Saturday, November 22, 2014

Raccoon Valley

On March 15, 2004, we finally got to the Raccoon Valley RV Park in Heiskell, Tennessee. Heiskell is an unincorporated community, so small the post office only has one employee and they close for lunch. Raccoon Valley was a good starting point to see sites in the area. The dogwoods and cherry blossoms were in full bloom and the views were breathtaking. We also saw many golden trees and bushes in the area. It almost makes me wish I had studied botany, instead of mathematics.

South and west of Heiskell, hidden in the thick foliage is Oak Ridge, Tennessee. I have heard of Oak Ridge all my life because the laboratory there was part of the Manhattan Project to build the bomb. I was curious, but not enough to look for the lab.

One morning we drove southeast of Knoxville into Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg. We went to Pigeon Forge and I do not remember actually seeing a town. We did get to the entrance of Dollywood, but it was closed at the time we were there. It is amazing driving in the Smokey Mountains, because often you are in the smoke. Sometimes the fog is so thick you can see no mountains at all. Onward to Gatlinburg and we found it very commercial. Everything was in business for the tourist trade and the streets were filled with tourists moving from shop to shop.  Just so we were good guests we paid to go to Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies. The aquarium was nice, but similar to aquariums we had seen for free in casinos in Las Vegas and restaurants in Texas The trip took most of the day and we enjoyed being out in the fresh mountain air.

Another attraction we attended in the area is The Museum of Appalachia in Clinton, Tennessee, which is about thirty miles north of Heiskell. The museum is closer to Norris, Tennessee, so I did not understand the Clinton address, but who cares? We spent the afternoon walking the grounds and viewing museum exhibits. There was abundant wildlife on the property, including cattle, buffalo, horses, donkeys, goats, pigs, chickens and turkeys. We saw breeds of chickens we had never seen before. They had fluffy white feathers. The museum hosts were attired in clothing from old Appalachia and were very friendly and welcoming hosts. Fortunately we had two cameras at the time. I lost all the pictures from my camera trying to download them to my computer. Kathi’s pictures are posted below.

We spent our last night in the area at the Knoxville Freightliner for an appointment the next morning. This is probably the most accommodating Freightliner location for RV owners. Usually the RV families wait with the truck drivers for service completion. At this location, they have a separate waiting room for RV families. Really plush furnishing and friendly personnel make this one of our best maintenance stops.   

Next stop: Memphis.

A pasture at the Museum of Appalachia.

Hello, you turkey.

I am not convinced Mark Twain actually lived here.

Street view in Gatlinburg

Red barn at the Museum of Appalachia

A pastoral scene driving through Tennessee

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