This last photo is near Grandfather Mountain
I stopped at the visitor center at Grandfather Mountain and ran into a ranger whose brother lives in Bremerton, about an hour from Tacoma. We ended up discussing Olympic National Park rather than the Blue Ridge, but that was okay.
My next stop was at a folk art center near Asheville, where I indulged in a little early Christmas shopping. Then, because of the fog, mostly:
I decided to get off the Parkway at Asheville, and head straight over to Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The hostel I was headed for was on the Tennessee side of the park, so I drove over the Newfound Gap road to Gatlinburg and then turned north to find the hostel. Which was right up there with the hostel in Gary, South Dakota, for out in the middle of nowhere luxury. I had what amounted to a very nice motel room all to myself, with acres and acres of trails in deep woods to wander on. I'm pretty sure I was the elderly lady who ran the place's only guest that night, because she took the better part of an hour to check me in.
I was glad to hear that the weather was supposed to improve again the next day, since it was my day to explore the Smokies.