Driveabout: Day 9
The morning wind had a job to do as we awoke at Greensboro Campground. It blustered and blew through the trees sending red, yellow and copper-colored leaves dancing, sailing and diving towards the ground. The colors were leaving in this part of the country and the bare-boned branches of skeleton trees prepared for winter's look of desolation. I headed out to shoot some video intros for "Rhythm Roots" on DittyTV.com and found, when I got back inside, that my eyeglasses, previously hooked into my pant pockets, had fallen at some point and were now laying amidst the thousands of leaves that were heaping all over the campground. I met a nice young man with a leaf blower who helped me search for them (literally like searching for a needle in a haystack) and they eventually did turn up. Enough dawdling - time to get a move on.
We zipped along Interstate 40 towards Greensboro, Winston-Salem, Statesville and then made a lunch stop at the Hatch Sandwich Bar in Hickory where we also visited a Bottega, an artsy gallery where Jae picked up a nice, framed glass piece to hang in the house.
I-40 begins to really hit the heights heading westbound from Hickory, climbing higher and higher until reaching the 2800 foot level just before Black Mountain. The descent into Tennessee is a curvy one, something that didn't sit all too well with Jae, who battles motion sickness.
We got into Pigeon Forge, TN right at nightfall. Jae had never been, so I tooled down the main drags as she marveled at the crazy and controlled chaos of it all. The Winterfest lights were out in abundance, providing even more than the usual dazzle. We have an area called International Drive in Orlando which is your basic tourist trap. Now, take that, multiply by 10, shoot up with steroids and mix a little Las Vegas and Branson into the mixture. There's Pigeon Forge for ya. After driving around a bit, we decided upon The Island in Pigeon Forge to chill. After browsing through some shops and bellying up to the bar at Dude's Daquiri's, we had dinner at Timberwood Grill where the wall-mounted head of a goat stared at me for the duration of our meal. Creepy. Even the servers think it's creepy.
Finally, we checked into KOA, got all situated and did a little talking about how to round out the remainder of the trip. We knew that the 10th day would be the halfway point before turning around and returning home. Our trajectory had worked out perfectly and we'd be continuing across Tennessee for the time being. So far, we'd stayed at either a private campground or a state park each night. Tomorrow night, that would change as we'd set sights on Cade's Cove in the heart of the Great Smoky Mountains.