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Bullrun 2014: Hot Springs, VA – Nashville, TN
It’s day 3 of the Bullrun rally, and now the experience is starting to make a lot more sense. We stayed in the Omni Homestead hotel, a massive castle-style resort in Hot Springs, VA. The Bullrunners headed down to Sam Snead’s Tavern for dinner but it turned out to be a lot more than just that. The Bullrunners enjoyed a few drinks as they chatted about the day, and Drake of Team Royale got a bit crazy.
With the sun shining after last night’s heavy rainfall, the teams lined up their cars in front of the hotel. As the launch time drew nearer, everyone began speculating where we would be heading. The rumor from the night before was that we would be heading to Nashville, TN.
At the end of yesterday’s driving leg, Mike, driving in the frozen black BMW M5, had his navigator, Scott, quit on him. Scott quickly got into a taxi at the hotel and headed home. Now Mike is without a co-driver, and actively seeking out someone to join him for the remainder of the Bullrun. Fellow Bullrunner, Crystal, offered herself up to be navigator for the day so that Mike wouldn’t have to drive and navigate on his own.
As the route cards were handed out, we learned that our lunch checkpoint was the Orangery restaurant in Knoxville, TN. It was going to be a long drive! Today I hopped in with Phil and Drake of Team Reyale, driving a super-modified Chevrolet 2500 pickup truck. The truck has been boosted up to an incredible 1500 hp, and carries an aftermarket 62 gallon fuel tank, meaning we would not have to stop for gas.
The fast crew, Team 007, Team Big Easy Bandits and Team Ben x2 sped off into the distance, not to be seen again until the lunch checkpoint. The rest of us made our way through the Virginia forest, trying to navigate our way to the nearest freeway. Team Texas decided to sleep in today and take a detour to the hot springs in the area. They’re taking the rally easy this year. After having done Bullrun for six rallies, this year is becoming more of a sight-seeing vacation, a similar approach to Team Mustang Girls, who veer off-course daily to experience the scenery and the unique locations en route.
As Drake and Phil made their way up the twisty mountain roads, they soon realized that they had taken a wrong turn, and we were heading right back to the hotel. Once we got back to the hotel grounds, we took the correct route, taking us down the mountain pass to the freeway, which cost us about 20 minutes.
While en route to the checkpoint, Team Big Easy Bandits were pulled over by the police for speeding. Ricky and Billy, who are driving a Cadillac XTS rental car as a result of Billy’s Mercedes ML being totaled a few days before the rally, have been trying more than ever to rely on navigation and strategy this year, but after passing a semi truck, gut buzzed by a police radar. They were promptly pulled over and held for a few minutes, costing them the lead. Mike and Crystal of Team Kosher in the Dinan BMW M5 were also pulled over on the side of the road, delaying their travels to Knoxville.
The rally-prepped Porsche Cayman, driven by Ben and Ben, arrived first to the checkpoint with Bobby and Dharmesh in the 007 Aston Martin coming in second. Team Big Easy Bandits arrived a while later in third, still beating out many of the other teams.
After lunch, we were handed our route cards, taking us to the Omni Hotel in Nashville, TN. With heavy traffic all around, Drake and Phil began to get frustrated. They just wanted to get to Nashville ahead of a few teams, but it didn’t look like that would be possible given the traffic. Suddenly, we were passed by one of the Camaro teams, who we lost sight of rather quickly. It’s a lot easier to navigate through traffic in a Camaro than a 23 foot-long Chevy 2500 Duramax. But lucky for us, we saw them pulled over on the side of the road a few minutes later.
We spent the driving leg rallying with Team Dirty in the 2014 Chevrolet Camaro and Team Red Coats in their 700 hp Renntech Mercedes CLS 63 AMG, who recently joined us from Gumball 3000. But we soon got separated from the sleeker sports cars, who pulled out ahead of us.
When we arrived to the hotel, the usual suspects, Team Dirty, 007, Ben’s, Big Easy Bandits and Team Car Chasers, Jeff and Meg, from NBC’s new TV Series, ‘Car Chasers,’ were already there. But that didn’t matter, we were there. Upon our arrival, Bullrun boss, Andy Duncan informed us that we would be heading off to a cool dive bar in Nashville for dinner and drinks, a fitting end to the third day on the rally.
What’s in store for tomorrow? We’ll find out soon enough!