Day 17, 20 miles, Cherokee inn, Blountstown
Everything is dripping with condensation again this morning so we pack up a soaking wet tent and, after a brief chat with the campground host, are on our way.
The trail section to the road is still black from a recent prescribed burn and with the wetness of the fog we can only imagine how messy that’s going to be hiking through. Needless to say, we walk around it. Even on the road the burn smell is strong. And the grass in the berm is black too. When we step off and then back on the pavement we leave black footprints.
We’re glad when we’re past that section and closer to our first goal for the day, the Slip and Slide store. We fantasize about what it may have for us. There is not much but we find some things to snack on and some drinks. Score!
The next store is only five miles further along and has only been open for two months. They have my much desired hot coffee! We loiter outside for a while uploading my journal and messaging friends. We haven’t had good cell reception in a few days so we have some catching up to do.
Then it’s on to downtown Bristol. There are more trucks on the way now, lots of lumber going around. We’re relieved when we finally hit a sidewalk. Yay, were safe! All this coffee is catching up on me now so the next problem is finding a place to go to the bathroom. Luckily we find some bushes. This road side residential hiking is problematic sometimes.
At the Bristol post office we pick up our package with the new solar collector and GL gets some more denatured alcohol at the hardware store nearby. We’re at a bit of a loss on where to stay tonight. The two motels listed don’t sound great and are either too closeby mileage wise (Bristol) or not near anything (the airport motel). We see a listing online for the Cherokee motel but can’t find any info on it. Does it exist? It has a convenient location. We want to go to the pioneer settlement tomorrow and it’s on the way there.
Before we find out about the motel we have lunch at the Appalachee restaurant. This was rumored to have a great ‘all you can eat’ buffet but I guess we’re just not fans of fried food so we order from the menu which is not bad. They let us loiter for a while as we try to figure out a date for our return ticket so that’s super sweet.
We continue our journey along the highway crossing four lanes of traffic to get to the safe side of the bridge. We’re glad for the separate bike/hike lane since the bridge seems to go on forever (probably half a mile). We cross over the Appalachee River and make it to Blountstown.
We set off for the Piggly Wiggly store (I love that name) and the intriguing motel. We arrive at the motel first and it’s a total dump. The room smells like smoke and it hasn’t been updated or painted in forever. We take it anyway because at this point our only other option is to illegally stealth camp somewhere and our tent is still wet from condensation. We open up all the windows and will sleep in our sleeping bags. I think this may go in the books as the grossest room I’ve stayed in.
To cap the day off we have dinner at the Pizza Hut (remind me not to eat there again) and finally grocery shopping at the Piggly Wiggly. At least the latter is nice and has fresh fruit and veggies which we haven’t seen in a store in a while.
I’m excited about the pioneer museum tomorrow!