Day 122 - Learner Drivers!
Trip Start May 19, 2008
172Trip End Nov 08, 2008
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Where I stayed
Smokemont Campground, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, North
From Anderson, as we headed north, the woodland just got denser and denser. But unlike yesterday where it was just rows and rows of the same trees, here there was much more variety and some of the leaves had started to turn.
We crossed the state line into North Carolina just after midday and were delighted with the progress we were making being well over half way to our destination. But after about 5 miles it all began to go a bit pear-shaped. We had to take a minor road to link up with the road we needed, and whilst it was only 12 miles long, it took us about 30 minutes due to all the twists and gradients that our map failed to illustrate
So we took the 151 to hook us across to the 19 and nearly got taken out in the process. The 151 is a narrow, minor road which twists through woodland. And as we went around a right-hand bend, coming the other way was a 3 truck convoy of huge wide loads, the first of which was cutting the corner of the bend and almost ran us into the rock face on our side of the road. How he didn't hit us we will never know. Mel was too busy watching the back end of his truck come towards us, but Neil noticed on the front of the truck was a sign saying "Student Driver"!!!! On a wide load! On a narrow, windy country road! Incredible!
Finally back on civilised roads, we passed through several towns before entering the Cherokee Indian Reservation and about 15 miles after that, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park
At the campground we were requested to go through the ridiculous system once again of driving through and selecting a pitch, then driving back to the office, before driving once more to your pitch. We rebelled and parked on our chosen site and then "walked" back to the office to register. As we settled in for the evening and began to read all the park literature, we discovered that since 1948, haze from air pollution has reduced average visibility 40 percent in winter and 80 percent in summer. Also, park rainfall is 5-10 times more acidic than average, and the most alarming thing, levels of ozone pollution at the park's higher elevations can exceed standards for human health in summer months. And they make you drive around the campground twice!
Miles travelled: 185
Total miles travelled: 11566
Days on road: 102
States visited: 21
National Parks visited: 12