Asheville to Colorado
We began the day at Cades Cove Loop Road, a narrow one-way road in the Smoky Mountains. driving slowly on this road you go through a beautiful valley admiring the view and animals you can see.
We had to go back to Asheville, so we decided to take a different and more amusing road: we started going towards Parson Branch Road, a very fun dirt road among trees and since it is only one-way there is no speed limit, so we drove on it just as we like it! Then we took the famous Tail of the Dragon, this is a paved road that is in perfect conditions, and it is the preferred road of hundreds of motorcycles bikers since in its 11 miles there are 318 curves, that is why it is known as the road with more curves in North America. During this ride we could admire the biggest dam East side of the Mississippi River, Fontana Dam. We continue towards Pisgah National Forest, where you can enjoy many creeks and have fun on an sliding rock, like the Jaspe Rock on the Great Venezuelan Grassland, but as always rain was our companion and we found the place closed due to the storm coming, so we could just take some pictures of the surroundings. On the way back, very near to Lake Powhatan to camp, the storm catch with us, we heard the alert on the radio so we had to find a hotel to spend the night.
The next day we got together with Todd Kaderabek, editor of Toyota Trails Magazine, who cordially invited us to lunch in a very nice place 12 Bones Smokehouse. We had a great time in his company talking about the expedition and other projects and then said farewell to part towards Marion, a nearby town where an event Overland Rally was going to take place, a weekend with seminars and courses to become an Overlander (more info in: www.overlandrally.com) Sadly our schedule didn’t allow time to stay more time, but we had a interesting talk with Brian McVickers who met with us and gave us an interview, we hope to make the next event in Washington on our way back
It was already 5:30 p.m. when we started our long drive to Colorado State, going through Tennessee, Arkansas and the never-ending Oklahoma, and I never-ending because the roads we took went through farmlands that seemed static since you saw the same thing all the way long and at 65Mph, it seemed we were reliving an episode of Unknown Dimension….time went by and still the same, only farmland and the road, and when we checked the GPS, it seemed that the car had not moved at all! Also, we lost around one hour in these lands because we were driving with the windows down in order to stay awake, but the wind took our annual pass for all the national parks!!! Finding it was an odyssey, but thank God Yoyo who found it a half of mile away. Finally we arrived to New Mexico, which gave us optimism to continue to Great Sand Dunes NP (Colorado), 33 hours on the road and after looking during an hour and a half where to sleep, we finally set camp at 3:30 a.m., as you can imagine we almost fell exhausted on our sleeping bags and slept like babies even though we were at 10 degrees centigrade.
Many people must think that these expeditions are all touristic drives and fun, but they don’t imagine the work they are. It’s not the same thing to go out drive and have fun and enjoy than to follow and schedule, have meetings with other people, take pictures, shoot the video, write the website, the facebook, twitter, set camp, cook, wash dishes, pickup everything again, drive long hours, stop, go back the same road to take a picture o film, look for a laundry mat and stay in contact with the family, supervise the business and set camp to start everything again…jaja it is a very fast pace and it doesn’t leave a lot of free time to relax but I love it!! In my case, the most difficult part of the expedition is missing my wife and daughters…For them, a thousand kisses!
Members of Alaska OX; Johannes “Yoyo” Valero, Sergio Pinillos and Luis Vassallo.