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Road trip - Day Five - GA NC TN

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brianreynolds:
My motel in Centerville (Days Inn) was in Houston County, only a mile or two east of I-75.  Within a minute or so after hitting the road Wednesday, I crossed into Peach County.  Less than ten minutes later, I hit the Crawford County line, and a brief few seconds after that, Bibb County.  Less than 15 minutes of travel, and I already had three new counties.  Hey, this county-counting business is easy.  Sometimes.

I was headed into Macon at the height of the morning rush, but I neednít have been concerned.  The worst of the traffic was outbound on US-129 north of town, and that wasnít all that bad.

US-129 north to Gray, GA-22 east to Milledgeville, US-441 north to Eatonton, GA-16 west, then GA-142 northwest, then GA-11 north to Monroe, US-78 northeast to Athens, US-441 north to Habersham County.  US-123 southeast and GA-184 to Toccoa, then GA-17 ALT back to US-441, then north into North Carolina.

I had been so completely focused on the political geography of counties that I had paid little or no attention to the physical geography of the road ahead.  When I came to the southern edge of the Great Smoky Mountains, I had to stop and thoroughly examine my options.  I could continue on US-441 straight through the middle.  But I had already traveled that road back in the early 1980s.  I could go around the east end, then pursue counties in eastern Tennessee and eastern Kentucky.  But I had already done I-40 a few years back on my way back from the Asheville geek meet.

The road not traveled would take me around the west side.  I would pick up three counties in North Carolina, and Blount County in Tennessee, an otherwise isolated hole in my been-there-done-that map of Tennessee.  The choice was obvious.

From Franklin to US-19-74, NC-28 is a challenging series of twists and turns, ups and downs, generally a fun drive.   US-19-74 is a modern Appalachian road, as is the first few miles of NC-28 north of US-19-74.

The modern stretch ends abruptly and the rest of NC-28 is wonderful, beautiful, scenic challenging road.  For about 30 miles or so, I had the road pretty much to myself.  In that 30 miles, I may have seen only 3 or 4 other cars.  At a scenic overlook, I stopped to enjoy the view.  While there, I paused to refresh in a discrete manner, but I could have done so out on the road centerline with the same level of privacy.

Near the state line, NC-28 intersects US-119.  At the state line ther is a tall chain-link fence on both sides of the highway.  I didn't see for sure, but I would guess that there is a moveable gate to close the highway, if needed. 

From there, US-119 north into the Knoxville metro area.  Once into the lowland, I ran out of daylight, chose to stop for the night.

My choice was the Days Inn near Alcoa, across the road from the Knoxville Airport.  After I checked in, I gave a thought to visiting some nearby counties northeast of Knoxville, but decided to just take the evening off.  I went to a nearby restaurant, and had a well-prepared supper, then retired early.

This particular Days Inn advertizes newly remodeled rooms, and the ad is not misleading.  The furnishings and decoration are all quite new.  The building itself is not new.  The door to the room was a bit of a tight fit, requiring more oomph than most to open the door.  The oomph opens the door just fine, but it also moves the door frame noticeably.   I wondered if a good solid kick from the outside might open this particular door fairly easily.

The quality of the breakfast at these franchises is always a wild card.  This particular one was near the bottom of the barrel.  Yes there was a waffle iron, and yes, it was hot and ready to use.  No, there was no waffle batter available.  I rarely have cold cereal and milk, maybe once a year.  Iíve now had my dose for 2013.  I was up early, and apparently was the first at the breakfast area.  While chomping on my generic Cocoa Puffs, I had lots of time to look over the room.  Of course, the ceiling fans are not in use during the winter season.  The fan blades still have at least one full seasonís accumulated dirt though.  Attention to detail is not this facilityís strong suit.

hbelkins:

--- Quote from: brianreynolds on January 06, 2013, 12:18:32 PM ---Near the state line, NC-28 intersects US-119.  At the state line ther is a tall chain-link fence on both sides of the highway.  I didn't see for sure, but I would guess that there is a moveable gate to close the highway, if needed. 

From there, US-119 north into the Knoxville metro area.  Once into the lowland, I ran out of daylight, chose to stop for the night.

--- End quote ---

Not to pick nits, but you mean US 129. This is the infamous "Tail of the Dragon" that motorcyclists love.

You may recognize the truck in this photo:

http://www.photoreflect.com/pr3/orderpage.aspx?pi=0HH600UF000525&po=525

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