Day 106 September 23, 2014
Townsend to Pigeon Forge, Tennessee
Just down the road from our campground, was a little enclave of needed stuff…a self-wash RV washing center, and a coffee shop. So after dumping our tanks and doing our laundry at the campground, away we went…to just down the road.
We got Fiona nice and clean and shiny, and then rewarded ourselves with the best ever iced coffee and iced mocha from The Artistic Bean. Seriously, especially the iced mocha…best ever in the world! Nice people there too.
The entire rest of the day was spent exploring Great Smoky Mountains National Park. We did a bit of a whirlwind driving tour, stopping to take in the scenery and take pictures, but knowing that we still had to meet our deadline to make it to the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta in nine days.
On the drive up to Clingman’s Dome, the highest point in Tennessee, we were met with narrow roads, hair-pin turns, and strong winds. It was a bit nerve-wracking in our big tall vehicle, but the beautiful view from the top was worth it.
As it was getting dark, we drove back down the mountain, to the Gatlinburg side. Wowza!! What a difference from the Townsend side. The Townsend side was calm, quiet, and almost rural. This side was tourist-trappy and Vegas-like…..bright lights, touristy shops, hotels, people everywhere…crazy shit. None of this made any sense, until we found out that Dolly Parton’s Dollywood was nearby. Ah…that would explain everything.
It was dark, and we were tired, so we drove straight through town and checked into the closest campground, the Pigeon Forge KOA.