Road Trip – 2018/2019:
Feb. 23 to Mar. 1 (Gatlinburg, TN)
Our week in Gatlinburg, Tennessee was quite interesting. The day we arrived they had a “1 in 100 year flood” so there was a lot closed for a few days, including roads, even an Interstate. The timeshare we stayed at had been seriously damaged (they were one of the lucky ones) by a wildfire in 2016 and so there was a lot of construction going on. In spite of all of this we quite enjoyed our stay.
Gatlinburg sits on the edge of the Great Smokey Mountains National Park. On the second day I hiked up to Rainbow Falls, and once the roads opened we toured around the area and drove over the mountains on Route 441 into North Carolina a couple times. With all the rains, there was a lot of water running down the mountains, streams, creeks and rivers. Gorgeous!
There are some interesting day trips here.
Click on the photo for each day to view that day's photos.
Day 117- feb. 23, 2019
I think it must be us. We are to blame. When we were in Orlando, they had the second most rain in one day in history. Our first day in Gatlinburg is the 1 in 100 year flood. 6" of rain pouring down the mountainside swelling the rivers and streams to overflowing.
So, it's a pretty quiet day. I did run into town for a few supplies and got these 9 shots. In 2016 there was a wildfire through here that caused devastating damage. Our resort is still under repair and it was one of the lucky ones. We pass several on the road up here that are total losses.
First impression of this area (very small sample size) is that it is beautiful, the towns (Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, Sevier) are tourist traps more like giant amusement parks. This impression may change when the weather clears.
Day 118 - feb. 24, 2019
After the very heavy rains yesterday, most roads are closed in the Great Smokey Mountains National Park. So we (I mean I) decided to hike up to Rainbow Falls. 2.7 miles one way with a 1,685 foot elevation gain. In comparison, the Larch valley trail in Alberta is about the same distance with a 1,755 foot gain. This hike is considered "strenuous". But then I am old so....
Day 119 - feb. 25, 2019
A beautiful day spent on another driving tour. Today was a short trip across the "Foothills Parkway" with some great panorama views, then around the "Cades Cove" road. Cades Cove is an area with several log cabins and old churches from the 1800's. It's a one lane road through lovely forests and meadows.
On the way we saw an old logging train museum. Notice the wheels. They used gears instead of rods to transfer the power. Apparently this was easier on the tracks and gave them more power to pull the logs up steep terrain at the expense of speed.
A few spring flowers coming out, plenty of deer and some wild turkeys. I didn't know wild turkeys are so colourful!
Day 120 - Feb. 26, 2019
Well, Route 441 over the Great Smokey Mountains from Gatlinburg, TN to Cherokee, NC is open. It had been closed for several days due to the heavy rains causing water, rocks and trees on the road. Beautiful!
They really are the Blue Ridge Smokey Mountains, as you will see. No wildlife today but the road runs along a river that was full and flowing fast. Many, many streams and waterfalls coming down the mountains making the scene even prettier. We used different settings to alternately "freeze" the water or "smooth" it out.
The water comes out of everywhere and overnight it was cold enough to freeze. This created "curtains" of ice and thousands of icicles. Very pretty.
We also found an old grist mill built in 1886. Gorgeous. Back in town we saw a distillery with some interesting "moonshine" flavours. There are photos of just a few here.
Day 121 - feb. 27, 2019
To start off the day, I (Joy did not want to do this) went up the mountain to the Ober Gatlinburg Sky Tram. They have an indoor skating rink, shopping center, ski hill, and small zoo halfway up the mountain. I then rode the tram down to Gatlinburg and back up again. On the way I saw roads that have been washed away from the recent rains, burnt out buildings and forest from the 2016 wildfire, and took pictures of our timeshare and Gatlinburg from the air.
Then we decided to go for a drive to Cataloochee, North Carolina which is another area of old cabins, churches etc. in the Great Smokey Mountain National Park. The problem is, the interstate highway to get there is blocked by a rock slide. So, of course I decided to go the back road. Good choice, bad choice, depending on your point of view. 12 miles over a mountain on a narrow, one lane gravel road. I loved it. Joy, not so much. It took over an hour and a half to travel the 12 miles. Beautiful.
Along the way we saw an old car that when Joy took the picture, looks like it is pulling an old trailer. A pair of dogs, one large and one small walking along the road. They look like they are inspecting the litter in the ditch.
That is one thing we find more of all over the U.S. Litter is a major problem in Canada. It is worse here. I don't understand the mindset of just tossing garbage out the window of a car. Or dropping it as you walk along. There is litter everywhere. A national disgrace. This is not a slam on things here because we have the same issues in Canada too. If I were Emperor of the Planet, littering would bring a $10,000 fine AND two weeks picking litter out of ditches in an orange jumpsuit. People driving by seeing that would decide they don't want to join the jumpsuit crowd and the ditches would be a lot cleaner! Anyway, enough of the rant.
Some lovely panoramas and even a couple Elk were seen today.
Day 123 - March 1, 2019
Got up this morning to thick fog and heavy rain. Still the drive to Nashville was pleasant. Even in the fog and rain the countryside is beautiful. Rolling hills, forests and farms. Lots of old abandoned buildings. We see more than most because we stay off the large Interstate highways and take the country back roads. It takes a little more time, but is well worth it.
Then I just took a few shots of our home for the next week.