Monday, December 9, 2013

Dec 5th - Trip to Road Atlanta

Off to Road Atlanta!  The plan was to make the trip there on Thursday, run the 8hr NASA Enduro on Friday, Sprint races on Saturday and then head homeward - grabbing a hotel wherever to split up the drive and get home earlish on Sunday.  The early weather report called for rain Friday & Saturday in Atlanta; and later winter storm 'Cleon' threatened the drive down and 'Deon' the trip back!  With no traffic or weather issues, I was expecting the trip to take 9 hrs max + the 1 hr timezone change.  Alas; both caused issues and we didn't pull into the hotel until 12midnight. 

  After doing a bit or work in the morning, I drove approx 2 hrs and 100 miles to meet my Dad who was once again accompanying me to Atlanta.  This first pic was after that short drive at approx 11am and as you can see there was already some ice/sleet to deal with.  Only the beginning!

  We departed the homestead at 12noon with some light sleet falling.  My initial guess at the radar was if we could make it past Mt Vernon by 2pm we might eek out.  If only it would have been that simple!  About 1 hr into the trip on I-57 South the sleet was starting to collect.  The sleet was falling steadily and we delayed a food stop in hopes we'd drive out of it.  At 1:30pm we finally stopped for lunch and the parking lots were ice coated and insanely slick (see pic). 
  After lunch, the 335i struggled to make it out of the parking lot via a small hill and had it even tougher climbing the overpass with the T/C off and me playing around.  The OEM 'sport' package runflat summer tires didn't help much either.  After getting back on the interstate, things were a little sketchy in the Left lane with a lot less passing but the right lane was clear. 
  Onto I-24 East into KY and TN.  The weather moved from sleet into rain as the darkness came and we arrived in Nashville around 5:30pm.  Lots of rain; and stop-n-go traffic with multiple accidents per the GPS.  We lost a lot of time and traffic was thick until about an hour outside of Nashville too as the rain switched to a mist and the temps still hovered around 35 degrees.  A stop by food about 7pm led to the final stretch with no more rain!
  Prior to Chattanooga we head up and over the mountains and the 6% downhill grades.  Much different in the 335i vs towing a trailer on the last trip!  Here's where to found crazy thick fog and 45mph speeds.  Once we crested and started heading down the temps climbed like crazy - minutes later it was 71 degrees!  Next up was Chattanooga and a quiet sleepy drive into Atlanta.  The city was pretty dead as we headed around the bypasses and the last 45min to Oakwood, GA where our hotel was.  Arrival was about midnight local; which meant it was every bit of 11hrs.  Call at the track was 6:30am in the morning!

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