Oct 23, 2018

South Carolina SC / NC Leaf Peeping Tour 2018

I took a leaf-peeping tour across South Carolina and North Carolina during a very sunny two-day road trip Oct. 21 & 22, I thought the leaves would be perfect then. Wrong. There was a lot of green on my trip.

I suspect the leaves will be better the following two weekends. We had a warm fall and I bitterly blame that.

However, let me give you my route because it was perfect. You should try it. You have to navigate by waterways with my directions, though. But GPS can handle it.

Going down I-20 from Aiken toward Augusta, I crossed the lazy Savannah, hung a right near Thompson, gave a nod to Aonia Pass and my GNCC friends, then crossed a mild tip of Lake Hartwell. I crossed the springwaters of Cane Creek, crawled through the parking lot at Oktoberfest in Walhalla and right out the other side, too crowded to park and stop.

I began the ascent to Stumphouse Tunnel on Hwy. 25 where I reminisced with a nod to the melancholy and got some exercise.

I then glided along the Cherokee Foothills Scenic Highway and crossed into North Carolina at the Nantahala National Forest border around 107 and 64. I hung a hard right, crossing Lake Toxaway, skirting past Gorges State Park and took the ol' Rosman Hwy. straight into downtown Brevard, white squirrel country.

Up the next day before sunrise following a night with the squirrels, I drove up to Pounding Mill Overlook on the Blue Ridge Parkway to see sunrise over the smoky, blue mountains.

looking glass rock
I careened along the Blue Ridge Parkway, over Asheville and rolled that power on. ("but 'cepts" I was in my Jeep and not my former '86 Honda Rebel 450, sadly)

I motored past Mt. Mitchell, but you should stop there, it's worth it. As I was saying, I motored past Mt. Mitchell, stopping only when I ran low on fuel along Buck Creek in Marion, curiously familiar and again, melancholy memories fly.

I gassed up the Jeep, tossed sad memories out the window, kept it down and tooled up the 221-S hills. I set the GPS for home sweet home and danced along the Second Broad and Cathey's Creek, following Cleghorn Creek down to the Broad, the real Broad.

Passing about ten too many Dollar Generals, I steadied on to the Landrum Starbucks, a traditional Maslar family meeting place, short three Maslars.  Caffeine in my veins, I buzzed onto I-26E, arm out in the cold breeze, Bob Seger blaring "I could go left, I could go right, it was all up to me to decide."

I resisted the cloverleaf at Spartanburg and rolled up 26 like a rocket sled on rails, racing the N. Tyger river until she took a sharp turn north, crossed under me and began her flow to the Broad just above Columbia, knowing I'd get there before her.

It wasn't "the dark of the moon on the sixth of June," but I had the hammer down with a nod to the Rubber Duck.

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