On the Road: Looking at America Through a Layer of Filth, Grime and Bug Guts

Mountain Valley

The Smokies

The mountains are beautiful, so beautiful I wanted to take some pictures of them. My problem was I didn't know where to start. If beauty was the criteria that was required for me to snap a shot, then I would run out of film in a few minutes. I needed guidance. I needed a sign from a higher power to point me to the best place to photograph. As I drove my car around a curve on the mountain, I saw it. I saw the sign I was looking for. The sign was a big, white arrow, surrounded in lights with the words, "Most Photographed View in the Smokies", painted on it. I found it. I found the perfect spot to take my pictures of these glorious mountains. Not only was there a sign that told me where to stop, but there was a 100 foot tower that would provide a spectacular view. This spot was perfect, and why wouldn't it be? Millions of people have stopped here and captured this sight on film. Millions of people agree that this spot is grand. Who am I to question the tide of popularity? This was a time for band wagon riding.

Normally, I would say a huge 100 foot tower would distract from the scenic beauty around it, but I barely noticed this tower's bright red color or the giant Coca Cola sign at the top of it. The view from the top of the tower was a perfect place to take a picture. It was well worth the extra work to climb the structure and the 50 cents that the owners charged for admission. As I took my pictures, I saw the mountains, and blue sky flash between the closing and opening of my camera's shutter and a feeling came over me. I felt like I was part of something bigger than myself. Suddenly, I was connected to a larger consciousness. I was part of a giant community of folks who share one thing -- the same exact picture of the Smoky Mountains.

same old view

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