Day 2: November 28, 2008
To Asheville
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I backtracked just a bit in order to have breakfast at a place that looks much like it did at its April 1, 1930 opening except, of course, for that Christmas tree. Hoskins Drug Store, in Clinton, Tennessee, has plenty of stools and booths and, according to Barbara, the lady who cooked and served my breakfast, regularly fills quite a few of them. When I ordered bacon & eggs, Barbara asked "No biscuits & gravy?" in a tone that suggested that people who did not start the day with gravy might be looked at with suspicion in Clinton. I revised my order.

My next stop was at the Ciderville Music Store which I found open for the first time. I'd photographed the outside and seen pictures of the inside but this was the first I got to experience it myself. The walls are lined with an incredible array of stuff to be picked and there are comfortable chairs in which picking can be done. Mighty friendly folks, too. The store is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year and I picked up an anniversary T-shirt at a mighty friendly $6.95.

As is often the case, the new road left small segments of the old road as it straightened out some of the curves. Segments of Old Clinton Pike are to be found on both sides of the current US-25.

The Nickles brother's gas station was looking rather sad when I was last by here two years ago but on this visit I was happy to see that the deterioration has been halted and the nearly eighty old plane is looking better than I've ever seen it. I'd recently learned that some grant money had been obtained to help continue the restoration. There is lots yet to be done.

I gave roadie BabyBoomerBob a call from the parking lot of Ciderville Music. I was starting to sort out my schedule and that was even a fitting location since I had first learned of the store from Bob. We made plans to meet at the Sunsphere but hadn't been real specific. Naturally, we ended up on two different levels but soon came together at the base of the tower. An observation deck inside the sphere offers a nice view of the city. I've included pictures of the old L & N Railroad Station and what Bob called "the largest house of worship in the city", Neyland Stadium. And I got a better picture of Bob, too.

The first three pictures are from that train station which is where we immediately headed on our return to ground level. Ruby Tuesdays had once operated a restaurant on the upper floor but had left things -- including some cool stained glass -- largely intact. Some World's Fair Park features round out the pictures. Rachmaninoff's statue is in the park by virtue of the 1943 recital at the University of Tennessee being his last.

After some very good Mellow Mushroom pizza (a chain but new to me), Bob headed home and I returned to the Dixie Highway. The pictures here are from the town of Marshall. I thought it looked pretty interesting as soon as I pulled in but it was made even more so by a train rumbling through just a few feet away. The good looking courthouse even has a Dixie Highway marker in the lawn. At least it's sort of a Dixie Highway marker:
            AND FRIENDS
           ROBERT E. LEE
           DIXIE HIGHWAY

The "route of the Dixie Highway" -- both two & four lane -- includes some pretty nice scenery.

My reserved tour time at the Biltmore House was 10:30 but I stopped by to sort of case the joint. After being told that I could go on in to see the gardens, I did but it was not the proper time of either day or season for good garden viewing. I grabbed a picture of the house I'd be touring later and some proof that the light was fading fast.

Carolers entertained guests waiting for entry and, since no photos are allowed inside the house, this is the best I could do. More carolers, ballet dancers, and a string trio performed inside. A pool stands between the house and the huge lighted Christmas tree so that a picture taken from the house side looks like an electric Rorschach test. The last picture is of the main entrance to the grounds. It's about a five mile drive from the house.

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