Thursday, September 29, 2011

Hwy 81 into Hershey, PA

On the way out of Nashville I spotted my home! Wouldn't it be fun to live in a place like this? The tree-lined driveway is about ¼ mile long.

On to Knoxville to visit with a family friend. 

After we left Knoxville we headed towards our campground for the night. It ended up being just outside the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. YAY! What a bonus. We hadn't planned to head in that direction, but the available campground took us that way. It was a bit of a drive after a long day, and we couldn't see much of anything when we arrived, but we woke up in a beautiful setting nestled in the woods along the edge of the Great Smoky Mountains.

After showering and getting the RV ready to go we hit the road and headed into the park towards Gatlinburg, TN. What a beautiful drive. Below are some of the images that I managed to get. I was so in awe that I kept forgetting to take photos. Silly girl! But I did buy some beautiful postcards at the park gift shop. Along with some Smoky Mountain Blackberry Jam. So good!

We stopped in Gatlinburg for lunch and a quick walk down the touristy main street. Lunch was really good. Tennessee BBQ at a place called Calhoun's. The ribs are amazing. They've won several awards for them, but to be honest the side dishes were what really blew me away. Tennessee corn puddin' (like a corn souffle but not too puffy) and Spinach Maria (creamed spinach with cheese on top that is browned under the broiler...yum, yum!) They have the recipes on their website and I fully intend on making these dishes for my family when I get home.

The town is very touristy but also had a sweet quaintness to it.

While walking a few blocks down the street it started raining really hard. But it was so warm out I actually welcomed getting soaked. I am having a little trouble with the heat and humidity. Basically I whine several times a day while I feel as if I'm melting.

As we headed out of town towards our campground in Bristol, TN we spotted an 8 mile drive of area Arts & Crafts. What a wonderful experience. There are a little over 100 artisans along this drive that sell either out of their homes or out of homes that have been turned into artisan studios. I wish I had days to spend here stopping at every single place. Luckily for my pocketbook the RV couldn't fit into most of the driveways. I did manage to stop and find a really cool gift for Shawn made by a guy who does a little leatherwork, a little woodwork and is just learning to chip arrowheads. Loved it!

The next morning we headed towards Hwy 81, a beautiful scenic drive thru the Appalachians and the Shenandoah Valley which runs along the Blue Ridge Mountains.

A short detour on to Hwy 11 which zigzags back and forth under and around Hwy 81 gave us this great view of Pal's hotdog stand.  Tons of ducks hanging out in the parking lot.  I got a huge glare from the owner when I tossed a little snack out to them.  Ooops!  Sorry!

PS...note the men standing in the french fries?  I didn't even notice this until tonight when I adjusted the image for the web.  LOL

We stopped at a great little diner out in the middle of nowhere called Casey's and I had one of the best hamburgers ever! Along with handcut fries. Kathy had a grilled chicken sandwich and Patti had catfish. All really tasty.

Sadly, we got lost for a good 40 minutes trying to find our way back to the highway. Neither the RV's GPS nor the one on my phone could manage to figure out where we were. Hopefully someday they will get a better signal in this area as I think Casey's Diner deserves more patrons!

We drove to Harrisonburg to have dinner before heading to our campground.  Here are a few images from this town.

An old Piggly Wiggly building.

An ornate Catholic church.

A close-up of those amazing doors!

Hey look!  Another one of my houses!   They're everywhere!

Finally back on Hwy. 81 we drove until nightfall and got to see a pretty amazing electrical storm. Again, an amazing site for a CA girl. We have lightning once in awhile, but it looks nothing like this type of lightening. Some of the flashes lit up the entire sky a rosy pink shade. Very pretty.

Up the next morning and back onto Hwy 81 towards Hershey, PA. We drove in 4 states in about a 30 minute time period. Something totally amazing for a girl from NorCal, where it takes a good 4 ½ hours minimum to get out of CA. We went thru Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania. How fun! Then all of a sudden we were in Scotland! LOL

We ended up needing to stop at an RV repair place in Harrisburg, PA for a few minor fixes and actually spent the night in their parking lot that night as the repairs ran until late in the evening. It is part of the service they offer. They are open 24/7!

It stormed pretty heavy with lots of wind and rain and because we were parked on asphalt we could really feel the RV moving in the storm. Flash flood warnings in the area but we were safe where we were located.

Sadly, the campground we wanted to stay at tonight had some flooding issues and couldn't take our reservation. We're hoping to stay there tomorrow night after our visit to Chocolate World (doesn't that name just sound awesome!?) tomorrow.

Here is a view of the sunset from the campground we're at tonight.

And here is dinner! Yum, yum!

Off to indulge in copious amount of chocolate tomorrow! I better get a good nights sleep!

See you all again as soon as I can make time.


KatieLiz said...

So happy for you and glad you're having a wonderful time on your journey. Thanks for sharing with us!


Katie B said...

You're getting closer !! and you make me envious !!
keep updating us !
So glad you are having a good time!