September 24, 2014
Day two on the road and still making great time. Had planned to stop in Chattanooga, but about two o’clock made a rest stop, looked at the map and decided to go the backroads.
It was a great decision. So much more interesting than counting 18-wheelers.
Rural America is a wonder. First, from the interstate everything beyond the industrial border looks devoid of life. But rural America thrives. And we found places we would never have dreamed existed. Rome, Ga. — have known the name for years. 36,000 people! Gigantic lake in the region! And in what appeared to be the middle of nowhere, there was the factory that makes MOOG synthesizers!
We skirted two national forests…Chattanooga and Nantahala. I knew about the Nantahala since I’d taken multiple youth groups and a couple of adult groups there to enjoy the incredible whitewater rafting on the Ocoee. The change since I was there last 15 years ago? Multiple high-dollar subdivisions that seemed to us to be out in the middle of nowhere.
And towns that are slowly dying. Others restoring beautiful old buildings. Growing? Maybe. Maybe not, but definitely rejoicing in their heritage.
And then there are the quirky things: A mailbox growing out of a kayak that had been turned on it’s end half buried in the ground. Classic whitewater wreck!
Too many funny names for me to mention.
Arrived in Murphy and decided to stay in a hotel with an unbelievable view of the mountains…except my handicap room is on the first floor…with cars in the parking lot…and no way to see down the valley. Oh well. Greed extracts its vengeance. At least Chris got a great view from the second floor. The next morning there was a commotion in the parking lot. There was a bear lying down in the field about 3/4 of a mile away. Just a brown lump, but people were taking pictures anyway. "A bear! A Bear!"
Tomorrow I’ll scout the John C. Campbell School of Folk Art and see if I want to spend a couple of weeks here next spring. Then on to Montrose to meet Joshua, back to Black Mountain to check into our accommodations for the long weekend, and then dinner with some great friends.
God is good!
Thanks for yonderin’ with me.