After a few days heading due south, it was time to come leave the Blue Ridge and head west across Tennessee to the Natchez Trace.
Coming from the tranquil traffic of the Blue Ridge Parkway, I got a rude awakening once I got back on regular roads with truck traffic. At least it was a Saturday so truck traffic was less than usual.
There were no major attractions enroute but you know you are in the South when you start to see pawn shops, gun shops, bullet holes in the signs, and a cajillion churches. Many of the small towns I passed through seemed to have up to dozen churches.
On I went through small towns until I ended up in Gatlinburg, and the first traffic jams in several hundred miles. I got a motel in nearby Pigeon Forge. Both Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge were
packed jampacked with tourists . I’m not sure what the attraction was apart from the scenery. 90% of both towns seemed to be made up of hotels, the other 10 % restaurants. All that competition meant cheap prices, so there’s that!
The next day I continued on from Pigeon Forge, in yet another huge traffic jam. It was as if all the traffic in Tennessee was concentrated here this weekend but after a few miles it cleared up nicely.
The rest of the day was spent just making miles across the state. The only tourist stop I made was at Ozone Falls. I wasn’t expecting much but just a few hundred yards from the road were these 100 foot high falls.
I had to crawl out on the edge to get the shot above, and definitely gave me a good dose of vertigo!
The climate changed for the better on this section. I had moved into the southern weather system and temperatures were a nice and toasty mid 80’s (For you European readers that’s around 28 degrees in old money). At some point during the day I crossed timezones from Eastern to Central, but didn’t realize it until after the fact. At first I thought this would give me an extra hour of daylight (As a rule I get off the road well before dusk), but it just meant it was brighter earlier, and darker an hour earlier, so no net gain.