Montgomery Bell State Park, Burns, Tennessee
We took advantage of the dry spell as best we could, to get things cleaned up for travel, hitch up and get on the road. Our outside gear is sopping wet so we stowed what we could in the bathtub and piled the rest on the cabin floor on towels. Just as we were starting to hitch up it started sprinkling again, so we finished the job in off-and-on rain.
Decided to head back up the park road and into Pigeon Forge. We saw billboards for Dollyland, but it was off a ways to the right. What was amazing was the town itself. Neither Joan nor I have seen anything quite like it. Similar to Gatlinburg, it is lined with tourists shops, miniature golf courses, theaters, and massive carnival like attractions. One of the hotels even has a several story ape sculpture climbing at the top of the building. There are magic castles, miniature speedways, and even a ferris wheel. And all of this goes on not just for blocks, as in Gatlinburg, but for several miles. Clearly this is a Las Vegas for families with children. I have to wonder, though, what this all has to do with the Great Smoky Mountains which I guess it is supposed to serve.
Out of Pigeon Forge we headed north towards Knoxville. Soon, however, the skies started to look really ugly and we received a tornado warning for our current location over our phones. With little in the way of options, I just decided to plough through, although we kept our eyes open for anything obviously dangerous. At one point, the rain was so intense and visibility reduced to barely a car-length, that I pulled off the road and just waited until it let up.
We were looking for Interstate 40 figuring that there was some security in numbers. But wouldn't you know it, 441 doesn't intersect 40 until the middle of downtown Knoxville. I suppose we were quite a sight traveling with a trailer, in the driving rain, during a tornado warning, in the middle of a city!. But we made it onto the interstate and proceeded west with the goal of getting out of the weather system. The NOAA weather bulletin said the tornado system was primarily east of interstate 75, so we decided to move as quickly as we could west and get through it.
And we did, the nastiness let up and, eventually, the rain stopped. Joan found us a BBQ place just off the road at Crossville, Lefty's. Food was very good and the portions were huge - even I asked for a doggy box and so have leftover ribs for another meal. With the storms hopefully behind us, we opted to get off the interstate and take US 70, a green dot road that parallels the interstate. It was decidedly prettier and the pace was a bit easier. Descending out of the mountains and into the plains, there is lots of interesting scenery, including even the road cuts which are through some pretty massive sedimentary layers. And there are lots of green forests and manicured pastures and lawns. Very good driving country.
Tired and uninterested in Nashville, we skirted around it and found a this state park off of Interstate 40. We selected a site, tried to catch up on some internet stuff, and then hit the sack. We are going to take advantage of the facilities here to take a shower and get cleaned up some, so today won't be a long driving day. (17.1.78)
Tot: 2.217s; Tpl: 0.051s; cc: 12; qc: 32; dbt: 0.0284s; 2; m:saturn w:www (220.127.116.11); sld: 3;
; mem: 1.3mb