This must be the place: It’s a Monday, it’s so mundane, what exciting things will happen today?

Just east of Hot Springs, I pulled off U.S. 70 and turned into the small, muddy parking lot. Emerging from the truck, I threw on the rest of my trail running gear. Heading northbound on the Appalachian Trail, the destination was the Rich Mountain Tower. 

This must be the place: I dreamt that you were Joan-of Arc and I was Don Quixote

Right at the line of Graham and Swain counties, along a stretch of N.C. 28, is the entrance to the Tsali Recreation Area. It was late Monday afternoon and the sun was quickly falling toward the horizon.

This must be the place: Someday soon, you’re gonna have families of your own

Stepping into the Cresskill Tavern in Cresskill, New Jersey, last Wednesday evening, the place looked the exact same. It had been just about a decade since I last wandered in there. Electric blue painted walls. Pool table. Jukebox. L-shaped bar. Just enough room for you and your friends, but that’s about it.

This must be the place: There were oh so many roads, I was livin’ to run and runnin’ to live

It’s Saturday evening here at my parents’ 1840 farmhouse in Upstate New York. The temperature is hovering around 15 degrees with a wind chill ducking below zero. It’s Jan. 8 and I was supposed to be back at my humble abode in Western North Carolina on Dec. 30. 

This must be the place: Ain’t nobody slowing down no way, everybody’s stepping on their accelerator

It was about 4:30 a.m. when the cover of the hot tub was finally pulled off and we jumped into the warm waters in the early hours of New Year’s Day. 

This must be the place: When the winter comes, keep the fires lit, and I will be right next to you

All bundled up and sitting on the frozen, snowy summit of Poke-O-Moonshine Mountain in the heart of the Adirondacks of Upstate New York on Christmas Eve, I let out a sigh, my breath visible in the 12-degree weather. 

This must be the place: My dreams fading down the railway line, I’m just about a moonlight mile down the road

It’s 9:21 a.m. Monday. Room 130. Super 8 Motel on the outskirts of Valdosta, Georgia. The air in the space is cool from the ragged old air-conditioner underneath the window. TV blaring some holiday rom-com flick, but the sound is muted. The Rolling Stones’ “Moonlight Mile” swirling around the bed from the laptop speakers. 

This must be the place

It’s 11:16 a.m. Wednesday. Sitting in the lobby of the Dunes Inn & Suites on Tybee Island, Georgia, I can finally collect myself and write this column, seeing as the Wi-Fi is only good in the lobby and not the motel room (#132) at the back of the property. 

This must be the place: Won’t somebody tell me what I’m doing here? Won’t somebody tell me where I’m going?

Finishing up my scrambled eggs and black cherry yogurt, I washed the dishes in the small sink. Dried off my hands and took another sip of my coffee. Mosey over to my ragged desk in my humble abode, in front of a dusty window with a slight view of Russ Avenue in downtown Waynesville. 

Ode to GWAR, ode to heavy metal integrity

Standing in the photo pit last week between heavy metal icons GWAR and a sold-out roaring audience at The Orange Peel in Asheville was something to behold — more so a spectacle of unknown possibility and artistic merit. 

Smokey Mountain News Logo
SUPPORT THE SMOKY MOUNTAIN NEWS AND
INDEPENDENT, AWARD-WINNING JOURNALISM
Go to top
Payment Information

/

At our inception 20 years ago, we chose to be different. Unlike other news organizations, we made the decision to provide in-depth, regional reporting free to anyone who wanted access to it. We don’t plan to change that model. Support from our readers will help us maintain and strengthen the editorial independence that is crucial to our mission to help make Western North Carolina a better place to call home. If you are able, please support The Smoky Mountain News.

The Smoky Mountain News is a wholly private corporation. Reader contributions support the journalistic mission of SMN to remain independent. Your support of SMN does not constitute a charitable donation. If you have a question about contributing to SMN, please contact us.