Heading west through western North Carolina, you need to drive through the Blue Ridge Mountains. You can bypass the mountains entirely by driving south and taking the freeway through Atlanta. But can you think of a more dismal way to spend valuable hours of your life? Yuck.
|Rugged terrain of western North Carolina (National Geographic base map from ArcGIS online)|
|West Oak Bed & Breakfast, Bryson City. Very friendly owners.|
A much more enjoyable way to go west is to choose one of the mountain highways that pass through the Blue Ridge. One option is to stay in Bryson City (which is becoming a foodie place) and then head southwest on US Highway 19/74. Part of the route parallels the Nantahala River, which has carved a rugged valley through the mountains. It is slow going, especially in the tourist season when rafting groups load up busses and trucks for raft adventures. You pass farms, small towns, solitary houses, and some funky stuff. This looks like bubba terrain, in stark contrast to the ambience of Asheville and even Bryson City.
|Garage, 10444 US 74, Bryson City, North Carolina (Ilford Delta 100 film, Rolleiflex 3.5E Schneider Xenotar lens, green filter)|
|(Ilford Delta 100 film, Rolleiflex 3.5E, 75mm ƒ/3.5 Schneider Xenotar lens)|
|Peanut store, 14305 US 19 west of Wesser (Fuji X-E1 digital file)|
|Unused house, US 19/74 west of Wesser (Fuji X-E1 digital file)|
|US 19/74 view west, Topton, North Carolina|
|Country store, US 19/74 at Topton Road, Topton, North Carolina (Ilford Delta 100 film)|
|Fixer-upper house, 24266 US 129 (also Routes 19/74), Topton|
|Post Office, Topton, NC|