Nothing behind me, everything ahead of me, as is ever so on the road. – Jack Kerouac, On the Road
Drove from before sun up until after sun down today. Thirteen hours on the road….the worst of it, the only real bad part, was at the very end in Pigeon Forge, an awful tourist town reminding me of the Dells only much bigger. The stop lights were timed such that you were stuck at everyone and forced to view the “attractions”, awful creations for as far as the eye could see. But that is the end…let’s start at the beginning.
We started out at 6 am from Chicago. It felt great to be on the road again after so many years. Open air, open skies, watching the miles roll by and the landscape change. Fall colors were evident but not in peak mode. Outside of Lafayette, IN, a windmill farm with windmills turned as far as the eye could see. They each had three massive slow moving blades that, together, looked like Mercedes Benz emblems minus the ring. I expected to see Don Quixote facing down the winged beasts.
Passing into Ohio, the first road sign of note said “loud music is $100 fine”. I think that is an idiotic use of tax dollars. So what if cars have loud music. They are moving so you only have to heard the thumping bass for a few seconds. Why must governments continually post laws against victim less activities? Let the fools face the natural consequences of their folly and blow out their ear drums
Somewhere, the landscape changed from flatlands, to rolling hills, to mountains. The mountains are beautiful, especially to us flatlanders, who must suffer the boring landscape of the Midwest. It was good being back in the mountains after so many years away. I longed to jump out of the car and hike amongst the trees to the many peaks. Satisfying that desire must wait one more day.
The saddest part of the scenery had to be the people. The average weight per person seemed to grow the father south we went. We ate in London KY and everyone working in the restaurant would likely be in the obese category. Outside of London was Manchester. Looked for both Arsene Wegner and Sir Alex (or their look alikes) but neither was in their namesake towns. Not sure the people in these little towns would have any idea who these icons of English soccer are. Then, I am sure I would not recognize many of the names of their basketball icons either.
The ride seemed to fly. It was made better by listening to audio books. We both enjoyed most of the series “The Greatest Minds & Ideas of All Time” which discussed the greatest thinkers, poets, and dates. The author had a poetic way which intrigued us both because we share a common love of words.
After about 340 miles, I gave up the driving duties. I wanted to view some of the sights. Was I being unfair? Possibly, because her time as passenger and free viewing was in the flatlands while mine was in the mountains. (I have been told it will be reversed on the way home.)
The hotel is near the end South end of the Pigeon Forge strip. A five mile roadway which is an affront to the sensibilities of man. The juxtaposition of this place with the majestic mountains reminds me of the oddest sight we saw on the drive. In Kentucky, we saw a giant cross perhaps 3 stories high on property adjacent to a XXX adult shop. The road was setup such that anyone driving up to the adult shop had the cross of God standing tall and peering judgement down upon them.
The restaurants within walking distance of the hotel are a collection of the most unhealthy, fat loaded, fast food restaurants imaginable. It’s no wonder the people of this country are some of the most overweight in the world. Tomorrow, it’s into the Smoky’s. The hotel clerk says the colors are peaking. I need the hike to work off the Kentucky Fried Chicken I stuffed down for dinner.