Last year, we held this event directly after Halloween, running the route on Nov. 2. This was done to push for a true "fall colors" drive, which we hadn't done in awhile.
I'd argue we still haven't timed this one properly, if fall colors is the goal. I'd say we had about 40-60% color coverage at the time, but it was still pretty. What wasn't pretty was the traffic. This is a driving meet with a long route, and traffic amplifies trouble. I've never seen so many people towing boats in my life.
Going off feedback from our most regular attendees, I'm going to throw out the possible dates we have available and see what works best for you guys. For those of you who have never been, we typically drive in on Friday, do the drive on Saturday and head home on Sunday. Early arrivals typically shop at Unclaimed Baggage Center in Scottsboro on the Friday before the drive. We tried to insert a trip to Unclaimed in the middle of the drive last year and ended up losing some cars before the most scenic of the three stages, the Lakes Loop. Here are the choices:
* Oct. 16 (Friday) - Oct. 18 (Sunday): If you do this, you'll get basically no fall colors unless we have an abnormally cool summer (sorry, I laughed) or an early winter. This is also my wife's birthday weekend and I'm scheduled to work right now, if Covid doesn't wipe out the college football season. I can get around that, but Melena may have other ideas. Still, we need to consider it as a possibility. The National Bass Trail is having an event on Lake Guntersville this weekend, so that might impact room rates and traffic.
* Oct. 23 (Friday) - Oct. 25 (Sunday): A little better for me from a personal scheduling standpoint. No major bass tournaments yet (as of July 8) on the Lake Guntersville schedule, but there is one minor one. Fall colors would be a little better. For those of you in Alabama and Tennessee who care about such things, this is the UA-UT football game date with the game in Knoxville this year.
* Oct. 30 (Friday) - Nov. 1 (Sunday): The same week as last year. No bass tournaments on the schedule yet but that doesn't mean a lot of fishermen won't be on the roads, as we saw last year. Halloween, obviously, would be on drive day, so those of you (and me included) with young kids wanting to trick-or-treat would need to consider that. I can tell you we're very unlikely to select this weekend due to this fact (unless Covid wipes it out). I suggest keeping this one in the back pocket but it's not my preference.
* Nov. 6 (Friday) - Nov. 8 (Sunday): Shockingly, no bass tournaments on the schedule yet. Fall foliage would be strong. If we have college football, this would be a strong weekend, with Alabama-LSU in Baton Rouge on the docket, but I don't have to work it (If you wonder why I keep referring back to football, I have a second job providing content for an SEC football website). One thing we need to be careful of is early winters for our northern guests. I don't want to schedule us and then have people not be able to get here due to early snows.
* Nov. 13 (Friday) - Nov. 15 (Sunday): National Bass Trail weekend is scheduled here already. Fall foliage would probably be at peak, which means you can count on "leaf people" traffic for sure. Again, snow-outs are an issue for northern state travelers. We typically don't get snow down here this early but Monteagle itself can be fussy. Fog-outs are a legit concern on the mountain and we've had that happen to us 4-5 times in the years we've been doing this.
Topic is now open for discussion. If you have concerns, please voice them, as I won't know unless you do.
Edited by JessN16, 29 July 2020 - 01:19 PM.