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HOLY MOLY, is this car cool. :) Folks, I know if you're still waiting you'll want to just wring my neck but I have to say what the other "car owners" are saying.. ITS WORTH THE WAIT. Our trip was wild, I typed out a post last night after being on the road for 17 hours so I have lots of run on's and probably spelling errors etc...so you'll just have to excuse my sloppy post. I'll post my pics below too.

If you're bored and actually read my post keep in mind it was written for my local forum so there may be references to people you're not familiar and may sound odd in places.


Leaving town


First of all thanks to James Duncan for driving down with us, or rather we drove down with him in his mazdaspeed protege. Also thanks to Cindy for letting him play hooky.

We left wednesday at 5am and drove straight through to Atlanta. The weatherchannel forecast said NO RAIN. BOOOY were they wrong! By the time we hit Atlanta at noon it was raining like a mofo. Fortunately it stopped by the time we got to the dealer so I thought THANK GOD we'll be ok. The elise comes with race tires and I wasnt too keen on driving the car for the first time in a rain storm, in atlanta.

The Dealership

I have to admit that I was a little unsure of the Orange paint on the way down, I had never seen the Chrome Orange before and was worried about how it looked. We paid $1200 extra for the paint too...so I was hopeful I'd like it. When we got to the dealership and saw it I was floored. IT LOOKS GREAT! Its pearl metallic. The metallic is yellowish with the orange hues it is STUNNING in the sunshine.
We spent an hour at the dealer just looking at the car for the first time. Its been two years since I placed my deposit, it was a little surreal to actually be seeing the car in the flesh. Our sales guy was closing a sell on a Murcielago so we had to wait a litte while. The dealership suggested a mexican joint down the street so we went for a bite. While eating a raincloud the size of Texas rolled in and let loose. It poured like NO other. UGGH!
We finished lunch and went back to do the dirty work. Pay for the car, sign the title paperwork etc. Fun fun. Much to our suprise when we pulled back into the dealership we spotted a silver miata in the lot! It was KYLIQUID! KYLIQUID is a guy who used to be a member of the board in Louisville before he moved to Orlando with his family. I hopped online early in the morning before we left and ran into him on AIM I told him what we were doing and he decided to drive 5 hours from Orlando to meet us. Pretty cool. After signing the paperwork the car is ours!! Only problem...its still raining. We decided it was best to try and wait out the rain so we needed to find something to do. How about visit Lotus USA? I called Clyde, Clyde works for Lotus USA which is also headquartered in Atlanta so we called him to see what he was doing. He invited us all over to Lotus USA's new headquarters. The dealership offered to leave our car in the showroom while we went over to Lotus to keep it out of the storm. Good deal. So we left for Lotus USA in the Mazdaspeed.........


Trip to LOTUS USA.
We left the dealership on the way to Lotus USA and as we did we noticed the traffic was moving REALLY slow as we got on the interstate ramp. SLOW is an understatement. Once on the interstate we realized that RUSH HOUR IN ATLANTA SUCKS BIG TIME. A normal two minute trip to Lotus USA took us an HOUR and a HALF! Stop and go stop and go...it sucked and to make matters worse Lotus USA closed at 5pm and it was 4:50 as we turned into the driveway. Fortunately Clyde said no problem and let us in to take the grand tour. In the front lobby we shot some pics of a Euro Spec Exige and Saffron yellow Elise. Clyde took us in the warehouse area in the back but he had to confiscate our camera's so I dont have any cool shots. In the back they had some racing elises, a Krypton Elise, some Blue elises, and a LARGE parts area. Shelf after shelf of hawtness from racing rotors to car covers and carbon fiber diffusers. A highlight for me was meeting JOHN ENGLISH. :) It was after hours and he was still running around the office. He met us in the lobby and said hello, asked us about the car and chit chatted. We also got to chat with one of the mechanical engineers from Lotus, an authentic Lotus guy from England. He gave us tips on our oil changes etc.

LEAVING THE DEALER.
Left Lotus cars USA and headed back to the dealership. This time it only took us about a half hour trip which was a relief because the showroom closed at 7pm and it was 6:45. On the plus side, it had stopped raining! woot. We took the final delivery. They drove the elise out of the showroom for the first time and the orange paint really was stunning in the daylight. After pulling my elise out they backed an orange lamborghini into its old place. We said our final goodbyes to KYLIQUID and the dealership and hit the road for DEALS GAP!!!

ROAD TO DEALS GAP

Hit the road to deals gap where we planned on staying overnight at a place called TAPOCO lodge. I called the Lodge before we left and told him we were on our way. The proprietor said he would be there until 11pm. He also said that cell phones dont work "out here" so if you're going to be late try to stop and call from a payphone. Ok I said...and we were on our way. We hit the road towards Topoco and encountered our first mechanical problem but it wasnt the Elise, it was the mazdaspeed. One of our headlights was out. Managed to find an Autozone somewhere in BFE and replaced the light and were back on the road in no time. I rode in the mazdaspeed with james, George drove the Elise. The first thing I noticed was that everyone slows down to look at the car, pointing or waving. George has gotten pretty good with his beauty queen wave in the past two days. Darkness fell and we were getting close to the Georgia North Carolina border. The back roads were a little scary at night. No light lots of tree's and NOBODY around for miles. We nearly creamed a possum fortunately both James and George used their autocross skills to swerve and miss it. After a few hours we stopped at a remote gas station and while there for ten minutes we had several people walk over and ask what kind of car it was. Lots of fun.

Road to deals gap continues....
Let me preface this by saying that MAPQUEST can really suck. After our gas station stop the next section of road was LOTS of fun, switchbacks and mountain passes. The time was 10:00 and we seemed to be making good time so I wasnt worried about making it to Topoco lodge by 11:00. 10:15 and we passed through a town called Robbinsville which is where our "topoco lodge" was supposed to be located. Home free right? We didnt see the lodge in the small town so we continued down the road into the Nantahala National Forest. The road was dark and foreboding and was in the middle of NOWHERE. Nothing but tree's and fog and it went on and on and on and on....10:30pm still no topoco lodge...we started to panic. At this point I had not slept for 24 hours, James had been driving 16 hours and George too. We thought we had made a mistake.It was getting close to 11:00, there was NO PAYPHONE anywhere NEAR us and there seemed to be NOTHING around us so we figured we were lost and turned back in frustration. Here we are, so tired we cant think straight, hungry, in the middle of NOWHERE, with a new car and nothing but a bag of pretzles in the trunk. On our way back we encountered some good old boys stopped along the side of the road ( I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT FOR) and we yelled out and asked them were Tapoco lodge was. One of them said ( in best billy bob voice) "down the road just past the dam" and pointed back the same way we had been going before! We were SOOO frustrated. We took off back the way we had been going before and wouldnt you know it..about a half mile PAST where we turned around the first time was the Tapoco lodge. We made it there at 11:04pm. Fortunately for us the guy was still at the front desk so he checked us in and we made a beeline for our rooms. We were all hungry so I asked the guy, "is there anywhere to eat or a vending machin??" and he said "no but I have some crackers in the back" LOL. We went up to our rooms and James broke out his bag of pretzles..hehe. So we sat and ate pretzles and water for dinner. As we ate we looked around our rooms and noticed they had NO TV, NO PHONE, and James's room had an axe murderer sqeaking noise coming out of one of the vents. But hey...beggars cant be choosers. After "dinner" we hit the sack and I swear to gosh Ive never been so tired in all my life, I was asleep as soon as I hit the pillow.


RUNNING DEALS GAP

The next morning was much better. Got up at 8am, took a shower and went downstairs to the Lodge to have breakfast. After a lovely breakfast of "omelete pie" ( I"ll let James tell you about that one) we played some pool and ping pong and then prepared to hit US 129 aka the Dragons tail/Deals Gap. Our first cool site along 129 was "Fugitive Dam" which is the dam they used in the movie "the fugitive" with Harrison Ford. It was very pretty. Took some shots of the dam and then continued on down 129.
The road was, to use one word, AMAZING. The road is awesome, 311 turns in 11miles! The scenery is great too, mountains etc. Lots of motorcycles and sports cars all cruising the lanes. We ran the dragons tail the first time and I think James was in heaven. I must say the Mazdaspeed Protege handles like no other...and I mean that. I videotaped our high speed runs through the turns and also tried to videotape George behind us in the Lotus. We stopped at a few of the "scenic views" along the road and chatted with the motorcycle riders. Ducati's Triumph's Moto Guzzi, Suzuki, Harley..you name it, its there. Every stop we made we had people videotaping the car, taking pics of the car, and talking to us about it. Two male harley riders asked George to pose with the car...not sure what that was all about. lol. One amusing stretch of road we put the HURT on a crotch rocket, he COULD NOT lose us and it was driving him nuts. He was leaning in and gunning it on the straights but just couldnt shake us in the turns. It was pimp. The Mazdaspeed Protege handled VERY well. I was very impressed.
Since the dragons tail is only 11 miles long and was SOO much fun we proceded to turn around and run the dragon again..three times. Then we left back for home, up through TN.



YAY!
 

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Discussion Starter #6
SPYSHOT from our hotel room at the gap. First thing I did when I woke up was look out the window to check on the car. When I did I was suprised to find a crowd of 4 people standing around the car taking pictures and looking it over. I took a quick shot. lol
 

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While in this parking lot at deals gap we had some guy on a motorcycle walk over and ask us if he could take shots of the car running the dragon. We of course said yes, he went out in front of us and set up alongside the road to take shots.
 

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Chris C was indeed there. I was glad he was....lol, I walked into the dealer looking like a real slob. Had on sweatpants and tennis shoes. The 7 hour drive sucked and I had a headache. After driving for 3 hours I stopped and changed into my "sweat clothes" outfit ot be comfortable. After that I didnt care. They probably would have asked me to leave if Chris hadnt spotted me and known I actually had business there.

And chris, Im pathetic, I DID NOT drive the car at the gap. I decided I didnt want to drive the car until we got it back home. It's so beautiful I was afraid of wrecking it. I know, I know, thats PATHETIC. I agree. We plan on going back to the gap and I'll get wild with it soon. I'd like it if you could come along with us!

I just finished washing it, it was FILTHY. I'll talke some more shots soon.
 

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Jenn,

That's awesome! Looking at the photos of your trip makes me so anxious to get my (absoutely identical) car. :) Unfortunately, it appears that you are the photographer of the family since there are no pictures of you behind the wheel or otherwise.:rolleyes:

Great story! Thanks for the write-up.

John
(hopefully I'll get mine before Christmas... of 2005!)
 

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Congratulations Jenn - is this the first one in KY?
It is bee-yew-tee-full. Dying to see it.
 

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Jenn,
Let me know when you guys plan to come down again, will definately get together.

Planning on running through the gap coming back from Log, going up through TN to Carolina down to GA and home, kind of a roundabout way,

Let me know when you guys can do it.
Chris
 

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Jenn, I guess you still have another car coming - is is Ardent or Saffron? How'd you like the Ardent I see sitting next to the CO? I just don't have the cojones to get CO but being #33 on MAG's list I might have enough time to grow a pair LOL
 

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Congrats, OneFastLotus! I'm glad to see that your long wait is finally over. :cool:
 

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We are going to have to have an annual or semiannual Elise trip to the Gap. It's just too good of a road to miss.
 
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