Pigeon Forge TN
Today while retreating into the cool interior of my camper as the day continued to heat up, I was think about a vexing problem I’ve been having. And yes it’s vexing as all get out. I’ve once again changed time zones and more than likely it’ll change again before long. So after changing the clocks in the living room, kitchen and dining area I came up with a brilliant plan. The living/kitchen area will be on Central time and I’ll leave the clocks on the second floor, the bathroom, butlers pantry and bedroom all will remain on Eastern standard time. Now isn’t that brilliant? After all, the camper is so darn big it might as well be in two different time zones. I just knew you’d like the wisdom of this decision.
I’ve traveled through much of rural Tenn. And have landed in Pigeon Forge. Although I’ve traveled many of the back roads here in Tennessee, I would not recommend them for my fellow Rv travelers. Most are much hillier and winding roads with no shoulders and many with sudden drop offs and no guard rails. Consider staying on the main highways while in Tennessee and only touring in your tow vehicle on those back roads.
Pigeon Forge is one of those vacation destination places. With lots of commercial venues like Dollywood, Titanic Museum, Ripley’s Believe it or Not, many dinner shows, comedy shows, Cirque show, numerous elaborate mini gulf courses with wild themes, white water rafting, tons of good eateries and of course The Great Smoky Mountain National Park and Cades Cove. And I haven’t even mentioned all the outlet malls and shopping available throughout the area.
I’m staying at Eagle’s Nest Campground, one of a number of Passport America campgrounds in the area. I I think I’ve picked one of the best to stay at. They have great pull through sites that become back to back campsites when full up, spacious grassy and shaded tent sites next to the creek, well away from the Rv campers and even a few nice cabins for rent.
One of my first excursions had to be a re-visit to Cades Cove. I took a loop tour through The Great Smoky Mountain Park to get to Cades Cove. Thick with forests, wild rhododendrons in full bloom of white fluffy cone shaped flowers with just a hint of pink blanketed many of the hills. Winding roads that were like driving through a canopy of green. The cool clean smell of moist soil and green vegetation filled the air.
Driving into Cades Cove, following a slow moving ballet of cars winding their way around the narrow single lane 10 mile loop road of the Cove. Stopping at areas of interest. Old churches, homestead log cabins, past open fields once tended by the Cove residences and still maintained to this day. And there, on the edge of one of the fields roamed a mother black bear and her three cubs. A bit too far from my vantage point to get any good pictures, so I took out an awesome pair of binoculars and watched as the mother bear foraged for food and the cubs who would stand up on their hind legs, waving their arms, as if to say to all us tourists, here I am, here I am. Then sink back down and be hidden by the tall grasses in the field. Popping up occasionally to the oohs and ahhs of the crowd watching.
Back in Pigeon Forge, as I was driving up the main strip, I decided to stop at an amusement park and take a few pictures. After watching some kids (17 and older) ride around on these sporty little racing cars, I decided to do it myself. The ride is called the big woody, as the track is all made out of wood as it winds up a corkscrew ramp, then descends over a roller coaster straightaway before taking a sharp turn to the right at the bottom. I must admit I didn’t go as fast as the “kids” all the time, but I still had a grand time squealing tires and taking those turns. And I barely banged into one other person. The whole experience put a smile on my face.
I’m having trouble getting excited about going to Dollywood as I don’t plan on going on any the many rollercoaster rides they have, don’t need to buy anything in the many shops and restaurants, so I guess I’ll be paying just to see the entertainment. But until then I’ve driven on into Gatlinburg, which is right in the heart of the Great Smokey Mountains. It’s the older of the towns in the area and everything is close together, no parking on the main street and I noticed a number of shops were closed and empty. I drove up through town and back into the Great Smokey’s. I’m enjoying another car drive through some great forests. I stopped at the Noah ’Bud’ Ogle farm and took a nice loop hike around the old farm, now overgrown so much it’s hard to see where the fields used to be. An old tub mill sits next to a nice stream and the Rhododendron’s are chuck full of beautiful white blooms. The main log cabin house with a huge stone fireplace separating the two square buildings with porches both front and back along with a barn with it’s individual stalls for cows or horses. Nice to be able to wander around an old piece of property maintained so well by our National Parks. You know there is no charge to get into the Great Smokey Mountain park system, making it a great destinations for all the eastern residences.
While visiting the Old Pigeon Forge, built like in 1830, I met a white haired, wrinkled faced older woman working the cash register. We chatted about always needing money for this and that, when my debit credit card wouldn’t work. Hmm, come to find out later in the day from my credit union that 13,500 debit cards had been compromised and they had to put a hold on everyone’s cards. In the mean time, I used my other Visa card and our conversation continued. This little old white haired lady told me as her husbands health continued to fail and of course he couldn’t work, she always made sure he had money in his wallet so he could take the grand kids out for a treat anytime he wanted too. A woman still working well into her 70’s, her husband since passed away, having such compassion for the one she loved. Just an example of how money can be used in a most thoughtful way.
And there’s some discontent here in Pigeon Forge as I’ve see protesters out in front of both the Lumber Jack show and Dollywood protesting wages and working conditions. Since there was a bit of discontent, it put me in the mood to go see the Hatfield and McCoy Feud’n and Feast’n show. I opted for a morning show. If your in the area, ask about their morning or afternoon shows as well as the evening shows. You might be able to save a few dollars. The show I went to featured the Blackwood Brothers Country and Gospel singers along with a great comedy duo. Now there were only a few original Blackwood’s in the group, but the singers they incorporated into the show were all 1st rank singers. Fun entertainment and a breakfast all for about $30.
and as always, more pictures at: PICASA