The Beauty Around Us

Showcases Portraiture, Scenic & Nature Photography and Feaures a Photo Journal Blog

Posts from the ‘Tennessee’ category

West Virginia and North Carolina Vacation – Day 6 of 9

On the morning of Thursday, May 13, we awakened at 6:15 am and were showered and dressed by 7:00 am.

We ate breakfast at Pop’s Grits & Eggs, which is located next door to A Holiday Motel.  At the time,  the restaurant had been opened for only a week. Laura F. and “Bassman” joined us for breakfast. The food and service were great, even though the waitress had called in to say she would be a no show that day.

Ready to Roll

We departed A Holiday Motel at 9:00 am en route Townsend, TN. I drove; Bob rode the motorcycle. Sandy R. accompanied me. Sandy and I were at the end of a line of motorcycles, led by “Skid”. We took U.S. Route 19 to the Blue Ridge Parkway, which we followed to U.S Route 441. Sandy and I got left behind when we made a bathroom stop at the Oconaluftee Visitor Center, located about 16 miles from Newfound Gap. We caught up with everyone at Newfound Gap.

Newfound Gap
on the North Carolina-Tennesee Border

Bob and Mike

Newfound Gap

 

From Newfound Gap we followed Rt. 441 and Rt. 73 to Townsend, TN. We ate lunch at Smokin Joe’s BBQ.

“Skid” and Sandy at Smokin Joe’s BBQ

Jaime and Phillip and their son, Caleb, met us at Smokin Joe’s BBQ.
“Skid” says hello.

Lunch at Smokin Joe’s BBQ

Lunch at Smokin Joe’s BBQ

Lunch at Smokin Joe’s BBQ

Lunch at Smokin Joe’s BBQ

Our lunch group took over a room inside Smokin Joe’s BBQ.

Lunch was very good.  I ordered ½ chicken with hush puppies, coleslaw and macaroni salad. Bob had a meat salad (and some of my chicken).

After lunch, Sandy and I parted ways with the motorcyclists. The motorcyclists left to ride The Tail of the Dragon. Sandy and I returned to Maggie Valley via Pigeon Forge and U.S. Route 441. We stopped at a couple overlooks and at a waterfall on our way back to A Holiday Motel.

Sandy at the Chimney Tops Overlook
Newfound Gap Road (U.S. Route 441-TN)

We made a second stop at Newfound Gap because I wanted to take additional pictures.

Sandy and I on the North Carolina-Tennessee Border

Newfound Gap view

Newfound Gap
Rockefeller Memorial and The Appalachian Trail

Sandy and I at Newfound Gap

 About 20 minutes after leaving Newfound Gap, we saw water rushing down a hill on the side of the road.

Waterfall along U.S. Route 411-NC

Sandy and I returned to A Holiday Motel around 3:50 pm.  Bob returned to the motel about 1 1/2 hours later. He enjoyed riding The Tail of the Dragon but said he would not have enjoyed it as much 2-up.  Bob said that I would not have liked it.

Bob “goin’ mad on the Dragon”
(Bob purchased this high-resolution digital image from killboy.com.)

We ate dinner at Guayabitos Mexican Restaurant with Candy and Karl R. This restaurant is located within walking distance of A Holiday Motel. Bob and I each ordered a taco salad with beef tips. The taco salads were delicious, and the service was good.  We were sorry to hear that Karl has not been feeling well.  He spent the day at the hospital…diagnosis: pneumonia in the lower part, I believe, of his lung.

We spent the evening of our 6th day of vacation, as we do so at every VROC rally … at the “kaw pasture”, sitting around a roaring campfire, listening to music and talking with our friends.

North Carolina Vacation – Day 2 of 9

Day 2 (Monday, May 12) of our North Carolina vacation was a travel day.  We departed Oak Hill WV at 8:00 am, after a hot breakfast (complimentary) at our hotel. We arrived at the Best Western of Asheville Biltmore East in Asheville NC shortly before 2:00 pm. As was the case during yesterday’s travels, we had beautiful weather for traveling.  The sky was blue, with plenty of sunshine and no rain.  We had light to moderate traffic, with no delays in travel because of traffic.

We could have made the drive from Oak Hill WV to Asheville NC in 4 to 4 ½ hours, but we made several stops along the way. In addition to fuel stops, we made a few photo stops. We stopped at two rest areas in Tennessee and one in North Carolina.  All three rest areas were located in scenic areas and were well maintained.

The first Tennessee rest area that we stopped at welcomed us to the state. This rest area was located along Interstate 81 in Bristol TN.  We ate lunch at this rest area.

Tennessee Welcome Center

“Citizens” c. 1982

Lunch Break

We liked the sheltered picnic areas at the Tennessee Welcome Center.  Our picnic lunch included Bumble Bee tuna salad with crackers (ready to eat), no-sugar added diced peaches and a sugar free chocolate chip cookie.  We brought the makings for this picnic lunch for FIVE picnics!  Oh, see the box of creamer?  I brought the fixings for several cups of tea with us on this trip.  We did not bring a cooler with us.  The creamer did not require refrigeration; however,  it had to be stored below 80 degrees.  The temperature in the car would rise above 80 degrees very quickly, when stopped for more than a few minutes.  So, I had to bring the creamer with me when we stopped for lunch or photo opportunities.

The second Tennessee rest area that we stopped at was also a Welcome Center.  This rest area was located in Erwin TN along Interstate 26.  This rest area had beautiful mountain views and lots of land to stretch your legs.

Rest Area in Tennessee

Rest Area in Tennessee

Rest Area in Tennessee

 

We stopped at Metcalf Overlook in Tennessee, located along Interstate 26 near the North Carolina border.  I loved the tree-covered hills at this overlook.

The cows grazing in the field at the foot of the hills added a pastoral feel to the entire scene.

Metcalf Overlook

Our last stop before arriving at our hotel was at the North Carolina Welcome Center in Mars Hill NC.  What a beautiful rest area!

North Carolina Welcome Rest Area

North Carolina Welcome Rest Area

North Carolina Welcome Rest Area

As we were leaving this rest area, I noticed a trail behind the Visitors Center.  I read afterward that the trail provides beautiful views of Interstate 26 and the surrounding mountains.

 

As I wrote earlier, we arrived at our hotel in Asheville NC shortly before 2:00 pm.  I took note of the odometer reading upon reaching our hotel.  We put on approximately 650 miles on the car / motorcycle since leaving Warren PA on Sunday morning.   Our home for two nights was a large room with two queen beds, a desk and chair, a table and two chairs, microwave, refrigerator, dresser, nightstand, flat-screen TV and a large bathroom. Our room was located on the first floor at the back of the property.

We chose a great location for our 2-night stay. There were several restaurants in the immediate area to choose from, as well as plenty of shopping opportunities. We stopped at a couple of those shopping opportunities soon after arriving at our hotel. We purchased a Universal AC Adapter at Best Buy.  We communicate via Blue Tooth, while traveling.  Bob forgot to pack the charger for the Blue Tooth.  We walked into the Asheville Mall, looking for a restaurant.  We didn’t find a restaurant; however, I did find something interesting to photograph in the parking lot.

A “love, peace and harmony” van was parked at the Asheville Mall.

A “love, peace and harmony” van was parked at the Asheville Mall.

We ate dinner at Chili’s Restaurant, which was located a few hundred yards from the mall. We ordered from the 2 for $20 menu, which included one appetizer and an entree for each of us. We chose chips and salsa as an appetizer and ordered sirloin steak for our main entree. Bob ordered a 10 oz steak for $4.00 more. I ordered a 6 oz steak. Dinner was filling and very good.

We visited Biltmore Estates, while in Asheville NC — the subject of my next several blog posts.

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