Monday, March 3, 2008


Tennessee is a funny state. Its culture changes pretty quickly from end to end. Memphis belongs to Mississippi really; it’s a black, southern town with a large inner-city: the blues capitol. Nashville belongs to Kentucky culture; it’s is a hick town in the midst of prairie plains with folks wearing cowboy hats: the country music capitol. Knoxville ought to be in West Virginia. It’s a mountainous, heavily forested town with lots of wood houses at various elevations. I didn’t see anyone carrying a long rifle and wearing a coonskin cap, but I wouldn’t have been surprised if I did.

I actually passed through Knoxville itself pretty quickly because I wanted to get through the Great Smoky Mountains before dark, which turned out to be a really good idea because that road through the mountains would have been treacherous in the dark. Plus you wouldn’t be able to see anything. Anyway, right before you get up to the mountains, there’s this town called Pigeon Forge that’s like a drive through amusement park. All along the sides of the roads are all kinds of rides and attractions. It was hard to get a picture that captured the road long-ways, but here’s just one random type of thing that was off the road.

Up the road from here is Dollyworld amusement park. I had not realized before, nor ever would have guessed, that there’s a whole amusement park based off of Dolly Parton.

As you go on further up the road there’s another town, Gatlinburg, right up in the foot of the mountains. Gatlinburg’s a resort town, a lot like Aspen or Park City, with lots of people walking around who think they’re all cool just because they’re there. I stopped by the Hard Rock Café there, but nothing special.

I made it through smokies just before twilight. They weren’t very smoky that day.

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