This was the day we started our trip north. No! we don’t want to go home! Happily we had some more highlights ahead of us.
We started out with a change of plans – Kerry’s dad lives in Limestone TN, so we were able to stop in and see them for lunch. We headed north and mostly motored, so I didn’t get a chance to take many photos.
You can see on the map where we had to cross over the Smokeys National Park – that road, whatever it was, was a HUGE highlight. It was split between following the coves through the mountains and some strong up and overs. We had to stop and double check where we were at trout stream – you can see the water behind the sign.
It was full spring here in the mountains, and the flowers were thick and the bugs were enjoying it. Something big and hard bounced off of my chest and got me all gutty – I hope it was a big beetle and not a hummingbird – and I think it hit Rick on the way down after it struck me. Yuck!
We took off headed north. Note to everyone in the world: Avoid Rt 11 unless you’ve done the google maps view to make sure it’s not all stopped traffic and big box stores. We had some problems through Kingston and Johnson City. We were really cruising, and then around 7PM the skies got dark and ominous and we ducked into a gas station to put on our rain gear. And not a moment too soon.
We let the bulk of the thunder pass by as we damply huddled in the over-air-conditioned mini-mart, but after about half an hour we decided it was time to move on. We got our rain gear tucked in as best as we could, and hopped back on the bikes. It may or may not have been hailing at any given time, the rain was freezing cold, and it got dark dark dark as the day ended. I think we lasted for 45 min. on the road before we started looking for a place to stay. After an extremely creepy hotel lobby evaluation (“oh, you only have smoking rooms? [thankgoodness!] We’ll move on down the road”) we picked the much nicer Timberline Lodge in Ceder Bluff.
The sign said 100% Quality, and they were right. I wish I’d snapped a photo of the furniture or the lobby but it was very cute. And across the street was a “Waffle and Egg,” where we enjoyed both dinner and breakfast.