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Wednesday, November 18, 2015

On the way home

Well first off, my apologizes to our family and friends who follow our blog for being slack and not posting in almost a month. We are back home in Shelby, NC and trying to get things back in some kind of order. My last post was in Memphis, Tn where we had a great time at the Tom Sawyer campground on the Mississippi. When we left Memphis, our next stop was Nashville, Tn for three days. We camped at the Seven Points Corp of Engineers Campground on Percy Priest Lake about ten miles east of Nashville. This is one of the better campgrounds we've enjoyed and at $11.00/night with the old fart's pass, was quite a bargain. The only negative was no sewer hookup, which is the same for most Corp campgrounds but was no issue for us as we were only there three days. It started raining when we left Memphis and rained all the way to Nashville and didn't stop the entire time we were there. On top of the rain, it was cold and dreary and not fit weather to be outside. The only thing we did while in Nashville was to visit the American Archaeology store which we had seen on American Pickers. The store was exactly as it appears on TV and was interesting but couldn't find anything in our price range that piqued our interest. The rest of our time in Nashville was spent riding around seeing the sites and eating out.
      Our next stop was Sevierville, Tn near Pigeon Forge. We stayed at Riverside RV Park and had a nice pull through site with full hook ups for $32/night. Not bad for a decent park in a good location. The leaf colors were pretty close to peak and we felt certain the area would be crowded, which it was. Our first destination was Cades Cove, which we haven't been to in many years. The drive there and through the park provided spectacular leaf color. We did get to see quite a lot of wildlife there including a mama bear and her two cubs, wild turkeys, and a herd of deer. We rode the entire loop through the cove and suffered through the bumper to bumper traffic. The next day we traveled Highway 441 through the Smokey Mountain National Park to Cherokee, NC.  We visited the casino while there and made a contribution to the Cherokee fund and headed back across the mountain to our home on wheels in Sevierville.  As soon as we got to the east entrance of the Smokey Mountain NP, we spotted a large herd of elk grazing in a large meadow beside the highway. We, along with five thousand other folks stopped to shoot a few pictures. This part of the highway is four lanes and they had the inside lane blocked off for folks to stop and take pictures so I assume this must be a regular occurrence. We counted 22 elk in this herd with several large bull elk.
          We've had another great trip seeing parts of our country that were new to us and have made many new friends along the way and visited with several long time friends. We especially enjoyed having our granddaughter, Bailey, with us the first part of the trip where we made wonderful memories. We are truly blessed to be able to travel as we have and look forward to many more travels. Lastly, thanks to our family, friends and followers for traveling along with us and your many comments.
       Here is a summary of this trip: We were on the road about 16 weeks, we traveled in excess of 9,000 miles, we traveled through 15 states, took over 4,000 photographs and there were over 4,000 page views on the blog.

Entrance to Riverside RV Park in Sevierville, Tn.

Our Site for 5 nights
The mountains were alive with color. This was taken on the way to Cades Cove.

The yellow leaves were especially pretty.

This shot was taken at the I-40 rest area near the NC Tennessee state line. If I'm not mistaken, that's a maple tree.

Colorful leaves in Cades Cove.

Mama bear with her 2 cubs. Needless to say, traffic was backed up quite a distance. I took this shots from inside the truck, but there were several "smart" folks who approached the bears taking pictures. A ranger showed up and ran the people back to their vehicles after they received a scolding!

We were lucky in that they crossed the road right in front of us, so we were able to have a good view.

This is the "new" Methodist Church that was built in 1902. The original church dated back to 1820. The church cemetery is to the right in this picture with many graves dating back to the 1800's. 

Inside the Cades Cove Methodist Church.

There was an old piano in the church that still worked. Crickett played a little to see if she remembered how.

Pretty tree in church cemetery.

Cades Cove Missionary Baptist Church founded in 1839. This building was built in 1915.

Serviceman's grave  in church cemetery. Notice the coins on the grave marker. A coin left on a headstone or at the grave site is meant as a message to the deceased soldier's family that someone else has visited the grave to pay respect. Leaving a penny at the grave means simply that you visited. A nickel indicates that you and the deceased trained at boot camp together, while a dime means you served with him in some capacity. By leaving a quarter at the grave, you are telling the family that you were with the soldier when he was killed.This tradition is more common in National Cemeteries, such as Arlington National Cemetery.

View of back of church and cemetery.

This RV was parked in the church parking lot. I'm not sure if it's considered a class A or class C. It was from from Germany. Pretty unusual to see a foreign RV here in the states.

We saw a flock of turkeys in this meadow, but they're not visible in this photo.
These deer were actually further away than they look here. Shot was taken at full zoom and then some serious cropping to get this close.

Shot of Gatlinburg from one of the overlooks on the way back from Cades Cove.

Herd of elk we came across on the way back from Cherokee.

After leaving Cherokee we came back across the mountain on US441 and hit stopped traffic just after passing the crest of the mountains. I surmised there was some wildlife spotted and folks were going slow to take pictures. Well, evidently that wasn't the case as traffic was this way all the way back to Gatlinburg. I could have walked back faster than traffic was moving. My only explanation was that there was more traffic than the road could handle.

Traffic behind us. Notice anything unusual about this shot? It looks like the traffic is on the wrong side of the road, but is actually correct because this picture was taken in my rear view mirror, which  reversed the image. It took us over 2 hours to get back down the mountain.


  1. From Betty: We travel to that meadow outside Cherokee several times during the summer, and have seen the elk & turkeys there. Once, while walking along the river path, the "big boy" elk crossed in front of Gene. He stopped & looked at Gene & he quickly stepped behind a tree! He was huge & seemed to not like Gene being in his territory. I was able to snap a quick shot of him. Every first & third Saturday - there's an old-time music jam on the porch of the welcome center.
    Glad to hear ya'll are back home. Was beginning to wonder . . . . . LOL
    Have a good Thanksgiving and Christmas.

  2. Thanks for letting me 'ride along with you' on your journey.

    Glad you are headed home for the holidays!

    Much love,

  3. Glad you made it home save , and we enjoyed the whole trip you all shared with