05/12/2011 – Day 36 – Dandridge, TN to Asheville, NC – 87.4 Miles

We decided to take a quick look around Dandridge before leaving.  The town is old and full of historic buildings.  When the Tennessee Valley Authority planned a dam near here, the water would have submerged most of the historic section of the town.  So the people petitioned the TVA to build a levee to prevent the inundation, and they succeeded.

The Jefferson County Courthouse (see yesterday’s picture) was built in 1845 and one of its claims to fame is that Davy Crockett filed a marriage bond for his first wife here.

We scoped out some antiques and gee gaws and grabbed a smackerel of homemade ice cream before leaving town.

Driving along the edge of the Great Smokey Mountains had its ups and downs with some terrific scenery including forest, lakes and rivers.  Coming down a long downhill stretch we crossed over into North Carolina (the ninth state on this trip) and paused at a very nice rest stop to pick up maps and find out more about the area.

As we entered the outskirts of Asheville, we stopped beside a Wendy’s restaurant to make some motel reservations.  After doing that we hopped back inside our Forester and I turned the key to start the engine.  Nothing happened.  Not a click, not a buzz, not one sound.  The battery was well and truly dead.

I checked to make sure there wasn’t a loose connection, and then called AAA.  While I waited for rescue, Diana slipped into the Wendy’s for a baked potato.  When the AAA guy arrived, he checked out our battery and delivered the bad news:  it had a dead cell and zero cranking power.  Well, it WAS the original factory battery and almost seven years old, so I really can’t complain.  And it failed when we were stopped at a safe place with easy access.

This AAA truck was a special battery unit and the man had a replacement battery available at a competitive price and he would install it and take away the old one to boot.  In no time at all we were ready to get back on the road.

I should mention that during the time the serviceman was here a big thunderstorm was rumbling its way in from the southwest and before he was finished it splashed us with a little rain and a lot of very close lightning and thunder.

We drove the rest of the way into Asheville, checked into our hotel and then set off to explore the downtown area.  This is a cool town with a lot of funky stores, buildings and eating places.  We discovered the Mellow Mushroom — a pizza place with a lot of outdoor seating and an interesting decorating scheme involving bowling balls embedded in a stone wall, among other things.

Waiting for our pizza we observed a group of about 20 hippyish kids, all tie-dyed and barefoot, set up shop across the street.  They proceed to play guitars while some of the girls did fancy hula hoop tricks and pan-handled.  It was right out of the 60’s, and fun to watch.

The pizza was delicious and we returned to our motel with happy tummies and good memories of a day that was a little more exciting than necessary.

Tomorrow:  The Biltmore House!

The Mellow Mushroom - Pizza Extrodinaire!

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