Last Friday night we set out on our longest road trip ever. We were headed south and we had a 14 hr drive before us. Neither Jim nor I had ever driven so far so this was a first for both of us. The purpose of the trip, you ask. Well, my dear Uncle Kenny owns a cabin in the great Smoky Mountains and he invited us and to have my son spend 3 weeks with him. We just had to get my son down there so we drove.
We got on the road at 8:45 pm Friday night and drove for about 3 1/2 hrs. We stopped somewhere in PA for the night at a Comfort Inn which was nice. They only had smoking rooms available so the clerk gave me a $15 discount and we got free breakfast in the morning. We continued our southward trek about 9 am Saturday morning and pulled into Pigeon Forge, TN about 5:30 that night. We'd driven over 700 miles and then the last 4 miles took us 1 1/2 hrs due to traffic on the main strip. There were some cool sights like the Titanic ship jutting out onto the road. You can see a pic of that here in my previous post.
My uncle prepared us a wonderful meal after showing us around his gorgeous cabin. He's done so much work on it and has created a beautiful haven in the midst of such natural beauty. I was really blown away at how amazing the cabin is.
Logan had a bit of trouble sleeping the first night because of the symphony of wildlife calls going on outside his window. We were all laughing. Give him backfiring cars, screeching brakes, and jake-breaking tractor trailers and he can sleep just fine but put him in the forest amid nature and he can't sleep.
On Sunday after a flapjack breakfast at a restaurant called Flapjacks, we went to Wallyworld where I insisted on buying a bug zapper as my gift to the cabin. Trust me, he needed it! Bugs galore down there! There were moths as big as your head, cicada bugs who make one heck of a racket and every other flying creature imaginable including bats.
My uncle took us to a National Park called Cades Cove. It is a beautiful park filled with lots of animals but we didn't see much there. There is a one lane road through the forest and the park was packed with people so we spent an hour just staring into the woods on either side of our car and into the back of a pickup truck packed with kids in front of us. We did eventually get to see a few horses grazing and this one bear. Sorry for the grainyness of the photo. She was a ways back into the forest and with the canopy of the trees overhead there was little light so I had to enhance this picture. They tell me that she had 2 babies that were way up a tree but I didn't see them. What was surprising was that there was no barrier separating the people from her. People were out of their cars taking pictures and some brave souls even ventured into the forest to get a closer shot. It started to rain pretty hard at this point so we took the first exit out of the park. I'd like to go back there someday and see all that we missed but not on a weekend when it is so crowded. Here is Logan outside a little roadside shop we stopped at for some cold drinks. They sold vintage candy too like from when I was a kid. I bought a roll of Charms candies. You can't tell but it was hot and humid as all heck.
This is a sweet little story. We stopped in VA to get some gas and found these 2 resident cats. This one is a very skinny kitty who was not much more than skin over bones. Without me even saying anything to my darling husband, Jim, he went into the convenience store and bought 2 cans of catfood and then proceeded to feed both of these kitties. I was sitting in the car watching this transpire and I had to cry at his kind gesture. He not only bought the cans but he turned them out into makeshift dishes. He got into the car after doing this and I just had to hug him.
This is a real bear head that my uncle has mounted on the wall of his cabin.
Ready for some weird stuff. My Uncle kept telling us that the devil was dead and we were all like, "what the heck are you talking about?" He took us to this place near a river so he could show us this wood carving. It's really tall and weird. This is a carving of the devil being impaled by the carved tree complete with blood and all.
This store was in Gatlinburg. We stopped there and I got to taste moonshine for the first time. They had 3 different flavors. One was called White Lightning and it felt like that going down. They had another one called apple something or other and that was nice. Very flavorful and it didn't burn. I nearly bought a bottle of it but they didn't have a license to sell it yet. I could have bought the white lightning and they would have given me the recipe to make the apple flavored one but Jim called me away to show me something and I never got back there.
Here is a pic of the Smoky Mountains. We took this pic as we were driving by. Oh, and the mountains really do smoke. In the morning, it looks like the mountains are on fire because there are smoke plumes rising from them.