Some thoughts by Paul are below.
Try the same thing from the mouth of the French Broad at Knoxville, Tennessee to it source near Rosman, North Carolina, and you'll have a widely different experience. You'll be in the car all day. You'll drive on Federal, State and County roads, many of them dirt and gravel. The sweetness of East Tennessee speech gives way to the sour note of Western North Carolina. The churches go from Baptist to Pentecostal to Baptist again. And seeing the river will involve walking.
For two hundred and more years, anyone traveling any distance was concerned to get across the French Broad rather than up and down it. It was hard. That goes double for those with baggage, horses or automobiles--or, in my case, an easel, paints and lunch. This difficulty is lost to the traveler in cities the river bisects, such as Asheville, where all levels of government have thwarted it in concrete.
The I-240 bridge in Asheville shown in the oil painting below is a triumph all the more impressive when one recalls that people actually died crossing this river in private ferries as late at the 1940’s. Underneath it sits the graffiti-covered tobacco warehouse in the ink drawing, itself a little monument to works and days now gone.