Travelling days such as today are usually fairly uneventful and often provide a good opportunity to catch up on this blog. This morning I saw a first for me, a man taking a snake out of his business and taking it somewhere I’m not sure exactly where. I’d always thought that you don’t get snakes in places where it freezes during winter.

En route to the coach station I walked into a bar and the bartender, noticing my backpack, asked if I’d come down from the nearby Appalachian Trail. I explained that I was looking for a place to stop off to break up the mile or so walk between the bus station and Greyhound Station. If I was doing the Appalachian Trail in this sort of heat I’d probably keel over within the hour. She told me that she’d recently had a bit of a life affirming moment and would soon be doing the whole 2000-mile walk, taking time of work and everyday life for five months. The training for this involved carrying a 50lb rucksack allover the place, which kind of put my moaning about carrying my bags a few hundred yards between bus stations and hotels into perspective. Good on her. There was also some more good bar conversation with an older couple who told me everywhere I should go in the United States. They loved the national parks but I didn’t have the heart to tell them that there’s no way I’d be visiting such places on my own, having heard too many horror stories about getting lost or stranded.

Asheville to Knoxville was a pleasant couple of hour bus ride through some seriously foresty terrain. The Knoxville hotel receptionist, clocking my baggage and substantial sweat patches (it was still 93F at 7pm), also asked if I had just come done from the AT. Familiar with the lingo, I told her that I just walked here from the bus stop at the end of the street.

Why visit Knoxville? Well it sounds decent of its Wikitravel page and frequently comes up on the cool places in the South to visit lists. It’s also the birthplace of many cultural iconss such as Cormac McCarthy, Alex Haley, Quentin Tarantino, as well as Johnny Knoxville (that’s not a joke) so surely it must have something going for it.

Removing a stray snake from a shop