Reader submission: Richard B. Russell Scenic Highway (GA) and Highway 64 (NC)
Reader Walter logs the following dispatch from the southeastern United States, of which we’re huge fans.
Add two more to the to-do list :)
I took my family up to Unicoi State Park outside Helen, GA for our winter vacation, and this gave me the opportunity to drive the amazing roads in and south of the Great Smoky Mountains.
441 through the Great Smoky Mountains National Park to Newfound Gap is great, even if you always end up backed up in traffic. Two other roads really did it for me, though. The first was the Richard B. Russell Scenic Highway between Helen, GA and Blairsville, GA, which winds up and down mountains past a bunch of state parks and overlooks. I did this in pouring rain and fog.. quite a North Georgia welcome for a Florida driver.
The other road I won’t soon forget is Highway 64 from Franklin, NC to Highlands, NC— it is as narrow and scary a paved road as any I’ve ever been on, but the reward is amazing glimpses of waterfalls and rapids. You can pull off to see Dry Falls, which you can walk behind, and Bridal Veil Falls, which you can drive behind.
I’m happy to report my 1995 Audi S6 was up to all this abuse. Though it felt too long and wide on these narrow roads, it was very composed, with tons of power available once the revs were up— even on steep climbs. Earlier, I had driven these same roads before in my 1997 A4 and my wife’s automatic Elantra Touring. The A4 felt more natural on those tight mountain roads, but it couldn’t compare for power. The Hyundai was.. well, let’s just say it did better than expected.
Thanks for reading!
PS: on the way back I took a side trip to the Bruce Weiner Microcar Museum in Madison, GA. If you’ve never been and can get there before it closes forever next month, the collection is pretty amazing.