I have read ". . .all she wrote" but never seen "The End of the Road"...

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...until today. (We are camped at the Smokey Bear RV park outside of Gatlinburg.)

Wifey and I decided to try and get lost in the Smokey Mountains this morning. You know, just take off, start driving and try and find your way back. We've done it many times and many times we had a great time. Stopping here and there for lunch and whatnot. Always was fun and a way to see new country -- not a good idea in the Smokey Mountains. We were on hwy 321 coming out of Gatlinburg and instead of turning North on 32 we turned South to see what we could see. Up Chestnut Hill we went -- curving here and there with a gentle incline. Past Crosby State Park entrance and on up onto the mountain where the incline got steeper, curves got tighter and (as usual for this part of the country) the road got narrower. The curves quickly turned into switchbacks as we passed fewer and fewer rural homes. The drive was beautiful as we noticed the forest getting dense. Frost's poem quickly came to mind about the woods being so lovely, dark and deep, blah, blah, blah.

I kept driving as we climbed further up on that mountain. I began to notice there were no traffic signs, mile markers or distance indicators. I always make mental notes of our location and asked my wife if she had cell service - nope!. Still we climbed higher and higher and our speed was slower and slower as we negotiated each and every steep curve. Wifey was getting a little scared as there was no room to turn around. I reassured her that state highways always are arterial roads between two major interstates...(It sounded good at the moment as I realized I had left my gun in the 337.) There was not one single car traveling on the road. Even at this time of the day I thought there would be someone out. Suddenly, all of the horror movies I have seen in my life came rushing back to me and scenes of Deliverance made me start to wonder just how stupid this idea of a morning drive was.

We crested the summit and slowly started down the other side...the No Trespassing and Posted - Keep Out signs, for some reason, became larger and seemed to yell at us to turn around. My palms started to get sweaty as I was hoping the way down was shorter than the way up and the imagined antique store was right around the corner. No such luck as the turns were just as tight and the speeds were now slower. Each turn seemed just like the turn a few minutes prior as I struggled to keep sense of direction.

And then....a yellow sign ahead. Good.....finally. "Pavement Ends 1500 feet." What? A state highway, no matter the size, just, just doesn't end?! Right?! Well, my friend, yes it does and did.

As the roadway slowly ended, a deserted maroon Subaru with rusted fenders was parked on the side of the mountain and it would leave me just enough room to turn the Ford around. We looked into it as we passed it. A hawk feather was poking out and up between the door and roof. My guess it was a sign to others on this desolate mountain highway that the owner was local. I was lost in the feathers meaning and looked up just in time to see an old red Mercury Sable being driven by a guy with long hair stopped, waiting for us to turn around. I sped away as I think he was staring just a little too long at us.

We drove back the way we came, although with a little more urgency and a little more caution to stay away from unfamiliar roads. Wifey was happy to see the "2 Men and a Pig" store at the bottom of that mountain and I was anxious to see, via GPS, just where the rest of that road went - Carolina is my guess.


  1. mandolin57's Avatar
    Justaguy.....you missed your calling! Laughed a bunch at this one!! Glad you all made it out safely....and didn't see any banjos along the way :)
  2. mageorge's Avatar
    Good Story!
  3. Justaguy's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by mageorge
    Good Story!
    ...it was kinda 'ify' there for a while but the highway goes to washboard dirt and, so I've been told, it connects back to I-40 -- don't think I'm going to find out if it does.
  4. 2hams's Avatar
    Great story! But you didn't find the still!

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