Ever since the Scenic City Overland (SCO) Jeep Wrangler had transmission problems, my overland trailer has been stranded in Birmingham with family. With a camping trip coming up this weekend I was running out of time to go get it. As luck would have it the weekend that I chose to go down to Birmingham also happened to be a rare Alabama snow day.
If you are from the south you know that when snow falls in the south the cities shut down. This year was no different. Knowing that the snow was supposed to start Friday evening and into Saturday morning I jumped in the Jeep and took off around 3 o’clock in the afternoon from Chattanooga for the short 2.5 hour drive to Birmingham. Once there we made a short trip to a friends shop where my trailer was sitting and quickly fired up the welder. The trailer was built over 4-5 weekends in a rush due to the the upcoming Kentucky Adventure Tour trip. There were a few unfinished details. After about an hour of welding, well watching my father weld because I haven’t acquired that skill yet, we were ready to go. Already the sleet was falling and beginning to freeze. Once home we unhooked the trailer and set off looking for occupied vehicles that had slid off the roads that we could help. After a couple hours of beautiful drives, we decided to head home for the evening. We posted up on the Alabama Overland Facebook page that we were planning on heading to Skyline Drive in the morning. We had a lot of people interested in joining us.
At around 7:00 AM we set off in my dad’s Hemi Commander and the SCO Wrangler to meet up with some members of Alabama Overland at a gas station only a few miles from the house. As soon as we reached the main road we realized it hadn’t really snowed in Birmingham. Instead we were confronted by a solid sheet of ice over every road surface. There were cars and trucks off the side of every road. We made our way to the gas station where we met up with Connor. After seeing no one else would be meeting us there, we set off towards Sylacauga, Alabama, and the start of Skyline Drive.
The snow and ice began to lessen as we drove out of town and we considered turning around and heading back. We decided to keep on and see what we would find on the trail. When we reached the trail head there was very little snow or ice.
The first section of Skyline is county road 600-1. This is the easier section of the trail. I was able to complete the first half in 2wd without a problem. The views are beautiful and the snow accumulation begins to grow the further we climbed. The second section, county road 600-2, is much more technical and was really enjoyable with the added ice and snow. We stopped often to stretch, enjoy the views, and let my family’s trail dog Stella get out and sniff.
Skyline Drive ends at Cheaha State Park. Unfortunately due to the ice, the park was closed. We quickly mapped out some back roads and made our way slowly back towards Birmingham. The back roads were very icy and added a little more excitement to our day. In total we spent about 9 hours driving to, on, and back from Skyline Drive.
The following morning I hooked up to my trailer and headed back to Chattanooga getting ready for the next adventure.
I’ve included a map of Skyline Drive for those that maybe interested in running it. Near the end is a campground called Turnipseed Campground. For $5 a night, it’s hard to beat. Cheaha Mountain is also the highest point in Alabama and a nice place to visit.