I'm Chels. I blog about science, art, tennis, and my adventures in journalism. Officially, I'm a Science Writer at Brookhaven National Lab and I blog for them, too. Unofficially, I'm pretty awesome.

Or, you know, owsome.

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Posts tagged north carolina

Last night, Casey and Cody took me out to dinner at a cool place called Junction. You know it’s cool because my cocktail was called the Honey Badger (which is the only reason I ordered it). The food and drinks were delicious, but even better was hanging out with these two. Casey’s a poet and Cody’s an artist and I count them as two of my most interesting friends.

Trip Log, Day 9

I drove longways through Tennessee today and let me tell you something, that state is gorgeous. I’d been down to Gatlinburg for spring break during grad school, but it was the tail end of winter and the trees hadn’t fully come back yet. Today, with the hills and the lush greenery, Tennessee reminded me of home. And once I hit the Smoky Mountains, it felt like a deciduous version of Oregon. 


  • Driving through Great Smoky Mountain National Park was a total treat. The hills just keep rising up one after the other, and I got to drive a mountain highway for the last hour of my drive, which had lots of beautiful tree-lined curves and followed a river most the way. It was a nice change from the interstate.
  • Speaking of the interstate, I swear on everything I hold dear that I saw a vulture walking down the highway today. Lots of cars in front of me were slowing to look, too, so I’m pretty sure I’m not crazy. But I have been driving for 9 days, so maybe I’m beginning to hallucinate.
  • Tennessee has electronic signs over the highway every so often and most of them have this morbid message about how the state has had 622 fatalities due to road accidents this year (I’ve memorized the number because I saw it so much) and you should be safe or you’ll be next. At first I thought this was a little over the top, but when I experienced the horrific drivers throughout the state, I began to understand why it’s necessary. I saw several almost accidents and was tailgated by a semi today. It was stressful.
  • I had to take several detours again today because of construction, and I passed through some cute little towns with rocking chairs on all the porches and one-room churches on the side of the road. In one, there was a dude swinging a guitar around his head like a lasso trying to drum up an audience for a band in a bar and when he saw me, he pointed directly at me and kicked the dirt, as if that would convince me to see his show.

When I got in, Casey and Cody took me out to a great dinner and then we hit the Laugh Your Asheville Off comedy festival that’s in town. It was so great catching up with these two friends and laughing hard and just enjoying time together. 

Just two more days and this trip comes to an end.