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Published: June 26th 2017
Geo: 35.7886, -83.5559
With 520 miles to cover today and an hour to lose with a time change, we got up early and were out at 7:10 AM and 79 degrees with the car pointed east. We jumped back on I-64 and joined all the truckers who were monopolizing the road. No exaggeration, there were at least twice as many 18-wheelers as cars, probably 3-1. And so our journey was managed largely by the speed of these trucks and how much real estate they would allow us to have for ourselves. At one point, construction lowered the speed limit to 45 mph and that would have been fine, for the cars, but because of the trucks, we moved along at about 5 mph for many miles. On days like these, I start wishing that cargo would move on the rails like it used to, and like it often does out west.
At 9:45 we crossed the Ohio River from Illinois into Kentucky. And I looked for horse farms, but didn't see any. I recall a couple of years ago driving through Kentucky on I-75 and seeing a lot of them…farms with pastures of green, green grass surrounded by white (what I call)
horse fences. But not today. Just a lot of green fields and trees.
When we crossed into Tennessee, we found ourselves in a hall of trees. The road was lined closely but tall mature hardwood trees and, if not for the open sky above us, it would have been like traveling through a tunnel. Occasionally there was a break in the trees where we were between two rock walls where the road had been cut through a hill of stone.
We drove through Nashville and I took photos of the skyline and the Batman Building, which I have done many times before. This year we did not stop, we just kept moving east. We had a lot of ground to cover.
We rolled into Pigeon Forge at 4:30 PM and made the slow drive down through the town. There is always a lot of traffic here and a stop light at almost every corner. The skies over the Smoky Mountains were threatening and looking rather foggy…is this a harbinger of things to come? We have yet to see the park under clear skies. It is always foggy. I suppose that is why they call them the Smoky Mountains, right? We were hoping
for a reprieve this time, but who knows. We shall see tomorrow morning.
We checked into our hotel and got another upgrade to a Jr. Suite. I remember being in this very same room last year. The room is big, with a sofa and a wet bar, and the view out the window is the back of the cement marquis. I kinda like this, because the parking lot lights will not be shining in and keeping us awake tonight.
Tomorrow, we head into the park for the fourth time, then east through NC to Raleigh for another visit with the girls. Tonight is our last hotel stay for this trip. Beamer says Yah!!!! And, though this is not the last entry to the blog, it will be the last for a few days. When I reach home, I will issue one more entry to sum it all up with my final thoughts on this trip. So stay tuned.
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