I live in Cleveland, TN and you are definitely right....there is hardly anything around here in the way of homebrewing. I had to drive to Cartersville, GA to purchase most of my equipment. They were cheaper than online stores and the cost of shipping would have been way more than the gas I spent driving down.
As far as kegs go...I drove three hours to get the ones I have (Asheville,NC). I found someone selling their whole AG set-up on Craigslist for $325 (2-keggles w/ welded fittings, 60' 3/8 ID copper tubing, 10gal round Igloo cooler with manifold and fittings, propane burner and tank and some other miscellaneous parts). The scrapyard in the Chatt area said they get kegs every once and awhile but wanted to charge me around $1.60/ lb for the stainless. I know stainless is good for scrap now but not that good. That's double what he gave for it so that was a no go.
All that said....I feel your pain.
On the brightside, the Chattanooga area does have a local homebrew club called The BarleyMob. They meet once a month in the downtown area at a brewpub called the Big River Grille. I'm not a member yet but am looking into it. Gotta love the Bible Belt!