Stats to Date:
Total Miles:7495
Total States:11
Total Oceans Touched:1
Car Problems:1
Total Times Lost:6
Day: 17 Location: Winston-Salem, NC
...and his voice was like the sound of rushing waters.
-- Revelation 1:15b

I woke up at 8am today in a Nashville Walmart Parking Lot and headed towards Knoxville, TN. I didn't really have any plans for the day other than to see some Civil War sites... So, I headed out to the "Old Gray Cemetary," where a lot of Confederates were buried during the war. There's really not much else in Knoxville.

I started walking around, taking pictures and reading gravesites... I starting thinking about how when I die, I want to be cremated and put under a big rock -- like the picture on the left -- when I stepped out onto the pathway and a loud "Hey!" came from nowhere. I jumped. "You scared the crap outta me," I explained to two black men in their mid-thirties sitting next to an old gravesite. "What are you doing 'round here -- paying your respects?" one of them asked. "Ummm, yea, I guess..." as I tried to recover from the embarrassment of being caught talking to myself out loud in a cemetary (I've been on the road for a long time, ok?). The more talkative one started, "That's good. We are too." We went on to talk for a minute or so and I began to explain my trip... "You ever seen the Great Smoky Mountains?" he interrupted. "No, I've never even heard of it." He seemed surprised and said, "Well, ya gotta go -- if you leave now, you can make it before sundown. You gotta go." I left feeling like I was on a mission, as I headed through a tourist looking town towards the entrance of the Great Smoky (no, thats not misspelled) Mountain State Park.

I stopped at the first pull-over area in the park and hiked a few miles from all civilization, where I ran into the stream pictured on the right. I started thinking about how in the city, you are constantly reminded of the skill and power of man. It's everywhere -- skyscrapers, dams, sculptures... a lot of it is really amazing. But out here, you're immersed in the power and beauty of God's creation. Skyscrapers can't compete out here. While in the city, God seems distant and muffled; out here, God's voice is loud and distinct and very close. Over the past three or four days, I've spent too much time in the city. Today, I decided that I'm going to spend more time focusing on the wilderness areas of my route.

Which brings me to my next subject -- I've made a significant change to my route. Turns out, I'm going to drive all along the Blue Ridge Mountains up north, on to the Shenandoah Valley and finally to Washington D.C. before heading back south to Virginia Beach. So, if I don't get anything posted for a day or so... it's because I'm in the middle of nowhere. I can't wait! Oh yea, and tonight I'm in Winston-Salem, North Carolina... and I was greatly disappointed when I found out this is not the Salem of the Salem Witch Trials. I really wanted to hear more about that....

I know I've mentioned this before, but please continue to pray for my truck. It's holding up like a champ, but I still have a long way to go! Goodnight!
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