable road trip with Motoring Con Brio and a certain E30 325i BMW. My travelling companion had made excellent navigational preparations for what turned out to be truly remarkable route that took us over 2000 miles of freeways, highways, byways, and back country roads.We spent most of our time in North Carolina, and I have to say that from a driving point of view, I am now utterly in love with that state. North Carolina's drivers were fast, safe, and courteous in their habits. We almost always saw them keep right except when passing on the interstate, and in the twisty roads they would graciously pull over to let us by without a hint of irritation. Add to this the seemingly endless supply of winding, ribbon-like backroads with silk smooth asphalt, reasonably high speed limits, and relatively sparse law enforcement, and you have a recipe for true driving nirvana. As icing on the cake, the scenery is absolutely breathtaking everywhere you go.North Carolina's more famous roads have wonderfully charismatic and evocative names like The Tail of the Dragon, the Diamondback, and the Devil's Staircase. We pretty much drove all the famous ones, as well as the noble and magnificent Blue Ridge Parkway, of which we drove about 75% of its length. In addition to being car heaven, the roads around here were even more popular among the motorcycle community, and bikers were everywhere. We only saw a handful of exotic cars during our trip.
Probably the most interesting of these exotic sightings was a bright orange Lamborghini Gallardo, which we proceeded to chase up one of these hillside switchback roads. We had a blast, clinging to the Gallardo's brightly-hued bumper the whole way up. To be fair to the driver, he had way more horsepower and way more car than was appropriate for these roads, but it had to be galling to have two cars keeping up with him that each cost less than a tuneup on his pricey machinery!When we reached the summit, we all pulled over. My friend and I weren't sure how the guy would react to our cheeky antics, but he shambled over, calmly lighting a cigarette, and said with a friendly smirk "I hope I didn't hold y'all up too bad back there." People in North Carolina are so nice.
The highlight of the trip for both of us was undoubtedly the infamous "Tail of the Dragon" at Deal's Gap. It boasts 318 curves in 11 miles. While there are many twisty and undulating roads in that part of North Carolina, what makes the Tail truly special is the extent to which the corners are banked rather steeply. The Alfa took to these corners with incredible agility. I drove the car harder than I ever had before, and the GTV6 rewarded me over and over again with its sure-footedness, power, and reliability. Entering these tight 2nd gear banked corners under braking, you can sense the chassis loading up like a giant spring, and once you are past the apex and have the power down, the car seems to leap forward as if it's stored all the momentum from the braking zone. Truly a remarkable driver's car, and a fantastic sensory experience that one can become addicted to.
Check out Motoring Con Brio for a detailed account of each road we took! And Make sure to watch our video compilation below. Be sure to crank up the volume!!
Full Photo Gallery HERE
Photo credit for Tail of the Dragon Photos: Xtreme Sports Photography