Been on vacation the last week, in Watagua County, North Carolina.
This vacation has turned epic for a number of reasons, some good, some unfortunate. I may get into it over time.
Saturday, though, had to take a drive down to Charlotte, about two hours, give or take, away from Boone, NC.
On that drive I spent about 50-odd miles on Route 421 South, passing into Wilkesboro for a long stretch. The sky was brilliant, the hills rising and falling out my windows, big fluffy clouds overhead. A steady mix of Springsteen, Tom Petty and Sturgill Simpson rode with me up front while the kids Minecrafted in the back.
It dawned on me at some point that I was in pretty famous country, if you’re into that sort of thing. I remembered an Esquire piece I read by Tom Wolfe on and about Junior Johnson called The Last American Hero (look it up, it’s a great piece of writing).
Junior came from a long line of bootleggers, and he ran a lot of ‘shine himself along the dark country North Carolina roads.Then, he started running in stock car races in North Wilksboro and became went on to become arguably the biggest star of stock-car racing.
I’m not into that sport, but that piece by Tom Wolfe impressed me enough for me to remember where I was today. And, sure enough, just after I passed a hot rod Chevy Caprice parked on a patch of grass, I came upon a large green state sign proclaiming this part of Route 421 “Junior Johnson Highway.”
Thunder Road indeed!
(c)Mark Krajnak | JerseyStyle Photography | 2016