Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Day Eleven: Salisbury to Oak Ridge

An early - but not too early start - start and we headed for the Great Smoky Mountains. After taking US 70 up to I-40 (saved a lot of time) we then got off the interstate and took US 441

An odd combination! Fuel yourself and fix your tires at the same time.

Starbuck and Firestone

Our first real sight of the mountains

mountains in the distance

The Batcave? Batman's moved?

Sign to Blue Ridge and Batcave



We lunched at a Huddle House here - hadn't eaten in one of them in years. Very nice.


O my country...

Cherokee cigarettes

US 441 goes right through the park, over the mountains. It's a great drive, though often closed in the winter.

Great Smoky Mountains

The Cherokee reservation is on the Carolina side of the mountains


There were painted bears everywhere - here are three I got pictures of: an eagle; Sequoyah with his cap, pipe, and syllabary; and I really don't know what. painted bear - eagle

painted bear - Sequoyah

painted bear

Kudzu doing what kudzu does


The park entrance on the Carolina side - some strange kids

park entrance

Rain clouds over the mountains - "maybe it's raining in Tennessee" I said. Hah.

rain clouds

Before we even got to Newfound Gap, the rain started - so torrential we had to stop in one of the pull-outs by the Oconoluftee and wait for about ten minutes before we could see the road! Summer storms in a temperate rain forest


rain and Oconoluftee

Smoke on the mountains - why they got their name

clouds in the mountains

Newfound Gap, where the early settlers crossed from the Carolinas and Virginia

Newfound Gap

After the storm, some clouds over the mountains

some clouds over the mountains

The Appalachian Trail - it starts in Georgia, though

Appalachian Trail

Gatlinburg, at the Sugarlands entrance, a bustling tourist destination much like Cherokee, only without the Cherokee


Back into the park briefly on the way to Pigeon Forge

GSM sign

Pigeon Forge is now much more than the pottery .... much, much more

Pigeon Forge

King Kong

And we drove into another convection storm - summer storms, we called 'em when I was a kid.

stormy sky

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