Back East…

As somebody famous once said, “What a long, strange trip it’s been!” and we aren’t even close to home yet.  Closer than we were last Tuesday (still in Silver City at that time), but we still have a lot of miles to cover.(and we’re back in the Eastern Time Zone!)

Tonight, we are staying in a plush room at a Best Western in Asheville, NC.  We have our own 2-person jacuzzi in the room, but Max was having NO part of it.  NO, NO, NO THANK YOU I DO NOT WANT TO GET INTO THAT THING. (and you can’t make me!)

I, on the other hand, filled it up and had a delightful soak.  Just what I needed after nine days on the road.  And especially after yesterday…

We drove our longest leg yesterday – a five hour drive time from Jackson, TN to Knoxville, TN.  With a couple of stops to browse antique malls, and a stop or two to let Max visit the shrubbery,  I expected to stretch it to about six-plus hours…

We stopped in Cookville and hit the historic downtown of a town once called Cream City and one antiques place.  Then, with less than an hour to Knoxville, I spotted a billboard that promised “the largest antiques mall…” with the command to Exit Now and turn left.

And so I did.

After about 45 minutes, I was back in the car and headed east on I-40 again.  And less than 10 minutes later, we were stopped dead in our tracks.  Checking in with the highway alert radio station on AM 1620, I learned that both eastbound lanes were blocked about eight miles ahead of us, as “emergency crews attempt to clean up an incident.”

We had a little over four miles to the next exit, where traffic was being re-routed off I-40 to a detour through the countryside and back onto I-40 on the other side of the “incident” which I figured was some bad accident.

It took almost two hours to get to the exit, then another 45 minutes through the countryside – a 10-plus mile line of cars, trucks, semis, and RVs making its way back to the interstate.

So, what should have been that final hour’s drive to Knoxville, ended up taking almost four – and we arrived around 7:30 pm exhausted and hungry.

Turns out it was a bad accident – a semi went off a curve and flipped over, killing the driver, and blocking both lanes for hours into the evening.  I had a hard time falling asleep last night, thinking about the fragility of our lives, and feeling grateful for my “antiques bug” that may have saved us from either being close to that accident or coming up on it right after it happened.

Before we left Knoxville this morning, I found a great fenced dog park and spent a pleasant hour there while Max played with other dogs, fetched a ball and returned it to other people to throw, as I chatted with a couple of women who are regulars there.

Today, I-40 East was business as usual – the only difference was we were twisting, turning, upping, and downing through the mountains of western North Carolina.  The speed limit was lower, and the right lane was full of semis going as fast as the posted speed allowed.  As I passed some of them on the uphills, I wondered how many of their drivers were thinking of yesterday’s crash.  I know I was.

Well, after a beautiful drive through the mountains (including a few tunnels), we arrived in Asheville in time for lunch.  After leaving Tumbleweed safely ensconced in the livery stable (parking garage), we walked for a few blocks scoping out the downtown.  In the process, I spotted Restaurant Solace, with a nice outdoor sidewalk eating area and a sign saying “Farm to Fork” – a good indication that the food would be good, and locally sourced.

Max was welcome to join me, and we found a sweet spot in the shade where we could watch the street action and not be in the way of people coming in and out of the restaurant.  Max was the perfect “good dog” – staying at my side except when another dog pranced by outside the fence – sitting or lying down the whole time…

And lunch was fabulous.  A chilled glass of Pinot Grigio, citrus, avocado and pickled onion salad, chicken with grilled polenta medallions and green beans, plus a whopping thunderstorm!  Since it was pouring down hard when I finished lunch, I decided to sit there a little longer.  What a good excuse for dessert – hard rain and thunder!

Warm fudge brownie with fresh strawberries and vanilla ice cream and a robust cup of coffee later saw the rain down to manageable, and off we went to the garage and on to our hotel.

Tomorrow, I’m heading back downtown to the River Arts District, and lunch at 12 Bones – Ashevilles’s best kept secret barbeque place… seems President Obama liked it so much the first time he came, that it was his first stop when he and the family returned in 2010!  Plus, my friend, Katy, told me it’s the BEST barbeque anywhere, ever.

About Maureen Farr

I am a graphic and web designer – and the publisher of the print version of Arts Guide, a free guide highlighting the arts, dining, events, and more on the coast of Maine. In addition, I am a visual artist working in mixed media and encaustic, as well as creating found object jewelry. I am currently at work revising a short novel that I wrote as a participant in the 32nd Annual 3-Day Novel Contest.
This entry was posted in Coffee, Eating out on a road trip, North Carolina, On the Road, playing with a poodle, Silver City, traveling in a Honda Element, Traveling with a dog, Traveling wth a poodle and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Back East…

  1. hank says:

    nice, momo. just be friggin careful, willya?

  2. Gandalf says:

    I second Hank.
    Just to keep you posted on the inexorable march of spring on the coast of Maine , the maples are flowering as of yesterday (there’s bits of red all over the black of the grill), my daffodils are six inches up with big buds, and the day lilies are four inches up. (Grasss is NOT green yet.) The garlic is a foot tall out of the dried rockweed mulch, and even the tiny bulblets I planted to see if I could get large single clove bulbs to use as starters for next year are two inches above the mulch.

    Just like last time, you’re headed east and bringing spring.

    We’ll take it!

    • Maureen Farr says:

      Wow, sounds like spring is early there too. maybe the grass will be greening by the time I get there thanks for the update, Hendrik.

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