Through the Appalachians

Our week with Tim and Chris flew by and on Sunday, May 1, we fired up the little Focus, said our good-byes, and headed for Wisconsin. Our plan was to take a little more time going back... to take a different and more challenging route... and to explore a few places along the way.

We took SC-11, the Cherokee Foothills Scenic Highway, west from the Gafney area, past Ceasars Head and Table Rock State Parks, to the intersection with US-178 at Mosely Gap, and then north to Rosman, NC. where we picked up US-64 west. Here we start crossing the Appalachians in earnest and for much of the 150 miles (crow distance) between Mosely Gap and Chattanooga TN., the road is twists left, bends right, climbs, drops, hair-pin turns... I swear not a straight section the entire distance. This is not a road that would be fun with the bus-house, but it's wonderful country filled with hills and hollows... and sprinkled with a number of retirement communities, golf courses, and upscale amenities in stark contrast to the poorer legacy communities jammed in the folds and creases of the landscape. It's not a route for making good time. But it's great for seeing a slice of rural Appalachia.

As we closed in on Chattanooga, near Cleveland, we drove through a path of destruction from a tornado that was part of the tornado-est day in US history this past week. A 24 hour period last Wednesday and Thursday saw over 300 tornadoes (a new record), and, sadly, over 300 deaths as well. Most were spawned by just-right conditions that ranged from Mississippi and Alabama, northeastward  into Virginia. The area we came through was mostly rural and what caught our attention was the clear path of stripped trees, downed power lines, debris all over the place, and a few trees that had been ripped by the roots from the ground and dropped here and there.

We found a motel near Chattanooga and bunked down for the night.

Slightly Better than Most