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Holcombs RV
Emmylou, Drew, Huck, Rivers, and Ellie Holcomb outside their Airstream trailer. Photos courtesy of the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development.

“In a regular year we would be touring. But this is not a regular year,” said Drew Holcomb (’03), leader of the Americana group Drew Holcomb and the Neighbors, in the introduction to a web series promoting COVID-safe travel for the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development’s “For the Love of Tennessee, Travel Safe” campaign. “So we had an opportunity to do an epic road trip and go places we had never seen before.”

Drew and his wife, Ellie Holcomb (’05), hitched a classic Airstream trailer to their pickup and took their children, Emmylou, Huck, and Rivers, and drove 1,600 miles to visit Tennessee sights from the Memphis Zoo and Aquarium to the Foothills Parkway in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park—all captured on video for the web series.“Tennessee has so many places that are beautiful that you don’t have to go indoors everywhere,” Drew Holcomb told the Tennessean. “We ate outside, we camped outside, and then everywhere we went we tried to wear masks and social distance and abide by the CDC guidelines and public health experts’ opinions.

“The biggest surprise is definitely how much left there is for me to see in Tennessee,” he said. One example is the Obed National Wild and Scenic River near Wartburg in East Tennessee. “I would literally tell anybody now it’d be in my top five places to see in the state. I lived here my whole life and I didn’t even know it existed.”

Camping on Nickajack Lake west of Chattanooga, the couple composed a song by the campfire about their son Rivers. While in Chattanooga, they did visit Rock City. “I’ve seen the ‘See Rock City’ ads along the highways my whole life,” said Ellie Holcomb in a video segment. “And now we’ve been there.”


Brooks Clark (865-310-1277,