Planning for our 2013 drives is under way. We've created our tentative drive schedule, but don't be surprised if things change a bit between now and May.
Afternoon Drive: Blue Ridge Parkway west to Mount Pisgah / Pisgah Inn
Scenic Drive: Waterfalls Drive
Moderate Drive: Wayah Road
Spirited Drive: Tail of the Dragon (2)
Scenic-to-Moderate Drive: Blue Ridge Parkway
Moderate-to-Spirited Drive: Apple Valley Loop
Spirited: Hot Spring Figure-8
What you can expect to see:
Tail of the Dragon
The Tail of the Dragon is perhaps the most famous (or infamous) road in the Southeast United States. It features 318 exciting curves in only 11 miles. This exciting road features a mix of banked turns, tight sweepers, switchbacks and lots of ups and downs. It is, however, heavily traveled by motorcycles, trucks, law enforcement and (the weekend of QDM) Minis.
Wayah Road is a recent discovery for the Audi Club. At QDM 2011, a gentleman from Cherokee County Cycles told us about this relatively unknown road. It is 27 miles of fun beginning at US19/74 at the Nantahala River Put-In and ending at Old Murphy Road near Franklin. This mountain road has it all .... beautiful scenery, challenging curves, and minimal traffic. Response to this road at QDM2012 was overwhelmingly positive, so we're definitely going back!
Blue Ridge Parkway
Possibly America's greatest stretch of road, the Blue Ridge Parkway runs for a total of 469 miles. At, QDM, we will only drive a small portion of that distance. But, with amazing views and little traffic, it's easy to understand why we love this drive. This year, we'll be able to travel north/east of Asheville on the Parkway, something we've never done before.
The Waterfalls Drive will be a moderately paced drive through scenic areas of Western North Carolina and visits to three beautiful waterfalls. Our drive will include some scenic twisty mountain driving, a couple of short hikes, and lunch. Our first stop will be Pearson’s Falls in Saluda, NC, a gorgeous 90-foot waterfall. The falls are located on private property and require a $5 donation per car. The falls are accessed by an easy 1/3 mile hike. Next stop is High Falls in Dupont State Forest. (Hunger Games was filmed in portions of Dupont State Forest). After a ½ mile hike we’ll reach High Falls, a 150-foot cascade. The trail is relatively easy, with a short steep hike leaving the falls. After High Falls we’ll stop in Brevard at Hawg Wild BBQ for lunch. They offer BBQ, burgers, catfish, sandwiches, and salads. From there it is a short drive into Pisgah National Forest to Looking Glass Falls, our final stop. This 60-foot tall waterfall is the easiest to view because it is right next to the highway, and can be best seen by climbing down a series of steps to the base of the falls. From here it is a short, winding scenic drive to the Blue Ridge Parkway and back to Asheville. Because of limited parking in some areas, we must limit this drive to no more than 12 cars.
Apple Valley Loop
Just south of Asheville lie some exciting roads with great views and little to no traffic. Our Apple Valley Loop drive will be lead by an Asheville native and veteran driving school instructor.
Hot Springs Figure-8
Hot Springs is located at the confluence of the French Broad River and Spring Creek. A natural hot spring is also located here, the only such spring known in North Carolina and in much of the southeastern United States. A resort destination for almost 200 years, it has long been renowned for its healing mineral springs and scenic mountain setting. Native Americans were the first to discover the 100-plus degree mineral water from which the Town of Hot Springs received its name. We’ll let the drive be our therapy, rest and eat in a local diner (they’ve been warned!), and enjoy the sights of the Cherokee and Pisgah National Forests before returning home for our Saturday banquet!