A different type of wheeling trip

Fall wheeling trips have always been a favorite time of year for me. Spending time in the outdoors. Driving a high performance vehicle. Octoberfest beers and Pumpkin spiced coffee. Enjoying dinner and beverages with friends after a long day on the trail. These are the reasons I look forward to fall every year.

On 9/12/14 Neill Bustle, Ken Britton, and Wes Harper started a different type of fall wheeling trip. The trip would include many events that we have experienced on past wheeling trips and others we have never experienced before.

Packing and preparations for this trip were different. There was no packing the RV or trailer. No search for spare parts, tools, and fluids needed for a weekend on the trail. There was no grocery shopping, cooler packing, and organizing boots or mud gear. This trip needed only a radar detector, a GPS, a duffle bag of clothes, and a wallet with cash and credit available.

This epic trip starts in Walhala, SC on highway 128. This historic stretch of road is a beautiful scenic drive to Bryson City, NC. The weather was rainy and the conditions were slick. Any of these high performance machines could break into full drift mode with the twitch of your big toe against the accelerator. Calm, smooth, and predictable input from the driver was crucial. Leaving the asphalt on this wheeling trip could be disastrous. With large trees and steep embankments on each side of the road.

We had a small mishap about 30 minutes into our first trail. The 370Z broke into a mild slide. The slide was slow and predictable. It looked like the car would stop at any moment and everything would be alright. But, that did not happen. The 370Z continued the slide then plunged off the side of the road down a 6-8 ft embankment. At this point were thinking our trip is over. Fast forward 1.5 hours and we have a tow truck on the side of the road with the 370Z on the road shoulder inspecting the damage. Amazingly the Z suffered very minimal cosmetic damage and was ready to roll after tucking the front bumper skin back into the fender. We continued on our trip with a lighter foot and more caution.

We arrived in Bryson City around 9pm. This small town has several great restaurants and a brewery. We ate burgers at a local restaurant then headed over to the brewery. Some type of free form rock and roll jazz band was playing. The music was OK, The beer was excellent.
Our next move was to find our motel. We arrived around midnight, then showered and met in the parking lot. This part of the trip was similar to most wheeling trips. We had a few beers in the parking lot. Talked smack about who has the best car and who was the fastest in the twistys. The only thing missing was a campfire.

The next morning we set a beeline for The Tail Of The Dragon. This stretch of road has 315 curves in 11 miles. The trip to the trailhead was awesome. Many twisty roads with elevation changes and large bodies of water. Upon arrival we visited two shops. They had t shirts and other knick knacks for sale. They also had awesome metal sculptures along the roads edge. After lightening our wallets a little in the stores, we put on our seatbelts and ran the dragon.

The run through the dragon was exhilarating. The roar of the V8 engine with tires squealing and slippage on the painted lines in the road made us smile ear to ear. At the end of the Dragon there is a turnaround area. We stopped here to catch our breath and talk smack. Then we ran the trail again.

Fall is here, grab your friends and go wheeling. There is nothing like a weekend away in the woods. It does not matter if your on a dirt or asphalt trail.


We ran the Dragon in Nov. 2010 when I had my Si. It's so twisty that its fun in pretty much anything that handles well, even if it's not that fast.


If you're up that way again, and you haven't already done this, we ran a loop in two days from Clemson to the Dragon and to Tellico plains the first day. Stayed in a cabin that night, then did the Cherohala Skyway the next day. Cherohala isn't nearly as twisty, but you get up to 5,400 ft and the views are amazing.
We took this trip before my friend's wedding. We heard that there was snow overnight on the Cherohala but decided to go anyway. When we got into the snow we thought about turning around, but we wouldn't have made it in time for the rehearsal dinner the long way, so we pressed on. It got pretty interesting with UHP Summer only tires... This was the last picture before Burgy put the camera down and started holding on.

These are the lakes when you get back down from the Skyway.

I have more pictures I was going to upload but the forum won't let me because they're too large, and I can't resize them right now.
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Awesome addition to the thread. I was sure there would be other like minded wheeling enthusiasts on this site. I bet your cars would hang with ours on this road.

Hoping to see the skyway in the future. Prefer no snow!