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I've just been reading the last few weeks worth of the chitchat on the AT list and would like to comment on a few of the topics
First, I heartily concur with Mark Holmes regarding the people of Erwin, TN. We found them to be very kind, hospitable, and friendly. Red the Barber even gave me a free haircut and offer his prayers for my safe journey. The town had a warm welcoming feeling.
Second, regarding drunks (possibly with loaded guns). Coming down off Roan Mountain as dusk was falling (as well as the temperature) we were in dire need of a ride into town (for a couple of reasons but that's another story). The only people we met were two very inebriated men probably in their middle thirties and a sober young man about twenty who was with them. The two intoxicated men both had vehicles but could not drive (much less talk). One let the young lad borrow a car to drive us down the mountain-----about a 30+ round trip----and wanted no compensation. It was quite dark by the time we finally yogied our ride. These men would undoubtedly fit the stereotype of the redneck from Tennessee but were as pleasant and accommodating as could be. Keep in mind, the stereotypes that frighten us are all in our minds.
Third, why a gun----wouldn't it be better to just politely remove yourself from the uncomfortable situations and get yourself to a place where you feel safe? Actually by the time you fiddled with straps, zippers, packs to get to your gun, you'd be deader than a doornail. Nothing will escalate a situations faster than a biting tongue. Leave the guns home---you won't need them.
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