Smokies - Day 02
Sunday, August 14, 2005


Today we traveled from Franklin, NC to Cherokee, NC.

Today was a beautiful traveling day. It wasn't too warm and it was sunny until about 6:30pm when it clouded up. Never did rain.

We spent almost the entire day in the Nantahala National Forest. Awesome, beautiful place. The name is pronounced as it looks: nan - ta - ha -la. Unless you're a local. Most of the local folks I spoke with today drop the "ta" syllable and pronounce it nan - ha -la. Why? Probably for the same reason the locals in Barboursville, KY call their town Barville :)

When leaving Franklin this morning, we took US Route 64 west and tried to get on State Rd 1310. Due to bad signage we had an awful time finding 1310. But, The Navigator, fully recovered from his snit last evening, really pulled out all the stops and we finally found 1310. It wasn't finding 1310 that was hard. It was finding the road that connects it to Route 64. If you look at the map pix below, you'll see Wayah Rd marked with the pink line. That is 1310. The trouble was finding that little road that runs from 64 to 1310. After a lot of muttering and consulting the GPS unit, The Navigator announced that the connector road is Charles Neal Rd. And he was right! Charles Neal Rd took us to 1310. Sometimes The Navigator does awesome work!

1310 winds through some beautiful mountains, over some roaring creeks and past some peaceful lakes. Wonderful road.

A short distance down 1310 we came to the Appalachian Trail, the more or less vertical dashed line on the map. See pix below. A few hundred feet later we came to a gravel road that goes to the top of Wayah Bald, a mountain that tops out at 5,300 feet. Driving this road was an experience. Plenty of vistas where you feel like you can see forever. I took a bunch of pix but dumped most of them as they did even come close to doing justice to the beauty. See pix below.

As we were coming down there we two guys with backpacks standing beside the road. They waved and I stopped. Long story short: They were Cliff, 66, and his son Jake, 35 and they were hiking the Appalachian Trail, or "AT" as they called it. Cliff had some trouble several years ago with a bone spur and it was supposed to be healed. After hiking two days it began to bother him this morning. And it got worse. Fortunately, Cliff's wife was shadowing them in a van. She was never very far away and they kept in touch by cell phone. They wanted to know if I could give them a ride down to 1310 where his wife was supposed to be waiting. So they both piled into the back of the van and we all rode down the mountain together. Sure enough, Cliff's wife was waiting for them. They invited us to join them for lunch so we drove down the road a short way to a picnic area and had roast beef sandwiches, pasta salad and cole slaw supplied by Cliff's wife. Yummy! And unexpected!

We drove a few miles out of our way to visit the town of Nantahala as some of the locals told me yesterday it's worth visiting. Very quaint. Very tourist trap. The main industries seem to be white water rafting and selling boiled peanuts. The rafting takes place on the Snowbird River which parallels, more or less, the road for 10 miles or so. Lots and lots of rafts and kayaks on the river! I stopped in a store for a soda and saw this sign:

White Water Rafting
Where You Always
Go With The Flow
Tonight we're "camped" at the Budget Inn in Whittier, NC. They had a sign out front that said, "Sunday Night Special, $25." Couldn't turn that down!

Tomorrow is Great Smoky Mountains National Park day. It will be tough to top this day.


Click on a pix for a larger view

That's pronounced Nanhala, y'all :) Close up of the map at the start of today. I took five pix of this sign and they all looked bad. This is the best of the bunch. The sign was covered by a sheet of clear plastic and I wonder if that screwed up the camera's autofocus? Of course it could be the photo's subject messed up the pix. Aren't vampires supposed to be impossible to photograph? The sign says;

Wayah Witchery
Wiccan, Pagan, Spiritual
Mon - Sat, 10am - 6pm

Gee, they're closed on Sunday. I wonder why? :)
Looking up Hwy 1310. Right before I took this pix I was giving The Navigator a break and a local LEO* stopped and asked if everything was ok. We got to talking and he suggested we drive the road to Wayah Bald. See narrative above.
This is the sign that marks where the AT crosses 1310. I always figured the AT was super rugged and meant only for the fittest of individuals. Boy, was I disappointed when I saw the trail has steps :) Sign for the road to Wayah Bald. This is just a few hundred feet pas the AT sign. View from the top of Wayah Bald. This pix doesn't even come close to conveying the beauty. Awesome!
*LEO=Law Enforcement Officer.


Beginning time: 10:00am
Ending time: 7:00pm
Net driving time (includes stops, etc.): 9 hours
Begining odometer: 137,774
Ending odometer: 137,951
Net miles today: 177
Average MPH: 19.66
Total trip mileage: 483

Gasoline: $0.00 Saw gas today for $2.679. When will it go down?
Food, ice, etc.: $
Lodging: $27 ($25 plus tax)
Other: $2.00 - toothbrush. Discovered this morning I forgot to pack it :)

Thought For The Day

From StoneDog in AK:

Something else you probably wish you could say out loud at the office: I don't know what your problem is, but I bet it's difficult to pronounce.

Joke Of The Day

From Leo in NJ:

Due to a power outage, only one paramedic responded to the call.

The house was very, very dark, so the paramedic asked Kathleen, a 3-year-old girl, to hold a flashlight high over her Mommy so he could see while he helped deliver the baby. Very diligently, Kathleen did as she was asked. Heidi pushed and pushed, and after a little while Connor was born. The paramedic lifted him by his little feet and spanked him on his bottom. Connor began to cry.

The paramedic then thanked Kathleen for her help and asked the wide-eyed 3-year old what she thought about what she had just witnessed.

Kathleen quickly responded, "He shouldn't have crawled in there in the first place......... smack him again!


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