The first Classic Honda's on the Dragon is over already, sadly, but it was certainly a success. Before I continue, I want to thank those of you who set aside the time to participate, especially those of you who traveled long distances to be there. It was a pleasure meeting you all and getting the chance to talk classic Honda's with more than one person was very special, because it does not happen often.
The day started off with several cancellations sadly, but I was not going to be discouraged. As the early morning clouds started to melt away, the two young gentlemen that met me in Georgia and I, set off towards North Carolina. Our small three-car convoy immediately hit traffic. It was, after all, the Smokey Mountains in the fall, so it wasn't much of a surprise to see the crowds of 'Leafers' converging on the area. We trudged along slowly until the road opened up into two lanes where, for a moment, we were able to move along at our own pace. Thankfully, as the road widened, the road got curvy as well. We enjoyed several miles of enthusiastic driving until we pulled up behind another of the many slow drivers heading north. On the North Carolina side of the mountains, the roads opened up again allowing us to maintain a steady progress. It wasn't long before we were pulling into the Ingles parking lot in Robbinsville. As I pulled around the last row of cars, there in front of me was another first generation CRX. This was a special moment. It was the first time my car was in the presence of another 1G, that wasn't owned by me. I was excited. Not only that, but there was a 3G civic hatch parked right next to it!
As we pulled in and parked in the same aisle, the group gathered around shaking hands and ogling over each other's vehicles. This went on for some time as we waited until after 1pm in case someone who didn't RSVP, happened to show up. Around 1:30 we all decided to head to the Dragon.
From Robbinsville, the south entrance to the Tail of the Dragon is about 25 minutes away. The road to the Tail is gorgeous and does not lack in entertainment. As we approached the foot of the Tail, near the infamous Deals Gap resort, we pulled in behind a small gray Hyundai. Based on the generic nature of the car, I was worried. I have encountered slow drivers on the Tail in the past, and I didn't want the group's first experience on the tail to be restricted. Sadly however, my concerns quickly became a reality as we slowly passed turn-off after turn-off, all of which was ignored by the woman in the Hyundai. Not only was she driving slow, and not following proper 'Tail etiquette', she was also cutting corners and driving into the on-coming lane. If my camera hadn't been the only heavy object in my car at the time, I would have thrown something at her. My car doesn't have a horn, so I have to get creative when expressing myself while driving. (*wink, wink*) Unfortunately, we spent the duration of the run behind her as she continued to blunder her way down the road. As we reached the north end of the Tail, we all pulled into the large parking area at the bottom of the mountain on the Tennessee side. As I stepped out of the car and turned around to meet the others, who had parked behind me, three of the car's hoods were already up, and the civic was spewing smoke from the front wheels. It was going to be a while.
While we waited for brakes and engines to cool, we picked up where we left off in the Ingles parking lot, sharing stories, tips, and laughs. It was really nice to have a group of like-minded people to chat with and share ideas. We even had others who had parked nearby, come over and talk with us about our cars. It was nice to see others who were into other types of cars, share enthusiasm for classic Hondas. Before we knew it, almost an hour had passed and we were getting hungry. So we all piled back into the cars, waited for a long gap in traffic and then headed back down the Tail.
The second run was wildly different than the first (I emphasize 'wildly'). There was no one in front of us, so I went for it. It didn't take me long to realize that the track day I had participated in a couple weeks prior, had had an effect on my tires. I was losing traction quicker in the front, and to my surprise, the rear as well. This was a good thing. As I dove into a tight corner, the front wheels would protest slightly on entry, but once they maintained traction, the opposite rear tire would lose traction. This chain reaction created the feeling of over-steer out of the corners. It was awesome. Hearing that rear wheel making chirping noises as it skipped across the pavement brought a huge smile to my face.
Before I knew it, the only two people behind me were the two guys who had joined me in Georgia (Davis, in a late model RX-8, and John in his early 90's Mitsubishi Galant VR-4). I was concerned that both the Civic and the other CRX, who had been having brake issues earlier, were no longer there. We pulled over at the next turn-off and waited. A few minutes later, Paul, in his CRX pulled in behind us. Everything was fine, but he had lost his brakes several miles back and had to stop. Shortly after, Kevin, in his Civic, pulled in. He decided to take it easy considering the issues he encountered on the first run. At this point, we were all hungry and thankful that no one had gone off the mountain, so after the brakes were cool again, we headed to lunch.
After a round of delicious burgers from the Historic Tapoco Lodge, we headed over to the Fontana Dam to take pictures. By this time, the sun was setting, Kevin had left, and everyone was quite tired. So after a brief photo session near the dam, we all parted ways and headed home. It had been a great day. The day was a testament to the character of classic Honda enthusiasts. Everyone was so nice, respectful, enthusiastic, and easy going. It really was a pleasure to spend time with everyone, and I am already looking forward to the next event. I'll see you all in the spring!