Embarking on our Journey
On March 31st we set our on our adventure at 3:30am – so that Hobbes might sleep through the night. Our car was packed with all our clothes, a pack-n-play, toys, diapers, snacks, the Orange Chair and a crate full of books – some I have read and some I haven’t. It seemed a bit odd driving through the night, but by 8am we had already made out way through to Virginia. (And we found out that if you ask sometimes you can get free postcards at Visitor Centers! Thanks Virginia!)
It was very rainy most of our trip that first day. At times there was just a light sprinkle, but often if was a heavy downpour. It wasn’t until we got past the Shenandoah Mountains that the skies began to clear. Suddenly the mountains appeared and we just had to get off at the next exit for a picture in the foothills of the George Washington National Forest.
We continued driving through the early afternoon and made our way into Tennessee around 3:30pm. We quick grabbed a map at the visitor center and pressed on toward Townsend, TN for the night. A little before 6pm we found ourselves in Sevierville, TN, about to enter the Great Smoky Mountains. We stopped at the Visitor Center and bought a handkerchief for Hobbes (with hiking trails of the Smoky Mountains on it) and a postcard for ourselves.
Before this day I had never realized how crazy tourism is on the Tennessee side of the Smokies. The view driving down 66 was amazing – and pulled us right in – but before getting anywhere near the mountains we had to pass through a giant tourist trap. It reminded me of a combination of tourism from Lancaster, PA and Ocean City, NJ. Route 441 soon greeted us with upside-down buildings, dinner feuds, the Titanic, King Kong and billboards galore. It took us an extra 45 mins just to get through.
Little did we know at the time, but spring break was beginning to happen all around us and would haunt us the rest of our trip. We got to our hotel – which I didn’t make a reservation for – and they had two rooms left. So after being over charged for a room we decided to go across the street for some BBQ, but not before getting a picture behind the hotel of a great view.
- Seeing the mist and clouds rolling off of the Blue Ridge mountains was an amazing sight I hope to see again some day.
- We discovered reggae style children’s music on a strange CD someone gave us.
- At the gift shop Hobbes kept grabbing stuff animals and hugging them as he ran away trying to take them with him.
- At the visitors center they had a huge model of the Great Smoky Mountains and the more I looked at it the more excited I got about traveling up to 6,600ft the next day to explore Clingman’s Dome.