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September 17, 2017 - October 1, 2017
The BMWCSA 2017 Appalachians Tour (new name) and BMW High Performance Driving School are on for September 2017. We have 8 cars with 14 people on the tour and 8 drivers participating in the BMW HPDS. We have room for more and can accept additional participants up to March 2017.
We will fly into and out of Atlanta GA and pick up BMWs from SIXT rental cars at the airport. Participants should arrive on or before September 17. The Appalachians Tour will start with a group dinner in Atlanta GA on Sunday, September 17, 2017 (day 1).
The 10-day Parkways scenic tour begins on Monday, September 18, with a 3-hour transit on interstate highways to get out of Atlanta and then smaller roads to the southwest end of the Blue Ridge Parkway. We will then spend Monday and Tuesday nights in Asheville. The optional BMW HPDS is on Tuesday September 19, 2017 (day 3). This was the only date available for the School that fit our tour. For those not taking the HPDS there are many things to see & do in and near scenic Asheville.
We then continue with the Parkways Scenic Tour. There will be a second group dinner in Winston-Salem NC on Wednesday September 21 (day 5), a third dinner in Front Royal on Monday September 25 (day 9) and a final group dinner in Waynesville on Thursday September 28 (day 12), the last day of the Parkways Scenic Tour.
Friday September 29 (day 13) and Saturday September 30 (day 14) are scheduled to do the exciting “M’ Roads or more casual sightseeing. We return to Atlanta on Saturday afternoon to turn in our rental cars. Sunday (day 15) is fly home day.
Parkways Scenic Tour
At the heart of the tour will be two of the more scenic drives in the US: the Blue Ridge Parkway (BRP) and Skyline Drive (SD). Both of these drives are described by National Geographic as “drives of a lifetime,” with spectacular views of the valleys below and many stopping points and overlooks with opportunities to hike or picnic. There are no stop signs, no traffic lights, and no gas stations. There are few accommodations on the Parkway, so we will drop down from the mountain ridge most nights to some of the cities nearby. See the links below for maps and more information on the Parkways and each city.
The Blue Ridge Parkway travels along the mountain heights for 469 miles (755 km) through North Carolina and Virginia. The Parkway is managed by the National Parks Service, but is not itself a national park. Several visitor centres provide information and interpretation of the area’s natural wonders and its mountain culture. We will follow the BRP, starting at Oconaluftee Visitor Center NC, and drive northeast passing near the cities of Asheville and Winston-Salem NC and Roanoke VA, to Rockfish Gap. As the road passes over the Rockfish Gap Turnpike it becomes the Skyline Drive, which runs for 105 miles (160 km) through Shenandoah National Park, along the spine of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia to Front Royal VA. The southwest return route will mainly follow the 2015 BMW 02 Vintage tour route (see BMW CCA Roundel Aug 2015) — it parallels the BRP, ending at Waynesville NC. The scenic loop will cover 1300 mi (2100 km) in 10 days.
M” Driving Roads
We will have two days for the “M” roads — mountain roads and performance drives. The Tail of the Dragon near Deals Gap NC is known for its 318 curves in 11 miles. There are many other possibilities for driver’s drives, including The Rattler, Moonshiner 28. More info about these drives can be found in the link section below. We have suggestions for other activities for those not wishing this experience.
BMW Performance Center Driving School
The BMW Driving School will set up a custom program for us including driving our choice of their cars on the track and exercise areas for a full day on Tuesday Sept 19, 2017 (day 3). Lunch is included.
BMW Zentrum tours are also available on day 3 or on days 13 or 14 as an option for people who are not driving the “M” Roads. We cannot book tours of the BMW Spartanburg factory until mid-July, so the date for a Factory tour will be decided then.
Skyline Drive and Blue Ridge Parkway
Both of these drives are described by National Geographic as “drives of a lifetime” with spectacular views of the valleys below and many stopping points and overlooks with opportunities to hike or picnic. There are no stop signs, no traffic lights , no gas stations. Also few accommodations, so we will drop down from the mountain ridge most nights to some of the cities nearby.
Skyline Drive runs for 105 miles (160 km) through Shenandoah National Park, along the spine of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia from Front Royal (one hour from Dulles Airport) to Rockfish Gap. As the road passes over the Rockfish Gap Turnpike it becomes the Blue Ridge Parkway. The Blue Ridge Parkway travels along the mountain heights for another 469 miles (755 km) through Virginia and North Carolina, passing near the cities of Roanoke VA, Winston-Salem NC and Asheville NC and ending at Oconaluftee Visitor Center in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The Parkway is managed by the National Parks Service, but is not itself a national park. Several visitor centres provide information and interpretation of the area’s natural wonders and its mountain culture. See “Interesting Cities” – below for more details.
Useful Links for Skyline Drive: Shenandoah National Park, Virginia:
Useful Links for The Blue Ridge Parkway: One of National Geographic’s “Ultimate Road Trips”:
Download brochures & maps – The Blue Ridge Parkway Travel app (android and iPhone):
National Parks map of Blue Ridge Parkway:
National Geographic map of Blue Ridge Parkway:
North Carolina ‘scenic byways’ map:
Blue Ridge Heritage Trails: maps for Appalachian history, music and crafts
‘Music Trails’ near Blue Ridge Parkway:
BMW Zentrum: Performance Driving School & Museum, near Greenville, South Carolina
The BMW Performance Driving School (PDS) offers “the latest BMWs, professional instructors, and all the adrenaline you can handle.” Mike Renner, chief driving instructor, will set up a custom program for us, driving our choice of their cars on the track and exercise areas for a full day including lunch. For a group of 10 to 12 drivers, the cost per individual is about USD$ 1200 (CDN $1600 at current exchange rates), which is competitive with other high-performance schools. The Performance Center, Zentrum and factory are just east of the Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport, about 17 miles from Greenville , 20 miles from Spartanburg and about 50 miles from Asheville.
BMW Performance Driving School: Downloadable PDF
BMW Zentrum includes a museum and gift shop. Guided tours of the factory start here.
Greenville, South Carolina Visitors’ Guide:
Driving winding mountain roads near Asheville NC
There are plenty of roads to test your skill and raise your heart rate in the mountains near Asheville. The best known, for its 318 curves in 11 miles, is the Tail of the Dragon near Deals Gap NC. There are many other possibilities for driver’s drives, including the Rattler, Moonshiner 28.
Asheville & Great Smoky Mountains area map:
Great Smoky Mountains roads & parks:
Northern Georgia: Foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains
Crossing Chattahoochee is a 41 mile run through the NE corner of Georgia, another of National Geographic “drives of a lifetime”.
INTERESTING CITIES en route & POTENTIAL LAYOVERS
Roanoke is near the north end and is skirted by the Blue Ridge Parkway. It is the commercial and medical hub of western Virginia, rich in history and Virginian traditions. The AAA “Gem” Center of the Square, a restored 1914 warehouse, houses aquariums, Science Museum of Western Virginia, History Museum of Western Virginia, HarrisonMuseum of African America Culture and Mill Mountain Theatre.
Winston Salem, North Carolina
Winston-Salem is worth an overnight visit, with a large ‘living museum’ of houses and shops built in the late 1700s by the initial settlers, members of the Moravian Brethren church. Old Salem has excellent interpreters, many of whom are working craftsmen – the gunsmith, for one, has fascinating stories to tell – and some interesting restaurants, taverns and shops, too.
There are no stop signs or traffic lights on the Blue Ridge Parkway…and it has no gas stations and few accommodations. So we will drop down from the mountain ridge to some of the cities nearby. Winston-Salem is worth an overnight visit, with a large ‘living museum’ of houses and shops built in the late 1700s by the initial settlers, members of the Moravian Brethren church. Old Salem has excellent interpreters, many of whom are working craftsmen – the gunsmith, for one, has fascinating stories to tell – and some interesting restaurants, taverns and shops, too.
Winston-Salem tourist information: http://www.visitwinstonsalem.com/
Wikipedia article: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Winston-Salem,_North_Carolina
Old Salem historical park: http://www.oldsalem.org/
Asheville, North Carolina
Asheville, near the southern end of the Blue Ridge Parkway, is the gateway to mountain roads with enough bends and wiggles to challenge the keenest drivers. The city also offers attractions for the non-drivers: Biltmore Estate and Gardens, and the ‘living museum’ of Biltmore Village, are worth a day-long visit. National Geographic Travel recommends Asheville as a great destination.
Asheville’s official tourist site: http://www.exploreasheville.com/
Biltmore Estate and Gardens: http://www.biltmore.com/
Dahlonega, with a good museum, shops and restaurants is the site of the first major U.S. Gold Rush in 1828 which lead to US Mint from 1838 to 1861. It is less than 60 mi NNE of Atlanta.
Site of the first major U.S. Gold Rush: http://dahlonega.org/
The movie Deliverance was shot primarily in Rabun County in northeastern Georgia. The canoe scenes were filmed in the Tallulah Gorge southeast of Clayton and on the Chattooga River. This river divides the northeastern corner of Georgia from the northwestern corner of South Carolina. Additional scenes were shot in Salem, South Carolina.
Northern Georgia: Foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains
National Geographic “Best Road Trips”: “Crossing Chattahoochee”
Six Gap road: map for motorcycles & sports cars:
The Tour Portion prepaid expenses are US$3550 (double occupancy) and US$2950 (single occupancy). This includes 14 hotel nights, 4 group meals, shirts, activities and contingency. Please see the attached Budget for details.
A non-refundable deposit of US$1750 (double occupancy) or US$1475 (single occupancy) has been paid by confirmed participants. For new participants, the deposit will be due immediately. The final payment of the Balance is due in US$ on March 7, 2017.
The BMW High Performance Driving School (HPDS) will cost US$1200 per person and use standard cars. The HPDS has been confirmed for Tuesday, September 19, 2017. There will be no upgrading to “M” cars. This option was only available if all drivers opted for them. Since a majority opted for standard cars we will not pursue this option.
Payments are in US$ to protect the Club from currency fluctuation risk and must be made by cheque drawn on a US$ Account or by a US$ bank draft. Once the Initial Deposit has been made, you are committed to make the Balance Payment. If you cancel at any time, the club will not refund your payments. The Club will only refund (after expenses) if the Tour is cancelled. You may be able to sell your place to a club member on the waiting list or to new participants (if there is no waiting list). We recommend that you obtain Travel or Trip Interruption insurance. This is the participants’ responsibility. Because BMWCSA is a non profit organization, participants will be charged the actual incurred costs and, upon final accounting, there may be a Cash Settlement resulting in either a Credit or Debit to participants.
Participant’s Individual Expenses: (For reference only; participants need to estimate)
Return airfare: Calgary to Atlanta: estimated at Cdn$2600/couple.
Car Rental: SIXT (Atlanta Airport) based on BMW 3 series for 14 days, US$1100.
Plus meals, gas and individual activities.
The BMWCSA 2017 Appalachians Tour (new name) and BMW High Performance Driving School are confirmed. The Tour is in two parts: 1) Scenic Tour and “M” Roads (including Spartanburg Zentrum and Factory tours) and 2) an option for one day at the BMW Performance Driving School. Participants can sign up for either or both segments.
We have eight cars confirmed for the Scenic Tour and eight participants for the BMW Performance Driving School. A maximum of 15 cars and 30 participants can be accommodated.
We have room for more participants! To sign up please contact Glen Cook at email@example.com or 403-274-8716.