Saturday, April 26, 2014

US Hwy 70: Smoky Mountain Circuit

I began a day of exploration by driving south out of Newport, TN, along a pleasant rural road with consistent views of the Smoky Mountains. As you can see, the weather was absolutely perfect!

Nearing the mountains, I turned southwest along the National Park boundary and proceeded through a couple of charming little mountain towns. After those, the roadside became progressively more built up until I reached the overwhelmingly tourist-trap town of Gatlinburg. I hated it in an instant.

Luckily, there's a nice nature road that loops out of town and back, which I enjoyed for a couple of hours and will post about separately. With that behind me, I headed north into Dante's ninth circle of hell called Pigeon Forge. I'm unable to describe it, and this photo doesn't even do it justice. I drove through several miles of every kind of tacky amusement without stopping, not even at Starbucks!

Thrilled to have escaped that nightmare, I continued northeast back toward my base in Newport. The trip was made rather amusing by what looked like large-scale yard sales taking place every half-mile or so. I don't know if this was a special Saturday for yard sales or if it's an every week affair, but I can report that people seemed to be taking them quite seriously!

Approaching Newport, I was relieved the road resumed being a pleasant rural affair with nice views!

Overall, I'd say it's been a good day of exploration, despite the yucky parts in the middle. I'm staying here tomorrow to take care of some chores, during which I will post about the nature road and a little adventure that Happy had along the way... Stay tuned!

Click here to see exactly where I am posting this from on Google Maps.

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