Sunday, August 20, 2017

Finally Camping!


That’s us, on the right, at the TVA Tail Water Campground below Douglas Dam.  (close to Sevierville, TN)

The bathroom remodel seems to take forever!  For some reason I think we could get the bathroom project completed in time for another gorgeous summer trip to Colorado.  When the wrong shower doors are delivered, the western trip begins to look doubtful.

The bathroom looks great! 





By the time the bath is complete, we only have three weeks free.  There are places close to home we are wanting to experience so we load up the Escape and the kayaks and head north on I-75 to the Escapees Raccoon Valley campground.

We have camped at Escapees parks all across the west and in Alabama but have never visited the one that’s just up the road from us. 

As we are registering, the couple in front of us looks familiar.  We soon remember spending New Year’s Eve with them at Dream Catcher’s Park in New Mexico.

We meet some real nice folks and have a great time at the Thursday night old time music picking.  Fifteen musicians, many are local players, entertain us with some old mountain ballads.


The weather is rotten…very hot, humid and rainy!  One night I go to sleep with one of the windows open thinking that I will wake up if it starts to rain. I do, but not soon enough! Our mattress, memory foam and bedding is soaked. How do you dry anything with no sun?

David feels horrible with no energy….heat and humidity are always his enemy.  Our refrigerator is hovering around 50 degrees.  I discover a small army of ants crawling up an inside wall.

While drying the bedding a nice young couple with a dog stop to visit.  We chat and I walk by the dog to show something in the trailer and he bites me!

I survive wondering what is it about me that makes a dog want to hurt me?

We leave the next day for a campground below Douglas Dam close to the Smoky Mountains National Park. The weather is no better. Sun, clouds, rain….all with 90 per cent humidity.

The view is much prettier.  We are on the French Broad River just below the dam.


We watch kayaks put in at the boat launch and disappear downstream.  The dam’s generators are releasing a high volume of water with too much current for us to paddle upstream. During a lull we manage a short paddle up to the dam. A very short trip but so much fun!


Early morning scene inside the Escape…notice my new Mini Instant Pot making breakfast of steel cut oats, rain on the windows and the husband still sound asleep.

After three sticky days on the French Broad River, we are ready for some cool mountain breezes. It’s another 100 miles to Mt Pisgah Campground on the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Tears form in my eyes as we climb up to our favorite summer retreat. It’s been two years since we have been there.  Wonder what’s changed?  I know this sounds melodramatic but my heart just lifted out of my chest as cool air started caressing my face.


Not much is changed.  A new deck is behind the restaurant, new benches and lights at the amphitheater. 

We arrive on a Tuesday and for four days it is peace and tranquility all through the campground. Very few campers are present and it’s so quiet. I hike a little, take a few photos, read and let all the noise in my head slowly disappear.  There’s no electric or water hookups. There is no phone nor internet coverage in the campground which is normally something that makes me crazy.  But here I am craving the stillness, the emptiness and I feel happy.


It is now the day before the eclipse.  The campground is full but that’s ok.  I know they will all be gone in two days. 

The National Park Service is preparing for the apocalypse as half a million people are expected to be in the area tomorrow for the eclipse. We are warned to carry water, food and medicine for 12 hours if we go out on the Parkway. …due to traffic jams. The overlooks are closed from here to the south for fear eclipse seekers will try to camp in them.  Police tape protects all the lawn around the Pisgah Inn.

We made a run to the grocery yesterday and will not venture out tomorrow.


Not sure when we will be ready to come off the mountain.