Sunday, October 1, 2017 : From Cherokee to Dillon

 

We leave Cherokee under a gorgeous but very cool weather. Well, let's keep in mind that we are in the heart of a mountainous region, 2,000 ft. above sea level, and it's October 1st. Not too bad ...

 

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Chimney Rock State Park

 

Our first stop is at Chimney Rock State Park, a park built around a peak oddly shaped like, well, a chimney. Most of the climb is done by car and then by shuttle bus. The 300-odd remaining feet are earned the hard way, on foot, step by step. True enough, on the day of our visit, the elevator is broken down. According to the park rangers, it's been quite some time anyone has last seen it work.

 

So the view from the top has to be earned, but is absolutely gorgeous. From the very top of Chimney Rock, sight extends to dozens of miles, 80 mi. if the orientation table is to be trusted. With a weather like today, it is a really beautiful visit, physical to some extent, no more.

 

But it is already tome to leave for our next stop.

 

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NASCAR Hall of Fame, Charlotte

 

Our drive takes us to Charlotte, where we had a brief stopover on our flight to the US. We visit NASCAR Hall of Fame, an interactive museum dedicated to the most popular, by a mile, car racing series in the USA. Here, NASCAR champions are making way more money than most Formula 1 drivers, and TV ratings are huge.

 

For us Europeans, NASCAR is generally considered as a series with a very basic technology, animated by middle-aged overweight drivers with fat moustaches. This is a false idea. True enough, technology is very different from what we know, but it is first and foremost geared to producing the best possible show, and that's all that counts for the American fan. And speaking of drivers, let's say that a significant rejuvenation has occured, say, these last 15 years.

 

Anyway, NASCAR audiences and the interest of its fans can only make us dream. and, after having spent a few minutes in the simulator, I will never say again that it is just a matter of knowing how to turn left and press the accelerator damn hard. It's really more subtle than that.

 

But it's getting late. We leave, with regrets as far as I'm concerned, this magical place, and take the road to Dillon, SC, where we arrive after dark. South Carolina is the seventh and last State of this trip that we had not previously visited.