Day 1:   Hillbillyin' It !!

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That Thursday night Bone picked up Mike in Charlotte and revisited the scene of an earlier crime Dixie Tavern for more Hot Wings, Gator Bits, and Petron X0!  However realizing that they had a long drive in the morning, they kept it calm and retired at an uncharacteristic Midnight. 

Not so Southern Hospitality

Starting out early the Boys stopped in a sleazy diner in South Carolina for one of the rudest and worst meals in all their travels. Southern Hospitality was conspicuously absent when the dried up old waitresses had to tear themselves away from watching Jerry Springer on the tube to bring the Boys the "Mr. Waffle's" greasy, cold meals.

Not so PT Cruisin'

 The bad victuals did however hold the boys as they traveled east on I-40 when the Boys had their second weird incident of the Trip. The day started hot and steamy, as Southern Summers go and It had been raining off an on since the prior night. As the Boys passed though a Rain Squall just as they got into the Mountains, their rented PT Cruiser's windows went down !!

At first Bone thought Mike was messing with him, and Mike thought Bone was messing with him !

It was right out of a Three Stooges Short, whenever they would raise the Front Windows, the Back Windows would go down, then when they raised the Back Windows, the Front would go down !!

Fortunately they where just outside Asheville (site of an earlier Mike and Bone Trashing !), where they contacted Hertz, and where able to pick up a Volvo with working window !

Despite the Car hijinks, by Noon Mike and Bone were over the North Carolina State line and finally into Tennessee. As they drove to the top of the Appalachian Range, known colloquially as the "Smokey Mountains", they looked for an old country road to meander up north, with their eventual target for the night, Bristol Tennessee ! or Virginia ?!? Well, we will get back to that, they reason for Bristol is that it was the westernmost outpost  of Virginia in the 1700's, and being the mouth of Cumberland Gap, it was the start of Daniel Boone's Wilderness Road.

But before they travelled the Wilderness Road, Mike had a hankerin' for another Road, the Appalachian Trail ! 

Appalachian Trailing

Soon as the Boys crossed into Tennessee, Mike spotted the signs for  Appalachian Trail, and the Boys simply had to check it out.! The Appalachian Trail (A.T.) is more than 2,175-mile long footpath stretching through 14 eastern states from Maine to Georgia. Conceived in 1921 and first completed in 1937, it traverses the wild, scenic, wooded, pastoral, and culturally significant lands of the Appalachian Mountains.

The Boys stopped at an extremely rustic B&B right on the trail where they stopped to dicker with the extremely cool Proprietor (a fusion of Grizzly Adams rustic, Jerry Garcia Hippie, and southern redneck [it worked !])) He showed the Boys the cabins he rented (one was built over a stream), gave the boys a lot of advice of the do's and don'ts of attempting the AT, such as not messin' with cotton mouths and copperheads, bringin' rain gear. The best piece of advice was doing it is all MENTAL, just like running marathons, doing the entire AT was an endurance of both the body and mind.

With all of this sage advice, despite it being 95 degrees and 98% humidity, the had to hike a bit of the trail, didn't they? 

Mike and Bone Appalachian Trailing

Mike convinced Fat Bone to hike a two mile stretch, essentially to the Freeway and back ! Just to let you know how pathetic Bone was in term of being a fat boy ! So sweatin' and huffin' the Boys stale foot started up the slippery trail in the worst possible footgear, flip-flops!

"Are we there yet !?!"

However after about 20 minutes and half a mile, the sky was darkening very rapidly as often happens in the South, when the heat of the day build up to a quick afternoon Thunderstorm to release the energy of the day. With know interest to get their blackberry's wet, nor slip and fall on moss covered stones which made up the Trail, the Boys mutually agreed to turn around.

Thereby officially logging their first mile on the AT,

Only 2,174 to go  !! (of the 2,175 miles)

Small Towns, Small Minds

As they Boys meandered north along the crest of the Appalachians, they went through many a small town, In one they stopped for supplies for the Hall of Shame, and asked if their was a local deli, the local looked at the Boys as if they were talking French with the word Deli, and wisely, before the Store Clerk called on the local Rebel Militia to shoot "them damned Yankee varmints! ", they moved along waiting for a better spot for food, which happened shortly..........

The Return of the Hall of Shame !!!

Lets make no mistake however, they did stock the Hall of Shame !!

Fried Chicken and Appalachian Trailer Trash !!!

Shortly was about 40 miles up the road at a little chicken shack that boasted broasted chicken. Walking in the Boys went to order beer and food and encountered some uncomfortable numbers. 38 - 24 - 38, 16. Or in other words a 16-old, with 38 C-cups a face of a 25 year old, and 100% trailer trash!!  With 5 local boys following in her stead as she sauntered around the store there was little doubt she would be bare-foot and pregnant within the next 6 months, meanwhile the Boys had the "pleasure" of meeting Mom. There was an old woman behind the counter frying the Boys lunch, as she chattered away, this women missing half of her front teeth, was only 36 years old !! And "shore nuff" she had had her first at 15, so her daughter was by Hill standards moving into spinsterhood !!

While the chicken was tasty, the genetic dynamics of what they just encountered left the Boys a little scared for the species, at least in this puddle of ocean of humanity. So they boogied another ten miles to Greenville, the home of our 17th President, Andrew Johnson !

Trailing the Tailor of Greenville

In Greenville the Boys stopped in to the Andrew Johnson National Historic Site, which has displays the life and time of the Andrew Johnson's presidency from 1865 through 1869.

"Errr.. Who was Andrew Johnson again?"

There are very few Americans that are not familiar with Abraham Lincoln, Andrew Johnson however is a different story. With Lincoln's assassination on April 15th, 1864 the Presidency fell upon an old-fashioned, southern Jacksonian Democrat, who pronounced states' rights views even though he had been on the Republican Ticket for Vice-President. Although an honest and honorable man, Andrew Johnson was one of the most unfortunate of Presidents.  Arrayed against him were the Radical Republicans in Congress, brilliantly led by Edwin Stanton, Lincoln's Secretary of Ware and ruthless in their tactics. Johnson was simply no match for them and their agenda.  

Johnson's Humble Home

Born in Raleigh, North Carolina, in 1808, Johnson grew up in poverty. He was apprenticed to a tailor as a boy, but ran away. He opened a tailor shop in Greeneville, Tennessee, married Eliza McCardle, and participated in debates at the local academy.   Entering politics, he became an adept stump speaker, championing the common man and vilifying the plantation aristocracy. As a Member of the House of Representatives and the Senate in the 1840's and '50's, he advocated a homestead bill to provide a free farm for the poor man.  

One Loyal Dude - During the secession crisis, Johnson remained in the Senate even when Tennessee seceded, which made him a hero in the North and a traitor in the eyes of most Southerners. As a reward for his loyalty, President Lincoln appointed him Military Governor of Tennessee in 1862, where Johnson used the state as a laboratory for reconstruction working with Lincoln. In 1864 the Republicans, contending that their National Union Party was for all loyal men, nominated Johnson, a Southerner and a Democrat, for Vice President.

Status of Johnson (not of his Johnson !)

After Lincoln's death, President Johnson proceeded to reconstruct the former Confederate States while Congress was not in session in 1865. He pardoned all who would take an oath of allegiance, but required leaders and men of wealth to obtain special Presidential pardons.   By the time Congress met in December 1865, most southern states were reconstructed, slavery was being abolished, but "black codes" to regulate the freedmen were beginning to appear.   Radical Republicans in Congress moved vigorously to change Johnson's program. They gained the support of northerners who were dismayed to see Southerners keeping many prewar leaders and imposing many prewar restrictions upon Negroes.   The Radicals' first step was to refuse to seat any Senator or Representative from the old Confederacy. Next they passed measures dealing with the former slaves. Johnson vetoed the legislation. The Radicals mustered enough votes in Congress to pass legislation over his veto--the first time that Congress had overridden a President on an important bill. They passed the Civil Rights Act of 1866, which established Negroes as American citizens and forbade discrimination against them.   A few months later Congress submitted to the states the Fourteenth Amendment, which specified that no state should "deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law."   All the former Confederate States except Tennessee refused to ratify the amendment; further, there were two bloody race riots in the South. Speaking in the Middle West, Johnson faced hostile audiences. The Radical Republicans won an overwhelming victory in Congressional elections that fall.   In March 1867, the Radicals effected their own plan of Reconstruction, again placing southern states under military rule. They passed laws placing restrictions upon the President. When Johnson allegedly violated one of these, the Tenure of Office Act, by dismissing Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton, the House voted eleven articles of impeachment against him. He was tried by the Senate in the spring of 1868 and acquitted by one vote.   In 1875, Tennessee returned Johnson to the Senate. He died a few months later.

Having seen Washington and Lincoln's  gravesite, the Boys drove on one final detour in Greenville, Johnson's grave site.

The Andrew Johnson Burial Memorial

With their stomach filled and their patriotic and historical duty fulfilled, the Boys high-tailed it the last hour up to Bristol, checking into a Courtyard Marriott on the outskirts of Bristol (in Virginia),  in a Shopping Center with a Movieplex, which gave the Boys the idea to..........................

Hulk, Smash !!

Being road weary and it about to rain again, the Boys thought to escape the early evening heat and humidity by watching the latest Incredible Hulk Movie with Edward Norton and Liz Tyler. Norton is not Bill Bixby (from the TV show), but Liz Tyler is very easy on the eyes, so the Hulk smashed, the Boys trashed the Theatre with empty popcorn boxes and soda cups !!. By now it was pushing 9:30 PM, the night was ripe for drink downtown. The choice now was, which state? 

A State Divided(Lincoln)

Bristol is a very interesting City or better stated, cities. With Main Street split by the Virginia/Tennessee State line. Having investigated the town before Bone recommended the Boys carry on their shenanigans at the Statesville Bar (on the Tennessee side of the Border). However trouble erupted before the Boys even got in the Bar !!!

"A Statesville's Bar State of Mind !"

"No shirt, no shoes no service? You gotta be kiddin' me !! this is Appalachia? show me who here has a complete set of any of these along with a complete set of teeth !!!" Bone Being hot at heck Bone was wearing a Virginia Tech cutoff shirt, which apparently not acceptable in the high-falutating College Bar like the Statesville Bar, so as the Boys queued up in the line to have their ID's checked, Bone was told "Y'all need a proper shirt Y'all ! Thinking quickly Bone offered to buy a Statesville Bar Tee-shirt, thereby avoiding a sordid story of getting bounced from a Bar before getting in.

Once in the Bar, the margies were good and cold, there was a couple of great Baseball games on the tube, and the Teriyaki Chicken Wings were tasty and crispy !

The crowd was an eclectic group of pretentious Yuppies in suits, College kids, and good ole rednecks !!

The Boys boozed it up and dickered with the in-breed locals till the wee hour of 1:30AM, when the loong day of driving, chicken-eating, and the Hall of Shame caught up with the Boys, so they retired with no further incident.