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Smarts To Descend On The "Dragon" This Weekend. I, Sadly, Must Be Elsewhere.

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On: Thu, Sep 15, 2011 at 4:24PM | By: Andrew W Davis


Smarts To Descend On The "Dragon" This Weekend. I, Sadly, Must Be Elsewhere.

It has been brought to my attention that I may have alienated some of this site’s potential “fans” through my story (or ten) that MAY have contained some less than laudatory comments regarding the, um, transportation device that hates capital letters, the smart.

So I’m going to play this one more carefully than the others, letting the Smart fans—I still refuse to call them “smart fans” for religious reasons—tell the story (somewhat) themselves.

This, folks, is my serious face.

For the third year in a row (God help us) Smart owners—see earlier disclaimer—are planning on “outSMARTing the Dragon” Sept. 15-18. I could explain this “event” myself, but I made a promise and I’m sticking to it.

“They” say:

“outSMARTing the Dragon is a social event for owners of the smart brand of cars (the 451 "fortwo" or any other). It is held in SW North Carolina, at the Fontana Village Resort, and gets its name from the Tail of the Dragon, an 11 mile stretch of road featuring 318 turns. This has become a sort of Mecca for motorcycle and sport-car enthusiasts, as the road is somewhat challenging, and a lot of fun to drive. This area of the country also features quite a few other drives, from challenging to scenic. That said, this event provides an opportunity to gather together, have fun driving our little cars, and socialize in person with other smart drivers.”

[I want to note that THEY used the term “little cars” first, by which I mean I can now use it guilt-free in perpetuity.]

You can see a “tentative schedule” at http://outsmartingthedragon.com/OTD_Schedule.html, but it seems to break down into car washing, registering, eating, posing for photos, driving R/C cars, and doing some driving on the side.

True to its title, there is no info on Friday’s “Mystery Run,” so I’m limited to describing their big to-do the next day, the—no fooling—“Saturday Morning Performance Run.” Oh, right. OK, here’s THEIR description:

“This drive will start the base of the Dragon after our group run. We’ll be going back up and over the Dragon and then up onto the Cherohala Skyway to Tellico Plains, where we’ll stop for lunch. Then we’ll be taking Rt 360 and 72 through the valley to complete the circle back to the base of the Dragon. We should be back to Fontana by 3pm.”

I don’t know the area, but that sounds fun. But something tells me it might not REALLY be the kind of thing most Smart drivers—extra emphasis here—would want to do. What told me? Their next paragraph:

“This drive will probably not be for everyone. Once on the Cherohala Skyway we will be driving very aggressively. Speed limits may be pushed at times and we will be going very hard into the corners and switchbacks. You will need to know how to handle your car in manual mode and understand high RPM driving. We’ll take frequent stops at the overlooks to catch our breath and take some pictures.”

Some might wonder why you’d go all the way to the "Dragon" and NOT drive it as “intended.” They could also point out that terms like “driving very aggressively” and “going very hard into the corners” lose all meaning when you’re in a "car" with a 70 horsepower 1-liter three-banger hooked to a jerky-at-best semi-automatic transmission that rides on itty-bitty 15-inch wheels.

[But not me. No sir. I’ve changed.]

So if you own a “fortwo or any other” smart and like driving it in a semi-sporting fashion, make your way to North Carolina and lurk in the bushes until nobody’s looking and infiltrate the event at the most convenient point as, according to their website, “reservations for dinner and lunch are now closed” and you could only “continue to sign up for the event until the evening of September 13th.”

[Or—if you go by the “smartusainsider.com” site’s description—not only does registration OPEN the evening of the 15th, there will be a “poker run for a local charity” and a “possible costume party” to spice things up considerably.]

Either way, hilarity will no doubt ensue.

Sadly, as was the case with the two previous events, pressing engagements mean that I cannot attend. But don’t let that stop YOU from going. After all, nothing stopped you from buying a damn smart car in the first place, so why would... Sorry.

I’m working on it, but real change takes time…


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