Wow – what a day! Today we travelled from Gatlinburg, TN to Dalton, GA and it was definitely a case of the focus being on the journey rather than the destination.
Having done all we wanted to do in Gatlinburg yesterday (ie, loaded up with Ole Smokey moonshine) we changed the route for today to include the ‘Tail of the Dragon’, the Cherohala Skyway and a couple of other scenic byways.
Once again we had glorious weather – a cool, misty start that cleared into a warm, sunny day – and our first destination was the 11 mile section of road in Tennessee known as ‘The Dragon’ on US129 (this is an iconic motorcycling road with 318 turns in 11 miles!) on our way to Deals Gap, TN. We’ve known about this stretch of road for many years – it is on the bucket list of most motorcyclists – and even though we were in a car Ron was literally getting into the swing of things by leaning into – and out of – every corner (I was driving and it was lucky for him that I didn’t get carried away and behave the same way!). It was a great piece of road and, as per the saying on one sticker I saw, ‘1 good turn deserves 317 others!’.
From Deals Gap we continued on to Robbinsville, NC for lunch and then travelled along the Cherohala Skyway on our way to Tellico Plains, TN. The last time we travelled this road (in December 2013) it was freezing cold, wet and completely clouded/fogged in. Today it was a case of clear blue skies and warm weather and, to our complete surprise, we saw the *BEST* display of Autumn/Fall colours on our trip so far. In addition, and quite unexpectedly, I found myself driving in the midst of about 30 Corvettes (a Corvette convention was being held nearby) along the Cherohala Skyway for about 15 minutes in our daughter’s Nissan “I want to be a Corvette when I grow up” SUV (I was able to keep up with the Corvette in front of me until the road became tight and twisty and I then pulled over and let the 10-15 Corvettes behind me pass).
We stopped in Tellico Plains for afternoon tea and just by chance we discovered a private museum near the visitor information centre. The ‘Charles Hall’ museum houses over 6,000 items of historical memorabilia, artefacts, equipment, guns, antique telephones, coins and currency, and photos. It is well laid out and the displays are beautifully presented. The item I found most interesting was an almost 70 year old child’s car designed by the museum owner that used a two cylinder Maytag washing machine engine and a war surplus transmission that operated a gun turret on the B17 bombers of WWII!
And to cap off our day there was a Chilis restaurant opposite our hotel and we had a great meal there!
(Click on the image above to open an interactive copy of the map)