Day 3: Driving to the Great Smoky Mountains

Trip Start Sep 08, 2005
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Trip End Sep 25, 2005


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Flag of United States  , Tennessee
Sunday, September 11, 2005

Today turned out to be a 300-mile drive in order to make up some time. Though the anti-interstate rule has now been officially thrown out of the window (somewhere near the Tennessee-Virginia border), we still saw some beautiful countryside as we sped on from Salem, VA, to Gatlinburg, TN (gateway to the Great Smokies). A couple of run-ins with the Virginia State Highway Patrol helped speed our journey into Tennessee as well. We arrived in Gatlinburg fine, after admiring hundreds of incredible vintage and hot road cars parked all along the road in the next town, Pigeon Forge, where we bypassed Dollywood. We wandered around the local tourist-y shops, felt thankful for the number of teeth we still have, and turned in relatively early.

Mom, as recovering Main Street manager, admired the stringent design regulations in Gatlinburg. Pigeon Forge is an all-American strip mall of a town. Downtown Gatlinburg is jammed with t-shirt, fast food, and candy stores, as well as other more upscale tourist shops. They are all housed in Tudor- or chalet-style buildings in neutral colors. New construction blends in. It saves this beautiful mountain valley from complete spoilage, but not pickups and Hog motorcycles from Confederate flags and horns which play 'Dixie.'

P.S. We had fantastic barbecue for lunch at Pardner's, in Bluff City, TN. (Ridgewood, a famed barbecue place nearby, was closed.)
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