As I said before, our travel fights are about security or getting lost, and I managed to avoid the getting lost fight.
Even before we started we were headed inexorably toward the Getting Lost fight. Asheville is at the southern terminus of the Blue Ridge Parkway. I've been on the BRP before, in '74, the only time my Dad participated in a family vacation. I imagine some part of it was because my brother and I complained bitterly about the scenery. ("Didn't you say these were mountains? I don't see any mountains. Aren't mountains supposed be purple? 'Purple mountain's majesty?' These are just green. Bo-ring.")
So when I saw that Gary and I would be so close to the BRP I sought redemption. I tried to plot a way from Nashville to Asheville on the side roads through the Great Smoky Mountains then on to the BRP. It's hard, since the BRP isn't clearly marked on Google Maps. I had to break down and call an actual human person.
The day we drove to Asheville it was too misty to appreciate any scenery, so we took the highway through the Smokies instead and skipped the BRP entirely.
And it was perfect. The fog is what gives the Smokies their name, and the rain and mist made fog everywhere. I'd show you the photos I took, but I could as well have taken a photo of a ghost. Rely on this photo from National Geographic.
Through the Smokies Gary stayed in the lane he feels was built just for him, the passing lane, the left lane, until I noticed that lane had words painted on it. We don't paint on the highways in Missouri. It was like this...
..only there were three words you drove over in sequence.
I read aloud, "TRUCKS ... LEFT ... LANE. Oh! Only trucks are supposed to use the left lane. Change lanes."
"Screw the trucks!" Gary grumbled, and didn't change lanes.
"Okay, stay in the truck lane if you want," I shrugged, and went back to admiring the scenery. I was surprised, Gary hates trucks, I'd think that a state that segregates the trucks into the left lane would be right up his alley, but whatever.
It must have been half an hour later, after I noticed all the trucks were in the other lane, that I noticed that the first word of the sign was "NO." NO TRUCKS LEFT LANE. I am ...
Anyway, the highway through the Smokies was enough grandeur and adventure for us that first day, so we rescheduled the BRP drive to the trip home.
People, we got on the BRP on the way home and only made it to the first stop, the Welcome Center, before we got lost. We lost each other for quite a while at the Welcome Center, not because GPS is unavailable there but because cell phones are as well. I used the bathroom and had no idea he'd go out to the car. I might never have found him again if I hadn't guessed.
"There you are! Let's go see some natural wonders." I studied the printed map I picked up at the Center. "We are here - but the star is on this side, and the label is on the other side of the road from the star, so ... turn left."
Nope. Should have turned right. I got us lost immediately. Five minutes later when I saw we were headed back to Asheville, I said, "No bathrooms, no GPS, no purple mountain's majesties ... I did my best, Mom and Dad, but the Blue Ridge Parkway and I are not meant to be."
We chose to avoid what would have been hours of being lost, arguing about being lost, and starving to death while lost on the BRP. Instead we avoided the inevitable, hopped back on Highway 40, and drove straight home.