July 27, 2005

Leaving Clayton going on to Charlestown, Indiana

July 27, 2005
Up early this morning to pack up and say good-bye to our hosts of the last couple days. Tom and TJ were already out fishing so we missed them. Got our carload of stuff ready, said "see ya in the fall to Nancy and Linda, and took off to Walmart to load the RV up again. Got the little car loaded and left Clayton about 10:30.

We went on up HWY 144 to Franklin, North Carolina. Then we took the "Scenic Route" along #28 thru some beautiful country to Lauada, NC. Of course with the country came the foothills of the Great Smokey Mountains and Apppalachians. We turned a little south along #74/19 until we got to Topton, NC and turned NW again along the #129. There Keith decided I "could" drive awhile. Talk about a mountain road!!! We went UP and AROUND and DOWN before we went UP and DOWN and AROUND!! About 5 miles about of Robbinsville I started to have trouble with the car trailer following me. About 6 miles out I told Keith the bicycle seemed to have slipped, and about 7 miles out I didn't see anything but one part of one handlebar in the back camera!! He said to pull over, so I did. Right across the entire parking lot of a little Country Store (that was the name of the place). Unfortunately, the car trailer didn't stop quite as quickly as the RV. We got out and looked at the back of the RV:(

There was the bicycle on the ground, the tongue of the car trailer was clear under the RV, and the front of the car was just, just there!! I wish I had thought quickly enough to grab the camera and take a picture of the mess and Keith standing there shaking his head with his hands on his hips. It would've been funny if it hadn't been so scary. The hitch-pin was gone, the car trailer had come out of the hitch receiver and only the safety chains kept me from losing it completely along the DOWN part of the drive. And they are all that kept the car from going right under the RV. Now I know for sure why you need them!!! Anyhow, I went into this little store to see if they had anything we good use to get to the next town. All I saw was soda, ice cream bars, and fishing tackle. Lots and lots of tackle. The Lady there was really nice but couldn't help us at all. So.... we took the bike off of the rack, the car off of the trailer, pushed the trailer out from under the RV and Keith drove back to Robbinsville to see what he could find. While he was gone I picked up the pieces of the bike rack, visited with the Lady clerk, had an ice cream, and hoped!!! The Owner of the store came back, made jokes about having to order the "parts" and reminded me I was in the hills of North Carolina!! Keith got back and said he had found the only hardware store there, and got 2 hitch-pins. No one had ever heard of one breaking before, and we know there was one there, so... whatever happened to it - will probably never be known.

We got everything all loaded all back up again, car back on the trailer and finished our trek thru the mountain. The Lady clerk told me there were 322 curves from Cheoah Point at the top of the mountain down to the bottom of the mountain on the Tennesee side. We saw people white water rafting, in tahiti's, and in canoes along the river we followed all the way up, and down. In many places it reminded me of the OLD 42 in Coos County. We finally crossed into Tennessee about 1/2 down and we made it to the bottom. That did it for Keith. We stopped at Binfield (#123 & #411 junction) and he found that there was a 4 lane Highway going to the Interstate 40 and that's how we went. I managed to stay off of the Interstates from the time we left I95 at Titusville all the way thru Georgia, North Carolina, and a piece of Tennessee. We drove I40 until just past Crossville before we pulled into a rest area. It had a 2 HOUR limit!!! It was 9:30 and we'd had a bunch of miles of bad, bad road. We were sooo worn out. We crawled into bed and passed out!!

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