Asheville, North Carolina

Sunday Morning December 9 we woke up early ready to roll. It was supposed to be a short day but the fog and dreariness made it seem longer than the 300 miles we had planned to arrive in Asheville. We decided to get off the freeway, I-40, and travel a Tennessee Scenic Byway, 70. We laughed a lot about how 70N goes east and west, and 70S has nothing to do with south. In face we were on a couple of roads that say for instance 70 east and 441 south, and they are the same road. No wonder I get all mixed up east of the Mississippi. The drive was lovely though, in spite of the gray skies, and every once in awhile some thought of light tried to emerge. Later in the afternoon we went through Pigeon Forge, an historic town on the north side of the Great Smoky Mountains and couldn’t believe all the attractions that lined the highway on both sides for miles. It was in the vicinity of Dollywood and looked as though it was Disneyland on a highway with lots of traffic, even in the winter. I can’t imagine what a mess that place would be during the tourist seasons in June and October.

Onward via HWY 441 towards the park and came to another gateway town, although this one was a bit smaller, but still filled with shops and hotels and restaurants and tourists. Lots of really big resorts and a gondola with a view of the Smokies. Our first views of the Smokies were a surprise as well, because they are a lot bigger and steeper than I imagined them to be. We started to head for Asheville and then backtracked and decided to go over the mountains through the park. It was a truly gorgeous drive, even in the fog, but a bit hard to get pictures.

Finally arrived in Asheville and tried to find the Wal Mart that was our destination. I had directions from Google, but Asheville is really a mountain city with lots of roads that go in circles. It didn’t help that it was thick foggy weather, either. We got off the freeway a couple of times and finally gave up and called the wal mart for directions. Even then it was hard to find but when we finally did we went inside and thanked the two ladies that talked us in. Lots of laughter on that one, and thank goodness it was a walmart that allows parking overnight for travelers.

Author: kyotesue

Soil scientist/mapper working for 35 years in the wild lands of the West. I am now retired, enjoying my freedom to travel, to hike without a shovel and a pack, to knit and quilt and play, to play with photography and write stories about all of it.

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