Sunday, March 23, 2014

Highlander tackles trip to Rocky Top Tennessee

Highlander at World's Fair Sunsphere
Tennessee loves their Volunteers !
Keen for a return trip  to view the mountain escarpments of Eastern Tennessee, I elected to drive a 2014 Toyota Highlander up to Rocky Top. This late March visit for the Professional Outdoor Media meeting was only my second time in Knoxville. The first visit came in 1998 when I witnessed an SEC football game to remember between the Alabama Crimson Tide and the Tennessee Volunteers at Neyland Stadium, set along side the Holston River. The Volunteers victory that day assured that we heard 100 roaring renditions of the song Rocky Top that night! Staying downtown near the World's Fair Sunsphere for this trip, it was easy to look towards the river and view the top of the football stadium as it towers over the city and reminisce. Leaving South Carolina the weather was cold and misty enough to where I needed to run the windshield wipers on the intermitent setting all the way until I crossed the Blue Ridge Mountains, where blue skies returned. The totally redesigned 2014 Toyota Highlander has some features that came in handy like the heated seat and heated steering wheel features that I utilized. Once on the Saluda Grade stretch of I-26 in North Carolina I was nearly tempted to stop in at the Orchard Inn for some home made scones, but decided to press on. The 18-wheeler trucks stack up on the higher gradient roadways, leaving the sole passing lane to navigate, but the intuitive driver safety system of the Highlander signals to the driver when a vehicle is in the proverbial 'blind spot' so that an unwarranted lane change is not conducted. While the tech and spec talk could continue on, in laymans' terms I drove the Highlander in tight turns up and down the mountains and passed truck after truck in an effort to reach Knoxville in time for my meetings. The Highlander spirited me to Rocky Top safely and the satellite radio kept my foot tapping along, except for going through the tunnel on I-40 heading into Tennessee. The fuel economy was worth noting as well on my 3.5-Liter V6 engine, with twenty-one miles per gallon coming from my 16-gallon fuel tank. To watch a fun 30-second video with the Muppets and the 204 Highlander click here.
Highlander visits The Hill at University of Tennessee

To view a past blog entry about Highlander in the Lowcountry click here.
First visit to Neyland Stadium since 1998

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