Lemons Valet (What Could Go Wrong?): Photo Highlights From the Retreat From Moscow, Day 2

By: Eric Rood Photo Credits: Eric Rood
January 30, 2020

Dozens of heaps survived a wintery, winding Day 1 of Lemons’ 2020-opening Retreat From Moscow Lemons Rally. You can see the highlights of that here or you can see all of the roadtripping-hooptie shenanigans on Instagram by searching #LemonsRally and following @LemonsRally. The second day of our fourth-annual Appalachian Rally brought so much great stuff on the route from Roanoke to Asheville.

The route again included options to take the Blue Ridge Parkway where it was open. Unfortunately, much of it was not, but the winding roads in the Virginia and North Carolina Blue Ridge sections are some of the best east of the Mississippi River. Winding mountain roads and the occasional far-flung checkpoint on forlorn gravel roads out of cell service? That’s just par for the Lemons Rally course.

The rally convened at the Pedalin’ Pig BBQ spot in Boone, North Carolina. What better way could someone enjoy lunch than a heavy and incredibly delicious BBQ meal? The food was fantastic and Boone—home to Appalachian State University—featured a barely navigable set of side streets and the rare opportunity to weird out college kids.

From Boone, the route wound southwest, including a stop at the famous Collettsville Cup House. This House of Mugs encourages visitors to leave a coffee mug when they visit, which is no small feat considering it resides on a gravel road 25 miles deep into the mountains. Teams left the mugs from which they’d eaten the prior day and wound their way back to more populated parts of the state.

Pinball Wizard

The route ended at the Asheville Pinball Museum, which features dozens of playable classic pinball and arcade games. Of course, most Rally teams just wanted to talk about their assorted days on the backroads of Appalachia. It was a great backdrop in downtown Asheville.

For the first time, the Lemons “host” hotel (only a recommendation, mind you… many teams stay elsewhere) included mandatory valet parking. This was a byproduct of staying in a city center and Rally organizers were at first reticent to ask teams to pay extra for the service. However, the spectacle of a valet getting specific, strange instructions like “You have to leave the ignition screwdriver a millimeter past the ‘On’ position” was worth it for everyone who stayed at the Fancy Pants Hotel™.

To boot, the Monster Foodies team had headed to the Pinball Museum when the hotel desk clerk called to let them know that their B-Body Buick Roadmaster wouldn’t start in the valet dropoff. So began an hour-long starter motor swap in the valet turnaround complete with a few territory-marking puddles and help from the Stattosphere Motorsports crew in their Men In Black suits. They asked the valet to have the honors of starting the Roadmaster, which fired up to the cheers of a half-dozen rally teams looking on. Victories come in many ways in Lemons!

Onward to Deal’s Gap!

Today begins Day 3 of the Retreat From Moscow Rally. The end of Blue Ridge Parkway is on the route, though it’s almost entirely closed. The alternate route includes a museum dedicated to cats on the way to the famed Deal’s Gap Motorcycle Resort and The Dragon. That famous, winding section of Route 129 remains a favorite from Lemons Rallies past and we’ll be thrilled to be back again today. From there, the adventurous teams can chase the Cherohala Skyway back into North Carolina, though most will filter down to the day’s end in Chattanooga.

Of course, you can follow all of this (in)action and (mis)adventure on Instagram. The #LemonsRally hashtag will show you dozens of teams doing dumb things in weird places. As it should be. Enjoy more photos below!

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