Thursday, July 15, 2010


Well, you haven't heard much from me for a few days. We've been too busy in Gatlinburg for me to take time to write! We made the drive from Hendersonville to Gatlinburg without incident but not without some white knuckles! I've driven the mountains many times in many places and don't think too much about it, but driving a motorhome in the mountains was a different experience, expecially in the construction zone on I-40 where a rock slide had obliterated part of the road a couple of years ago and kept it closed for quite some time. The highway is open, at least one lane, but it was a narrow lane and the road is still winding. But I made my first mountain drive in the Fiesta and we made it fine!

We are at the TwinCreek RV Park in Gatlinburg. It is an excellent place to be. The sites are good and well equipped ... and fairly level. Even better, it sits on the trolley line that lets us travel in Gatlinburg without a car of our own. The campground has some they rent out, but the cost is a little pricey and so we elected to not rent this time.

Tuesday we rode the trolley into G'burg, walked around town, had a good time, ate a late lunch and walked some more and then came home pretty tired. But a good time was had. Came home to the campground to find we have new neighbors on both sides. And one of them is driving a Fleetwood Fiesta, a 27 footer like our too! This is only the third on we've seen. It's a 26-Y as opposed to our 26-Q, meaning they have different floorplans, but still very similar.

Wednesday, July 14, was my 63rd birthday. Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge are great places to celebrate a birthday. A BIG thank you to all the people who wished me a happy birthday via eMail and FaceBook. The many greetings of the day were deeply appreciated! We ended the day with a rousing game of Tri-ominoes. Ah, the life!

Today, we took the aerial tramway to the top of the Ober Gatlinburg where we had beautiful views of the Great Smoky Mountains. It was a beautiful day. This may be the first day of our vacation where I got too much sun. We finished off the day by doing a load of laundry. That's not much fun but had to be done.

Friday we hope to see a high school classmate of mine, Jim Sidwell, who lives in Sevierville. And then Saturday we'll hit the road for home, hopefully by Sunday night.


Monday, July 12, 2010

Time for Nature

Yesterday, we had a slow start to the day (let it be noted that we did NOT go to church anywhere on this vacation day and, yes, it did feel a little bit different).

We headed out to the Caw Caw Interpretative Center where we could see the results of an experiment in planting tea and an old rice plantation. We walked a longish nature trail on a boardwalk through the swamp and on the dikes between the rice fields. There was an old plantation there that was the scene of an early slave uprising. Nothing but the fields remained, but it was an interesting insight into a different time and a different way of life. AND, we think we heard an alligator grunting not too far from us...THINK, mind you. We didn't see the 'gator but felt a little uncertain about that stretch of trail. At the beginning of the trail, at the interpretative center, there was a warning about the presence of cottonmouth water moccasins and timber rattlesnakes. That did make me a little uneasy walking through the swamp trail, but we didn't see any signs of any snakes. Whew!

Then we went to a working tea plantation. It is one of a kind in the US, growing the tea, packaging it, and marketing it. It is owned by the Bigelow Tea Co but sells under the name of American Classic Tea. We had a tour of the production facility but didn't see the need of paying for a trolley tour of the tea fields.

Our last "tour" of the day was at the Charles Towne Landing Museum. We got there too late to tour the whole park and see the actual buildings but toured the museum itself and learned a lot about the original settlement of Charleston.

We ended the day with a pizza and a game of tri-ominoes.

Today we made the drive from Charleston up into the Blue Ridge Mountains. We're camped at Hendersonville, NC, tonight, planning to drive to Gatlinburg tomorrow where we'll stay for four days and then make a mad dash home, covering 700+ miles in two days. Those will be the hardest days of our trip. We are planning to get back home a week earlier than initially planned because my High School 45th Class Reunion got scheduled for August 7 so that I will need to go back to Tennessee on a weekend I had not initially planned for.

Mary is being amazed at the beautiful mountain scenery we are entering. And I am enjoying seeing it again. As for driving an RV in the mountains...well, today was a foretaste of up hill/down hill and steep grades. Lets hope that tomorrow goes well. And that I don't run into any underpasses lower than 11'4"!!!