Monday, August 22, 2022

Florence Kentucky to Maggie Valley North Carolina

Monday morning dawned at the Hampton Inn in Florence, Kentucky. A look out the window confirmed that the Equinox and trailer were right where we put them last evening. I made a note of the message on the heater/AC unit that caused us the problem last night. It actually IS NOT controlled by the wall thermostat and I mentioned this at the front desk when we checked out.

We had their full breakfast downstairs. I had a couple of different egg things and unlimited bacon, skipping the potatoes and toast. Sandy didn't have very much considering it was included. We did our Wordle of the day as we ate. It is not as easy when other people are coming and going around you.

The vehicle is safe

This is a lie

These are the real controls

After checking out in person (I know I could have done it on line), we pulled out of the parking lot at 8:30. But we couldn't go back the way we came because of a No Left Turn sign compounded by a median, so we got a scenic tour of Florence, Kentucky on our way to the next I-75 interchange. The one thing we didn't see was the famous "Florence Y'all" water tower.

The weather today was much better than yesterday. The entirety of I-75 through Kentucky has been designated as the Tuskegee Airmen Memorial Trail in honour of the first USAAF squadron of black fighter pilots in World War II. Traffic was light and gas was getting cheaper as we moved further south, listening to Michael Smerconish on the radio.

This must help long haul truckers a lot

It was a beautiful morning

Impressive wood for this part of the country

I hope this is on its way to being restored

Someone is getting the wrong kind of attention

I kept the speed to 60 MPH to optimize fuel economy. It is important with the automatic transmission and cruise control to manually downshift BEFORE an uphill because the car will not shift itself down until after you start up the hill and lose some speed. Then it works hard to get back to the requested speed, costing more fuel than you were saving before. The other option is to click the cruise off but it isn't safer to go any slower than we already are.

We stopped at a Love's Truck Stop in Corbin, Kentucky. I had a few choice words for the people who leave their vehicles blocking the pumps while they go in to shop or whatever. Half the twelve pumps were occupied like this and I had to wait for someone to move. After fueling ($3.12 per gallon, lowest seen so far), I moved to an out-of-the-way spot before going in to use the facilities and get a coffee and snacks.

The GPS would have had us leave I-75 at Corbin and take two lane roads so we would save 12 miles. Not worth it, so I picked a via point north of Knoxville and we continued south on the slab.

Crossing into Tennessee, we started up the Jellicoe Hill. This long climb feels more like you are in an ascending airplane as you watch the valley grow smaller below you. We were passed by a new red Corvette with the licence plate THX TSLA. I guess we know where he had made the money to buy the exotic looking new Chevy.

When Smerconish ended on the radio, we switched over to an audio book I had borrowed from the Sudbury Public Library. It was the Lincoln Rhyme mystery Midnight Lock by Jeffrey Deaver. 

Welcome to the Volunteer State

The Jellicoe Hill

I love this name - the road parallels I-75 up the grade

I believe we are in the Bible Belt

Wish that I was on ol' Rocky Top
Down in the Tennessee hills...

Just past Rocky Top, there was a wreck on the northbound side. Traffic was backed up for at least twelve miles. We could appreciate their situation after being caught in a similar line yesterday.

Northbound traffic stopped and not moving

The line went on and on

North of Knoxville, we took I-640 East and connected with I-40. This was a pleasant stretch of highway with moderate grades. We passed the interchange where I-81 ended as 40 turned southeast and crossed the Douglas Lake, created by Tennessee Valley Authority the damming the French Broad River during World War II for hydro-electric power and flood control.

The Deaver book finished and I dialed up The Return by Nicholas Sparks. Yes, I like Sparks stories. The same red corvette passed us again.

Douglas Lake Reservoir

The terrain gets more interesting

Entering North Carolina at 2:20 PM

I-40 got narrower and more winding as we got into North Carolina. The speed limit dropped to 55 for cars and 50 for trucks. This has to be the most technical Interstate I have ever seen and would be a hoot to ride on a motorcycle. I stopped at a rest area so we could use the bathroom and I could give my GPS a moment to cool off. It had started acting up and showing everything except the roads. This usually happens when it sits in the intense sunlight to long, so I put a cloth on top of it for the rest of the journey.

This was a cute little RV trailer

A tunnel

Another tunnel

The Rest Area on I-40

Someone is getting inspected

We left I-40 and took US 276 right to Maggie Valley. It rained a little bit but looked like it had been a lot wetter a little while before. We fueled the Equinox after turning on US 19 and arrived at A Holiday Motel at 3:00 PM sharp. Gabi checked us in and gave us Room 12. They have done some improving since were were last here in 2019 and it was looking good. We were unloaded and unpacked by 4:00.

US 276 entering Maggie Valley

Rain clouds moving out

Unloaded and unpacked

Blue skies

Mas Tequila (Tim) from south Florida was here yesterday. Linda and Bob from Pennsylvania arrived just after 4:00 PM.  Vickie, Kay and Debbie from Texas rolled in a little bit later. And Brandon and Garrett from Kansas were already here but were out riding. There was also a group here from Western Missouri who come here every August, but they would be leaving before we pretty much took the place over on Thursday.

Bob, Linda, Sandy and MT

Deb, Kay and Vickie from Texas

Garrett and Brandon from Kansas

Eight of us decided to walk up to the Cafe Italiano for supper. Sandy and I split a tasty order of chicken parmigiana and salad. It was tasty. Wine wasn't on the menu but Kay managed to get some anyway.

Chocolate, Jelly Bellies and Ice Cream, Oh My!!!!

Seen on the way back from the restaurant

Vickie, Kay, Sandy, Deb, Linda & Bob

Walking back to the motel

Back at the motel, we sat out and talked for a while. Bob wasn't able to book a tee time at Lake Junaluska Golf Course on their website and said he would call them in the morning. At 9:30, we all went to our rooms. Sandy went to bed while I sorted photos, transcribed notes, made up maps and organized receipts. We agreed to meet for breakfast at Pop's restaurant tomorrow morning and plot the days activities.

This is what these gatherings are all about

Today's route (333 Equinox/trailer miles):

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed your write up and Photographs...Stay Safe.