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Old 02-26-2001, 08:33 PM   #1
Scooby Specialist
Member#: 2683
Join Date: Oct 2000
Chapter/Region: South East
Location: Atlanta, GA
2011 STi 5-Door

Post Cherokee Trails Spectator Recce Trip (long)

I posted this in the Southeast Forum, but thought that others might be interested.

Saturday, Feb. 24, AutoBri and I headed up to the Cherokee National Forest to check out the camping prospects and stage roads for the Cherokee Trails ProRally.
First of all, these roads are going to be tough to drive on at rally speed. The roads are often hard-packed dirt, but there's a lot of loose gravel in very tricky spots like just before turns and on the very inside edge of turns. Also, a few corners are pretty washboarded. It's no wonder that the driver teams will get a recce trip, because running those roads blind would have a lot of cars rolling down the mountains. We drove what, as far as we could tell, are the Sina Branch, Indian Creek, and McFarland stages. McFarland is about 20 miles long, and my brakes were trying to jump in the car and choke me by the time I got to the other side.

As far as camping prospects, the Parksville Lake campground seems to be the only developed campground that will be open during the rally. It's located on TN 30 just north of its junction with US 64. The campground looked nice and had about 15 spots for 5-person groups on the only side that was open.

The Ocoee Whitewater Center, which will be the service area, was a really nice place with a big parking lot that curves around between US 64 and the Ocoee River. There should be plenty of room in that long lot for the service groups, but there may not be a lot of room for spectator parking.

Finally, we got mistaken for an actual rally team doing an illegal pre-event recce! We came around a corner kinda fast on the Indian Creek stage, and at the other end of the straight, another car came barreling around at the same time. We passed each other, and I saw him hit his brakes, so we backed up and rolled down the window. He's got racing seats and a roll cage, and both driver and co-driver are wearing headsets. He says, "You guys gonna be in the rally?" We of course say no, just spectating. He says good, because he's the RALLY SAFETY STEWARD, out getting GPS coordinates and other tomfoolery, and running a recce would be bad for us if we had thought about competing. So, we headed on down the road and saw their buddies coming along behind them in a Cherokee and talked to them for a few minutes too. Brian and I laughed all the way home about what those guys must have thought when they saw an RS come sliding around a corner toward them on their rally course.

According to the guy we talked to, the official spectator spots are going to be somewhat limited. We heard one official spot for Stage 1 and none for Stage 2. Of course, it's a National Forest, so they can't stop you from hiking.

To find out the roads they'd be using, I went to www.cherokeetrailsrally.com , checked out the Leg Listing to see the names of the stages, and pored over my map of the Southern Region of the Cherokee National Forest, looking for names that matched up near gravel roads. I've figured out most of them, but a couple are still bugging me.

Anyway, one thing I forgot to mention is that the event organizers will be posting the official route information next week or so on the web site, so that everyone who's gonna be spectating can download it and print it out.

A good time was had by all. Sorry for being so long-winded.

Ross N.
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Old 02-27-2001, 02:59 PM   #2
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Location: Atlanta, Ga
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you guys don't know how fickin' funny it was to come barrelling around a turn and see a late model blue Dodge Shadow coming up the hill towards you. i don't think either of us expected to see anyone else.

that was defintely a rally beater, but for a cheap turbo car, you can't beat it.

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Old 02-27-2001, 03:03 PM   #3
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Location: Elk Grove Vlg, Ill

I can't wait for this rally
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