Rally Appalachia 2011
Rally Appalachia 2011. Click image to enlarge
 

Article and photos by Michael Schlee

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Rally Appalachia, 2011

The word for day two of the CJ Pony Parts Rally Appalachia 2011 was ‘Hot’. By 8AM the temperature was already at 24 degrees Celsius. Soon it was in the 30s and stayed there all day. It crept north of 39 degrees just outside of Charlotte, NC. The humidity made the air thick enough to chew.

For the Autos.ca/Autotrader.ca team, this wasn’t a big deal. Our WRX is nearly new and blows ice-cold air no matter what the conditions outside. For some of the other teams, not having air conditioning on a day like today was nearly intolerable. Even at freeway speeds it felt like someone was blowing a hair dryer at your face if you were foolish enough to open your windows. Team Mini and Team Corvair in particular looked a little overheated by the time we all rolled into Greenville, SC due to their lack of air conditioning.

Rally Appalachia 2011
Rally Appalachia 2011. Click image to enlarge

Today’s leg was to be the longest of the rally and it lived up to its billing. The plan was to hit checkpoints in two cities, drive the Blue Ridge Parkway and then hit checkpoints in two more cities. Problem was that the Blue Ridge Parkway was unexpectedly closed and forced all teams to make a 1.5 hour detour. To say the day was long is an understatement. Most teams started the day at 8AM and were still not heard from by 6PM. Even after a long tiring, spirits were very high at the Hooters in Greenville South Carolina.

The highlight of today’s rally was another run on a small town racetrack. Today’s stop was the Motor Mile Dragway in Virginia. It is a 1/8 mile drag strip where all the teams were allowed to drive as fast as they could. Having botched my first attempt at a 1/8 mile pass, I decided to try a redo. I promptly botched that attempt as well and finally launched properly on try three. Considering I had a passenger and a car full of luggage, I was pretty happy with the outcome.

Having driven over Skyline Drive, Blue Ridge Parkway and the surrounding B-roads I realized how refreshing it is to see that roads like these still exist. They are nearly identical to their original layout and are well maintain jewels of pavement. With the creation of the interstate system in the USA, they no longer serve any purpose as a road other than providing driving pleasure. With roads like this being budgeted out of existence all across North America, get out and drive them while you still can.

Tomorrow promises to be a shorter day and we have a few tricks up our sleeve. Plus, we get to drive on Darlington.

Rally Appalachia 2011
Rally Appalachia 2011. Click image to enlarge
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