Devils Tower

Devils Tower

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Smoke em if ya got em..Smokey Mountain Trek

So for my folks 50th wedding anniversary we decided , as a family,  to take a trip. 
 So we loaded up the Avalair, Mom and Dad took their mini-motor home, and my sister and brother-in-law  hooked up their trailer and we left Oklahoma headed for my mom's Mecca,  Dollywood.

Due to the schedule that Mama Root had laid out, we had certain places we had to be to make sure we hit our reservations.  Not much to see from Oklahoma to Tennessee on I-40.

First stop, Little Rock, Arkansas.  Home of Bill Clinton and the infamous cigar.  We stayed at the North Little Rock KOA.
 It had plenty of shade, but the road noise from I-40 was a little too much for my liking.  We just stayed there because it was close to I-40 and there weren't a lot of campgrounds in the area.  Decent showers, level camp spots etc.
We give it a 3 out of 5 Bubba rating.
So, we moved on through Arkansas. 
 I was surprised to not see people throwing rocks when we hit this town.
Always wonder why the Major Leagues didn't recruit pitchers here?
So, we hit Tennessee the next day and the state goes on FOREVER.  It rained most of the way from OK-Tenn, but that was ok.  We made a little jog to Horse Cave, KY for my Dad.  He wanted to see Mammoth Caves, which is the largest cave system in the US.  We stayed at the Horse Cave KOA, which was a really nice facility and it was within 20 minutes of the cave.
The campsites were not super level, but the rest of the facilitates were pretty nice.  Deer were tame and wandering up to the fence lines.
 So, I am going to give this campground a 4.0 Bubba rating out of 5.
Mammoth Cave is definitely worth hiking.  You need to be aware that they only take so many tour groups per day, so it is a good idea to get reservations.  We didn't know that and we almost didn't get in.  It's a lot of walking, but it's definitely worth it.

The opening of the cave. 

Next stop is Pigeon Forge, Tennessee.  
We stayed at a nice little campground outside of Pigeon Forge.

Nice wooded spots.  The spaces along the creek are more level.  We didn't know that when we made our reservations.  Some of the sites had outdoor kitchens and nice fire pits.  Unfortunately, those were all booked up.
This was a peculiar problem that I had not encountered.

The space was plenty long enough, but the sewer hookup was way up toward the front of the pad.  Note where the electric tower and water hookups are.  The wifi was sketchy.  The owner told me that he had spent a substantial amount of money upgrading the wifi system last year.  We tried a different channel that he told us about and that seemed to help, it didn't alleviate the whole problem, but it did improve slightly.  The campground was within 10 minutes of downtown and 15 minutes from the National Forest.  It was nice and quiet.  

I am giving the Up the Creek Campground a 3.75 Bubba rating out of 5.  It would have been higher, but the wifi and sewer conundrum kept it down.  I would still stay here again though.
We finally made it to the Great Smokey National Park.  It's something to behold.  Everyone should travel here at least once in your lifetime.  Here area few pics of some of our hikes.

My brother-in-law even decided to take a dip in the river.

 The Appalachian Trail head was in the park.  I decided not to hike to Maine from here. I figured I would leave that for a later date.
We spent several days in the Smokey Mountains.  The next day we decided to run over to Cherokee, North Carolina.  There were some really cool vintage neon signs, which is another weird fetish I have.

 Mingo Falls is a must see.  Cherokee, North Carolina is on the Cherokee Indian Reservation.  It's on the outer edge of the national park, but on indian land.  It's a 183 foot tall waterfall.
After about 4 days in Pigeon Forge, we moved west down outside of Nashville and made our new base camp Montgomery Belle State Park.
 It was full of awesome trees and the pads were really level.  There is no wifi here, so you just have to relax and have no contact with the outside world.

Montgomery Belle gets a 4 Bubba rating.

 We drove around some of the surrounding towns exploring the back roads.  Hung out with the locals and had a small town 4th of July weekend.

After a few days we headed back to Arkansas to Petit Jean State Park.

 We reserved a spot right down on the water.  Unfortunately, there are no trees for shade to speak of, unless you are on the interior loop.
I give the Petit Jean State park a 3.5 Bubba, out of 5.

2419 Miles, 5 states and one 1955 Oldsmobile hubcap.  All in all, it was a great trip.  You should make it a point to see it yourself.

1 comment:

  1. I enjoyed your post - We really enjoy visiting the Smoky Mountains (but we always stay in full hookup sites).