Scheduled trip: Knoxville, TN - Home
Actual trip: Knoxville, TN - Home (300 miles)

How we escaped the Lynching Mob and lived happily ever after
Even though our motel was situated close to the airport, the planes hadn't disturbed our sleep. After checking out, we went to a local Waffle House and ate a wholesome breakfast. This was our last day so we might as well enjoy it while we could.

We crossed the picturesque Great Smokey Mountains and before long we found ourselves back in North Carolina. However, we were determined to make the most of the day so our time of sightseeing wasn't over just yet. Somebody had the bright idea of visiting a nearby amusement park. Soon we discovered that the entrance fee was a bit steep and the rides were mostly oriented toward kids. It wasn't worth it we agreed and went for a Cherokee Indian Reservation instead. We stopped in a small town, which certainly didn't provide the right Indian feel. Mostly the town consisted of gift shops, offering plastic replicas of various Indian paraphernalia, and refreshment centers.

Marco discovered that the Mustang was leaking what seemed to be transmission fluid, a dire sign considering we where still a long way from home. Later we had a mechanic look at the Ford. The transmission fluid level was far too low; several quarts were added. While the mechanic worked, each of us called home to notify our host families that we were on the way. After the short service stop the Mustang seemed to function normally.

We were back in Greensboro around 6 PM. Even though we were close to home there was general agreement on stopping for food. Finding a fast food restaurant in America isn't particularly difficult. However, this evening we ventured into a part of Greensboro neither of us knew. Finally we came across a McDonald's. The Mustang parked on one side of the restaurant while the Camaro had to circle to find a vacant parking space. As Dave and Niels got out they noted that some of the other visitors started to behave in a bizarre way. Mark came around the building, saying we should leave right away before hurrying back to his car. Apparently someone had thrown a beverage at the Mustang and it was quite obvious that we weren't welcome in this neighborhood. As we drove out, more people had gathered in the parking lot to see us off. How strange things turn out! We had traveled through some of America's largest cities without incidents, but then, right in our backyard, we found trouble. All of us were a little shaken and on the way back to Burlington we tried to reprimand each other for what had happened. In truth none of us were to blame for anything. Besides, nothing except our pride was hurt.

Back in more familiar surroundings we stopped for food. It was with mixed feelings we realized that our trip had come to an end. We no longer had to sleep on the floor every other night, average close to 350 miles per day, or worry about whether the cars could make it back or not. Nevertheless, all this seemed a small price to pay for such a unique experience. Not only a score of pictures had to be developed in the following days, each of us had to process all the impressions that the trip had provided.

Dave was dropped off at the Barefoots' and the remaining three travelers quickly became two as Marco drove Manuel back to his home in Mebane, while Niels exited the Interstate with a final flicker of his high beam.

<<June 5, 1996<<


Day 00: Prelude
Day 01: Leaving NC
Day 02: Tupelo, MS
Day 03: Henryetta, OH
Day 04: Roswell, NM
Day 05: Flagstaff, AZ
Day 06: Las Vegas, NV
Day 07: Victorville, CA
Day 08: Long Beach, CA
Day 09: Los Angeles, CA
Day 10: Thousand Oakes, CA
Day 11: Malibu, CA
Day 12: Lompoc, CA
Day 13: Lompoc, CA
Day 14: Palo Alto, CA
Day 15: Palo Alto, CA
Day 16: Fallon, NV
Day 17: Escalante, UT
Day 18: Grand Junction, CO
Day 19: Lafayette, CO
Day 20: Colby, KS
Day 21: St. Louis, MO
Day 22: Knoxville, TN
Day 23: Burlington, NC
Epilogue: Author's notes



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