All The Tiny Little Shoppes With One Too Many E’s

On the Road to Blowing Rock I

On the Road to Blowing Rock I

CHEROKEE NF, E of ELIZABETHTON, TN—Around 11am the next morning, I stowed my camp chair and drove off, grateful for how easy it is to break camp compared to my travel trailer or old class C.

Because I had mentioned Boone in my previous post, Michelle had mentioned an ashram, Nicole had mentioned Blowing Rock, and Randy wanted me to check out an old windmill there.

On the Road to Blowing Rock II

On the Road to Blowing Rock II

I wouldn’t have normally taken the route I did, but something about the email Nicole sent inspired me to detour and discover first-hand what a wonderful drive 221 is this time of year. Curving and lush with fall foliage and empty of cars and far more beautiful than the Blue Ridge Parkway which largely parallels it the whole way.

On the Road to Blowing Rock III

On the Road to Blowing Rock III

But Blowing Rock was packed with tourists so I headed on to Boone, but Boone was a bust.

I had driven through Boone a few years back but the traffic was miserable so I wrote it off as a holiday or something, but today as I write this it’s a Monday and the town is still terribly congested. Beautiful mountains all around but way too many people packed into way too small an area. Sadly, if the people here were deer they’d have all starved off long ago.

Which seems to be a pattern with towns along the Parkway. Lots of little towns in the middle of nowhere packed with people and cars and tiny main streets lined with art galleries and planters and a wide assortment of shoppes spelled with an ‘e.’

Maybe it’s just the time of the year. Maybe they just have a short tourist season.

But Boone is not a tiny little town, it’s bigger than that (though it shouldn’t be) and I wanted to give it a fair shot—I wanted to report on the ashram to Michelle and the windmill to Randy—so I stopped and had lunch at a Mexican restaurant where a leaving patron said the food was good but the food was not good, not good at all, and after lunch I walked next door to a Burger King whose parking lot was packed at three in the afternoon for some coffee and wifi and work but the coffee was too sweet and the wifi was down and the toilet was filthy (and did I mention the Mexican food was not good, not good at all?) and I said, “Screw it, I can take a hint” and I rolled the die and got a three and headed west to where my route (I assume) will eventually take me to the Natchez Trace then southwest and southeast and then off again.

She Says "Natchez"

She Says “Natchez”

About an hour later, driving on a winding and curvy road, I caught a glimpse of a forest sign which I saw by chance out of the corner of my eye and I turned around and found a free camping spot next to a tiny little stream which feeds a larger lake called Watuga out in eastern Tennessee.

Though there’s a lot of highway noise and zero internet, it’s a pretty little place where I’ll sleep for the night, safely tucked away from the many, many people and the really bad Mexican food and all those tiny little shoppes with one too many e’s.

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2 thoughts on “All The Tiny Little Shoppes With One Too Many E’s

  1. Love you’re humor in this post. The fall and its stunning colors is probably the busiest season in the Appalachian Mountains. Thanks for all the beautiful pics. I especially the picture with the big rock. I’d like to use it as my desktop for a while if you don’t mind. Take care… Tom

    • Use my photos! 🙂

      Sure. All my photos come with the Creative Commons license which says, “Sure, just not for commercial purposes.” See the bottom of any page for the details.

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