Virginia/North Carolina Road Trip: Day 9

Sunday we woke up early at the bluegrass festival and I made the executive decision to cut my trip a day short. I allotted two days to get back but looking over my map I kept thinking I’d probably only end up a few hours from home anyways. So I decided to cut out a few things and just drive.

And drive I did.

I drove a little through Asheville and didn’t see a thing I was looking for. I did have a man wish me safe travels at a gas station because he saw that I was “far from home.” Indeed.

What I saw on day nine of my road trip to Virginia and North Carolina.

Smoky Mountains

I drove through a bit of the Smoky Mountains. Which were pretty amazing. I’d love, someday, to take a Chicago to Smoky Mountains road trip and see more when I have more time…and when it’s not a holiday weekend. Not sure how traffic is on a normal day or even a normal weekend, but it was a bit crowded.

I drove through Cherokee Village, an interesting little town with a giant wooden Indian. But I just drove through. Because it was insanely crowded and there was also a lot of construction around said giant Indian.

As I wound my way through the mountains I stopped on the side a couple of times to take it all in.

Smoky Mountains
Smoky Mountains
Smoky Mountains
Smoky Mountains
Smoky Mountains
Smoky Mountains

And it was all so beautiful.

And then I drove. Drove. Drove. Drove.

I was a little nervous as my route took me through Pigeon Forge which was horribly slow. But luckily I didn’t hit much traffic elsewhere!

Airplane Filling Station Giant Chair, and Giant Cross

I made a couple of stops…once for an airplane-shaped filling station, once for a giant chicken I didn’t find, and once for a giant chair. I sped past a giant cross in Tennessee.

Airplane Service Station in Powell, Tennessee
Airplane Service Station in Powell, Tennessee
Long's Furniture World - "Home of the World's Largest Rocking Chair"
Long’s Furniture World – “Home of the World’s Largest Rocking Chair”


And for Krystals.

Lunch from Krystal's
Lunch from Krystal’s

And for gas.

I knew I was back in Chicago when I was driving fifteen over the speed limit and was still being passed left and right. Most of my trip everyone pretty much went within five miles of the speed limit. So it is a really good thing that on road trips my normal Chicago road rage seems to melt away and I just enjoy a leisurely drive.

After leaving at around 8am Eastern I rolled into Chicago around 11:30pm Central meaning that I drove from just about sixteen and a half hours. I was pretty tired but I went to my friend’s place to eat a taco, drink some beer (yeah, I drank beer?), and then fall asleep.

Because I wasn’t just ready to go home.

And a vacation isn’t over until you’re home.

Find out what I did on the rest of my road trip to Virginia and North Carolina

Plan Your Road Trip

Valerie Bromann

Founder & ROad Trip Expert

Valerie Bromann is a a website manager, content creator, and writer from Chicago, Illinois (currently living in Dallas, Texas). As an avid road tripper who has visited hundreds of roadside attractions, Val always pull over for a world’s largest thing. Founder of Silly America and author of The Road Trip Journal & Activity Book, she visits, photographs, and writes about all the weird tourist destinations she visits and offers road trip planning advice and inspiration based on her own travels so you can hit the road for yourself.

World's Largest Mailbox in Casey, Illinois roadside attraction

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Last modified: March 25, 2023
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The Road Trip Journal & Activity Book - Everything You Need to Have and Record an Epic Road Trip! By Valerie Bromann

The Road Trip Journal & Activity Book

Everything You Need to Have and Record an Epic Road Trip!

BY Valerie Bromann

Enjoy fun games and challenges to pass the time on your next road trip and have a keepsake to look back on for years to come with this entertaining must-have for your next vacation.

The road trip you’ve been dreaming of starts here! Journal about your stops and get to know your fellow passengers with activities and exercises designed to pass the time and bring you closer together. Instead of “Are we there yet?” you’ll find yourself asking, “We’re there already?”. Complete with prompts you can turn to while driving between locations, this journal will one day be a memento of your life-changing trip.