Friday, September 2, 2011
For most this was the day of arrival to Fontana Village, NC at The Tail of the Dragon (TOTD) for NICO Fest 2011. The Louisville, Kentucky “enthusiasts” arrived Thursday evening, so by midday they were anxious and ready to hit TOTD before traffic became too heavy. One of the new-comers was surprisingly overwhelmed with his introduction to “The Dragon”…as this was “His First TOTD Rodeo”. NICO Fest attendees checked into their cabins to soon find that their cabins weren’t all nestled together as they were the previous year.
Attendees began driving around, checking out the “lay of the land” while others gathered in the Lodge waiting for more arrivals. Later that evening, the NICO “Meet & Greet” was held under the pavilion where approximately 30 attendees gathered. The unusual 90 degree temperature for this time of year at Fontana made the pavilion a nice shade from the sun. As attendees got acquainted they discussed their cars and plans for the next day, before food finally arrived.
Saturday, September 3rd
TOTD offers many things to do but by 9:00 a.m., 8 to 10 cars departed for the “driving excursion” to Gatlinburg, Tennessee. The buzz around Fontana found more attendees still checking-in and some relaxing until the Tunerz Store picnic at noon. The picnic wasn’t huge but it was a success with about 20 attendees. One small group went white-water rafting after the picnic, while 7 car enthusiasts made the drive on the Cherohala Skyway “Cruise”. Front of the line, was an Infiniti G35 Sedan (sporting a Go Pro camera on the exterior of the car) followed closely by a Chevy Camaro SS, a BWM M3, a Nissan GT-R, a Nissan 350Z, a Nissan 240 and a Nissan pickup truck. The trip “up” the skyway was boring, to say the least. Cars going 20 mph under the speed limit did not make the drive at all enjoyable. After what felt like hundreds of miles, the decision was made to turn around at one of the beautiful look-out points in Tennessee and head back to North Carolina. The trip back was a lot of fun as drivers got to experience what their vehicle capabilities really were. Stopping again at another look-out point, everyone got out for a stretch, to find heated and smoking brakes for some. The Nissan 240 from Virginia broke the record for the smokiest brakes. Pictures were taken and brake cooling was an absolute necessity.
After returning to Fontana Village, the Tunerz Store cabin played back recorded video of the “cruise” enjoyed by all. The “driving excursion” attendees returned just in time for a cookout under the pavilion where most NICO members congregated in anticipation for Fontana’s Annual Fireworks Display. This brought the majority of members together at one time with an estimate of around 40 cars. As the night grew dark, members shared stories of the day’s events and wondering what Sunday would bring. The fireworks echoed through Fontana, but made for a very enjoyable evening.
Sunday, September 4th
Today’s “driving excursion” got off to an 8:00 a.m. start to the Biltmore Estates in Asheville, NC with 10 or so cars taking part. The Tunerz Store offered a photo shoot at Fontana Dam followed by a “Rolling Photo Shoot” on Route 28 later that day. The first “rolling shots” wrapped up just in time for a downpour that soon subsided. Once the rain subsided, another session of “rolling shots” was made on Route 28 which turned out perfectly. The rain actually made for better pictures…go figure. Upon returning to Fontana Village that evening, many NICO members had already departed for home. The few remaining “die-hards” stayed to “close up shop” at the pavilion and some went down to the Ice Cream Parlor for a sweet treat. Everyone said their goodbyes and wished safe travels in hopes that next year will be a bigger and better event.
NICO and the Tunerz Store would like to thank all that assisted and attended this event in helping create new and great memories. Check out the photos of the event.
The Tunerz Store hopes to see you next year as plans are already underway for 2012.