Monday, July 23, 2007


Well, we made it home safely on Sunday. Bob and Mike went back to work today and I spent the day emptying the motor home, doing laundry, mowing the lawn, and reassuring the cats that just because I was in and out of the RV all day didn't mean that we were planning on leaving again right away. We had a wonderful trip and are already talking about going back. The North Carolina mountains are definitely a place we could retire to.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

One Last Hike

Today it was souvenir shopping and one last hike. I wanted to find some authentic Cherokee handicrafts so we headed downtown. Cherokee is a very tourist oriented town with souvenir shop after souvenir shop lining the streets. Should be easy to find something, right? Wrong! Tacky souvenir junk and t-shirts were a dime a dozen but authentic crafts, non-existent. Fortunately I remembered passing some kind of Native American store on the way to Cherokee so we backtracked and checked it out. The merchandise was a bit pricey but it was authentic so I got my souvenirs. After shopping Bob and I headed for Mingo Falls which is located about 1/2 mile north of the KOA. Because we didn't know how strenuous a hike it would be to the falls Mike opted out. The first part of the trail was a set of stairs that made us "huff" and "puff" a bit but once the top was reached the trail leveled out and it was just a quick hike to the falls. These falls were impressive - not a lot of water but the water drops over 120 feet. We went back to the campground and got Mike so he could see a "real" waterfall. After a trip to the end of Big Cove Road to satisfy our curiosity Bob and Mike loaded the car on the hauler for tomorrow's departure.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Rain, rain go away!

To get to Cades Cove we had to travel the same roads we took yesterday to go to Laurel Falls as Cades Cove is at the end of the Laurel Falls road. Again the weather was not cooperating, first drizzle and then hard rain. However someone upstairs must have been on our side because as soon as we started driving "The Loop" the rain stopped and the sun started to peek through the clouds. We took our time putting along about 10 mph and stopping to explore all the old buildings. We saw wild turkeys, lots of deer, and finally, a squirrel. We had begun to think that North Carolina did not have squirrels as we never saw or even heard any at the campground or on our hikes. But obviously they have a least one! We followed the same route home as US 441 is the only highway that crosses the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. We stopped off at Harrah's for the buffet and a little "entertainment" but our luck had apparently deserted us. Tomorrow is our last day here. Boohoo!

A Hikin' We Did Go

Yesterday we took US 441 through The Great Smoky Mountains National Park and into Gatlinburg TN. On the way we stopped to hike to the top of Clingmans Dome (6643'). There is an observation tower at the top but unfortunately all we observed were clouds. However we did feel proud of ourselves that we made it to the top because it was not an easy hike. Next stop was Laurel Falls, another hike. This trail was 2.6 miles round trip but the rise in elevation was only 200' so it was easier. Our last stop was Gatlinburg for a late lunch. Gatlinburg is definitely a tourist trap! Today we are going to the western portion of the park. It's a very overcast day so I don't know what we will see.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Great Smoky Mountain Railway

We almost didn't get to take the train trip. When we made the reservation we requested the Wed trip. Checking in today we discovered that our reservation had been made for yesterday. :-( However,the people at the KOA were very nice and managed to get us on today's train. It was a 4 1/2 hour trip and the scenery was nice. We rode past a man made lake - Fontana Lake and through the Nantahala River Gorge where they go white water rafting. We drove through the river gorge yesterday when we went to Murphy NC but today we got to see the river from the opposite side. Tomorrow we will probably go into the Smoky Mountains National Park.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

House Hunting

I'm sorry if you tried to go to the photo gallery and got an error. The internet in the campground is quite unreliable. While adding titles to the pictures the internet went down and caused the gallery to record an error but it should be fixed now. I'm not going to add any more titles until I get home so you will just have to guess the pictures! :-) The first few pictures are of the campground and the rest were taken on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Today we went to check out a house that is owned by a teacher friend. They recently purchased it for a vacation home for now and a possible retirement home later. It is a very nice house and in a really nice wooded area. Lola, our trusted {?} GPS unit, got confused and we had to do a little hunting to find the house. Just for kicks and giggles we stopped at a modular home display and checked out a rustic log cabin type. Not cheap! Tomorrow we are taking a trip on The Great Smoky Mountain Railway.

I managed to get the rest of the Parkway pictures loaded. You can see why they call these mountains the Great Smokies as the tops are very hazy. It's hard to tell from the pictures but the mountains seem to go on forever with one layer behind another layer as far as the eye can see. In the pictures, unless you look closely, it's hard to tell what is mountain and what is sky and clouds.

Today, on the way back from Murphy, we stopped and took pictures of some white water rafters. There was mist coming up from the water. We think it was caused by the difference in water and air temperature. According to one of the rafters the water temp was only 46 degrees! One of the raft guides fell off the raft right in front of us. He didn't look very happy.

Monday, July 16, 2007


Today we decided to cruise the Blue Ridge Parkway. Good thing I had pre-determined the overlooks to stop at or we would have been on "overlook overload" after 10 miles! At Waterrock Knob we decided to hike to the overlook. The sign said it was .5 miles. Should be a cinch, right? .5 miles up a mountain is a lot different than .5 miles on flat ground! We probably got within 250 feet from the top but that last section looked like a killer, steep and all rock, so we wisely turned around and headed back. We got off the Parkway at mile marker 412. The first 15 miles were one continuous series of downhill "s" turns. I felt like a pinball in the back seat. We stopped at Harrah's on the way back, chowed down at the buffet (not fancy but tasty), and hit the slots. We're definitely not millionaires yet. I've been trying to post pictures in our gallery but it's slow going. The internet connection is not the greatest. Check out the photo gallery.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Greetings from Cherokee!

Well, we are here in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains. Our campground is located in a narrow valley along the Raven Fork River. At this spot the river is not very deep and this afternoon it was full of kids and adults splashing, playing, and tubing. The campground is very nice and has lots of amenities. I'm not certain what's on the agenda for tomorrow but whatever we do I will take lots of pictures and try to post them on the web site.