Day 1: December 21, 2017
A Dark Beginning

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Ovenmaster Mary set me up with an incredible variety of goodies for my trip. After this shot of them all organized and pretty, they got placed into several sealable containers all the better to travel.

When traveling on the shortest day of the year, it seemed somehow fitting to set out in the dark. The first picture is of the beginning of US-25 at the Kentucky border. It's nearly impossible to tell, but there is a 25 on the leftmost US highway shield.

US-25 generally, but not precisely, follows the Dixie Highway. The second picture is of the 1925 Dixie Water Works building in Covington, Kentucky. I had no intention of stopping for a picture but I rarely see it at night and never with Christmas decorations.

I was ready to stop for breakfast long before Lexington but I was too early for the places I saw. In the Tolly-Ho I found a "Lexington tradition since 1971" that never closes.

Since there is one thing in Lexington actually associated with US-25, I felt obligated to grab a picture despite the fact that US-25 is now split and the camel of interest is on the northbound route. I did not feel obligated to park and get closer because I've already done that.

I entered the Cumberland Tunnel in Kentucky and emerged in Tennessee. Before long I was cruising by the Clinch River.

I've stopped at this overlook before but I don't remember the veterans display. I don't remember the fog, either. I do remember the building although it took me awhile. It's where I stopped in 2004 while headed north. The bar was operating then, and patrons confirmed that the pavement exposed by the lowered Lake Douglas had once carried US-25. That 2004 visit is here.

Like the camel in Lexington, I've been up close and personal with these markers in the past and figured a pause and shoot was appropriate today. There are a total of ten of these markers erected along the Dixie Highway by the United Daughters of the Confederacy. One, in Ohio, is currently in storage but should return to the road in a new location in the spring. The first picture is of the marker at the Tennessee/North Carolina line. The second is of the marker in Hot Springs, North Carolina.

Hot Springs is where I ended my day. I'm staying in this room at the Iron Horse Station. That's the lobby in the second picture. I managed to not get any pictures of the tavern/restaurant but I did get a picture of the excellent local trout I consumed there. The last picture is of the nearby Spring Creek Tavern where I stopped for a pre-dinner beverage. Eleven of the twelve taps at Spring Valley were serving local brews; I believe all eight of the taps at Iron Horse Station were.

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