The second annual 2011 Rolling the Twisties tour began in Winston Salem, North Carolina on a beautiful Sunday morning. This year’s tour departed from the Hawthorne Inn Motel in Winston Salem on May 29, 2011 following a brief drivers meeting. Route maps were distributed and the usual RTT processes were explained. The group leaders expected the drivers to naturally break up into smaller groups within the first hour of departure. The group leaders were wrong. Within a few minutes of departure the cars split into three groups. In typical RTT fashion the groups exited the hotel parking lot at various exits thus providing for natural distribution cars within few minutes of the tour…
Day one was simply outstanding. A similar route to the previous year took the group through the country and mountain roads in North Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia. The destination was Beckley West Virginia and the route passed along some spectacular mountain vistas and many rural towns. The driving was fantastic and the weather could not have been better. The use of CB radios enabled participants to communicate along the way and meet up at various waypoints. One group of drivers caught the attention of a sport bike enthusiast, a local area promoter of motorcycle riding events in Tazewell W.V. It turns out that Route 16 in and around Tazewell offers some of the best driving in the region and is currently promoted as the “Other Side of the Dragon” The fellowship that resulted from our first unique encounter with a local sport bike enthusiast will culminate with a motorcycle and RTT barbeque in Tazewell during RTT 2012.
The first day could not have been better and all arrived at the hotel in Beckley within about an hour window.
Day two brought the true feeling of being on the road. It was Memorial Day and the group was heading to Johnson City Tennessee by way of New River Gorge. Once again the driving was outstanding and even the miles covered on the interstate with big left to right sweepers were enjoyable. Being Memorial Day the group was cognizant of significant law enforcement on the road and made every effort to keep the speeds within posted limits. Not one RTT participant was ticketed and the days driving included an off the beaten path experience. The drivers encountered a section of County Road 1 that was, simply put, impassable and resulted in the group having to re-route. As usual the experience of pushing the cars far up an un-travelable mountain road/trail and navigating a new route on the fly increased the degree of intensity which only enhanced the level of RTT camaraderie.
Some new drivers joined the tour for day three. The group set out in the morning with the day’s end point being Fontana Village resort in North Carolina. By this time the group had thinned a bit and the caliber of driver’s skills seemed to have increased as a group. The day’s terrain was outstanding. The back roads were both technical and challenging. No one was disappointed. As the grouped traversed the country side it was apparent that some areas had been ravaged by tornados. Houses, churches and trees had been leveled. In some areas it was surreal but the quick pace kept the drivers eyes forward with thoughts of the next day’s challenge on the Tail of the Dragon!
Day four brought with it some rest and free time. Each driver was free to attack the Tail of the Dragon and other drives in the surrounding area like the Cherahola Skyway. It was basically a day to do as you chose in one of the best and most renowned driving areas in North America.
As usual the event culminated with an outstanding meal split amongst the 2011 participants in the resorts best restaurant. Stories, drinks and laughter were shared by all. Those in attendance knew they had accomplished something special. Friendships were renewed and the exuberant spirit that defines the drivers of RTT was further enhanced as the evenings musings moved toward morning.
The next day brought farewells’ in the early morning light as drivers prepared to go back to their respective home States and Provinces. Numerous drivers had 12 hour drives ahead of them. The last morning of RTT is always bitter sweet. Friends know it will be a long while before they see one another again. The true and simple fact that work and reality is just around the corner is a thought that drivers try to suppress as they shake hands before they disperse throughout North America.
WHAT WE HAVE LEARNED
The annual RTT experience is more than just a drive. It strikes a chord with many. The movement through the countryside while experiencing the connection between the road and the car, combined with the focus required to do so in a competent manner, seems to slow time. Thoughts and daily pressures fade. The ability to share these experiences with like minded individuals is what RTT is really about.
This year’s driving experience brought about the recognition of the need for navigation teams. Having a driver and competent navigator pared in a car can make a world of difference when it comes to getting from point A to point B. There is no doubt that showing up with a car and following others brings with it a sort of easy going freedom. However, the reality is that everyone needs to be prepared to navigate at some point. Thus, all participants should familiarize themselves with the route via the website. Going forward, we might have navigation teams voluntarily step forward in order to allow some respite for those who traditionally point the direction.
The CB radios worked and made life much easier.
One of the highlights of each day is sharing a cold drink with friends around cocktail hour. This year we are going to request that people volunteer to provide or sponsor some sort of hordourves for all participants each evening. The range of options is unlimited but inclusive of items like chips, peanuts, cheese and crackers, vegetables and dip, mullet dip, barbeque, hamburgers, sloppy Joes, pizza or various culinary delights provided by the each towns best caterer. Each evening’s dinner will be left up to individual participants. In other words the only organized meal is the last night of RTT.
Here is a video that Rodney Middendorf put together after RTT 2011.
Thanks Rodney! The video is really Awesome!