Our Last Days in Tennessee

As I blogged about previously, we are leaving Tennessee bound for Florida. How long we will be in Florida is still debatable as we plan on taking it one day at a time. The two main reasons we chose Florida is because one, my kids live there and two, there will not be any snow this winter to deal with. The past few days have been a little chilly here in Tennessee and our furbabies are getting a little too cold as well. I think they will love the warmer temperatures.

The last three weeks have been spent between the Nashville and Knoxville areas with our final week being back at Shady Acres RV Park in Lebanon, TN. Lebanon is about a 10-15 minute drive to Nashville and it’s where it all began for us as a couple. When I met Greg back in November 2013, he was living in a Sundance trailer at Shady Acres RV Park. Soon after he moved in with me, we got married and the rest is history as they say or maybe not, especially with us. We ended up trading the Sundance for a Gateway in September 2014, put the house up for sale in November 2014, and closed on the house in December 2014. We had gone to Florida for Thanksgiving and had decided that when we came back we would continue to live in the fifth wheel full-time. The cheapest place in town was Shady Acres, so that’s where we ended up not thinking it would be a big deal to find a place to stay as they do not take reservations. Unfortunately we could only stay a couple weeks max and then we had to move on, but it’s where we started our full-timing lifestyle and where we are ending our travel days as we are back here for the last week of our time in the Nashville area.

There are many things I will miss about Tennessee, but I know I will be back here again many times over. I love the fact that you can tell one season from another as there is actually a fall, winter, spring and summer here. I love going to Cades Cove and catching a glimpse of the deer and bears. I love the waterfalls throughout the Smokies and other parts of Tennessee that I have visited since living here. I love the friends that I have made and will miss you more than you will ever know.

It’s hard to believe that I’ve actually been here almost 6 years. When I showed up in this town, I came with very little. I had no friends or family here, nor a job, but that all soon changed. I have met some wonderful people while on my journey here and I’m leaving with one of the best things I could of found and that is my husband, Greg. I will always be grateful and feel blessed to have him in my life as he has given me more than I deserve or ever thought possible. Although life takes us down many paths I firmly believe that there is a reason for everything that happens. Coming here alone was for a reason, what that reason was, I’m still trying to figure out. Maybe it was so I would meet Greg….maybe it was for me to learn to live on my own…..maybe it was so my grown kids would have to grow up even more, but this time without Mom being so close…..I really don’t know why, but I’m excited to be headed back to Florida….back to where my children and grandchildren are…..back to only being three hours from my aging parents instead of six hours and back to what is familiar to me.

Farewell Tennessee until we meet again…..

Another trip through Cades Cove

One of my favorite places to visit is Cades Cove in the Tennessee mountains and with our last days in Tennessee just around the corner, we decided to head to the cove, so I could see my favorite spot in the Tennessee mountains. The colors are beginning to change and the leaves are falling, but it will still be several weeks before the best of the colors are out. For some reason this trip seemed to take the longest to get there and even longer to get back from. And even while driving through the loop, it seemed to take us longer than it ever has. Maybe it was because God wanted us to enjoy the beauty of this place for as long as possible as we don’t know when we will be back in this location again.

Over the last few years I have made several trips to Cades Cove and I remember on my very first trip seeing a gorgeous buck off in woods and had gotten out of my car just like all the other spectators and getting as close as possible to get “THE” shot. I got a good enough shot that day and was excited that I was able to see a buck so close up as they are such magnificent animals. Ever since that first trip, I have yet to see another good quality buck until TODAY. He was the most beautiful 8 point I have seen in quiet some time.

Gorgeous 8 point buck

Gorgeous 8 point buck

The funniest part of this excursion, which we didn’t laugh at, at the time, but are laughing at now that it’s over. When we spotted the buck, there happened to be a parking lot that we could stop in to get a better look, so we stopped. We both got out, left the dogs in the truck and proceeded to get a good look. Oscar, our mischievous male, was trying to jump out the window we had rolled down, so we rolled up the windows, but made the mistake of leaving the truck running with all the keys inside. You guessed it, Oscar jumped on the door lock and locked us out. It was starting to get late in the evening and would be dark soon, but we were stuck until finally he stepped on the lock again and unlocked it. We looked like two crazy people trying to get the dog to step on the door lock. It only took him about 10 minutes, but in the meantime we were able to see two doe walk into the field where the buck was, so in the end it was worth it or else we would have missed seeing the additional deer.

If you’ve ever been to Cades Cove, you know the first thing you usually see when you pull in is the gorgeous horses and today was no different. These animals are majestic and beautiful. We pulled down Spence Lane, so we could get a closer look, as they were all hanging out over by the fence.  Lucky for us there was barely any traffic on this lane, so we were able to stop in the middle of the road and I got brave and went right up to the fence to get a closer look and better view for pics. I say brave because I had on flip-flops and the grass was really high and I am scared to death of snakes, but luckily nothing got me this time around.

Pure Beauty

Pure Beauty

Paints are a beauty like none other

Love the colors of this paint…the brown colored ones in the back don’t look bad either.

We had another first on this trip as well and that was we saw 3 different coyotes. I have never seen a coyote in the park, but we saw three different ones. Of course, the first one we saw, it was so far away, we thought it might have been a fox, but after seeing the other two we think maybe it was a coyote instead.

Coyote

Coyote

As for bears, the only bear we saw was after 7:30 pm when we were trying to get out because it had already gotten so dark, you could barely see in front of you. The park had two separate areas marked off with orange cones telling you there was bear activity in between the cones and sure enough we looked over to the left and there was the bear that had been holding up traffic for several minutes.

As for Tennessee, Cades Cove will always be one of my best and top places to visit. If you have never been, I would highly suggest that you add it to your bucket list, as you won’t be disappointed.

 

Time with Family

We spent the first two weeks of June hanging out in my parents backyard. We fished in the pond and enjoyed some fresh bream and bass a couple of times. The second week we were there, our grandson was visiting with my parents and then we took him for a week in the RV from Florida to Tennessee. Our final weekend in Florida included a quick trip (3 hours) to Tallahassee to celebrate our granddaughters 2nd birthday.

The birthday girl!!!

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Assorted pics from the party. Oscar enjoyed hanging out at the party as well. Madison is a total doll baby. She’s still not sure she likes Nana’s dog, but at least she let him get near her.

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Madison and Colby (sister and brother)                                          

The party was on Saturday and we only stayed one night, then back to my parents for one night before pulling out on Monday bound for Tennessee. Our plan was to drive to the other side of Birmingham, spend the night and then finish our journey on Tuesday morning. Unfortunately we had a flat tire on the 5er before we made it to Birmingham. It was a real learning experience.  We don’t have roadside assistance, so the hubby had to do it himself. I was the flag girl trying to get people to move over as the flat was on the driver’s side, which put Greg too close to the road as you can only get over so far when getting off the shoulder.

The thing that surprised me the most while we sat on the side of the road for most of an hour was the lack of respect that drivers have for others, but more importantly, fellow RVers who refused to get over in the other lane of traffic when they not only had amble time to do so, but room to actually move over, but refused.  Not only did people not get over, but they wouldn’t even slow down. My plea to everyone reading this, when you see someone stopped on the side of the road, please either slow down or move over. Some people have questioned whether I expected people to actually stop and my answer is no, but I do expect people to have respect for others.  We did have three different couples stop.  The first man had a broken arm, but he still stopped and was willing to help. When we assured him we were okay, he proceeded on his trip. The next couple to stop were in a uhaul as they were in the process of moving the woman to North Carolina.  The gentleman was a lifesaver to my husband and helped us to be back on the road a lot sooner than had he not stopped. The last couple to stop was an RV couple. I did not get their name, nor state they are from, but I was happy to see them care enough to stop and check on a total stranger, as they were the only RVer to do so.

Once we were back on the road, it was way past time for lunch and soon after stopping to eat we decided to just stop for good as we were just spent by this point. On Tuesday we completed our journey to Lenoir City for the next 4 days. While there, we visited Cades Cove and Ripley’s Aquarium in Gatlinburg.

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During our journey through Cades Cove, we only saw one black bear.  This was the first time our grandson had ever seen one in the wild.  An experience I think he will remember for a long time.  We also saw 7 deer and 4 turkeys. The trip to the aquarium was my favorite as I love all the sea animals and Colby is definitely a lover of the sea. My favorite was seeing the penguins. They were all tagged with their names. I could watch them play all day, but there was so much more than penguins to see, so I couldn’t stay at that exhibit forever. Instead I bought me a stuffed one to keep as a souvenir.

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Our time in Tennessee ended on the 28th when we headed back to Florida, but this time to the beach on St. George Island for a week with my daughter and her family, leaving the RV behind in Tennessee. We have been on the road so much during the month of June only traveling from Tennessee to Florida and back and I’m exhausted. I’m ready to get back to the RV and our life so we can plan our trip out west starting in September.

Thanks for reading and following our travels.  Feel free to leave comments below.

 

A Visit to Cades Cove

Since arriving in Tennessee on the 17th, we’ve been taking it easy with the exception of a couple of days in one of my favorite locations: Cades Cove in the Smokey Mountains. The drive is only about an hour from our current location in Lenoir City, so we have gone twice in the past week. Our first drive over was on Thursday where we spotted 2 bears and 2 cubs, 4 deer and a turkey. On Sunday we only saw 1 bear, but it was the best bear sighting I’ve ever had in the park, 17 deer and a turkey.

As you enter the loop around Cades Cove, on the left, is a field of horses. You can’t help but fall in love with these majestic animals.  On Thursday, they were all grazing in the field and looked like a scene out of a movie. I love everything about this pic from the beautiful horses to the gorgeous mountains in the background.The first bear sighting had a ranger directing traffic to keep going, so there are no pics from that sighting except in my mind. That was also where the cubs were and every time we have been in the Cove and cubs were spotted, a Ranger always seems to be there making people move on. However, on the second sighting, the bear below was walking through the forest, eating, minding his own business. It seemed like everybody on the loop was stopping to get a look as well as pics. People were using everything from cell phone cameras and tablets to point & shoot and DSLR’s with the longest lenses I have ever seen.

The next 5 pics are all the same bear. These were taken on our first visit out on Thursday between 3:00 and 4:00 pm.

On our visit on Sunday, we again went around 3:00 pm hoping that being in the afternoon and after a rainfall, we would see more wildlife. We were right, as for deer, as we seen a total of 17 that afternoon. The first four were on Sparks Lane, which is the first road to the left after you enter the loop. We don’t usually go down that road, but it also runs along the field that the horses are in and they were beautiful both days we were out and I wanted to get a closer look at some of them and in the process was able to see the deer below. They had just jumped the fence from the open field to this one with lots of growth. 

We continued our adventure which eventually led us to another road block where a beautiful black bear was just hanging out in the open field. Although the Rangers were there making sure people stayed far enough away, it was at a location that everyone could get out and actually get a clear view, which for me resulted in some good pics as you can see below. All my pics were taken with a telephoto lens and cropped to get a closer view. Eventually he ran through the field to the edge of the woods.  

 

The only other wildlife we seen on these two trips was a turkey each day. Made me wish it was Thanksgiving time already.  Tennessee has lots of places to visit and we have a few in mind to see over the next few weeks that we are here. I would love to hear what your favorite places to visit in Tennessee are. Please leave a comment below as to where you like to visit.

Hope to see you on the road…

Summer Vacation to Tennessee

We left WV on the 8th only to turn back around the next day and head for Gatlinburg, TN to spend a few days in a cabin that we had rented. I wanted to visit Cades Cove to see if I could spot any deer or bear. I was able to see both, but the scariest part of the trip was the snake we both about stepped on at the little Early Mountain Community in Cades Cove. Our cabin was beautiful and the hot tub relaxing. The food at The Old Mill was to die for. I could spend weeks if not months in this area of the country.

Momma bear that we saw after we left the falls. She had 2 cubs with her.