In The Tracks Of Old Dan’l, Except Faster

Published 12:00 am Monday, November 26, 2012

We stopped by Joppa Cemetery on Sunday to show my 8th grader the graves of Squire and Sarah Boone. I had thought about their son Daniel, the ultimate wandering man, the day before.
At 5:45 a.m. Saturday, I wheeled onto Interstate 40 at Bermuda Run. Three hours and a few minutes later, a waitress at Peter’s House of Pancakes in Cherokee was serving me coffee. It would have taken old Daniel a couple weeks to get there.
“My, he’s grown,” the waitress said of Michael, 13, now a full inch taller than his father.
The restaurant is our regular breakfast spot when camping here. Old Daniel had to cook for himself.
By 10 a.m. we were atop Newfound Gap, looking at fall leaves in the valleys.
Last Friday, these could have been called the Brown Ridge Mountains. A distinct brown haze settled over the Smokies — dust blown from windstorms in Oklahoma.
I saw only a faint remnant Saturday, but hikers on the Appalachian Trail said visibility Friday had been noticeably affected by the dust.

History buffs gathered by the Yadkin River on Saturday to observe the Battle of Shallow Ford, a skirmish between Tories and Whigs in 1780. Shallowford holds a warm place in my heart because I parlayed it into my first newspaper job in 1975. During an interview, the late editor George Raynor of the Salisbury Post asked if I had ever been to Shallowford in Davie County. It’s not in Davie, I told him, but between Yadkin and Forsyth just north of my Farmington. I have canoed that section of the river more than a few times.
Quite a history buff, Raynor told me I was dreadfully wrong, and they just don’t teach history like they used to. He sent me on my way.
He called that night, told me I was right, and offered me a job.
He was right about something else: They don’t teach history like the used to. Last week I recounted to an unwitting soul how Lord Cornwallis had marched his British troops north from Salisbury, slogged through Puddin’ Ridge and Farmington to eventually reach the Shallow Ford so he could get over the Yadkin and eventually march to meet Gen. Nathaniel Greene at the Battle of Guilford Courthouse.
Why take such a circuitous route? The I-85 bridge was out, I …