US Road Trip Epilog: 21st June 2005

To avoid getting totally lost leaving Chattanooga - as I did last time - we get straight on the Interstates to west of town then leave and join Highway 11 for the 100 miles or so to Knoxville. Chatannooga is at the foot of the Appalachian Mountains, so leaving it involves a bit of a climb on Interstate 75, which can make it interesting when the big rigs suddenly slow right down.

Highway 11
Highway 11 to Knoxville.

Most of Highway 11 is a very pleasant drive and the scenery makes a nice change from Georgia - mossier (if that's actually a word) and more intensely green. The only exceptions to the beauty are the occasional chemical plants, especially around the crossing of the Tennessee River, belching out foul-smelling clouds of something obnoxious.

The way into Knoxville itself is one giant traffic jam (I think due to roadworks on the Interstate) but with some navigational work - Alex is actually holding the map the right way up today, which is a start - we make our way north of town to the Comfort Inn.

Checking the internet in the morning I'd been surprised to find no motel vacancies near the centre of town, and very few outside. The reason for this is that we've arrived on the same day as the Honda Hoot - thousands and thousands of bikers descending on Knoxville, as they do every year. Far too many arrive in trailers for my liking, but full credit to those who actually rode to get there. Most are gigantic gadget-laden Gold Wings, some are trikes with trailers, and a few are sports bikes. I wouldn't like to be around those who arrived on the latter at the end of the 4-day event, given that they have no place for keeping a change of clothes.

Riviera and Hondas
Riviera and Hondas outside the motel. Every other motel in Knoxville, and some further afield, are awash with bikes.

After a late lunch and a bit of a rest Alex and I take a taxi downtown. There isn't, to be honest, a busting lot here but the bars that do exist are ok - I would guess that Knoxville is a city on the verge of having people move back into the centre to live and play.

Unfortunately for Alex it's game 6 of 7 in the basketball finals. It's a bit different watching the game in a bar with no commentary, but the bar we ended up in has a great (strangely English-orientated) jukebox. To be in Knoxville watching basketball listening to The Stone Roses, The Animals and T-Rex is a bit odd to say the least. The game is another close one, but this time the Detroit defence get the job done and edge out the win. Looks the the championship will come down to the final game on Thursday.

US Road Trip Epilog: 22nd June 2005 >