Day 7 – End of the Blue Ridge

220 miles

Asheville, NC – Calhoun, GA

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Today was a day for driving. I got a bit of a late start coming out of the Biltmore Estate but quickly made my way to the Blue Ridge Parkway to finish a drive that has been one of the finest I’ve ever experienced.

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The last mile marker 😦

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The end of the Blue Ridge Parkway still keeps you in North Carolina and borders a Cherokee reservation. Now, this may sound weird but it was literally very difficult to figure out where to go next. This particular region of North Carolina is right on the border with Tennessee as well as Georgia (with Alabama being not far away). Looking at a road atlas quickly becomes an exercise in frustration. Going more than two miles in one direction prompts turning to another page in the atlas in which roads easily flow from one state and back into another making finding your way rather difficult.

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I tried to stay off the big highways and instead found Rt. 441 which took me through the heart of the gorgeous Nantahala National Forest that straddles Tennessee, Georgia and North Carolina. The route (also called Georgia Road) ran parallel with a small river which supported countless river rafting operations along the way. It felt nice to be riding alongside water after being so long in the mountains. And of course the cool air and shade were very welcome as well.

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The last highlight of my day was that somewhere after crossing the Georgia border I finally got to see my first Shoney’s of the trip!

Found a local KOA Campsite for the night. Free wifi in my tent! What will the kids think up next?

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Seriously, there was a peacock at the campgrounds to greet new visitors. I thought I knew what class was, but now I really know.

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WHAT I LEARNED / DISCOVERED TODAY: I thought leaving the Blue Ridge would be my last scenic run for a few days, but then I discovered Nantahala. Stay on your road, and you’ll be surprised what you find. Also, KOA Campgrounds are sweet!

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