Day 3: Stepping Off

from Josephine:

Whew!

Today, Day Three, was the actual moment I stepped out into the mystery, into adventure, into the uncertainties and surprises of my new California life.

Our first two stops, a brief visit with artist Janet Saad Cook in Richmond, and then two nights with dear friends Claire and John Lamiman in Wentworth NC, felt like visits home, embracing the familiar and comfortable. I shared with John as I was leaving, that terror and joy were all tangled up inside me. He smiled impishly and said he loved that state. Yes. And so I asked Claire and Patrise to ceremonially step off the front porch with me, arm in arm, moving forward into my new life.
~Jose

And we did step off together, with a lovely visit to two local artists’ studios*, then we hit the road west. We drove into warmer and greener spring in middle North Carolina, then climbing steadily after Hickory we went back in time to early buds and even bare trees at the summit.

Lake Tomahawk Park in Black Mountain

Lunch break was at a favorite place: Black Mountain NC, where I enjoyed heavenly Dripolator coffee and picnicked at Lake Tomahawk, with its nice view of the Seven Sisters.

My greatest regret today is not being able to show you the zooming, curving thrill of our drive through the Great Smokies. Route 40 may be an interstate, but it curves and winds and climbs and climbs and finally dives through the earth in a tunnel and pops over the eastern divide. I had my hands full driving. Besides, any time I pointed the camera at a mountain, it seemed to shrink dramatically. Hmmm.

Finally, we farted around in shopping centers in Knoxville and zeroed in on Monterey, TN as our destination for today. Comfy Super 8, dog happily snoring on the bed, a swimming pool 15′ square (but still, a pool) and, at the reccomendation of the desk clerk, scrumptious BBQ across the street.

Rocky Pop’s BBQ in Monterey, TN

You can see the smoker and woodpile out back in the pic; our ribs were huge and meaty and smoked to a brown polish, not sauced at all, just excellent meat. A family affair, Rocky Pops BBQ gets 4 stars for delicious, friendly, comfy and bargain eats.

Don’t forget, if you Tweet, follow us with #coast2coast at @patriseart.
And if you want more pics, see Flickr link at the right =>

* More on artists along the way, coming soon

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