Emory & Henry to Cheat Mountain:
I knew that a massive tire failure, one hour into the 2000 mile trip, was a bad omen. Two cans of fix-a-flat were ineffective on the defective one year old Continental rear tire. The $100 transport to the nearest Discount Tire store was performed by the best wrecker operator I have ever used*. We had lots of stories to share. It was an entertaining two hour diversion.
*Patrick, with Ron’s Towing of Sparta, even knew were the hidden towing eyelet was for the wench on my 530i. He educated me, NEVER let a tower use the wench as the only front secure-point. Each wheel should be tied to the bed rails.
$35 new Michelin Pilot Road 2, courtesy of the Discount Tire Road Hazard plan. Thank you Discount Tire!
Stoped for a short visit with high school buddy Scott Michael Sefsik on Center Hill Lake. Calculated a re-route, destination Kingsport for the night @ 3 hours.
Great sundown at Sunset Rock just past Sparta! (site of my first Rock Repel with Camp Widjiwagan). Got the last bracketed 100 image photosphere, just as the sun hit the horizon.
Day 2: Left Kingsport for Emory & Henry. Beautiful campus! Toured the 1836 Wiley Hall building, where my Great-Great Grandfather Walter Scott Bearden attended, before and after, the American Civil War. Beautiful campus! Wiley Hall is the site of the original college building, also used as a Confederate Hospital. In 1864 it was the location of a famous murder: a wounded U.S. Army officer shot in bed by Confederate Guerrilla raider Champ Ferguson.
Heading north, I stopped at Saltville, Virginia just up the road. “The Salt Capital of the South” was a Southern strategic resource. Salt was the primary means of preserving meat for the Civil War armies. A large battle was fought here in October 1864. The wounded were taken to Emory & Henry College not far away.
Pressing north into Western Virginia, I drove through the most scenic part of the Appalachian Mountains I have ever traversed. This is home to the George Washington and Jefferson National Parks. It reminded me of the Smoky Mountains, without all the tourists.
Warm Springs Virginia was home to David Phillips and the 7th Tennessee for the month of December in 1861.
Camp sites were plentiful at Hidden Valley Campground (no online reservations) just west of Warm Springs. I was pleasantly surprised to get a private Friday night camp site with vacancies on both sides. Firewood was plentiful not far from the site. New Bucket List Addition: Beautiful old Bed & Breakfast Mansion in this scenic valley: Hidden Valley B&B. Wish I had taken a pano here.
Day 3: I followed the 7th Tennessee’s trail north-west to Cheat Mountain, WV, site of Robert E. Lee’s first offensive of the Civil War. At 4000′ above sea level, it is the highest known Civil War fort in the country.
….to be continued on South Park & Back Part 2