Sevierville & Pigeon Forge
Smoky Mountains, Tennessee
Along Route 66 in Tennessee there’s a 20 mile strip of rides, restaurants, shopping and shows. Nestled in the Smoky Mountains, this long road of tourist attractions runs from Sevierville, through Pigeon Forge, and ends in Gatlinburg. You can’t see it all in one week, but we tried our best!
The southern states are mighty pretty in the summer but the heat can be unbearable. So we planned a trip for early June when the climate is more temperate and the bugs haven’t hatched out yet. And sure enough, it’s been bug-free and nicely cool but that’s because of the big thunderstorms rolling through every day. Record rainfall, they said. Lots of water. Well, two out of three ain’t bad!
American Museum of Science & Energy
Oak Ridge, Tennessee
It’s all about splitting atoms in Oak Ridge, TN. This is the birthplace of atomic energy and Oak Ridge was a vital part of the super secret Manhattan Project back in WWII. While the science for the atom bomb was developed in Los Alamos, the first nuclear weapon was actually put together here in Oak Ridge.
At the American Museum of Science and Energy we learned all about the history of atomic power and how Oak Ridge continues to play a key part in the advancement of energy science.
Oliver Springs, Tennessee
The Windrock brochure boasts that it’s the South’s Largest Off-Road Park, and that’s probably right. Windrock has over 72,000 acres and 300 miles of ATV trails spread out over several mountains.
We came here with our tricked-out four-wheeler to compete in the Black Death Cliff Event. It’s a whole afternoon of throttle-wide-open jumping and we came in second place.
Just kidding! There’s no Black Death Event and no way we’d jump off a cliff with an ATV! But we did rent a four-wheeler to drive around Windrock for a day – at a nice slow geezer speed with the seat belts fastened.
Traveling for a week on the Natchez Trace Parkway was one of the best trips we’ve taken in the RV. We had only a loose plan, no reservations, and all the time in the world to enjoy ourselves. We drove about half of the Trace, some 200 miles out of its total 444, from Nashville to Tupelo. And we took about a thousand pictures.
Back when Kentucky was the western frontier (circa 1800) and before the steamboat was invented, adventurous men would deliver trade goods down the Mississippi River on rafts to sell their wares in New Orleans. These wild frontiersmen, called Kain-Tucks, would then walk all the way home, some 500 miles. They traveled along Choctaw and Chickasaw Indian trails, wore the ground smooth, and reached Nashville a month later.
When the gray skies of February become too much to bear we look to the South for sun and surf. For us the closest beach is the Florida Panhandle. It’s a couple of states away and a long drive on Interstate 65.