Having worked in Knoxville, off and on, for the last year +, I have learned more about getting around the Big City than I ever cared to know. Getting to work is normally easy, as traffic is fairly light before 7:00 AM on I-40/I-75. However, getting home -- especially on Friday evenings -- has become and adventure in discovery.
My employment is centered just off Exit 1 from I-640, so I'm near Papermill Drive. This inspired me to try going down Northshore, which begins at Papermill and ends near Cedar Hills Golf & Country Club just north of Lenoir City. This was interesting, because last year we discovered that the KnoxPatch-Powers-That-Be had installed a roundabout at the intersection of Concord and Northshore. A roundabout; I'm dead serious. That brought about a monstrous disappointment when I first came to the intersection recently, and discovered that a traffic light had been installed. They put in the traffic signal that should have been there to begin with, but they left the roundabout. So now, one must stop at the light when it is red, then curve to the right, then back left if one is to continue in what used to be a straight line. The island in the center is intact, as if a homeless person may come along one day an pitch a tent.
The route is fine for Fridays, and though it is more mileage, I feel that it takes less time due to the lack of parking facilities such as the ones on I-40 near Papermill and Pellissippi Parkway from 3:00 PM to 6:00 PM. However, I began to investigate the possibility of another alternate route one day, and found that Middlebrook Pike runs straight into Hardin Valley Road, which ends close-by to the Watt Road I-40 entrance. I know that I really don't want to hit the interstate there, but I found that Campbell Station Road also ends at Hardin Valley, and it would give me the chance to completely bypass the major Friday evening traffic tie-ups which lie in a southwesterly direction.
So, one evening, I headed down Middlebrook Pike. The first thing I learned is that one doesn't want to explore unknown country, going at a rate of 50 miles per hour or so, with the setting sun directly in one's face. It's hard to see traffic lights change, and impossible to read street signs. But, as I was headed that way, I was determined to forge on. I passed Cedar Bluff Road (which I only knew by recognition of the area), then several other streets and neighborhoods of which I have no knowledge, whatsoever. The next landmark I recognized was Pellissippi Parkway, an overpass at Hardin Valley. I knew, then, that I was at least close to Campbell Station, my ultimate goal.
I passed the fairly new Hardin Valley school complex (Home of the Hawks), then I went by a Food City -- good information to have for a person with a Food City value card, and a potential need for gasoline. I then came to the end of Hardin Valley Road, which meant that I had completely missed North Campbell Station, damn the Scots, anyway.
But, in exploration mode, I went ahead onto East Gallaher Ferry Road, which became Williams Road, then Williams Ferry Road, which brought me to Melton Hill Park, of which I had never known; and that's where my road ended. By this time, I knew that I had lost the chance at a short way home, due to the fact that I would have to turn around and retrace my tire marks.
This I did, and I tried Hickory creek road, which goes in the same general direction as the location of the interstate, but I got buffaloed there, also, and wound up retracing back to -- Hardin Valley Road. I headed back east, toward Knoxville, and -- remember that Food City I discovered? North Campbell Station Road is right in front of the Gas 'N' Go located there. With the setting sun in my hindquarters, I could see the street sign.
So, I finally found I-40, and arrived home with new information for how to get from work to here during heavy traffic. Melton Hill Park? I'll save that for some spring day when I need to get outdoors without doing any real work. There has to be something worthwhile there, other than people who have gotten completely turned around, I mean.