I left Memphis the next morning and drove east along highway 40 through Nashville. Memphis calls itself 'the home of the blues,' while Nashville calls itself 'the home of country.' I drove through the main strip and it looked about how you'd expect - lots of music venues and bars, lots of tourists walking around snapping pictures. I didn't feel like stopping and pressed on eastward.
When I turned off of Interstate 40 onto Highway 73 I could see the Smoky Mountains ahead in the distance. They were indeed pretty smoky-looking:
I continued along highway 73 through Townsend and into the national park. There was no fee to enter. The road became very windy and I got stuck behind RV's and buses moving like baby carriages around the corners. Back and forth, back and forth. It took quite awhile to get to the Elkmont Campground. Of course, it was full. The ranger said that all the campgrounds in the park were full, but that if I would backtrack 40 miles around the edge of the park I might have some luck at the Lookout Rock campground. So I headed back west along highway 73, through Townsend and Kinzel Springs and took Foothills Parkway south.
The road climbed uphill towards the lookout and as I drove along the sun was setting to the west and at a turn-off I stopped and admired the view. Sorry, didn't get a picture this time. Anyway, there were still a few spots open at the campground and I set up and made dinner in the dark. Around me the forest was quiet and for the first time in weeks it wasn't scorchingly hot. In fact, it was almost cool outside. It was pretty nice not to have to sweat. I took my time making food - I had picked up some vegetables, black beans, salsa, cheese(of course), etc. and was making burritos. I noticed a flash of light out of the corner of my eye. Then another. I looked more carefully and there were many flashes of light, all through the woods. Fireflies! I had never seen fireflies before. I sat there and watched the fireflies and ate my burritos in the cool night, then went to sleep.