Wednesday, September 14, 2011
Back Roads and Billy Goat Trails
Indecision reigns. The Coleman Lake CG was tranquil, sunny and cool. We imagined a day with feet up and a gentle breeze.. Nah! We are retired and a little tired, not catatonic. We studied out our options and decided to reach for Indian Boundary Campground in the Cherokee NF.
“There’s no fishing here,” says Patty and that settles it.
The bonus of yesterday’s diversion to the East was that we could now drive back roads and avoid the onerous bumpy interstate circuit through Ft Payne AL and Chattanooga GA.
Tallapoosa GA was a treat, for the Memorial and the great Victorian homes. Hwy 27 was great with the second cutting of hay in the fields and Turkey working the edges for displaced protein. Once past Rome with its multiple versions of hwy 53 and short section of I-75, we hit 225. What a sweetheart of a road –flat, gently curving two lane up a valley with the Cohutta mountains rising on the East and the long spine of Lookout Mountain far to the West. Lots of Cherokee history here. 225 follows the Trail of Tears from the New Echota Historical site past Chief Joseph Vann’s home. (Sorry, both open only Thursday to Sunday.)
Sure, we see you, highway 411, all four-laned now to the Tennessee line. We might have abandoned you for the gorgeous eastbound 64 through the Ocoee gorge and up highway 30 past Reliance with the “only fly shop in Tennessee with a working fireplace”, but we would have missed the fun on the MECCA PIKE.
The fun starts at Etowah on a deceptively modern highway 310 East. It winds and twists like a old buffalo trail, which it no doubt was. It climbs and wanders at 40 mph and no one even thinks about passing an Airstream gamely sweeping through the curves. I guess you know you are on a thoroughfare of note when the majority of oncoming vehicles are motors and places like “Hog Heaven” are featured. 310 gives way to 39 perhaps because it is just too narrow for three digits and it continues to gyrate until it splashes into Tellico Plains.
The Plains are surprisingly gentrified of late with food and biker joints going upscale like motorcycle prices. The “original” Tellicafe is still serving from its antiquated old Hardees building; hope it is still as good as always…
It’s just sixteen miles now up the Cherohalla Skyway.
“Road Work next 23 miles” translates to beautiful new top coating, bright striping and lots of guardrails. (Thank you President Obama).
It’s late afternoon now and the road is quiet, winding along the Tellico River then up through huge rock cuts to start its climb toward Turkey Creek Mountain.
We turn off at Indian Boundary Campground, find friendly camp hosts and set up in a shady level site just as the sun sets over the lake.
Thought for the day (from a fellow Airstreamer)
I AM what I wanted to be when I grew up –– RETIRED.