Notes from the Road – The Gas Hog Tour 2008 – Day 6, July 15th So, on to Cherokee, NC – a six hour drive west through Virginia, into Tennessee then South into North Carolina. A lot of up and down, the up being the toughest when pulling the trailer, but the down being of equal concern because the trailer also pushes when it gets gravity working on it. It was particularly “hairy” once I got off the Interstate and dropped onto the winding mountain roads through Maggie Valley and on into Cherokee. Maggie Valley and Cherokee have both turned into a true tourist cliché. Maybe they always were, but when I was a kid coming up here with my folks it seemed a lot nicer and less cheesy. Now it’s like the 192 corridor between Kissimmee and Disney – an enormous Woolworth’s full of endless unnecessary plastic objects and “authentic” souvenirs mostly made in China. The tribes are exacting their revenge for our transgressions in whatever small ways they can. I passed the Harrah’s casino in Cherokee – ironic that we got the Native Americans drunk and stole their land and now they are getting us drunk and stealing our money. There is some symmetry in that, though far short of justice. The Cherokee KOA is the biggest, most “plush” campground I’ve ever seen. The Raven River runs down one side and there are stocked trout ponds along the other. I don’t know how many campsites there are here, but if I had to guess it would be more than 300. There are 5 swimming pools! Now, personally I prefer the State Park type of set up when I’m really camping, but for what I’m doing this is looking pretty good. All of the RV sites are concrete pads with fire pits / BBQ’s and there are a lot of them. There are many empty spaces (which I would expect mid week), but at the same time there are a whole lot of folks here. I don’t perform until tomorrow night so I’m going to spend the day tomorrow “drumming up” my audience and doing the things that, in my humble opinion, perhaps the park should be doing already. There was some confusion at the front desk – they didn’t have me reserved for a RV site, though they had my promo materials out and obviously knew I’d be there. But, they were very friendly and helpful and got the whole thing squared away in short order. It’s much cooler here than in Virginia – 15 degrees or more. I’ll be sleeping with the windows open tonight! I was all set up in my campsite by around 5 pm and then poured myself a little “welcome to NC” libation before walking around and getting oriented. The river is gorgeous, but then I’m partial to moving water of most any kind. Heck, I think water running off the roof looks good. But this is really pretty - quick running water, smooth stones, a little white water, etc. I took a few pictures and will post those at some point. I built a fire in my pit and went ahead and cooked some chicken on the wood fire which I ate with some black beans and collard greens – excellent! Then, with a little more Irish whiskey in hand, I got out the guitar intending to work on those new tunes that are coming along. However, as I was just warming up a fellow came by and asked if I wanted to pick a little. He went and got his banjo and dobro and we got to it. Before long we’d drawn a little crowd (all of whom I was certain to inform regarding my performance tomorrow night) and ended up playing until almost 11 pm. A lot of fun – Jason’s his name and he’s from NC about 2 hours away. So, I think the “drumming” is off to a good start. The cool air is sifting through the windows and I can just hear the river in the distance. Yawn . . . see you tomorrow.