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2019 Mountain Lakes Drive (Scottsboro, Ala.): Nov. 1 - 3


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#1 JessN16

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Posted 22 July 2019 - 08:10 PM

* This post will be updated as it develops

Overview: What is this and why should I care?

It's time again to start initial planning for the Mountain Lakes Drive, also known as "the Scottsboro meet." We are looking at November 1-3, 2019 as the date for this meet.

For those of you who have never been on this meet, this is one of the oldest meets in the club, and a rare driving meet. The centerpiece of the trip is a roughly 200-mile loop through mountain and lakeside roads in scenic northeast Alabama and southeast Tennessee. It's a chance to get your car out on the road and experience its well-designed handling firsthand and get to see a lot of pretty stuff at the same time.

This thread, until we select a date, will serve as a community planning page, and then it will become the official itinerary and resource page for those wanting to come along.

Section 1: What's going to be different this time?

1. We're officially moving this meet from a one-day (drive-only) event on Saturday to a two-day meet (Friday/Saturday) for those who want to do more than drive. On Friday, we'll be taking a shopping excursion to Unclaimed Baggage Center in Scottsboro either in the morning or just after lunch, depending on when most people arrive. That evening, we're probably going over to Little River Canyon in Fort Payne and eat over there somewhere.

2. We've moved the lodging to Guntersville the last two years but may either move it back, or move it to the Lake Guntersville State Park Lodge. If we stay where we've been the last two events, we'll be at the Wyndham Garden hotel in Lake Guntersville -- which is actually ON the lake, and has a boardwalk and pier with 180+ degree views. The Wyndham is about $100/night. The state park lodge is on top of Taylor Mountain, with a nice restaurant and incredible views, but it is not cheap (average $115-$170/night).

3. For those who have had issues driving a car to Scottsboro they didn't intend to actually drive on the meet, we're going to have a "drop point" for cars in downtown Scottsboro somewhere, where you can catch a ride with a fellow StarQuester for the drive itself, then pick up your car between routes.

Section 2: How much does this meet usually cost?

For those who have never been, the original ethos of this meet was to make it completely doable for the cost of a tank of gas. The driving portion of the meet remains that way. We typically eat dinner together on Saturday night after the drive at one of the nicer places we can find (budget $15 - $20/person for meal). We strive really hard to get the cost of the hotel under $90/night, to put it on par with Vacation Lodge at the Pigeon Forge meet. As this is not an "official" event, and rather just a group of people joining together for a drive, there is no fee.

Section 3: Itinerary, Format and Route

The Mountain Lakes Drive is a driving meet. We're going to be on a schedule in order to handle lodging logistics, although it won't be set in concrete. We build in a little "bump time" on all the routes.

Your car doesn't have to be perfect to go but I would definitely pay attention to suspension and brakes, and especially overheating issues. All roads on the drive but one are fairly challenging in one way or another. None are on the level of the Tail of the Dragon or the Cherohala, however. The meet lasts a full day and has 4+ hours of driving in it, with a total length of approximately 200 miles.

Working itinerary:

Friday
TBD: Shopping trip to Unclaimed Baggage in Scottsboro, Ala. Ever wonder where lost luggage ends up? Eventually here. Lots of deals to be had on everything from clothes to jewelry to cameras, etc.
TBD: Scenic sunset drive through Little River Canyon Preserve in Fort Payne. This would likely culminate in us having dinner in Fort Payne. Not a long drive.

Saturday
9 a.m.: Drivers dropping off cars at the drop point can meet in Scottsboro (location TBD)
9:30 a.m.: Meet at the Stevenson City Park in Stevenson, Ala., for initial staging
10:30 a.m.: Drive starts, (Mountain 1 Loop), get on Alabama 117 North (road changes to Tennessee 56 at the state line)
11:30 a.m.: Arrive in Sewanee, Tenn., have lunch, tour Sewanee University campus on way back to route
12:30 p.m.: Get back on the road (begin Mountain 2 Loop), take U.S. 41A South through Cowan to Winchester, Tenn., then get on U.S. 64 and go to Huntland, Tenn. U.S. 64 is the only straight road on the trek.
1:30 p.m. Arrive in Huntland, get on Tennessee 97 (turns into Alabama 65 South at the state line), drive this through the Paint Rock River Origin Watershed to U.S. 72 near Woodville
3 p.m.: Take U.S. 72 East to Scottsboro, drivers leaving cars at the drop point can pick them up now
3:30 p.m.: Begin Lakes Loop, get on Alabama Highway 79 South to Guntersville
4:45 p.m.: Arrive in Guntersville at the hotel (Wyndham Garden Inn), check in. (If staying at the Lake Guntersville State Park, we'll need to edit this.)
5:30 p.m.: Get on Alabama Highway 227, take it through Lake Guntersville State Park, this road becomes South Sauty Road at the end of the park, then Jackson County Road 67/John B. Benson Highway/Langston Highway and goes back to Alabama Highway 35 South
6:15 p.m.: This is where we'd usually find a restaurant in Scottsboro. Staying in Guntersville, though, we might opt to backtrack to the state park lodge or some other place in Guntersville itself.
8:30 p.m.: Dinner over, back to hotel, usually someone has video from the drive to watch, go to bed whenever

The above is a "fat" itinerary, allowing for stops at gas stations, emergency repairs, etc. There are also some roads we've used in the past that aren't listed here; we'll include them only if we have a gap to fill in the itinerary (most notably the SCCA Hillclimb route, Jackson County Road 33).

If you've never been before, I think you'll love it if you actually like to get out and exercise your car. We don't race, we don't do dangerous stuff and if that's your thing, come back and run it the next day without me. :D We typically get 2-way radios, talk back and forth as a group, etc. There's a lot to do off route (see the next post in this thread for details). If you turn this into a mini vacation you won't be disappointed. It's also more than a little bit romantic so bring your significant other if you want. This is my personal favorite meet, on par with Pigeon Forge. We typically have 8-10 cars show up but I'd love to get more than that.

Feedback welcome.

Jess
Current denizens of the garage:
'88 Conquest TSi
'10 Jaguar XF Premium Portfolio
'89 Jaguar XJS V12
'87 Jaguar XJ6
---
In the rearview mirror:
'87 Starion (black), '88 Conquest TSi (black), '88 Conquest TSi (Durban), '88 Jaguar XJS V12, '76 Jaguar XJ12L, '88 Jaguar XJ6 VDP, '99 Jaguar XJ8, '98 Jaguar XK8, '03 Jaguar S-Type, '85 Jaguar XJ6 '88 Galant Sigma, '90 Ford Taurus SHO, '75 Bricklin SV-1, '97 Pontiac Grand Prix GTP


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#2 JessN16

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Posted 22 July 2019 - 08:11 PM

Off-route attractions in the Scottsboro-Guntersville area...

Unclaimed Baggage Center/Unclaimed Freight: https://www.unclaimedbaggage.com/
* 5 minutes from most hotels/drive route, downtown Scottsboro
* Just what it says it is. Lost luggage/freight gets re-sold. Everything from clothes to cameras to rear spoilers for Toyota Supras to cases of Doritos.

Goose Pond Colony (golf/watersports): http://goosepond.org/
* 10 minutes from Scottsboro, on the Lakes Loop
* Golf, jetski rental, fishing, restaurants, picnic areas, boat launch and rentals, etc.

U.S. Space and Rocket Center, Museum and Space Camp: http://rocketcenter.com/
* 45 minutes west of Scottsboro in Huntsville
* NASA-operated museum, great kids' venue, concerts, actual artifacts from the lunar landings, etc.

EarlyWorks Children's Museum: http://www.earlyworks.com/
* 45 minutes west of Scottsboro in Huntsville
* Great hands-on museum for kids, a "how things work" venue

Tennessee Aquarium: http://www.tnaqua.org/
* ~1 hour east of Scottsboro in Chattanooga
* What the name says it is, great aquarium and wildlife venue

Monte Sano State Park: http://www.alapark.c...sano-state-park
* 45 minutes west of Scottsboro in Huntsville
* Picturesque state park on top of Monte Sano Mountain, lodging, cabins, hiking, etc.

Lake Guntersville State Park: http://www.alapark.c...ille-state-park
* On route (Lakes Loop) in Guntersville
* Lodging, cabins, golf, fishing, hiking, etc. We may stay here if we can swing the rooms.

Golf
* Gunter's Landing (Guntersville), Goose Pond Colony (Scottsboro), Lake Guntersville State Park (Guntersville), Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail's Hampton Cove (Huntsville)
* Hampton Cove, true championship-level golf experience: https://www.rtjgolf.com/hamptoncove/

Scottsboro Boys Museum & Cultural Center: http://www.scottsboro-boys.org/
* 5 minutes from most hotels
* Civil rights history site detailing the case of nine black youth falsely accused of rape on a train; there is a play based on this story

Cathedral Caverns State Park: http://www.alapark.c...erns-state-park
* 20 minutes west of Scottsboro in Woodville; 5 minutes off the Mountain Loop
* Huge underground cavern structure open to the public for guided tours; specialized tours available for skilled spelunkers.

Russell Cave National Monument: https://www.nps.gov/ruca/index.htm
* 20 minutes east of Scottsboro in Stevenson
* Alabama's only national monument; Native American cave and small museum

Little River Canyon National Preserve: https://www.nps.gov/liri/index.htm
* 30 minutes southeast of Scottsboro in Fort Payne
* Hiking, kayaking, and a scenic drive along Alabama Highway 176

Walls of Jericho: http://www.alltrails...walls-of-jerico
* 20 minutes northwest of Scottsboro in Hytop
* Hiking, spelunking, fishing

Jess
Current denizens of the garage:
'88 Conquest TSi
'10 Jaguar XF Premium Portfolio
'89 Jaguar XJS V12
'87 Jaguar XJ6
---
In the rearview mirror:
'87 Starion (black), '88 Conquest TSi (black), '88 Conquest TSi (Durban), '88 Jaguar XJS V12, '76 Jaguar XJ12L, '88 Jaguar XJ6 VDP, '99 Jaguar XJ8, '98 Jaguar XK8, '03 Jaguar S-Type, '85 Jaguar XJ6 '88 Galant Sigma, '90 Ford Taurus SHO, '75 Bricklin SV-1, '97 Pontiac Grand Prix GTP


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#3 JessN16

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Posted 30 July 2019 - 04:21 PM

Lodging (final?) Update 7-30-19

The Wyndham Garden Inn is holding 10 rooms under the "StarQuest Car Club" discount code. You have until Sept. 29 to reserve. There are 16 king lakeside rooms left at $95 and several parking lot doubles and kings left at $85. Four of the 16 king lakesides have sleeper sofas in them if you have kids with you.

You can book through the front desk by calling 256-677-9083, or you can ask for Shonda in group sales. She remembers us from the past and wanted me to tell everyone that they really like us there and they love it when we stay with them. It's nice to feel welcome!
If you have already booked through a third party (Expedia, etc.), you should cancel that room and then call in.
Current denizens of the garage:
'88 Conquest TSi
'10 Jaguar XF Premium Portfolio
'89 Jaguar XJS V12
'87 Jaguar XJ6
---
In the rearview mirror:
'87 Starion (black), '88 Conquest TSi (black), '88 Conquest TSi (Durban), '88 Jaguar XJS V12, '76 Jaguar XJ12L, '88 Jaguar XJ6 VDP, '99 Jaguar XJ8, '98 Jaguar XK8, '03 Jaguar S-Type, '85 Jaguar XJ6 '88 Galant Sigma, '90 Ford Taurus SHO, '75 Bricklin SV-1, '97 Pontiac Grand Prix GTP


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#4 stvblk1

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Posted 05 October 2019 - 01:48 PM

Jess,
Facebook and I are not compatible. I don't seem to be able to function well in that environment.Is everything still a go on this meet?
Plese let me know. Thanks Steve

#5 JessN16

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Posted 21 October 2019 - 02:31 AM

View Poststvblk1, on 05 October 2019 - 01:48 PM, said:

Jess,
Facebook and I are not compatible. I don't seem to be able to function well in that environment.Is everything still a go on this meet?
Plese let me know. Thanks Steve

Steve,

We are still on for the meet. Dates and hotel information have not changed. We're looking forward to seeing you there!

Jess
Current denizens of the garage:
'88 Conquest TSi
'10 Jaguar XF Premium Portfolio
'89 Jaguar XJS V12
'87 Jaguar XJ6
---
In the rearview mirror:
'87 Starion (black), '88 Conquest TSi (black), '88 Conquest TSi (Durban), '88 Jaguar XJS V12, '76 Jaguar XJ12L, '88 Jaguar XJ6 VDP, '99 Jaguar XJ8, '98 Jaguar XK8, '03 Jaguar S-Type, '85 Jaguar XJ6 '88 Galant Sigma, '90 Ford Taurus SHO, '75 Bricklin SV-1, '97 Pontiac Grand Prix GTP


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