We got going a little late from the salvage yard and as the sun came up the traffic had me in the grass, the wide four lanes and pull off was now diminished to grass and ditch. It wasnt particularly hard going, most grasses had been cut since spring. Too many miles to the next town. Dandridge (Named after Martha Dandridge Washington), I set my daily goal for a Love's truck stop about midway. I-40 runs parallel thru that stretch and it was about three quarters of a mile from the road we were walking on to the expressway interchange.
I had met a newsman from Dandridge who would give me a ride after he made his afternoon Deadline. I had walked all morning on the narrow road while people commuted to work. None had time to pull off and the driveways were few. Unlike the previous days where I had "good luck". When I saw the man standing in the church parking lot ahead of me, holding a camera, I thought he might be the person to ask. He was gracious enough to help later,when he had finished for the day.
When I arrived at the busy truck complex, with acres of pavement, it was teaming with tractor-trailers. While I waited for the ride I found a small bit of shade against some shrub trees surrounding a shallow, green pond, littered with truck tires, next to the tire service building. While Nice (the dog) buried himself deep under the shade of willow and cedar I watched as three trucks pulled in and had a tire replaced with lightening-fast efficiency.
Upon talking with a man who worked there, it was alright to park and sleep but "company policy" restricts abandoning a vehicle.. He suggested I walk to the other side of the highway, where there is a closed truck stop. Adding that if he found any vehicle "abandoned" the next morning he would have to put a "dot on it". Finally he said, "I think that's a wonderful thing you are doing. It's a great cause...Good luck with that." He turned and walked away. Dots were his responsibility, far be it from me to stray from the norm.
I had enough time to walk the distance over the bridge to the overgrown, boarded-up complex. I stashed the world in the open beside an abandoned mobile home, amid the tall grass as he drove in. I got back to the world, parked under the shade of the pump-awning, patched a few holes Tennessee had worn in the world, had a good night of sleep,without the glare of lights and even got a visit from the County patrol. They assured me the "park and ride"area by the roadwas safe to leave the van in the morning.
The attendant of Love had wished me luck, it was working.
When I researched the distance to go back to the main road to Dandridge or take the scenic lakeside they were now about the same so I took the Douglas Lake route.
I left out early enough to see the sunrise over the lake from several vantage points. The roads were a little winding but almost all the grass was cut along the scenic boat landings and lakefront homes. There were many stretches with trees to shade us almost the entire way to town. The scenery was worth any added distance or effort.
When we got to the edge of downtown we were stopped at an historic home, now antique shop, who's proprietors suggested I park under the old tree on the side of the house, built in 1820. The couple who were part of the business both filled my head with historic facts about the town and surrounding area.
The town was saved by a dyke built to hold off the lake when it was created for hydro-electric power by the TVA. Dandridge is the only town in the nation named after our country's first First Lady.
A nearby field, now part of the lake was a battlefront during the Civil war. The battle was over grain stores. Many fought and died to survive. Some say the inlet over the field is haunted.
I was able to rest in the cool van and get a needed rest for the early start to Newport the next day.
The attendant of Love's wish was granted,again.