RV Trip to the Smokies
10.14.18 – We picked up “Eddie,” our 25’ RV rental, from Harvey RV Rentals, which names all of its RVs. We wore the “We love Eddie” shirts that Stu had ordered for us and the owner, and presented her with her new shirt, then drove the RV back to our house to pack it up for our departure the next morning.
[photo of us in I love eddie shirts]
10.15.18 – We drove to Jetty Park Campground at Port Canaveral and parked in our site, which was just a few feet away from the waters of Port Canaveral and a very short walk to the Jetty Park fishing pier that goes out into the ocean. We arrived with time to walk around before sunset and dinner.
10.16.18 – We left Port Canaveral reluctantly, because, in addition to being a beautiful place, there was to be a lift-off at the nearby Launchpad that evening, but we had campground reservations made for every night of our trip, and we had to stay pretty much on schedule. We drove to the Eagle’s Roost campground in Lake Park, GA, nothing special, just a place to stop for the night and get an early start to a campground that was quite special. Pork tenderloin for dinner from the grill of Stu, master griller.
10.17.18 – Our next campground was beside Lake Tobesofkee, a lovely place in Macon, GA. We took a very long walk, found my spot for photographing the sunset, and after the sun did set, Stu cooked a Cornish Hen and built a campfire for us to eat in front of.
10.18.18 – We drove to the Raccoon Mountain Campground, on the outskirts of Chattanooga, and stayed for 2 nights at so we would have a good amount of time to see the city. We stopped for provisions at Walmart along the way, and had a wonderful salmon dinner, grilled by Stu, of course.
10.19.18 – We drove into the city to be at the starting point for the Chattanooga Hop On Hop Off Gray Line bus tour, for which we had purchased tickets weeks ahead and received a reminder the day before the tour. Unfortunately, upon our arrival, we were told that the bus tour had been shut down several weeks before. The company didn’t even have the decency to inform us – and to not send us a day-before reminder. So we were on our own, but we did fine. The city offers a free shuttle around the town, and we took it to the riverfront, where we took a wonderful walk along the river and around the art museum with beautiful outdoor sculptures along the paths.
After lunch at the Bluegrass Grill, we drove to the Incline Railway and bought tickets for the ride up (and back down) the incline, but the line to get on was quite long, so we went to the nearby Rock City (a “geological and botanical wonder” at the top of Lookout Mountain) while we waited. Rock City, with its long, winding paths through the giant rocks, was quite amazing. It was a 10,000-step day for both of us.
We then returned to the Incline Railway for our one-mile ride up Lookout Mountain on the steepest incline railway in the world, pulled by cables from the top.
We were glad to see in the Machine Room at the top a very large brake that would stop the train from rolling back down the hill in the event of a cable malfunction.
10.20.18 – It’s time to begin our photo workshop. We drove to Townsend, TN, to the KOA Campground 2 miles from the workshop meeting place at 3pm. John Slonina, our leader, had a 12-person van and drove us everywhere we needed to go in the Smoky Mountains for the next 3 days. We started at the Little River, which is narrow but very long, with cascades, rapids, and waterfalls all along the way – great to photograph. After dark, we had dinner at the Carriage Inn in Townsend with all our workshop buddies.
10.21.18 – Starting well before sunrise, we headed for the Foothills Parkway for early morning shooting before brunch. After a mid-day break, John drove us across the Smoky Mountains on Newfound Gap Road to the Oconaluftee Visitor Center on the other side where we were delighted to find that the field was full of elk.
We watched the male elk court his ladies, and when threatened by a rival male elk, he chased the invader away from the field.
The nearby Mountain Farm Museum had numerous old log structures which we wandered among, although a bit timidly after passing the sign that said, “Caution: Snakes active in this area.”
We stopped at many overlooks on the way back and watched the sun set over the mountains. Then our group had dinner in Gatlinberg at the Cherokee Grill.
10.22.18 – We met at 7am for the drive to Cades Cove, a section of the Smoky Mountains that has beautiful landscapes, and, usually, lots of wildlife visible. On this day, however, there was not an animal to be seen, though we did enjoy the foggy landscapes and, later in the day, the Place of a Thousand Drips waterfall on the Roaring Fork Motor Trail. We then dined together at the wonderful Old Mill Restaurant in Pigeon Forge, TN.