words: Tom & Brittni Lindert, photos: Dragos Putureanu, Alex Girrbach
Editor’s note: This article originally ran in the q3_2019 issue of quattro magazine. You can find the companion photo gallery HERE.
Only in the scenic mountains of Northeastern Georgia will a traveler find an alpine village by the name of Helen. Nestled just on the outskirts of Helen, Unicoi State Park Lodge hosted quattro de Mayo 2019, offering exemplary views of the local horizon and abundant opportunities for sightseeing within minutes of travel – not to mention curvy mountainous roads. The uniqueness of Helen and its residents truly make it a wonderful experience for those who are passing through. In our case, we were first-timers, traveling 795 miles from Wisconsin.
Amongst Audi enthusiasts, quattro de Mayo (a.k.a. “QDM” to regulars) has established itself as a bucket list event you need to attend at least once… and likely several times. Registration sold out in just 12 hours and 2 minutes this year, underscoring the obvious demand for a spring getaway in Georgia complete with the most incredible back roads you can imagine.
This year’s event comprised a gathering of 184 adults, 7 children, and a total of 112 cars. Of those cars, 68% of them were S, RS, or R8 models. Folks from seventeen states made an appearance, while the wait list of those hoping for a last-minute cancellation was over 50 long.
The core activity of quattro de Mayo must certainly be the drives. No less than 29 were planned to occur over the 2 ½ day event. Preparation for this began immediately, with a Driver Orientation meeting held Thursday evening by Eric King. Here, the most critical rules were covered, things like driver safety, trusting the vehicle, understanding your limits, and the most important rule – do not cross the double yellow line! Second only to that was the next most important rule– Have fun!
The completion of the orientation kicked off an evening of drives – some short, some long. Our chosen drive was “Dinner at Hofbrauhaus”, which was a quick drive to the main strip of Helen, while others took that evening as an opportunity to prepare their cars for what was going to occur over the next two days.
On Friday morning, the lodge was bustling with excitement as drivers and their guests prepared for a day of winding through the hills and valleys of Northern Georgia, Tennessee, and North and South Carolina. After a quick meeting, drivers lined up at their appropriate staging times and set off on their adventures. We joined Pat and Carol Monnot piloting their 2003 RS 6 on their “Too Many Curves” drive which contained several hours of stimulating twists and turns along with multiple scenic stops and lunch at the Randevu Restaurant in Cashiers, NC. The Lake Jocassee overlook, Gorges State Park, and Lake Burton were just a few highlights of the journey, but driving wasn’t half bad either. Word had gotten around that Pat and Carol really know their vehicle and the roads well and, after that drive, we could not agree more.
The evening concluded with an educational Beer and Tire Talk hosted by Tom Carter of Michelin in Unicoi’s Smith Creek Tavern, followed by shuttle and hayrides to Unicoi’s Adventure Camp for a cookout and bonfire. The Adventure Camp lot was the perfect gathering space for the QDM family, with live music, games, and friendly socializing. The laughter and smiles were contagious from beginning to end.
Underscoring the family nature of the QDM family and Audi Club Georgia was a surprise marriage proposal. Daniel asked Talia, and Talia said yes!
As Saturday morning approached, guests were ready to take on one of the biggest challenges – corralling all 112 cars for the event’s infamous photo shoot. Breakfast quickly followed then drivers prepped for their second day of drives.
As first-timers to quattro de Mayo, we decided not to partake in driving through the infamous “Tail of the Dragon” route. Rather, we opted for the “Danewich” drive led by Steen Olsen and tailed by Lars Finderup – both Danes. This route involved a train of cars winding through the curves and hills of Northern Georgia, making a stop at Mountain Crossings near Neel Gap. Here, hikers are known for throwing their boots in The Boot Tree upon finishing the Appalachian Trail. The journey continued with a lunch stop at the Chophouse at LaPrades on Lake Burton. Finally, the group made its way through sporadic rain to our final stop of the day, the exquisite Toccoa Falls.
Back at the lodge, the QDM family gathered yet again for a fun-filled evening including Happy Hour and dinner. A raffle and silent auction were highlights of the evening, as was an opportunity to complete a scavenger hunt for a special prize. As a result, the group found three of the 184 adults to have Audi tattoos… and we may have made up two of the three.
Another tradition of quattro de Mayo is a charitable one. Audi Club Georgia is a longtime supporter of the local Meals on Wheels. To that end the group raised no less than $2750 for their organization.
The final unplanned activity that always seems to happen that final evening of QDM is the setting in of a melancholy glow that can only come when an intensely enjoyable experience begins to come to an end. As new guests to the event, we were blown away by the dedication of the Audi Club Georgia event team as well as the entire attendee group, along with the Audi brand.
- Title Sponsors: Audi Atlanta & Audi Marietta
- Fireworks Sponsor: Audi of America
- Happy Hour Sponsor: APR
- Breakfast Sponsor: ABT Sportsline
- Prestige Sponsors: Fadeaway Detailing, Solo Motorsports, Michelin
- Premium Plus Sponsors: Atlanta Motorsports Park, Audi Club North America