Somehow, this place keeps calling to us. We enjoyed the West, the awesome scenery, the endless desert views, all that. A great place to spend the winter.
But come spring, the Smoky Mountains is where it’s at for us. We’ve been here for about 5 weeks now. We spent a month at the KOA in Newport, a nice if somewhat boring place with a great monthly rate.
Brian and the Navy finally got on the same page in Morristown, Tennessee. MM1 Hatmaker is taking good care of him. Brian went to MEPS (forget what it stands for, but it’s where they go for the test and physical and all that) in Knoxville 2 weeks ago. Here he is taking the Oath of Enlistment, pledging to serve our country against all enemies. He got really lucky, the Navy just happened to need someone in Brian’s favored job the same day he showed up to claim it. So after boot camp, he will go to Quartermaster School, where he will learn to help the Navigator get the ship to the right places, work on the bridge, and even get’s to drive the ship. He leaves in January, and has to meet with his recruiter twice a month, so we are “anchored” here in the Smokies for the next 6 months. There are worse places to be.
Today is our last of 4 days at Panther Creek State Park in Morristown. We just love state parks, and this is a good one with a great campground. But while the $28 a day rate for a big beautiful full hookup site in the quiet woods is great for weekend campers, it’s double a good monthly rate. Also, typical of State Parks, it’s 2 weeks in, 1 week out here, no long term camping.
Another thing we did here is to finally get our Jeep a new passenger side wheel bearing. It’s been howling like mad for a long time, since we were at Organ Pipe some months ago. We were exploring this really cool road south of the National Park. It wound through a canyon down toward the Salton Sea, and we were stopping here and there to take pictures. I got it in my head to drive up this side canyon that turned out to be deep deep soft sand. And then I screwed up, and instead of flipping the dial back to 4 low, I flipped it forward to 2wd! Anyway, in my stupidity, I buried the poor thing to it’s axles. Finally discovering my mistake, I got it shifted into 4 low, and we hand shoveled the sand for a few feet ahead of all the wheels, and set some rocks in there. In 4 low she pulled herself right out, thank God. This place was so remote, no cell signal, and we were out of site of the road, which was deserted anyway. But we were moving again, I circled around and got the heck back on the pavement. Hmmm, I seem to be digressing here. But anyway, ever since then, car has been howling like mad. Anyway, thanks to a tip from a Facebook friend, Tuff Enuf 4WD Service got me in right away, and our poor lil Jeep is nice and quiet again!
Our next stop is Asheville North Carolina, for 4 days of rest and recreation (next blog post will detail why we need to rest…lol.) We’re going to Asheville for the Dog Park! Oddly, East Tennessee has no Dog Parks. And the “Kamp K9” in the Newport KOA turned out to be a chicken wire enclosure twenty feet by fifty. About 3 strides in wide open Huskie running. So into North Carolina to find a place the Huskies can play. I bet we find other cool things to do there, and we’ll get to stick another state on our door!
Today we’re driving the Jeep back toward Pigeon Forge to try to find a long term campground. Might not be an easy task. ALL of the campgrounds on Douglas and Cherokee Lake’s are “Seasonal only”, basically a place for locals to park their wheeled summer lake houses. No monthlies, and you can’t live there, you can just go out on the weekends. Anchor Down in Dandridge is wonderful, but pricey with a capitol P, and no longterm rates to keep the riffraff out.
So we’re going to try to find a long term home base in Pigeon Forge. Hopefully we score a nice campground with a reasonable monthly rate. A dog run would be a big plus. And close enough to everything so Brian can get a job while he’s waiting to leave for Great Lakes for boot camp.
Until next time!!