Day 3: November 29, 2008
Ashe... to Nash...
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The motels I've stayed in so far on this trip have been chains so I didn't bother with pictures. Maybe I should have because both have been places I can recommend. Thursday night it was a Knight's Inn just north of Knoxville and last night it was the Super 8 in Black Mountain. Here's the view from that room.

I returned to Biltmore Estate for a day time visit and begin the panel with a picture of the same building I ended yesterday with. I had planned on lots of pictures of the winding roads but the sky was overcast and even at 9:30 there was traffic. Most were heading to the house, where tours start at 8:30, so the winery was far from crowded. From the winery, I headed straight out of town.

At one point, I realized that the Blue Ridge Parkway could be the perfect road to start home on and I could get a look at Andy Griffith's home town (Mt. Airy, NC) on the way. But a call to the park service yielded a recorded list of closures that convinced me to wait. Major portions of the parkway are open but over half of the North Carolina section is closed. So I decided on an expressway return to Knoxville and a US-70S route to Nashville. Then I noticed a US-411 connection between Newport, Tennessee, and Knoxville and decided that was worth a shot for a little variety. The pictures here are from I-40 and US-411.

One of the attractions of US-411 was that it goes through Sevierville, Tennessee. I believe I've been to Sevierville at some point in my life but I'm pretty sure it was before the Dolly Parton statue was placed on the courthouse square. The barefooted Dolly looks pretty comfortable -- and happy -- atop that rock.

A few rain drops appeared while I was still in Sevierville and they soon formed a steady downpour. I scrapped the US-70S idea and jumped back on I-40 at Knoxville. It stopped about halfway to Nashville but I was too far north by then to easily pickup US-70S so, since I've driven US-70N before, I stayed on the interstate all the way to Guitar Town.

Batman's still watching over the Honky Tonks and the Honky Tonks (and nearly every other place on Broadway) have music oozing out the door. I heard the names of some of the pictured musicians but I've forgotten them all. So much music and so little time. And so little memory space.

I left Broadway for the Marshall Chapman performance at the Bluebird Cafe. Wonderful show but I really wish I had done my homework. It was Marshall who wrote "Smart Woman (in a Real Short Skirt)" that Jimmy Buffet recorded (and which I like) along with a whole slew of other great tunes. One of the guitarists tonight is a member of Los Straitjackets and the bass player performs with Mark Knofler.

Chapman tells stories between songs and even stopped, Springsteen like, in the middle of one to tell how Barack Obama interrupted the afternoon soundcheck to ask her to be Secretary of State. She had to get out her dark rimmed glasses to read her notes -- or so she says -- then leaped back into the song to tell Barack that she's just too "Busy, Busy, Busy".

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