— Saturday —
Well, I got my wish, sort of. It has been raining pretty steady all day. There have been brief moments when it has been misting, not raining and there was a short time around mid-day that it was just cloudy. We decided to use this time to drive the Cherohala Skyway to Telico Plains for lunch. The trip started uneventfully enough and up until about the 3,000 foot level the leaves were still hanging on to their color. Above that, they were pretty much gone. At 4,000 feet the rain started. Lightly at first and then enough that the top had to go up. It was then, about 15 miles into the 50 mile trip, I decided that we should just turn around and eat in Robbinsville. Fortunately, my co-pilot let me have my way.
— Friday —
After an early dinner at The Hub (they close at 5 now because it is “out of season”) we decided that if there was to be a run through The Gap it would have to be this evening. Because it was about 5:30 on a week night we thought there might be some traffic to slow us down, so I said if it did I’d just turn around rather than wait behind a slug. Turns out it worked the other way around. The Emperor passed the 160k mile mark just before the climb up 129 to the beginning of Deals Gap.
A couple miles into the Dragon around a switchback I noticed a 4-door Japanese sedan about 1/4 mile back. A mile later at another switchback he was still there and if I guessed right he was actually gaining on us. Now the rain in the area had stopped about noon, but there were still spots on the road that were wet, so I was not so much trying to slay the dragon as I was just riding on its back trying to hold on. A couple minutes later I heard a swarm of angry hornets closing in fast. Quickly there were 2 sets of HID headlights right on us. I found a spot and pulled over. A matte gray 370Z convertible, top down, roared by with a black Fiat 500 Abarth right on its tail.
We watched them go and got back on the road. During our pause our 4-door chaser made up a lot of ground and by the time I hit the next turn he was coming around the bend behind us. He was now close enough for me to make out that it was a dark blue Accord and he was working it. I played rabbit for a couple miles, losing sight during the the real windy parts, but anytime there was a 50-75 yard stretch of quasi-straight road he’d haul us back a bit. After a couple miles of this Donna said, just pull over and let him by. I thought what the heck, so I found a spot and pulled of. He came around the corner and pulled in behind us with a thumbs up gesture out his sunroof. I leaned back and said, “Go on by.” To which he replied, “No, you go, I’m having a blast trying to keep up.”
For the next couple of miles I was the rabbit to his greyhound until we caught up to a slow moving train of 6 cars which included the Z & 500. It was only a short time later that we got to the dam overlook which most folks consider the end of the dragon. Everyone in front of us pulled into one or the other of the already nearly full parking areas on either side of the road. Our Accord pulled in as well, but I opted to drive the last mile or so down the mountain to the large parking area, which I’ve always considered the official end. That is where we turned around the very first time we drove The Gap, almost 20 years ago at the inaugural Miatas at the Gap in 1997.
When we got back to the dam overlook there was absolutely no one there, so we stopped and took in the view a bit. After a while a few other cars pulled in and we took off back towards Robbinsville. This time through I just drove it and didn’t push at all and was sort of surprised that no one caught me from behind.
— Saturday —
At about 7:30 this evening we both had an attack of Cabin (Hotel Room) Fever, so we looked out the window to see if the rain had stopped. It had, so we got dressed into street clothes and walked the 200 yards to the McDonalds for a hot apple pie. Wow, its been a while since I’ve had one of these. When did they stop deep frying them?
Started up, went down, back up, still up.
Miata Top Transitions since 06/25/15: 110