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10/16/2013: Day 14: More Blue Ridge, and into the Cherokee Reservation
We got on the road reasonably early, but the clouds were beginning to gather. We took the parkway from Blowing Rock down to Asheville, then skipped across I-40 and US-19 to dine and rest in the Cherokee Reservation.
We did climb into the clouds and had a tiny bit of rain today, but generally the leaves were as good as they will get this year.
Finally, a day dawns without drizzle. Autumn colors appear, so Karen and I both take pictures.
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See Dan on a bridge, just after he took the previous picture of Karen
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And this is what I was looking at from that bridge
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What trip would be complete without showing us simultaneously taking each other's pictures?
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I remarked before about how there were so many curved tunnels and bridges. This flying arc of concrete is one of the more famous ones.
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At one pull out, I walked down a path to a creek. Yes, this is looking along the path. I crawled under and over limbs and roots, and finally got down to a large creek of no particular distinction. It was a steep climb back up; good for getting out the kinks from sitting in the car.
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This look out had a parking lot, pavement, and stairs. A nice view, too.
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We drove up to the maximum of just over 6,000 feet elevation.

A sample of the colors that seemed to be peaking this year. The hard part in these pictures is getting the relatively dark foreground and the bright, hazy distance to both be visible. I am seriously considering getting a camera with extended dynamic range.
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Had the gol dang gummint not been closed, this would have been a place of interest for me. The geology of this ridge is unique on the continent; a cracking fold in the old continental plate caused by the expansion of the mid-Atlantic rift. It may even become a subduction zone in the next few hundred million years.
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As midday was approaching, I used a rare spot of 3G signal to find the next exit from the Blue Ridge with cappuccino. It promised it in Little Switzerland. So we took the first exit so marked. It was a winding road up to this hamlet of few buildings.
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Slackers with skate boards and laptops populated the commercial center of Little Switzerland.
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The owner/barista of the bookstore chatted while she worked...
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...and gave me a full tour of her vintage espresso cooker.
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Three guesses where this door goes.
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This view was where we stopped for lunch at 12:30. I did take a time lapse sequence here.
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The great view in the previous picture was at a pull off with no tables. So we tailgated leftover chicken for lunch.
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I think this was the view from the (closed) Blue Ridge Parkway Visitor's Center (at BRP Mile 384). This is north of Asheville, and has bus parking. A busload of seniors was there when we arrived.
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The berries were quite sriking
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I was amused by all the bus tourists taking pictures of the closed trash can.
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This lake is the primary aquifer for Asheville. Note the bright band showing where the normal water level usually sits.
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So we abandoned the Blue Ridge just east of Asheville to take the highways over to the far end of the parkway to spend the night in injun country.I am still puzzled by these numbers that periodically were posted on the side of the road.
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On the Cherokee reservation
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This apparently abandoned motel on the Cherokee reservation was built around the trees.
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We stayed at the Days Inn in Cherokee, but wanted to find some local cuisine. I had to scroll past all the chain and casino restaurants to find this cozy place on the far end of town. The ratings were reassuring to me: Low by people who want fast, generic, white-bread foods. Good by people who appreciate finding something different.
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I had to have the Indian Taco, which was chile and toppings on good fry bread. Karen just had a steak and salad.
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The view from our motel room door. The Cherokee Days Inn was quite close to the casino, so Karen walked across the street to feed the machines for a while, and I caught up on FaceBook.
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Next: Day 15: Blue Ridge day 5: More fog and drizzle

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