A Report on the Regions Overnight Drive-Out, by Vic Rola
First of all, let me tell you who showed up on a quite damp Saturday morning at the I-40 rest area, just east of exit 417. Adam + Carrie Bolling; Debbie Cooper + Bob Berry; Clyde + Katherine Peery; Bob + Sue Southerland; Bob + Cathy Hutchins; Rick + Janis Berry; Ron + Teresa Disney; Sue Groves + Loretta Roney; Bob + Jyme Heimann; Nick + Pat Imperato; Richard + Carol Neubauer; and Carol + I.
I had hoped that the promise of rain would not keep our crowd of twelve cars from shrinking. The crowd did not disappoint. The final arrivals were Bob + Debbie, and after a safety meeting, we headed to Marion, VA. Our first stop was the rest area on the VA line, where we took a ‘pause for the cause’. We continued on to Marion, arriving at the General Francis Marion Inn at 1130AM. The Inn allowed early check-in, which was followed at 1200 by lunch.
Once checked-in, and lunched-up, we headed to the highway named by the Commonwealth of Virginia, as the Back of the Dragon. Highway 16, comes through Marion, toward Tazewell, VA. Thirty-two miles of twisties, switch backs, and elevation changes. We lucked out, in reality with the damp weather, as it kept bikers (and probably other car clubs) from running the Back. We actually did not see a single group of riders, although we spotted members of the BMWCCA out for an outing. The Back was less damp, and about 2/3 of the way through, the roads were actually dry! We mozied around Tazewell for about 45 minutes, and got on the Back, heading for Marion. The roads had dried even more, allowing for a more spirited drive back to the hotel.
The Inn opened their bar early for us, and we engaged their bar maids for over ninety minutes, until our banquet room was ready at 6:00PM. The food served was great, and everyone thoroughly enjoyed themselves. Then…back to the Black Rooster bar. The socializing was just super, and the other bar patrons wanted to join in…and join in they did!
Sunday morning presented itself dry and partly sunny. Due to previous commitments different members of the drive departed on their own, or kept on I.81, as we veered off to travel through Damascus, Elizabethton, Erwin, and Greeneville. We stopped on several occasions to take a break, and concluded the drive at the rest area on I.81 south, at the two mile marker. Good byes were offered, and the remaining attendees headed home individually.
A very successful over-night drive. The first one in many years. We’ll have to do this again!!!
PHOTO GALLERY of OVERNIGHT DRIVE TO “BACK OF THE DRAGON”