We spent the all day in the famous Smokey Mountains from where you have a panoramic view over six states: South and North Carolina, Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia. It’s such a luxurious forest with gorgeous mountains! We saw a majestic wild deer standing in the middle of the fields before us. We walked and learned about the story of this great National Park and the construction of the main road by the pioneers. I still have a quote by Michael Frome echoing in my mind: “Here, then, is a sanctuary for both nature and man…”
We got the nicest room ever in Knoxville thanks to AirBnB! It was only $24 a night and much better than any hotel! Wicked! The next day we had a look at Ijam National Park, a natural beauty. We saw all different kind of animals: turtles, snakes, big spiders and giant fish. It was refreshing to walk around this luxurious forest. After that, we made a move to Historical Museum of Tennessee in which we learned many things about the American Revolution, the Civil War, The Ku Klux Klan, the Indian genocide… And we took the road again, down south, to Chattanooga!
Chattanooga… I found the most atypical character of all thanks to couchsurfing: Joe. A 22 year old guy, working as a electric technician living a crumbling, creepy house. He explained us he bought this house 3 months ago for $14,000 and he was renovating it little by little. There were wild cats coming in and out the house and big spiders in the bathroom but Jo was the nicest guys who did everything in his power who we could have a pleasant stay. He took us downtown; we played chess and darts. The next day we made a 10 hour drive to finally reach Louisiana, the former land of my ancestors!
Another couch surfing find meant we found Samson, such a funny person! As soon as I passed his door step, I saw a 6ft4 21 year old, kind of hippie with great attitude! We were lucky enough to have a private room in his lovely little suburban house, in a quiet neighbourhood, close to the forest! He lived with his flatmate Jenny and another one gone to Europe for the next 3 months! During the day, he was our guide and we visited the Old State Capitol: a 165 year old building rich in historical events. In the evening, he led us to a typical country style concert until midnight. Great music, very enjoyable! After that we discovered Baton Rouge’s night life by trying all the differents bars and clubs downtown! The next day, we were on the road again. Next stop: Mobile, Alabama!