Saturday, September 14, 2013

2013-31 Pigeon Forge Tennessee


Pigeon Forge Tennessee

detail of shingled roof

Campground:  Eagles Nest.  $22.17 (Passport rate) 50 amp, full hookup w/cable tv.  Cheaper if you insist on 30amp.  Small swimming pool and nice grassy shaded sites for tenters. A bit overpriced for my tastes.

Distance Traveled:  222 miles

I haven’t given an update on my use of vitamin D in quite some time.  You know, many folks hear about the curative powers of a vitamin and use it for a while and then before you know it, something else comes along and they jump on that band wagon.  For me, vitamin D has been a true God-send.  If you recall from some of my older posts, I had had a really bad back.  Lot of back pain, eventually migrating into my joints in my arms, hips etc.  I couldn’t find a bed that was comfortable, well you know the story if you have had back pain in the past.  Since I started taking vitamin D, since I was extremely deficient in it, all those aches and pains have vanished.  What a relief.  I take one gel pill with 5,000 iu’s of  vitamin D3 daily and it has truly saved me from the miserable pain I was once in.

An interesting side effect is that over the past couple of years all those “liver spots”, at least that’s what we always called them on ones hands as one gets older, have all disappeared.  I’m not sure if the vitamin D did it as I also started taking a multivitamin regularly and extra vitamin B12 as well.  But what ever is was, it has been a pleasant surprise.  Now please do check with your own Doctor before taking a vitamin D supplement as it’s one of the vitamins that one can overdose on which would not be good.  They can do blood tests to determine if you’re deficient in vitamin D.  You know, a more “mature” body does not mean you have to live with more aches and pain.  Of course good eating habits and exercise help too.  Ok, I know, I could do more of the last two myself.

Pigeon Forge.

That 222 mile drive took all morning long, much of it on the southern end of hwy 23 heading through Kentucky and the western tip of West Virginia.  The 4 lane road narrowed a bit but was still doable with a camper and traffic wasn’t heavy.  With a final turn westerly on Interstate 81. 81 is a very well maintained interstate highway and I enjoyed the drive immensely.  A stop along the way at a Cracker Barrel Restaurant that are very prevalent in this area made for a good lunch break and the Rv parking is always a plus.

The scenery went from deep hollows and heavily forested mountains that seemed to be right on top of me, to wider valleys and the larger more impressive Smokey Mountains.  Always with that bluish haze that seems to drape the mountains.

Since Dolly Parton opened Dollywood here in Pigeon Forge, the area has expanded and the town itself has become very touristy with all of it’s big country music themed theatres, big Believe-it-or-Not type attractions, numerous go cart, mini golf course and zip-line adventures to fill more than a few towns across the country.  Oh and tons of eateries but to me the ultimate draw are the Smokey Mountains with it‘s driving tours and multiple hiking trails.  Cades Cove is my all time favorite.  Frozen in time, it’s a great way to explore our country's heritage in this secluded Smokey Mountain cove, preserved as a part of our National Park System.  Having all that entertainment and nature at your back door makes for a really nice combination for a vacation getaway.  For the Rv-er, there are quite a few RV campgrounds in the area as well.  

Since I was on a health kick earlier in this Blog post, I may as well continue and let you know that sometimes we full time Rv-ers also need to get out check ups.  Over the summer I’d been noticing that I have a recurring spot on my nose.  So while in the Knoxville area, I made an appointment to see a dermatologist.  Too many years of enjoying Florida’s sun has given me multiple skin cancers.  Each taken care of through surgery, freezing or face peels.  The Dr. took a biopsy today and I’ll know if more surgery is needed to remove any cancer cells by next Monday.  I also went in for my flu shot today as well since it was on my mind.  The Druggist said they’d already had reports of flu in the Knoxville area so it may be an early season for the flu.  I’m fortunate to have good health coverage that permits me to go to any Dr. anywhere across the country.  For other RV-ers, they must make Doctors appointments when at a home-base and sometimes delay travel due to those appointments.

After all that stuff, I finally was able to take a day and drive up into Gatlinburg and the Great Smoky Mountains.  Gatlinburg is the town sitting right on the edge of the Great Smokies and is considered the home base for many people exploring this area.  Tourist hotels hugging the sides of the mountains, crooked winding streets lined with tourist shops of all sorts and of course this area and Pigeon forge is home to many rental cabin properties as well.  On the edge of Gatlinburg is one of many drives into the Great Smokies and my destination today is the Roaming Fork Auto Tour.  It’s a narrow well paved single lane road that loops up and around and through the Great Smoky Mountains.  A wonderful booklet is available at the entrance to this Auto Tour route which explains the pioneering history of the area with well marked stopping points along the way.  The day started out with a thick mist hanging over the mountains.  The single lane road is shrouded with trees right up to the edge of the sometimes steep and twisting route creating a canopy of shade and mystery.  The first couple stops were overlooks back down into the deep forested valleys and mountains off in the distance with that blue ridge mist hugging the tree tops.  After turning off the engine and stepping away from the truck, I was enveloped in silence.  So quite that I all I could hear was the soft padding of my tennis shoes as I walked along the edge of the viewing area.  I stopped walking and stood in the stillness of it all.  Silence so deep and peaceful I continued to enjoy it just a bit longer before finally moving again.  Stopping once again to make sure it was real.  The stillness of it all enveloping me once again.  What an experience.

1st stop along the Roaring Fork Auto Tour

Back in the truck, heading to the next site, often not seeing the road for a brief moment as it went over a hill.  The big hood of the truck being the only thing I could see and the trees surrounding me.  Occasionally on the tighter turns, remember it’s only a single lane road, I would see the hood of the truck appear to go over the edge of the road as I turned a corner.  It didn’t actually go over the edge, at least I don’t think it did, but it made for some most dramatic scenes at times as I wound my way up the side of the mountain trail.  And with many of the trees right on the edge of the road, I couldn’t have gone off the road if I had wanted too.  It’s a diverse forest filled with sweet birch, the tulip tree, black locust, chestnut oak, white oak and magnolia.  Pines are higher up in the forest on dryer ridges.  Streams and cascading small waterfalls fill the park.

A number of the stops were at pioneer settlement cabins with their sheds, barns and corn cribs.  The sun has come out and it feels wonderful out here in the country but these folks were isolated and it would have taken a special effort to visit or go into town as the roads were difficult to walk or even ride a horse on.  With their uneven surfaces and rocks everywhere.  A hard life.  Their homes often had only one window and small doors to help keep the heat in during the long winters.


Coming off the mountain I’m back in civilization with cabins on either side of the mountain stream, through
Gatlinburg and then into Pigeon Forge where traffic has come to a stand still as this is the hot-rod car weekend.  With all these vintage cars lining both sides of the main road through Pigeon Forge.  Cars driving slowing down the main thorofare rubbernecking to see all those hot-rod cars.  Others have lined up chairs along the route and watch the traffic go by.  They tell me later in the afternoon and evening the cars “cruise” the main route into the night.  Making for an almost impossible situation for anyone wanting to partake of any of the shows or amusements along the way.  One family told me it took them two hours to drive to the campsite last night.  A drive that should have only taken about 15 minutes.

One of the newest attractions, a Wax Museum

heavy traffic this weekend, Hot Rod Show

typical hotel in the Pigeon Forge Area

So as a final note, it’s probably a good idea to find out what “events” are taking place the weekend you plan on coming into the area.  Since I’m here for a week, it’s not a problem.  If you’re only coming for a long weekend it could determine whether you enjoy the weekend or not.

More photos on Picasa.

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