Most of the time when I blog my journeys, I try to recap at the end of each day while its fresh in my mind. Sadly the cabin at the top of Shuckstack is just out of wifi range and when 1,000 of your closest Mini friends are all trying to access that service, it gets a bit slow! Since I needed to gas up before my first run anyhow, I decided to get up early and drive to Robbinsville so I could fill up and update my status.
It is a nice drive out there and back and the best part was passing random Minis along the way. All of the Minis at MOTD wave, its super friendly! I made it back to Fontana Village just in time to load up for my first official run.
This run was led by one of my favorite clubs, the Miniskirts!
Our fearless leader pointed out the sweeper, gave us a brief rundown, passed along a few safety tips and then we all saddled up and headed out. I ended up near the end of the pack, so the drive was a little spirited! Our first stop was at a rest area across from a gas station. I’d filled up in Robbinsville so I spent my time admiring the other cars on our run.
The scenery was also fantastic!
From there we found some wild twisties and crossed over the top of the Hiawassee Dam.
The next planned stop was a bait shop. I wondered why we would stop at a bait shop. When we got out, I stood around with a couple of other drivers and talked about my vinyl and their mods. We kept seeing other drivers come out with brown paper bags. Several of them suggested we go in and try the bundt cake ;-). I wasn’t really hungry but decided I should probably go in and look around.
It looked like a typical bait shop on the inside except for the table set up with an impressive spread of cake slices. One of the ladies leaned over and softly said “there’s shine in the back room.” I followed the crowd and entered the back room. It looked like a very large closet with packed shelves and in the center was a big, shiny barbecue grill. There was a man standing behind it selling “bags” for $25. Apparently when you buy a bag, the shine is free! When I got to the front of the line he asked me if I wanted apple or regular. I said apple. I asked him if he took visa. He said no. He also appeared to roll his eyes, but it was dim so I might be wrong about that. I handed over the cash and he put a large mason jar with clear liquid into the really expensive brown bag I’d just purchased.
We got back in our cars and took off. There were a lot more twisties before we ended up at Rib Country in Murphy NC.
The food was amazing and it was fantastic to get to know some other drivers! I med Daria, a driver from Florida who is planning on coming to Virginia to drive on Minis Take the Old Dominion. I also met Jacques, a driver from the finger lakes region in NY who was camping out at MOTD. The couple across from me were actually from MD and members of C3M, another club I joined!
I headed back to Fontana Village to meet up with the DCMM crew for our DCMM photo shoot. I arrived a bit early so I headed to the Alicyn Drew tent to check in with some of my cabin mates. Melissa was Alicyn’s assistant for the day and while I thought I’d prepared her for replacing me by leaving my tiara, my chapstick, and an orange for her to peel for Alicyn, she had forgotten the orange, not worn the tiara, and given the chapstick to Alicyn to hold on to herself. However, turns out Melissa has mad packing up and organizational skills and had totally beaten me in that department!
Haemish showed up while I was there. His car was fixed and he wanted to take it for a test drive. He offered to show me the Fontana Dam so we decided to caravan over. He stopped at an observation area to tell me a bit of history about the Dam and a hiker came over to talk with us. She was part of a crew of 4 who were hiking the Appalachian Trail and were really, really tired. They asked if they could have a ride to Fontana. Haemish said sure, we’d pick them up on the way back. He’s much nicer than I am!
We parked at the base of the dam. It used to be open to traffic, but for some reason it’s only open to pedestrians now. Hamish told me it’s the tallest dam on the east coast. We got out to check out the view.
Then we walked all the way across the top.
On the way back, we stopped to pick up the hikers. I didn’t want to take out my windscreen so three of them rode with Haemish and one girl rode with me. She told me they were from GA and were planning on walking to Maine. They expect to arrive sometime in September though if you ask me getting rides in random Mini’s seems like cheating.
After I dropped her off it was time to head to the club shoot. We met up at a boat launch parking lot.
Alicyn lined us up and set up her tripod. There was a fantastic shot of just our cars and then we all climbed in or stood near our cars for another shot. Lucky for me, Ali had the birthday tiara that Melissa had refused to wear! Brent set up his timer and we all posed for the shot. Afterwards, the club surprised me with a birthday cake. While it wasn’t shaped like a dragon, it was ice blue with multicolored sprinkles!
Fontana Village doesn’t have cake decorators, but who cares? Eating cake on the side of the Hellbender surrounded by my Mini friends was the most fantastic way to celebrate my birthday of all time, ever! Afterwards, some people left to attend the brew swap and the rest of us drove down the Hellbender to Tapoco Lodge for dinner.
We saw a few other Mini friends and had a lovely time eating on the patio overlooking the river. When we finished it was time to head back to Fontana Village. The evening’s entertainment consisted of a choice between a drive in movie (Gone in 60 Seconds) or karaoke. I’d spent most of the day rehearsing, so I chose karaoke. I let Craig, Hilary, and Celia sit in My Precious so they could enjoy the movie topless.
Karaoke was fantastic! I sat with Reinaldo, Jessie, Miriam, and Al. Let me tell you, Al has a set of pipes! He suggested we sing Don’t You Want Me Baby together, which was completely new for me! Luckily he had the bigger vocal lift. I put a lot of effort into my characterization to offset the fact that my part was slightly higher than my 1 note range. I also wowed the crowd with my signature number Turning Japanese and a stirring rendition of I Wanna Be Sedated. Al and Jessie brought the house down with You’re the One That I Want because they’ve got talent!
Al closed out the evening with a heartfelt dedication to Miriam. No idea what he was singing, much of it was in Spanish, but we were all moved and who could top that? Besides, there was a lot of driving planned for Saturday…