On Monday morning, we packed up the car again and set off westward. The next scheduled stop on the road trip is Cherokee, North Carolina. Why would we include such a small town on our list of stops? Poker.
The Indian Gaming Regulatory Act of 1988 provided Native Americans with a legal structure permitting them to formalise gaming establishments on tribal lands, and thus generate economic benefits for the tribes. It should come us no surprise that a town called Cherokee lies within the boundaries of the reservation of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Nation.
So it was that we set off from Yadkinville after breakfast. We were in no desperate hurry because, as travel days go, this was a fairly short trip at only 185 miles. En route, we stopped in Asheville as I needed to buy some new trousers. That morning, I had disposed of a pair of Columbia technical trousers that I had worn out. Luckily, there is a chain of outdoor stores called REI that had a sizeable store there so we stopped off and I bought a replacement pair.
We carried on to Cherokee and checked in at the Harrah’s Hotel. It’s part of the Caesar’s chain so I was able to exploit my elevated status from Vegas and booked two nights at zero cost, which was nice. We had a nice room, although it looked out on to the car park roof – but free is free.
The poker tournament was due to start at 7:00pm so we grabbed an early dinner and registered. The tournament eventually drew a field of 37 players in total. Ishbel got unlucky early on and busted out while I was able to build a decent chip stack and lasted quite deep into the tournament. I suggested to Ishbel that she buy into the 10:00pm tournament while I continued to survive in the earlier one. Eventually, I bust in sixth place, and they were only paying four places which was unfortunate. On the bright side, Ishbel met with greater success in th 10:00pm tournament and the last three players agreed to an even split of the prize pool, so her winnings comfortably covered the costs of our entries, and then some.
Ishbel had played quite late so we were a little slow getting started on Tuesday morning but after breakfast we were raring to go. We had driven through some beautiful scenery on the way to Cherokee and decided to get away from the casino for a while and take in some of the countryside. We discovered that, about a 45 minute drive away, there was a waterfall, called Dry Falls, that had a walkway behind it. We jumped in the car and headed out.
The falls looked great from above, and the noise was deafening as we walked towards them. This was a good time of year to see them as the water was still running off of the mountains while the weather was pleasantly warm. As we approached, Ishbel filmed a video.
This was a lovely little spot to just relax and breathe the air.
After the falls, we headed back and both signed up again for the 7pm tournament at Harrah’s. Ishbel lasted longer than me but neither of us cashed. We didn’t feel like having the late night that would be necessary if we played the 10pm tournament that night, so we headed off to bed. Tomorrow, Nashville!
*Cherokee Shuffle is a traditional American fiddle tune often played at Old Time and Bluegrass jams.