Edit Blog Post
Published: October 25th 2009
Trapper and Scott
This trapper was still interested to show us beaver pelts. He showed us how the hairs were so close together that water never reached the skin of the beaver. Nice gun collection to my right.
On the first day in Lake of the Ozarks State Park, we were picnicing outside and the leaves on ther trees were falling like large brown snow flakes. I’ve always enjoyed watching rain or snow fall down in a peaceful rhythm, but I’ve never taken the time on a beautiful, sunny fall day to enjoy the leaves in a similar way. The curled leaf fell down from the sky in whimsical 3D trajectory in its own unique way. They scuttled across the road like large insects and gathered in clumps near our yurt. Heaps of leaves already laid on the ground and more were falling down in a warm, beautiful breeze.
The leaves were a paper bag brown instead of a beautiful red or orange. We weren’t expecting the leaves to have turned so far already. They were past their prime. In Kansas City, the leaves were probably 30% turned and much more beautiful than anything we were seeing in the Ozarks, so we were surprised to see them 80% turned by October 19th. The park is mainly in an oak forest and some trees were almost bare. Had we already missed the turning of the colors?
The yurt was really cool and simple to make. We enjoyed our 2 nights there in Ozarks State Park.
the main goals of the fall segment of our trip was to see the leaves of the beautiful hardwood trees of the east coast turn into the autumn shades of orange, red and gold. We’re planning to go to Ashville, NC in a couple of weeks on the west side of the Great Smoky Mountains. Were we going to drive all that way and see the same dead forest - a couple of weeks too late?
We weren’t going to let that happen. Instead of going through Memphis and across Alabama, we decided to go straight to the eastern side of Great Smoky Mountains National Park - Asheville is on the west side. We drove straight through to Nashville, TN on the next day and then arrived in Pigeon Forge, TN the following afternoon. Pigeon Forge is the home of Dollywood - Dolly Parton’s oversized theme park.
If you’ve ever been to Branson, MO, you’ll know what Pigeon Forge is like. PF offers a variety of garish go-carts, cheesy putting greens, sugary candy stores, red neck comedy clubs, tons of T-shirt shops and their own Titanic disaster! PF is basically a modern day carnival town that country folk
When we were fishing at Lake of the Ozarks, this turtle was swimming by. I reached in and grabbed him and brought him to Grace. Grace kept turning him upside down, but he could flip right back over.
drive to instead of the carnival coming to their town. In the old days, people couldn’t travel to the carnival, so the carnival went to them. Now, everyone has a car or truck and drives there in mass - causing major traffic jams. Traffic was awful, just like Branson - as people gathered to see the changing of the colors like we did. PF didn’t have a city planner and its main street has more stop lights than you can count on your fingers and toes. The place is an eye-sore with every vendor trying to out-hawk the next with a bigger, brighter sign. I posted a couple of pictures from the Internet to show you. This wasn't the type of color I had come to see.
It took us about an hour to drive through that mess and then we arrived at Gatlinburg, TN which is pretty nice compared to PF and snuggled into the valley near the entrance to the Great Smoky Mountains. We stayed a couple of nights for free in the new Hilton Garden Inn where I used my Hilton points I had accrued from staying in Hiltons on business.
The next day, we
This Amish dude was selling produce in front of a closed grocery store in MO. He didn't want his picture taken, but I still caught his beard through the buggy window.
journeyed into the national park after I had a couple of teleconferences until 2. The traffic was crazy again as Smoky Mountain National Park is the most visited park in the US. A ranger had to direct traffic that was backed up for miles because everyone wanted to see the leaves. We stopped at one turnout and could see the red, yellow and orange trees - a few miles away. I had dreamed of sitting under some of the red trees and being bathed in the soft colored light of fall. Instead, I had to look at them from afar. In KC, you drive right under them - don't underestimate the beauty in your own backyard.
We went up to the top of the mountain and on to Clingman’s dome which was a pretty cool structure - see picture. It was rather breezy up at the highest point on the Appalachian trail at 6,643’ and snow was still in the shade from a storm a few days earlier. We had to climb 330’ and walk a half a mile to get there and lots of out of shape people were doing it and talking about getting a heart attack
Pigeon Forge Color Display
We saw lots of color in PF, but it was garish and unseemly.
on the way up. We hiked along the ridge beyond the dome and I took a nap on the side of the trail. The leaves had already fallen at this elevation too and many of the trees were pines and firs that didn’t even change. I was afraid that I’d missed most of the leaves turn again.
The next day, we were drivng to southern Georgia to stay with my Uncle Jim. We had to drive a long way and I wanted to avoid PF's colors and traffice so we drove through the park on Little River Road. We finally got to see some good color up close on this beautiful windy road. Nice yellows and mild greens were falling from the old growth forest as we carved our way through the mountains along the cascading river. Little River Road meanders up a beautiful creek and down a beautiful river while the leaves were falling down in mass. Like swirling snow on the road, the leaves chased the cars and many blew into the creek and were whisked away. We stopped and watched the turbulence of the river take the leaves to their final resting place. The river would
Wild Bears in Gatlinburg
A bear jumped on Grace's head in Gatlinburg, TN. Grace has been having a great time on the roadtrip. She loves hitting the road.
be beautiful any time of the year, but now it was loaded with large, yellow sycamore leaves and little red striped maple leaves. Moss grew on the old trees that lined the river and slate rocks were covered in leaves. My pictures don't do it justice, but check out the attached videos. Grace loves the Smokies and they remind her of the mountains of Taiwan.
I hope you get a chance to enjoy the turning colors of the fall. Take the time to unwind and get ready for winter if you’re in the north. As for Grace and I, we’re in the south now and it’s still in the 80s! We’re going to jump from fall right back into the spring. You can have the winters.
In three days of driving, we covered -
Osage Beach, MO to Lakeland, GA via Gatlinburg, TN - 1,180 miles and 20 hours
The original plan was to go through Memphis. We added a couple hours in with our detour and over 100 miles.
Osage Beach, MO to Lakeland, GA via Memphis - 929 miles, 17.5 hours
PS - Thanks for the comments. I backed the trailer up into a
Seven in One
This pullout offered some great views of the color change, but we were still miles away. The chart shows how you can see 7 types of forest from this one view. The Smokies have more kinds of trees than any other region in the US.
parking spot on my second try in Gatlinburg. The main trick is to not turn it too far so that it doesn’t jack knife. I haven’t been practicing really since the big fifth wheel trailer should be much different.
Tot: 0.029s; Tpl: 0.015s; cc: 7; qc: 22; dbt: 0.0062s; 1; m:saturn w:www (22.214.171.124); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.1mb