On Google Earth and my old topo maps, Eastern Tennessee is lined with long mountain ridges and long valleys, running diagonally from southwest to northeast. These are the "wrinkles" were created when the Smokey Mountain Thrust Sheet slammed into the area millions of years ago. Our plan was to try to get to the Cumberland Gap area of Kentucky, crossing some of this interesting topology along the way.
Our tour of Tuckaleechee took most of the morning. By just about lunch time, we were leaving the Townsend area away from the Smokeys and toward Maryville. The brief bit we saw of Maryville made it look like an interesting place, perched atop a couple of the aforementioned ridges. From there we headed north toward Knoxville. All-in-all, I have enjoyed every trip I’ve taken to Knoxville. However, this time our route seemed to take us through the seedier parts of the city.
From Knoxville we continued northeast along state route 33 until we got to Tazeville. A quick late lunch at Tazeville, and it was north on 25E to the Cumberland Gap. We drove through the small town of Cumberland Gap, Tennessee, then through the tunnel into Kentucky.
I guess my interest in this area comes from watching Daniel Boone as a kid, and reading his biography. I was amused that all of the depictions in the Cumberland Gap Visitors Center bore a faint resemblance to Fess Parker. From the Visitors Center, we took the four-mile drive up to the Pinnacle, which overlooks the Gap and the surrounding area. The views were incredible.