After our stay in Huddleston VA we headed over to Knoxville to see Neil’s baby sister MJ early Friday morning Oct 3. It was a lousy day to travel…drizzled off and on through both setup and departure and throughout the day with a couple of periods of pretty heavy rain; not stopping until just a few miles before our arrival at the Raccoon Valley RV Park in Heiskell TN just north of Knoxville. We pulled into our usual camping location when we visit Knoxville…far enough out of town to be comfortable but close enough to visit. Our original plan was for MJ to come by and we would grill burgers but Neil was feeling poorly most of the day so we cancelled that and just stayed home.
Saturday we went over in the early afternoon and watched Alabama trash Georgia 38-10 and ate the burgers we would have had the evening before before heading back home about 2000 or so.
Sunday MJ had a lunch date with a friend from college so we said our see ya later’s Saturday evening and stayed home and ate a steak on Sunday.
Monday we headed about 40 miles southeast from Knoxville to Wears Valley TN which is right on the northwest border of Smoky Mountains National Park. Connie spent the afternoon working as she was getting her student paperwork out. Tuesday was our first Fun Stuff© day so we headed off for a driving tour of the Cades Cove Loop Road followed by a drive up to the summit of Clingman’s Dome which is one of the higher peaks in the park.
We were absolutely amazed at the number of people in the park for a Tuesday afternoon in October…it took us almost 3 hours to do the 11 mile loop around Cades Cove…stop and go with two major problems on the way…first was people waiting on the 1 lane road for parking spaces at the visitor center and second was a bear jam where despite the rangers telling people to move along the idiots were stopping to take pictures of the bear and getting out of the cars to do so. It was only a 200 or so pound black bear but it’s big enough to do some damage to you if it wanted to.
After the loop we headed up Clingman’s Dome and got some nice shots from up there then headed home with a stop by the Iron Boar Saloon…it was a biker/Mexican food bar and both the brews, tacos, and fajita soft tacos were outstanding.
Wednesday was a work day and get her nails done day for Connie…we stopped by the Falls Restaurant on the way home for a short happy hour…then Thursday again we had a hike scheduled up to Laurel Falls which is a double drop of about 80 feet total with a 2.6 mile or so round trip. After that we headed home for a shower and got as much of the house ready to travel as we could…Friday was a scheduled 330 mile day so we dumped tanks and disconnected everything but power then hitched since we had a large site. For dinner we drove back down to the Iron Boar since the food was so good. Had an appetizer platter which was ok but not as good as the tacos and soft tacos from the first time.
Two different shots of the same set of rapids…the difference between the two is shutter speed in the camera. The second shot has a lot slower speed which is still fast enough to keep unmoving things from losing focus but slow enough so that the fast moving water gives much more of the blurry, flowing water effect.
One of the homes on the Cades Cove Loop Road
Tree and field where we had lunch on the side of the road.
Panoramic view of the Cades Cove looking south from the visitor center.
The bear causing the traffic jam…lousy photo but Neil didn’t stop to compose, he just poked the camera out the window and hit the shutter.
Another bear…sow and a cub eating acorns when we were almost done with the Cades Cove Loop Road.
Views from the summit of Clingman’s Dome…you can see from the haze in the distant valleys…they call them hollers in these parts…why the mountains are named what they are. This was an exceptionally clear day for this park…Neil’s been here probably 10 times total although the last time was 40 years ago and you just don’t see many brilliant, clear days like you do out in the western mountains.
Neil especially liked this one with the sun rays coming down from the top.
Some shots of Laurel Falls.
Upper drop top section.
Entire upper drop.
Friday we got up early again…and were packed and on the road before 0800 for our 330 mile transit to Tuscaloosa AL where we spent the weekend. We arrived at the Elks Lodge in Tuscaloosa, got checked in and parked and headed into the lodge for dinner and brews.
Saturday we watched the Alabama Arkansas game in the lodge and Sunday was Mass and dinner.
Monday we’re off to Coffeeville for 2 days…we were originally scheduled for 4 days there but the flushing mechanism on our toilet is breaking so we’ll just stay in Coffeeville 2 nights then head on to Foley which is a larger city so we’ll be able to find a mobile RV repair guy to come and fix it.