July 20, 2013 Saturday
Today was the start of our trek to Tennessee. The first part of the trip is a family get-together in Pigeon Forge, so we drove all the way (780+ miles) from home to the cabin. Holy cow, what a drive! We hit the road at 5:30 AM and arrived at about 8:30 PM. We experienced everything from a sunrise to a sunset, a rainbow, torrential downpours complete with abundant lightning, and glorious sunny blue skies full of white cumulus clouds. We made as few stops as possible to save time, and that meant all meals eaten as we drove. Gas prices we observed ranged from a high of $3.86 at home to a low of $3.28 somewhere in West Virginia. I kept mentally computing our average MPH all day long because … that’s what I do. What can I say; I like to do mental math. Historically we tend to average about 50 MPH on trips like this, and today was just a shade better than that. (I leave it to my reader to figure out my actual average. I’ve given you enough information already.)
When we arrived at the cabin in Pigeon Forge the biggest concern was the serious slope (side-to-side) on which we had to park the camper. I used the leveler to its maximum, and even with that, the tilt was too much. The trailer wouldn’t release from the hitch because it was tilted. I was able to move the camper a little downhill where the tilt was slightly less, and that enabled me to unhitch.
My new learning today had to do with my discovery of Pigeon Forge. We have successfully avoided going to Pigeon Forge in the past. Our previous visit to this area took us through Gatlinburg, and we were struck, back then, with the kitschy-ness of the town. Well, Pigeon Forge is Gatlinburg on steroids. It is mile after mile of divided highway (four lane) with a 45 MPH speed limit. However, no one can travel the speed limit because of the continuously heavy traffic. The reason for the traffic is the countless roadside attractions ranging from go-kart tracks to ziplines, to amusement park rides, to “Believe it or Not” type of things. There must be hundreds of these attractions, and masses of people are partaking of them. I had no idea such a place existed.