Gonna start out this will probably be a long post… I gotta cover several days of mountain fun but we will see how it goes. I know everyone really just wants to see photos but we will see how I can make this post play out.
The Trip up to Fontana
I know what you’re thinking why bother with the drive up? well I probably wouldn’t have but boy do I have a fun/painful story… It ends with parts being removed… but first lets gas up…
Once we filled our tanks… and our bellies we hit the road to NC. After about an hour into our drive things got a little crazy… So the headliner in Minibox decided it wanted to start falling down on the highway. This isn’t the first time I have drove with all the windows open on the highway so I have no clue why it decided to do this now.
Well while driving I started trying to push the bars up. of course you push one up and another would pop down. During this fiasco I tried reaching behind myself and well my shoulder dislocated…. little info here I have issues with both my shoulders due to bicycle crashes, the left has been a pain lately, might have surgery in my future either way this has never happened while driving…. Once this happened I had to make a one armed panic stop on the side of the highway. I couldn’t pull my e brake, turn on hazards my left arm was pretty much useless, luckily still moving (full dislocation would have probably ended with an ambulance visit). My wife stopped about an 8th mile down the road and backed up to me once traffic cleared. We probably looked ridiculous on the side of the road with her pulling on my arm. But even with her best effort it wasn’t going back to its home, my last frustrating attempt was to sit on the ground grab the door sill and fall backwards and that did the trick.
Moving right along after a few stops to attempt to fix the headliner I decided to push forward and just hold the bar above my head from falling. Now here are some traveling there photos.
After what should have been a 3 hour drive we finally arrived… over 4 hours later. This is where I made my final solid attempt at saving my head liner long story short… I now don’t have one and honestly don’t know if I will put one back in any time soon.
Guess sometime repairs will bleed into the trip side of things
Ride through the smokies and stop in pigeon forge… then across the dragon we went.
We decided early on to do our own thing at the dragon this year… in hindsight I wish we signed up for at least one drive but we made our own fun. I did my best to take pictures the first day but didn’t end up with much… but this day Minibox made the Killboy highlight on Facebook so that was exciting. Now for a few photos…
After the first dragon run I found I had an issue… too much body roll, my front arches scrub really bad to the point where you smell rubber burning… this really limited how many times I ran the dragon last week.
Next day run over to the road to no where… and a dragon run with a friend.
Not sure why we had such a lax day the second day in but I don’t seem to remember doing a whole lot. We went over to Bryson city for our filling station fix (amazing sandwiches) then ran up the road to nowhere (google it… its a thing, also know as the road of broken promises). I was really hoping they would have a maintenance crew in the tunnel, I had hopes to ask nicely to get some bad ass photos with Minibox in there but no dice, there were crews on the road nearby and I am kicking myself for not asking at least. I snapped some photos of the mouth of the tunnel, we didn’t feel like walking through this time its long and well goes nowhere but hiking trails. There was a nice pull off on the road leading to it that we got some nice shots at.
Filling Station part 2… with friends… a stop by the dragon store.. and the lower dam… and a pizza party.
Did I mention how good the filling station was? well it’s great so we had it for lunch two days in a row. Because we were having a pizza party I needed to be back to our cabin early to make dough (yes fresh pizza dough for the wood fired oven). When we got back I made the dough ball and found I had some time to kill. So a run down the hell bender (road to the dragon) to stop by the Killboy store and a pit stop at the base of Fontana dam then we headed back for pizza time.
Trip wrap up and some final thoughts.
The last day of our trip I took photos but they were just random things in Gatlinburg, the classic sat out for the day was probably a good rest after all the previous days driving. I have a few things to work on now, like the body roll, I noticed my head gasket was also weeping coolant, and I have a few new rattles.
I think I have nailed down fixes for most of my issues, time will tell. I also find myself wanting more power but some timing tweaks seemed to help with the peppiness. One more thing, I finally got my roof rack I ordered a while back, unfortunately it showed up the week following the trip.
This years dragon was the smallest I have ever been to, with all the rona restrictions it was an “Unofficial” event. I can only hope it will be bigger next year and that I will actually join some runs to get pictures with tons of other mini/MINIs. Either way this was a much needed vacation and I can’t wait for my next one. I will close with roof rack pics 🙂