04 June 2006

Rat Cheese and TeePee Drive

...or how NOT to go from Gatlinburg, Tennessee to Greenville, SC...

Take out a map and look up Gatlinburg. Go on, I'll wait. This morning Amy and I had two choices for our route home from Mountain Hounds (at 9:30 when we got in the car to leave). We could leave the hotel, follow Aiport Drive (I think) down to 441, the main drag through Gatlinburg and either turn right (following either 441 or 321 I think up to I-40, then 40-26-25-home) or left (certain doom, moccasins, gorges, waterfalls, and rat cheese).

Which one do YOU think we took?

Now to Amy's credit she is much better at reading a map on the fly and figuring out where we are, etc., than I am. Once I am out of my mouse trails I tend to panic. She also had to contend with a map that had been put together to be easily folded...by leaving out 1/4 inch spaces where each fold should go and therefore leaving out whole towns and important interchanges!! However, as she said, "My husband is going to die laughing when he hears that I was the navigator."

After leaving Gatlinburg we sailed through the Great Smokey Mountains National Park at a blistering 30 miles per hour. We reached Cherokee, NC finally and stopped for breakfast at a McDonalds. I'm thinking that the reservation only has one McDonalds as we sat in the drive thru for 20 minutes.

Yes, it was THAT important for me to have my sausage and egg mcmuffin this morning.

We left Cherokee and soon discovered we really didn't know where we were headed. Amy whipped out the map and to my horror we discovered that it was manufactured by MAPQUEST, the aforementioned minon of the Hot Place that got us so lost on the way TO Gatlinburg. She plotted us a course and we took it...then decided that since we were in NC and wanting to go to SC that going WEST was the wrong way to be going. We turned around and got on what we thought was the right road, only to end up back in Cherokee.

I had just managed to shake off the feelings of guilt and sadness that Cherokee always conjures as we passed TeePee Drive for the second time, too...

From Cherokee it looked on the map to be a short ride down to Franklin, NC, then to Highlands, then Cashiers, then onto highway 276 which actually runs in front of my neighborhood here in Greenville. No Problem!

Have you ever had one of those dreams where you just keep driving and driving and nothing looks familiar but looks just like what you just passed, and you are so tired you can't think to do anything but cry?

Highway 64 through NC is also of the Hot Place. That road is so windy that a few times we almost came to a dead stop in the curves. The scenery is nice if you aren't afraid of heights..."Hey, THAT'S why they call this a gorge, huh?" Not to mention the four greyhounds crammed into the back of the Hounda that were being bounced about on top of each other. Bless their hearts, Jeany yelled at the others all the way home but no blood was shed...

I'm home now...we arrived almost exactly 6 hours after we left the hotel. SIX HOURS. Next time I'm going to stay on interstates regardless of how far out of the way it takes me...at least I won't have to drive through Cherokee twice or see signs advertising Rat Cheese and Pottery.

2 comments:

AmyMB said...

I totally never want to see any part of North Carolina again.
Interstates are holy and angelic - backcountry mountain roads are of the devil.

AmyMB said...

Oh and according to The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language: Fourth Edition:

rat cheese
NOUN: Cheddar.

Whoda thunk it?

Dia duit ó GARF.

Almost TOO Irish, that. Go raibh míle maith agat  to Chris Heffron (of the Southern Travel Guide ) for this great shot from last Sund...