From Quiet To Crazy…All In A Day’s Travels

Still not tired of photographing the old cabins.

Great Smoky Mountains

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.

Like the sign says...on the loop road @ Great Smoky Mountains

Like the sign says…on the loop road @ Great Smoky Mountains

Cades Cove Scenic Loop

Cades Cove Scenic Loop

Singing group in the little church on Cades Cove Scenic Loop

Singing group in the little church on Cades Cove Scenic Loop

Church detail

Church detail

On the loop road....

On the loop road….

On the loop road....

On the loop road….

I was hoping to see a cyclist do this trick...

I was hoping to see a cyclist do this trick…

On the loop road....

On the loop road….

On the loop road....

On the loop road….

On the loop road....

On the loop road….

Trees starting to change color. On the loop road....

Trees starting to change color. On the loop road….

On the loop road....

On the loop road….

Cabin detail. On the loop road....

Cabin detail. On the loop road….

Cabin detail. On the loop road....

Cabin detail. On the loop road….

On the loop road....

On the loop road….

On the loop road....

On the loop road….

Mark & Old Cabin. On the loop road....

Mark & old cabin. On the loop road….

Still not tired of photographing the old cabins.

Still not tired of photographing the old cabins.

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.

Driving up to Clingmans Dome

Driving up to Clingmans Dome

I'm in Tennessee....

I’m in Tennessee….

Flip side of the sign...I'm in North Carolina....

Flip side of the sign…I’m in North Carolina….

Great views on the walk up to Clingmans Dome observation tower

Great views on the walk up to Clingmans Dome observation tower

Great views on the walk up to Clingmans Dome observation tower

Great views on the walk up to Clingmans Dome observation tower

Great views on the walk up to Clingmans Dome observation tower

Great views on the walk up to Clingmans Dome observation tower

Great views on the walk up to Clingmans Dome observation tower

Great views on the walk up to Clingmans Dome observation tower

The Dome...Space-Agey architecture

The Dome…Space-Agey architecture

I think this is why they call them the SMOKY mountains...lots of cloudiness...

I think this is why they call them the SMOKY mountains…lots of cloudiness…

Overcast, but pretty

Overcast, but pretty

Walkway to the top of the tower

Walkway to the top of the tower

Love the views!

Love the views and the cool clouds!

Walking back down to the parking area

Walking back down to the parking area

One last view before we go...

One last view before we go…

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.

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