Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Tennessee, Kentucky and Home

After hanging around Cades Cove Campgrounds for a few more days we headed on over to Fall Creek Falls State Park.  This area is known for it's many waterfalls and cascades.  The area is very beautiful and at this time of year the traffic is almost nonexistent.  Barbara and I mentioned several times how we were the only vehicles on a 6 lane highway!  

As one who enjoys taking lots of photographs, this time of year had it's challenges.  Being late fall, the sun rises late in the morning and sets early in the afternoon.  It doesn't reach what I call "high noon" but just has a low sweeping arc over the mountainous terrain, rarely getting down into the gorges and lighting up the falls and cascades.  Makes the waterfalls less awe-inspiring in my opinion.

Fall Creek Falls

There were several suspension bridges in the area that we enjoyed walking across and all had a sign warning of jumping up and down on the bridge or causing it to swing and sway.  Quite frankly, just walking across these bridges created more than enough "bounce and sway" for the two of us!

Suspension bridge over the cascades near Fall Creek Falls.

It was just a gorgeous day with plenty of scenic overlooks.

"George Hole" on Cane Creek

Not very far from our campsite was a place called "George Hole".  Just a small pull off, it had several picnic tables, nice rock formations and a small waterfall or cascade that are a part of Cane Creek.  It made a nice place to walk around and take a few photos.

Cane Creek Falls

Fall Creek Falls State Park has a nice Nature Center that we stopped a couple of times at.  Behind the Nature Center were trails that lead to several waterfalls including the Cane Creek Falls.  I really enjoyed this one because you could view the falls and creek from the suspension bridge that spanned the falls, or hike down to the creek bed.  It was beautiful, serene, and I had the whole place to myself!  Nice.

Underground sourced Rock Island State Park falls and cascades

Rock Island State Park was very interesting to me. Comprised of 883 acres, there were some nice trails along both sides of Caney Creek. There's a beautiful waterfall and cascade that spills down from an underground cavern into the Caney Fork, just beyond the powerhouse.  The waterfall was created by the Great Falls Dam, which caused the Collins River to rise. The rising waters began seeping into underground caverns on Rock Island's south shore and exiting at the falls on the north shore.

Jenny Wiley Stakes, an annual race named after my Great-Great-Great Grandmother.

Trainers giving a couple of the race horse their daily workout

Once done in Tennessee, we headed La Casita (our RV's name) towards Kentucky, arriving at Boonesboro State Park on a Monday.   All fort activities were closed until the weekend and we were not going to stay that long so we used our down time to explore the surrounding area and Lexington.  One interesting thing we did was sign up for a walking tour of Keeneland Race Track.  We enjoyed watching the thoroughbreds work out and Barbara got to get up close and personal with a couple of the horses and the trainers at the barns while I hung around the track and gift shop.

With the night time temperatures dropping fast, we hurried back to Ohio on a Friday to get our unit winterized the following Monday and put back into storage.  I camped out at Alum Creek Campgrounds near Sunbury, OH on Saturday and Sunday and enjoyed some nice visits from family and friends.  Temps got down to the low 20s Sunday evening and even though there was a slight freezing issue on our unit, it was finally winterized Monday morning, cleaned out and tucked safely inside it's winter storage barn.

                           A few stats for the trip:
Miles driven on the RV 1,086
Miles driven on the car 2,177 (gee, guess we did a lot of exploring in each location!)
Gas was so much cheaper with this trip than any of our previous adventures. Lowest price paid $1.77/gallon.

Number of nights at campgrounds - 22 and the average cost per night was $20.22 (that's pretty good). 

We enjoyed some really good food on this trip including some incredible Bourbon Chocolate from Lexington, KY.  There are some awesome restaurants in the most out of the way places.  But just so you know we also ate "at home" (La Casita) quite a bit, least you think we were always eating out.

The next time "La Casita" is rolled out will be next April/May, pointing her nose towards New Mexico (where she really belongs) to carry Barbara and I on a whole new life full of adventures and challenges.   This latest trip confirmed for us that YES, we really do want to live this lifestyle. We hope that you'll continue to follow our blog and stay with us for the ride.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Cade's Cove, Smokey Mountains

Well, here we are about half way through our little mini-vacation that we're using to test out the RV one last time before heading out for good.  In just a little under 6 months we'll be doing the full-time gig in our Lazy Daze Class C RV.

Where better to do a test trip than the Smokey Mountains of Tennessee?  After an initial few days of camping at Norris State Park, to avoid the weekenders that were at Cade's Cove, we unhooked and made the short drive to what we were hoping was to be a less populated time.  Boy, were we ever wrong on that one!

One of the many original cabins nestled in the foothills at Cade's Cove.

The Cade's Cove Campground was fairly full.  Even though there were lots of rigs it was still a very nice and quiet place to camp.  The Cade's Cove Loop, on the other hand, was completely the opposite!  A steady line of cars, trucks, motorcycles, bicycles, hikers and even a few RVs made the going pretty much a stop and crawl event. 

We still managed, over the course of a few days, to make four or five trips to take it all in.  Of course, our ultimate quest was to spot a Black Bear as they are suppose to be very active this time of year.  Unfortunately, the only one that we could find was so far off that even with my 210mm Zoom Lens it still showed up as a mere black spec in the photo.  Not even good enough to post on here!

We did see plenty of deer though. Mostly does with the yearlings.

Made a pretty good shot as these Whitetails jumped a fence!

Wild Turkey prevail in the area as well.  Maybe I should use the term "wild" loosely.  These birds were everywhere, from out feeding alongside the deer to feeding along the roadside.  Barbara and I came to the realization the the American Wild Turkey is to Cade's Cove like the American Bison is to the Yellowstone National Park!

Just one of the many, many, many wild turkey in the Cove.

Of course, where there is a plethora of Turkey, you're going to find a healthy population of Coyote.  They were almost as plentiful as the deer!

Just one of the many Coyote that roam the Cade's Cove area.

We didn't spend all of our time riding around in the car though.  Almost all of the hikes that we wanted to go on were being heavily used.  So much so, a parking spot at the trail head was rarely found.  We opted for some shorter, less used trails to see a few small rapids and falls.  It was nice to just get out into the woods and pick our way through some trails. 

One of the destinations of our short hikes.

All in all, it was a pretty good time with mostly nice, sunny weather.  The area is gorgeous and the scenery changes quickly as weather moves in and out, so photo opts abound!

Cade's Cove, near dusk.

Tomorrow, we're heading out to Tennessee's Fall Creek Falls State Park.  Hoping that it'll be a lot less congested and that we'll be able to get a few more hikes in.  Hope you've enjoyed this post and feel free to leave comments if you so desire.  We'll do one more posting near the end of the maiden journey!  

Sunday, October 18, 2015

New Blog, First Post

Our first official post in our new blog.

Our plans continue to move along towards the ultimate goal of full-time RV'ing with a departure date of sometime in May 2016.  As many of you know we made the decision to do this early this year and bit-by-bit each of the steps to make this happen have come together pretty well, so we take that as a sign that this is "meant to be".  When we listed the house for sale we had multiple offers immediately and that was finally all resolved at the end of Sept.  We have moved into an apartment and continue to whittle away at the stuff we still need to get rid of.   We both feel greatly relieved to no longer own a house and there are many benefits that we like about living in an apartment, but the one big thing we don't like is the noise coming from other neighbors.  Oh well!

Since we are now settled into our apartment we've decided to head out for about a month to enjoy our RV one more time before winter settles in.  We're heading south into TN to spend some time in the Smoky Mts and then head just a few hours West to a TN State Park known for their many waterfalls.  The weather could be (probably will be) rather chilly at night but we have an on-board heater as well as a small cube electric heater so we'll be fine.  We're just really looking forward to some down time after all the busyness of the last 4 1/2 months.  Dismantling your life is hard work.  

We'll send out another post either during our trip or near the end.  Nothing too long or wordy but just enough to give a flavor of what we've been up to.  We hope you will continue to follow along.  To get an email notification of a new post just enter your email address above and to the right where it says, "follow by email"   Thanks and stay tuned.....