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Thursday, June 09, 2011

US Highway 64 East Trip Report

I enjoy my trip on US Highway 64 East from Hendersonville to Mocksville, North Carolina. I have for the longest time wanted to take Highway 64, all the way to the coast of North Carolina. This trip was the first that I have taking it past Rutherfordton, North Carolina.

Starting the trip out on Hendersonville, I traveled through the Hickory Nut Gouge and the towns of Bat Cave, Chimney Rock, and Lake Lure. These three towns are tourist traps but great to explore. Bat Cave is named after a cave but access is limited for the protection on the bats. Chimney Rock gets its name from a rock outcrop on the cliff that the town is nestles at the bottom of that looks like a chimney. You can enter Chimney Rock State Park here. Lake Lure sits around the lake of Lake Lure. I couple movies have been shot in this resort towns in the mountains. Two of these movies were Dirty Dancing and The Last of the Mohicans.

From Lake Lure to Morganton, I enjoyed my ride through the countryside stopping to take picture of some of the church on the way. I did not stop in Rutherfordton since I figured I could make a quick day trip sometime to explore it more on later date. Just outside Morganton, I stopped at the little convenient store to use the restrooms but no public restrooms to be seen. I did buy a drink and in my change was a georged bill. So I got to hit a bill while I was releasing more marked bills.

I stopped at a McDonald's in Morganton for lunch and to use the wi-fi to do a quick trip update for those who were following my trip. I had to ask the manager at the McDonald's for directions to make sure I took the right way. US Highway 64 East has a Truck and a Business Routes in Marganton. Since the Truck Route was the one I need to get to Lenoir, I head out on it. I passed by Tuttle Educational State Forest near Gamewell. Gamewell is a very nice community along the highway. Driving through Lenoir brought back good childhood memeries. My grandparents, used to take me camping at a RV park near Lenoir when I was young.

The next section, between Lenoir and Statesville, has a lot of corn and hay fields. It made for a very relaxing drive. I stopped in the town of Taylorsville to have a look around. There is not much but the Courthouse has some nice memorials for the wars the the citizens of Alexander County served in on the front lawn. One of the memorials had the bell that was on top the old courthouse that burned down in the 1960s. I have used to announce special events like weddings and the end of World War I and World War II. Heading to Statesville, I pasted by a museum in Hiddenite because I had a pickup truck riding my butt. Like getting right behind me like make the 18 wheeler in front of me go any faster. I sure I would have enjoyed a quick visit but I could do it some other time.

I really enjoyed my time in Statesville. I will be doing a day trip to explore this city again. I looked at the old First National Bank on South Center Street. First National Bank was one of the banks that closed during the Great Depression. The old courthouse is right next to it. I also looked at the old Merchants and Farmers Bank building on Board Street. The Merchants and Farmers Bank merged with want would become the Bank of America. One of many banks to do so right!

After Statesville, I headed over to Mocksville. I was surprised by a car show on Main Street. I spent a little while looking around at the cars and the memorials. I talked to a police officer, to get directions to my last stop before heading back home, and found out they have the car shows on the first and third Mondays of the summer months through October. I headed just out of town on US Highway 601 to see the grave site for Daniel Boone's parents and one of his brothers. They are buried in Joppa Cemetery which is located almost across the road from a Scottish Inn. The graves are in the old part of the cemetery. Just go around the gate that blocks car from going into the old section. The graves are hard to miss.

For my reader who are not from the United States and may do not know who Daniel Boone was. He was a pioneer, hunter, soldier and many other things who explored and help settled what is today the state of Kentucky. The towns of Boone, North Carolina, Boonesboro and Boone's Station, Kentucky are named after him.

After looks around the cemetery a little, I started heading towards home. I did not look for a place to get online since I wanted to get up Old Fort Mountain on Interstate 40 before it got too dark. I stopped in Hickory, North Carolina for dinner. That is another town I would like to do more exploring of. I have only past through on the Interstate. With my trip over and taking a little over 300 miles round trip I have taking time to think about want I saw, I will like to do it again some time. I would like to head back to spend more time looking around in Statesville and Mocksville.

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