Frank Sinatra got me off of the mountain today. After careful consideration, I have determined that the sound of high winds through the trees is like a commercial jetliner taking off, minus the mechanical whine of the engines. It is pure thrust, and I spent the night at the end of the runway directly in the flight path. When I woke up for the last time, after numerous unintended sleep interruptions, it was 37 degrees in my tent and the airliners were still taking off.
After wiping the ice off my tent and packing it away, I started my happy dance down the trail. The path was smooth, with an easy downhills grade, when suddenly “Love and Marriage,” better know as the theme to “Married With Children” popped into my consciousness. It was a jaunty little tune that perfectly matched my stride and allowed me to arrive at Uncle Johnny’s Nolichucky Hostel in only 2 hours and 15 minutes after covering 6.2 miles.
Erwin, TN, is laid out on seven mile stretch of I-26, so it is not very convenient for hikers to get around. Uncle Johnny’s offers three shuttles a day for food and resupply, so my mission coming off the hill was to get here in time to catch the 12:30 lunch shuttle to the AYCE (all you can eat) pizza place. Mission accomplished! And I did eat all I could eat. Later this evening, I caught the dinner shuttle to the Mexican restaurant where I enjoyed a taco salad and a margarita. That shuttle also services Wal-mart, but my loving wife had already mailed me everything I needed.
In addition to a 20 bunk Hostel, Uncle Johnny’s also has several small cabins available for a few dollars more, and that is where I opted to stay. They also have a Yorkie running around (I got my much needed Yorkie kisses) and an old dog named Jerry Garcia, who is a hostel legend.
I’m now relaxing in my cabin with the heater on high. It is supposed to get really cold tonight, so I’m happy to be indoors. I will hit the trail in the morning after the breakfast shuttle.