Tennessee was an adventure, the kind of place that I couldn’t see myself falling into till I was dead in the center of it, being eaten up by it’s rolling highways and distant smoking mountains. I roared down the roads passing open fields and planes of lushness that made my heart want to implode on itself with sheer want, that odd tightness of the chest when you see something you cannot hope to possess.
I wish I could say that I explored every inch, that I could roll Tennessee in my mouth and give you a definition that would fit, but in truth I only got a glimpse. Hell bent on seeing mountains ( and at that point in the trip, a nice if lumpy bed), I bypassed scenic stops, turned my eyes away from the temptation of parks and untamed forests, and found my half mast eyes being pried open when, nearing my rest stop for the night, I entered the realm of Pigeon Forge. Blazing neon lights spectacular in dead of almost nowhere, “you could dump a body out here rather well-ville”. I can say with full honestly, Tennessee was an eye opener and a shock to the senses in the best way possible for a newbie roadtripper.
It was also a bucket of life lessons learned in the span of 2 days. I haven’t a single photo of prodigious Pigeon Forge for reasons almost embarrassing to admit. I pushed myself hard that day, already running on less than 4 solid hours of sleep and too much/ too little caffeine that by the time I got to my night stop, it was everything not to just collapse and drool on the bedspread. It’s a mild regret, neon lights don’t much light up my bones, but a regret I’m loath to have. My biggest one came the next day, when I woke up, excitement for mountains in the tendrils of my lungs pushing me awake past my already deep seated exhaustion, to the sound of thunder and heavy rain. ( ct. in Pt 2.)