Alpharetta, Ga., to Asheville, N.C.

Yesterday evening and this morning we had to complete some necessary tasks — do the laundry, get the oil changed in the car, and so on. We grabbed a quick and unexciting lunch in a fast food place in Alpharetta, then started driving north.

Pretty soon we were in the Blue Ridge Mountains, the highest mountains in North America east of the Mississippi River. Compared to the mountains in California, these are not high mountains — the highest is Mt. Mitchell in North Carolina, at 6,684 feet — but they are just as beautiful. Perhaps they are more beautiful, because they are greener and shaped in more interesting ways by glaciers, and because the air here has more moisture which lends a mysterious bluish cast to objects in the distance, and because the weather is more variable at any season, with passing sunshine and rain showers and thunder showers and mist and fog in the summer, and snow and sleet and hail and hail and freezing rain and even occasional sunshine at other times of the year. And as a result of all that variable precipitation, everything is so brilliantly green.

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Above: the Blue Ridge Mountains in North Carolina, from U.S. 23

After driving through thunder and lightning and showers and downpours and sunshine on winding and sometimes steep mountain highways, we arrived in Asheville, N.C., where we are staying in a 1930s-era motor court, where each of the bedrooms is a little log cabin — not a conventionally-framed building with fake log cabin siding, but an actual log cabin. When you stay in an actual log cabin, the first thing you want to do is get out your guitar and sit in the rocking chair on the front porch, and play a little something while you rock back and forth.

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But it looked like it was going to rain, so we walked down to the Bavarian restaurant at the entrance to the motor court, and had some gourmet turkey bratwurst.

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