View Full Version : MSSD 2017 - Sunrise in the Smokeys / Clingmans Dome Run

August 10th, 2017, 10:09 PM
This run is on Sunday Morning, October 15th.

This is a drive to Clingmans Dome.... from Fontana through the Foothills Parkway over to Townsend for some breakfast/snack/fuel on the way. Some will use this drive as their last drive and will be going home from Clingmans Dome. Other MINI's can depart when they want and or group up and go back to Fontana.

Our route will take us west to Deal's Gap, across the Dragon and up the Foothills parkway, where we will stop for a photo break (you will learn there why they call them the Smoky Mountains). On the north side of the Smokys, we will stop at a gas station with a small grocery store attached (good sausage biscuits at a hot-breakfast deli). Once we get back on the road, we will dive into the Smoky Mountain park and go down Little River Road, that made Reader's Digest top 10 most scenic roads in the USA. We will stop one more time on our way down the mountain for some pics and will then return to Fontana via the Hellbender.

We will plan on meeting at the General Store at Fontana Village and leaving at 6:45 (see below). Note, it is possible to settle your Fontana lodging bill on Saturday night so you can meet us early on Sunday morning. This will be a medium paced to spirited run but as usual please drive in your own comfort zone (i.e., we will not be going so fast as to we will not leave anyone behind.

When: Meet @ 6:45 AM; Wheels up @ 7:00 AM. The reason for this early start are to: (1) catch the sunrise over the Smokeys from a pull off on the Foothill's Parkway, (2) to arrive for a fresh made breakfast at the IGA, great biscuits!, and (3) to beat the leaf peepers in the RVs along River Rd. in the park.

Where: Meet across from the General Store in Fontana Village

Stop for food/gas at:

7945 East Lamar Alexander Parkway
Townsend, TN 37882-4033

Radio's: Channel 20/20

Approximate Times:
1.25 hours to BP/IGA
30 minutes to eat and fuel up
1.25 hours to Clingmans Dome
Total Time to Clingmans Dome = 3 hours ... by Google Maps. MINI's will probably be faster...

After we get to Clingmans Dome... you are on your own

Website: http://www.clingmansdome.com/

Map / Directions: https://www.google.com/maps/dir/35.434987,-83.82518/7945+East+Lamar+Alexander+Parkway,+Townsend,+TN/Clingmans+Dome,+Forneys+Creek,+NC/@35.578033,-83.684921,11z/data=!4m21!4m20!1m1!4e1!1m10!1m1!1s0x885ea8b8f2dbe0ab:0x6ac49f78683e8364 !2m2!1d-83.742548!2d35.679799!3m4!1m2!1d-83.68178!2d35.66941!3s0x885eabfd91e6e3d7:0x34b836a156392751!1m5!1m1!1s0x 88594e0302824b01:0x7ce44f109725156d!2m2!1d-83.498498!2d35.562755!3e0?hl=en (https://www.google.com/maps/dir/35.434987,-83.82518/7945+East+Lamar+Alexander+Parkway,+Townsend,+TN/Clingmans+Dome,+Forneys+Creek,+NC/@35.578033,-83.684921,11z/data=%214m21%214m20%211m1%214e1%211m10%211m1%211s0x885ea8b8f2dbe0ab:0x6a c49f78683e8364%212m2%211d-83.742548%212d35.679799%213m4%211m2%211d-83.68178%212d35.66941%213s0x885eabfd91e6e3d7:0x34b836a156392751%211m5%21 1m1%211s0x88594e0302824b01:0x7ce44f109725156d%212m2%211d-83.498498%212d35.562755%213e0?hl=en)

Garmin GPX file: http://www.tarheelminis.org/garmin/t...012_routes.gpx (Note: this is an older GPX file but it contains the route for the run)

Please post to this thread if you plan on making this run.

Jeff Homan

August 11th, 2017, 08:31 PM
Count me in.

August 16th, 2017, 10:35 PM
Count us in - newbies on the Dragon.

Mark & Diane

September 6th, 2017, 12:46 PM
Mmmmmm... whenever I need to go to my 'happy place' in my head, the first 30-or-so miles after the stop for gas/biscuits in Townsend is where I go. Put on your jacket, roll down the windows and crank up the seat heaters. The air never smells so clean and fresh anywhere else. A babbling stream on your left, dense forest and mountain outcroppings on your right and a smooth blacktop road under your car. Simply the best drive EVER (and one that I do at least once... sometimes twice) whenever I get back to the area.

I first lead this drive (it was a full-circle trip back then) for MOTD 2006. I think we did 3 sessions of 20-30 cars each... quite the show! We ran it then in the middle of the day and stopped at the Apple Valley Kitchen, which on the south side of the road, about 2 mi before your scheduled gas station stop. They do great fried balogna sandwiches and fried pies (note the fried theme), if you happen to be in the area around lunch time. To prepare for this big group, I pre-drove the route a day earlier and just happened to run it right at sunrise, so I could get back to Fontana for some event I didn't want to miss. Wow! It was complete luck, but that was one of the best drives of my life. After that year, it turned into a sunrise drive every time I've gone back and several other folks loved it so much that it has been recreated every year since.

If all goes according to plan, I'll be doing it again for MOTD 2018 (wow... 12 years later!) and I'm SO happy to see that this route is still being shared and run!

By the way: After a rain, the shoulders can be VERY soft and you can quickly sink in to the mud. On that first year, I was in the lead of the caravan and pulled off to the side of the road to let a few stragglers catch up. Because I was in the front, I was the first to drive into a shady spot that hadn't dried out and my poor MINI quickly sank. Luckily, I had 20+ MINIs behind me full of helpful folks, who helped push me free.


Jeff Homan
September 12th, 2017, 09:08 PM
I'm in.