Yesterday we rose early to take our much anticipated trip into the Great Smoky Mountains National Park...going through Sevierville, Pigeon Forge, and Gatlinburg, as we had done some 29+ years ago shortly after we married.
I remember we drove around Cades Cove; saw Mt. LeConte; and came back to a small hotel room (one we could scarcely afford) with a bottle of wine. When we were settled in the room, we realize we did not have a cork screw, but Raf went out in the night, found an all night market, and purchased one. We vowed never to be caught without a cork screw again...and haven't been. And we haven't!
Yesterday, once we turned off I-40 to the south, we encountered motels, restaurants, tourist snares, and billboards...over and over again, mile after mile. Whew! Sevierville is no longer the picturesque little town we remembered. And Pigeon Forge...well, think Dollywood. Thankfully, we didn't have to go into Gatlinburg, as there was a bypass right into the park.
And coming back to Baileyton, we went south out of the park toward Cherokee, turned off on the Blue Ridge Parkway, which is little used now, and made our way back to the coffeehouse we found Thursday, to the beauty of Greeneville, and on to a restaurant called The Farmer's Daughter...which, should you ask, was not very good!
All-in-all, yesterday was a disappointment, because all the beauty of the towns had been replaced by the commercialism and glare of tourist traps. You know, if I wanted to see an aquarium I'd go to the sea. If I wanted to see a Nashville show, well...I think I'd go to Nashville! If I wanted to see the beauty of God's creation, I certainly wouldn't look in glitzy restaurants, bars, and shopping malls!
I'm glad we went...but we won't go back. If we ever want to see the Great Smoky Mountain National Park again, we'll sneak past the Cherokee Reservation and enter through the southern border.
Oh, one thing we did was a dream of mine...we walked along the Appalachian Trail for a little piece...not far, but I did want to say I'd walked on the Appalachian Trail.
The mountains were beautiful...smoky and blue. The rilles gurgled, roared, and ran swiftly over rocks. There were many springs leaking their clear water down mountainsides. The Smokies are beautiful...but if you intend to travel there, know the national park is the most visited national park in the country...and Cades Cove is it's most traveled roadway. Therefore, we drove up to Clingman's Dome, the highest peak in Tennessee. It was 6,500 feet and utterly lovely.
Today is a rest day. It's raining out right now, and we plan to wash clothing when the rain has passed. We are reading, computing, downloading, and I will draw some I hope. Hope your day is as pleasant as ours.
See ya later, alligators!