We headed out from home in a light rain this morning… I love the safe feeling I get from having new tires, and both Big Red and our fifth wheel are sporting new shoes. It’s time for Sunday morning radio, and Garrison Keillor’s Prairie Home Companion is playing on my Public Radio app, and I am using the WAZE app from my iPhone for navigation purposes.
Ever since we started using the WAZE app, we have stopped using Gertie, the Garmin GPS. Gertie only comes out when we are in a dead zone with the cell phone and lose the use of the WAZE app. On our 9 week long trip out west this summer, we didn’t need Gertie at all. The iPhone is more of a problem in the Smokies, as there is little or spotty service in the National Park.
The weather deteriorated in north Georgia. We are creeping along in a frog croaking pounding rain. Cell reception is poor but radar shows we are at the northern leading edge of the storm system.
We stopped at the Smoky Mountain Visitor Center and made lunch and John took a nap before continuing on. We started seeing more colorful foliage along Hwy 441 N.
We entered the park from the southern side at Cherokee, NC. We were headed to a campsite near Gatlinburg, so we drove the length of Newfound Gap Road. US Hwy 441, Newfound Gap Road, is the only road across Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Park mileposts start just outside Gatlinburg, TN, and end 31 miles later at the junction of U.S. Hwy 441 and the southern terminus of the Blue Ridge Parkway near Cherokee, NC. Newfound Gap Road provides access to two visitor centers, hiking trails, Quiet Walkways, scenic vistas, and some of the highest points of any U.S. highway east of the Mississippi River.
We passed Oconoluftee Vistor Center and I settled in the truck passenger seat to enjoy the increasingly colorful woods and views.
As we got higher in elevation, the colors were closer to peak…
We continued along Newfound Gap Road to Newfound Gap. This area was crowded with people pulling over to take photos of the views. We were hauling the caboose and kept going, as there was no place to park and get out.
As we exited Newfound Gap Road, we took the Bypass, avoiding all of the traffic through Gatlinburg, drove the Foothills Parkway and more back roads to Twin Creek RV Park. We set up as a rain shower moved in. The humidity was so high we were dripping by the time we were set up. Time for a shower and a quick nap for the driver before dinner : ).