Day 9 – To the Smoky Mountains

We have a long almost six hour drive today so we grab a quick breakfast while watching the news. There’s been a mass suicide at a “cult-like” church, kidnapping of a young kid and a gunman shot out with the police. The “funny” story is a man who robs a shop at gun point – he’s wearing a pink dress. Is the news always like this?

We drive through Savannah, take a few shots but don’t stop but head out on a ridiculously large suspension bridge which dwarfs Savannah and is as long as the city is wide.

We will now spend almost the entire drive on Interstate highways. We normally try to avoid them but the distance means we can’t afford the additional drive time.

We stop for some food and fill up the car on gas. In a moment of madness we get out our calculators: petrol works out about 44p a mile, just $40 (£27) to fill up to drive about 450 miles.

A couple of hours later, around 1000 miles North of Miami, we see our first mountains. Up till then the landscape has been flat, as if the whole of florida and georgia had been dropped onto a flood plain.

The interstate road, in true american style, carves a path of four lanes upwards through rock and trees to the plateau on top. Not all interstates are the same and this one is one of the more impressive, a great view south.

The next hour drive is cut straight through forest, the road looks like it was dropped from above fattening just enough room for the four lanes. Eventually we see the hills of the smoky mountains climbing in front of us.

Off the interstate and there’s a long climb down into the valley where our destination Cherokee is. The car brakes are working overtime, and quickly start to overheat. We force the automatic into second gear and slowly cruise down to save the brakes. Then it clicks, the car is nearly brand new, and should really be run in – the trip we were trying to reset was actually the odometer. It was only 500 miles old when we got it!

Quick check in at hotel – room basic but fine and clean – and then we head into the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. We don’t yet have a map so just take some random road and arrive high up over the valley to watch the sun set. Some great photos taken.

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