Wednesday, August 27

Bardstown, KY

I've been at home in Bardstown working on the house remodel for the last two weeks. Making progress, but my speed and endurance certainly aren't what they used to be when it comes to these projects. Plan on hitting the road next week and when I get back (mid October) will start in on the new kitchen - the last big item on our list.

Bardstown Courthouse



Sunday, August 10

Cumberland Gap Day

Spent the day on two guided hikes in the Cumberland Gap. First, for those not familiar with the area the "Gap" is exactly what it sounds like - a gap in the Cumberland mountains. If you've been paying attention you know it's located near the "tri-state" border between Kentucky, Tennessee and Virginia. The Gap became a major migration route for settlers when Daniel Boone marked the Wilderness Trail through the gap in 1775, and over 300,000 settlers would use this route on their journey west.

The Cumberland Gap

First we piled in a 4x4 for a 45 minute drive. Then on foot for another 30, until we reached the Hensley Settlement. Established in 1903, it is now a Living History Museum operated by the NPS. It's like stepping back to those "good old days" you might have heard about - you know, no electricity, no indoor plumbing, no doctor. The real DIY days. At its height nearly 100 people called the settlement home, they even built a school. The last resident, Sherman Hensley, reluctantly left his lifelong mountain home in 1951.

Later in the day it was tme to go underground in Gap Cave.

Had a great day, lots to see/do around the area. I'm pretty sure I'll return.



Friday, August 8

A Three State Day

I departed the campground in Coeburn Virginia and within two hours I had entered (and departed) Tennessee and Kentucky several times. I'm currently overnighting in the Cumberland Gap National Historical Park, which straddles the Kentucky Tennessee line - so I was back and forth both driving and hiking all day long. Notice that this is a "Historical Park" so I plan to stay a couple of days to soak up some history. I've got a NPS guided hike in the morning.

Today, of course, I did a little hiking on my own. The view was pretty good from the "Pinnacle" - I waved to the folks downtown, but didn't get a response.



Wednesday, August 6

The Snake

When I have a choice I always like to drive the two lane backroads and avoid the interstates (zero miles on this trip so far). So yesterday I was on US 421, which was a twisty Tennessee mountain road. After 45 minutes or so I rolled into Shady Valley, just a wide spot in the road with this country store.

Shady Valley Tennessee

It was only then that I learned that I had been driving "THE SNAKE" a road that is on a lot of motorcycle riders "must ride" list and a road that the locals just deal with. The van did pretty good, and the scenery was great.

On US Route 421


Oh, the country store has a pretty good chillly dog if you ever want to give The Snake a drive.


Tuesday, August 5

Chair With A View

I certainly wasn't expecting a repeat of my "room with a view" campsite but that's what I got, it might even be better. I moved up the road 50 miles to Littlle Oak Campground on South Holston Lake and was rrewarded with a site that not only had a water view, but was waterfront. It was so nice that I had to break out my new camp chair and just take it easy.

Hard work, but somebody needs to do it.


My waterfront view of South Holston Lake

Think I will hang around another day! Take care.

Monday, August 4

Work Day (sort of)

Not everyday on the road is fun and games - every once in a while you actually need to do something. Today was laundry day, so first thing you need is a laundromat - which it turns out, is sometimes not as easy as it sounds. Laundromats seem to be plentiful until, of course, you actually need one. So . . . after checking with some locals, I'm told their might be one just down the road. Surprise, it was where they said (almost), but it was closed until ???? - oh well, you need to be flexible, so I decided to check back in a couple of hours.

Back in the van I drove to a picnic area a couple of miles away and hung out with the geese and took advantage of a surprisingly good internet signal (via my new data hotspot) to catch up on some important stuff.

Then back to the laundromat which, surprise, is open. This was not your usual washerette, it was a combo computer repair business, game arcade, and laundromat - with, of course, a couple of pool tables. What else could you possibly need! And the good news, I actually got my laundry done - now I need to relax.

Just another fine day on the road. Take care.


Sunday, August 3

Room With A View

I'm out in the middle of nowhere in Eastern Tennessee at anothe US Forest Service campground - Gardens Bluff. Only six dollars a night and I get this view as a bonus.

View from my campsite on Watauga Lake


Saturday, August 2

Art in the mountains

Just down the road from the campground is the little North Carolina town of Burnsville and this weekend it was the home for the 58th edition of the Mount Mitchell Craft Fair. I spent the weekend walking around looking and sitting in the park listening to music.


Friday, August 1

Carolina Hemlocks

My campground for the last two nights. Several nice hiking trails, one of which follows along the banks of the Toe River.

Of course, when you have a river you also have:

Fishing on the Toe River

Tubbing on the Toe