Whether navigating whitewater rapids or coaching groups up sheer rock faces, USA Raft and Mountain River Guides strives to impart its passion for the region’s natural splendor. Before hitting the trail, all guides pass through USA Raft and Mountain River Guides’ training school, the curriculum of which places a special focus on leadership and group dynamics. This training helps guides foster a safe, positive atmosphere for groups of all ages and skill levels. Additionally, USA Raft and Mountain River Guides supplies sojourners with safety gear, equipment, and tips for politely turning down play dates with Bigfoot.
Buck Baker Racing School allows speed-hungry race fans to strap into an authentic Sprint Cup stock car and take it out for a leisurely spin around Charlotte Motor Speedway. The school's masters of acceleration will instruct motorpupils during a roughly one-hour pre-drive class. Afterward, take shotgun while wearing the provided helmet and fire suit along with tennis shoes inside a bona fide, previously driven Sprint Cup Ford, Chevy, or Dodge, and ride along as your instructor powers around the 1.5-mile speedway, during which they'll dish out informative tips on driving and snappy catch phrases such as, "Zounds! I own 300 shares of Apple stock!" Once rookie racers are ready, they'll switch seats with instructors and kindle rubber with 10 full laps around the speedway's 24-degree-banked turns, imagining that 165,000 spectators are cheering them on as they take a respectable 17th place out of 12,000 cars.
Belmont Lanes courts globe-chuckers of all stripes and skill levels to set foot among its myriad lanes and entertainment apparatuses. Sextets of revelers can enjoy a two-hour party, which supplies the group with a pizza and pitcher of soda to celebrate the overthrow of pins and unification of hand and boulder. Meanwhile, cosmic bowling gives spatial thrills for late-night laning with the experience of visiting a galaxy of disco-ball planets. Party-goers should call at least one hour ahead of time to reserve their lane for cosmic bowling.
On September 1, Bristol Motor Speedway will be buried under one ton of bacon. At the first annual Tri-Cities BaconFest, the pungent pork will be served up in a multitude of ways: Visitors can snag it for free at bacon stations during three tasting times, sample it in vendors’ bacon-infused desserts and entrees, or attempt to shovel down three pounds of it to claim the title Lord of the Bacon during the Man vs. Bacon eating contest. Other swine-themed events include the Dick’s Sporting Goods Pigskin Challenge, where preregistered participants aged 5 and up test their throwing arms on an accuracy obstacle course. At the hog-calling competition, shouters stretch their lungs as they imitate the sounds of hogs and, later, the sounds of hogs imitating celebrities. The family-friendly event will donate part of its proceeds to the Bristol Speedway Children’s Charities, a nonprofit organization that raises contributions for educational, financial, social, and medical causes.
Wahoo’s Adventures refers to itself as the “original” whitewater outfitter, having facilitated outdoor excursions on rafts, tubes, canoes, and kayaks for the past three decades. Whitewater-rafting tours take place upon the Watauga River, the Nolichucky River, and Wilson Creek Gorge, three waterways with differing levels of frothiness, much like three cappuccinos ordered by a family of bears. Alternatively, adults without rafting experience and children as young as 6 months can lazily drift down the New River while sprawled across tubes. As they pass rugged hillsides and scenic farmland, tubers can smell wildflowers, listen to chirping birds, and keep eyes peeled for Sasquatch footprints. Keeping clients safe is Wahoo’s main priority, which is why their experienced guides equip adventurers with high-quality life jackets, helmets, and paddles before taking the water.
River and Earth Adventures stands out from other wilderness outfitters by being completely operated by their own guides. Their fleet of seasoned cave, mountain, and water-navigating guides work in tandem with professional ecologists and geologists, focusing Blue Ridge Mountains excursions on environmental education as well as adventure. During all day trips, guides divulge area history and expound on forest and river ecosystems as well as geology in caves whose interiors rest at 60 degrees year-round to keep them free of snowman hermits.
Each trip also immerses adventurers in athletic activity, whether on hikes to summits and secluded waterfalls, spelunking through electricity-free cave tunnels, or rafting and kayaking down the Watauga River rapids. For those in search of extended excursions, guides lead children's adventure day camps and combination trips that further an environmental focus and bottle-cap collections through river cleanup projects.