…The weekend forecast?
Well, Lynnette and Jim are coming, so you can expect showers.
Chances are good that you’ll see plenty of rain.
And, some thunderstorms too.
Other than that, it should be nice and pleasant.
Enjoy your stay!
We would’ve liked to camp on this visit to the Smoky Mountains, but on July 2nd, every campground within 40 miles of Gatlinburg was booked solid over the Fourth of July holiday. (Fortunately, we got our camping “fix” a few weeks earlier.)
Sometimes we get bonus points for being “spontaneous”. Other times we consider ourselves complete idiots for our lack of planning!
So we found a cheap (by “Gatlinburg on the 4th” standards: only $89) hotel near Light #8.
It was the Sidney James at 610 Historic Nature Trail/Airport Road.
We’re not really into all the “touristy” stuff there, so we were glad to be somewhat near the end — easy in, easy out in terms of traffic.
In reality, we got a couple of great “bonuses” at our bargain hotel:
- There was a great little Mexican Restaurant right down the street — and everyone knows how we LOVE Mexican food!
- The trolley made frequent passes up and down our street — taking people from the hotel anywhere from traffic light #1 to Pigeon Forge
- Our hotel room came with a balcony which faced the street — in PERFECT view of the Gatlinburg fireworks display which took place at midnight on July 4th. Talk about a party on the porch!
- There was a hidden gem at the end of our road… Where our hotel’s parking lot ended, a little-known auto touring route began. It’s called the Roaring Fork Auto Driving Tour, and it’s a haven for black bears, deer, and turkey by the dozens
Highlights Of Our Weekend In (& Around) Gatlinburg
For the most part, I did the photographing, while Jim did the video blogging. In all, we shot more than 600 photos and 100 MB of video during our 3-day/2-night/825-mile Jeepin’ adventure in and around Gatlinburg.
- People-watching around the various shops and tourist attractions – downtown Gatlinburg (stay tuned for “Goofy Gatlinburg” video footage!)
- The Nation’s FIRST 2005 Fourth of July Parade – downtown Gatlinburg
- The Nation’s LAST Fourth of July Fireworks Show – downtown Gatlinburg
- Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail – just north of downtown Gatlinburg
- Cades Cove Loop – Great Smoky Mountains National Park
- Parson’s Branch Road – DETOUR: road closed, but it was still a fun trip from Cades Cove to the detour spot
- Rich Mountain Road – a steep and winding 8-mile gravel road from Cades Cove in the Smoky Mountains to Townsend, Tennessee
- Heintooga-Round Bottom Road – a 35-mile gravel road winding ’round Balsam Mountain
- Foothills Parkway – from Townsend, TN to Fontana Dam near Deal’s Gap, NC
- Blue Ridge Parkway – we rode a small portion of this 469-mile route through North Carolina
- Tail of the Dragon – an 11-mile stretch of road (U.S. Highway 129) that has 318 hairpin turns
- Cherohala Highway – a winding road that ventures up and over 5,400-feet of mountains — 15 miles in NC and 21 miles in TN
Listen to Bud Light’s Real Men of Genius “Mr. Parade Float Driver“:
Both the Tail of the Dragon and Cherohala Highway are favorites of motorcycle drivers. They drive from all the surrounding states just to experience these narrow & twisty roads. But trust me, it’s fun in a Jeep too!
And, like usual… we saw plenty of deer and bears that we spotted all along the backcountry roads of Gatlinburg:
Overall, it was a weekend filled with lots of spontaneous adventure. We definitely had a ton of FUN.