The smokin’ Smokies

(Written Sunday night, posted Monday afternoon) Well, I’m finally dry and indoors, but now I can’t get an internet connection so I’m going to have to go elsewhere to find some Wifi to upload this blog post (even though we paid a pretty penny for Virgin Mobile’s Broadband2Go service). But, hey, I’m indoors and dry, in Elkhorn City, KY, where it’s not raining. We’re staying for a couple days at a friend’s house. A huge plus is the porcelain toilets. After five days of using a portapotty, I will never take indoor plumbing for granted again!

Yesterday, while we were still camping in Asheville, we intended to take the motorcycle for a ride on the Blue Ridge Parkway because it is supposedly an exquisite ride. Unfortunately, rain was in the forecast again (it eventually poured buckets—go figure), so we ended up in Black Mountain, a really cute little town east of Asheville. On our way, we discovered that biking (bicycles, that is) is a HUGE sport in Asheville. This is just a small group of the bicyclists that were blocking the road and creating an enormous line of cars behind them. The signs say “Share the Road,” but I don’t think they think it means them, too.

Along the way, we saw this interesting sign. Who knew?

We made it to Black Mountain just as the skies began to open up, so we ducked into this caboose museum.

The door was open, and Jeff loves trains, so what the heck? We had no idea that doing so would greatly upset a little boy. He, his mom and his brother came to the door while we were looking around inside, and he just about had a cow because we were in his caboose. Eventually, we learned that this museum is usually locked and if you want to go inside, you have to go next door to the gift shop and get the key. His mom had done that for them, but then they left and came back without our awareness of this fact, so he felt extremely territorial about his caboose and enormously bothered by our presence in it!

For lunch, we found My Father’s Pizza, the restaurant voted “Best Restaurant In The Valley 2010.” We had to wait a long time for a table (which I usually refuse to do) but it was raining really hard, the line was indoors, and the view was really pretty, so we waited.

It was worth the wait! I had spinach lasagna and enjoyed every bite. Jeff had a meatball sub and had to practically fight me off, because it was pretty doggone tasty, too.

We then discovered why they are called the Smoky Mountains. Check this out. Those are some pretty amazing clouds. I got a boatload of pictures, but these two are the best.

In typical roadtrip fashion, we met our camping neighbors—a really nice family—the night before we were fixing to leave.

L to R: Bella, Katherine, Tristen and Eddy, in front of our tent

They had the most incredible tent I’ve ever seen. It looked like a cabin, and Eddy told me that he has a woodburning stove inside! He used to be a hunting guide in Colorado, so he had everything he needed for a perfect camping trip. He was there for the fly fishing, but because of all the rain (did I mention it rained almost nonstop??) the river was like chocolate milk. (I hope I spelled their names right. Jeff wrote them down, and I don’t know if he asked for the correct spelling … he’s not much of a detail guy.)

We got up this morning and packed up all of our rainsoaked gear, and headed north for Elkhorn City, KY, a former coal mining town where Jeff’s dad was born and raised. On the way, just across the Tennessee border, we saw smoke coming out of those Smoky Mountains, but this was real smoke.

An RV was on fire on the side of the road. This isn’t a very good pic, but we were going 70 mph in the opposite direction.

The road into Elkhorn City follows the Elkhorn Creek. All of the houses are on the other side of the creek, and they all have these amazing-scary bridge/driveways. It’s kind of hard to see them in this picture, too, but remember we were driving and it’s hard to get a good angle from the front seat of a car.

We planned to eat at our favorite Mexican restaurant once we got to Elkhorn, but were dismayed to find that it had burned down, too!

We ended up eating at the Rusty Fork, an Elkhorn City tradition (and the only other restaurant in town).

We were also going to eat at the Road Kill Kafe while we’re here, but they aren’t there anymore either! A lot can happen in a year, apparently. But hey, at least it’s not raining. And I’m indoors. And the toilets aren’t filled with a funny smelling blue liquid (and other unmentionable funny smelling stuff).

Life is good.

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3 responses to “The smokin’ Smokies

  1. That is strange you had so much rain because I am not far from Asheville and we didn’t have that much rain, only in the late afternoon. The weather has been INCREDIBLE here over the past week. It has been hot as hell and humid for weeks and now comfortable and nice. Anyway, I am so bummed you guys went right buy me and couldn’t stop but I understand. Ya gotta stick to the schedule. Maybe on the way back.

  2. hmmmm… fires and more fires and smoke on the mountains. Sounds like a major cleansing to me! Enjoy the dry!!!

  3. hey!! awesome to see your blog!!! much is changing for us too! : ) i love your writing style. thanks for keeping me updated, because i know you only do these blogs for me : )

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