Day 6 & 7: The Ride Back

Trip Start Jun 10, 2012
Trip End Jun 16, 2012

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Where I stayed
Paradise aka The Parents' House

Flag of United States  , North Carolina
Friday, June 15, 2012

3 hours to Lenoir

I began the day around 8 AM with a 5 mile run around Gatlinburg. There's no better way to truly investigate a town or city then by getting in a good run. Afterwards, Tory and I scarfed down a continental breakfast of toast and mini muffins, complimented a grandmother on her extraordinary grandmotherly voice, and got on the road. We took a different way back that was a bit quicker and it prevented us from traversing the mountain that was US-441. The car did not need another mountain :).

The drive back was quick, and it was nice to get on I-40 and see a 70 MPH speed limit. Right after we got into North Carolina, we saw a big construction crew rappelling of off the side of the mountain next to the interstate. We drove by too quick to get a picture, but it was pretty crazy seeing 5 people hanging from a mountain as we were driving.

No drive through North Carolina would be complete without one more stop at Dairy Queen, putting our DQ Visit Total at 3 for the week. Unlike in Cherokee, the Dairy Queen in Old Fort had my favorite: A vanilla cone with cherry topping. Yum Yum.  

At around 1:45, we finally made it back to the house in Lenoir. Boy oh boy was Tory happy. Within 15 minutes she was gone to see the boyfriend, leaving me to my own devices relax on the porch and watch Euro 2012. Heck yeah.

The Trip's Conclusion
At around 6 PM, my parents got back and we had burgers and beers on the deck. The view is absolutely ridiculous, and it always validates the 7-8 hour drive for me every time. They found themselves an oasis and I am more than happy to mooch of their view!

After another helping of North Carolina's best cuisine for lunch in the morning, I made my way back to Maryland. 8 hours later (including a $2.99 fill-up for gas!), I was sitting in front of the house in Columbia. What a good trip.

Final Impressions
I had a fantastic time exploring the Smokies with my sister. The views were breathtaking, the hiking tough, and the company enjoyable. I very much recommend these and other trails in the Smokies if you like to hike or just see the beauty of nature. It's a good 9-10 hours from Maryland, but worth every minute in the car.

It was also a good, albeit small, taste of what I'll be facing in Wyoming come July 19. I simply cannot wait.
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