Day Six - Bryson City, North Carolina to Pikeville, Kentucky (346 miles)

As we left Bryson City we stayed on St.Rt. 28 through Cherokee. A neat little town, but perhaps too touristy. At Cherokee we turned left to enter the Great Smokey Mountains Nat'l Park. The park road took us into Tennessee, and past Clingmans Dome and an elevation of 6643 ft. As we started down the mountain we hit rain again. The rain followed us into Gatlinburg where we gassed up, and put on the rain suits. At Gatlinburg we headed north on U.S. 321. This road is marked scenic, but I did not see much worth a second look. We jogged over to U.S. 25 at Newport, TN on I-40. U.S. 25 would take us back into North Carolina where we hooked with St.Rt. 212. St. Rt. 212 is a newer road, in great condition with a fair amount of twisties. In a few brief moments we were back into Tennessee headed north on U.S. 23. At Johnson City we would take St.Rt. 97 around Lake Watuga toward Mountain City, TN. The ride around on of the smaller TVA lakes is a real joy. A number of nice sweepers, with good vision, sprinkled with some twisties. We stopped to visit some of our relatives in Mountain City. Leaving Mountain City we rode on St.Rt. 91 towards Damascus, VA. This is a road I have traveled many times in visits here. The road runs along side Laurel creek, and provides excellent, well kept roads with great scenery. In Abington, VA we hooked up with U.S. 19 and rode north for a little bit before heading west on U.S. 460. These are the foothills of the Appalachian Mts. where a lot of coal is mined. Wherever coal is mined you can find coal trucks, and roads that are in disrepair. The scenery here is pretty nice, but the trucks, and roads make it less than fun. We crossed over into to Kentucky, but had to ride to Pikeville to find a motel. After a fairly long day we ate a quick bite, and crashed.