Each year, the Alfa Romeo Owners club – USA (AROC-USA) hosts a convention at a different location across the USA. This year, from June 12-19 2016, the chosen location is Nashville, Tennessee. A group of Alfa Owners are traveling from the North Eastern USA to Nashville via several scenic routes to the convention. The trip starts Saturday June 11th 2016. Following are the sights and stories from the journey and reports from the convention.
Day One: Saturday June 11th.
Day one of the drive from the New York area to Nashville. Today was mainly interstates as we head toward the second days scenic drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Route covered today I78 and I81. Driving along with us is a 1959 Touring Spider, 1750 GTV, Giulia Super, 2 Duettos, 164s, 2nd series spider and new 4C!
Day Two – Sunday June 12th
An early rise at the Stonewall Jackson hotel due to the early closing of the reception and restaurant of our motel/greasy spoon/biker bar where we will finish the day. A short drive took us to the Blue Ridge Parkway and our first real scenic road. As we climbed in altitude the temperatures of both the engines and air blowing in the windows dramatically dropped. Great vistas and mostly an empty road stretched before us. After a short 50 minutes of driving we (Giulia super and GTV) noticed the rest of the pack was no longer behind us. Pulling over we eventually were notified that the 164 in the group not only had some coolant issues but now had a flat tire caused by a rusted front strut rubbing against the tire. A flat-bed tow to Charlotte NC was in their future. Back on the beautiful twisty road we pulled into our stop for the night – the biker retreat “Freeborne’s eatery and lodge”. A live band was playing out back, modified bikes were blasting past out front – and our Alfas were quite the spectacle pulling into the lot.
Day Three – Monday June 13th
Our second day on the Blue Ridge Parkway. I was envious of the divers of the open top cars as the scenery was fantastic. We stopped for a very scenic lunch at Little Switzerland then continued towards Asheville via NC221, also known as “The Diamondback” due to its sharp twits and turns. We arrived in Asheville early enough to have some time to explore the city and sample some of the area’s great craft beers.
Day Four – Tuesday June 14th
The final day of the scenic drive. Departing from Asheville we headed west via I40 for a short time then turned off on some more attractive roads towards Fontana dam. A bit farther west is the start/end of the famed “Tail of the Dragon”. A twisty bit of roadway popular with bikers both of the fat boy and sport bike variety. Deals gap is a gas station / tourist trap. Next up was the Cherohala Skyway; a beautiful stretch of roadway climbing to over 5000 feet with plenty of great views and challenging twists in the roadway. The scenic part of the trip ended in Tellico Plains. An electrical gremlin that has been plaguing one of the Duettos on the trip finally stopped us for a short time while some local grease monkeys attempted to tracked down the problem. Three hours on the interstate with an arrival at the convention hotel.