My Trip to the Smoky Mountains

Day 1. From Solon Springs to Champaign, Illinois with lunch and a few stops along the way.   I was reminded how flat the landscape is and how much corn is grown in Illinois.    548 miles

Day 2. Champaign, IL to Sevierville, TN with lunch at the Waffle House in Lexington, KY.  Kentucky is a beautiful state and I'd like to go back and see more of it.  Arrived at the Dolly Parton's Dixie Stampede just in time for dinner and the show.  No pictures allowed during the show.  It was a good time with good food and the North won!    525 miles

Day 3.  Our first day in the Smoky's with retired forest ranger Dwight McCarter.  Beautiful day with breath taking views.  Stops at Cherokee and an old grist mill.

Here's an unusual Christmas tree that was in a shop in Cherokee.  Cheddarhead hats and mice on a ghastly red tree!  Eye catching for sure!  

In the afternoon we took the tram ride at Ober Gatlinburg.  This was an awesome ride and view!  I loved it! 

In the evening we had time for shopping and dinner in Gatlinburg.  This is where you go if you want to buy some moonshine...and I did!   110 miles

Day 4. Today we drove to Cades Cove on a very narrow and winding road.  It was another beautiful day to be sightseeing in Tennessee. I'm going to fess up to y'all (see, I really was in the south!).  I didn't take that many pictures because I didn't want to look like these guys. I wanted to see it all with my own eyes.

In the afternoon we were at Dollywood.  I really had to control myself and not sneak some pictures while at Dolly's Museum.  This was my favorite part of Dollywood.  It had many of her gowns, shoes, awards and other memorabilia, but no pictures allowed here either.  Dolly is one $mart lady.  If you want pictures of her stuff, buy the book or postcards.

Interesting story about this train.   Back in the 40's it was used up in Skagway, Alaska when the Alaskan Highway was being built.  At the same time and place my Dad was working on the Alaskan Highway construction.  Made the ride much more meaningful for me. 95 miles

Day 5. Up early and on the road to Asheville, NC to see the beautiful Biltmore Estate.  No pictures allowed inside, but you can take them outside.   I bought the tour book, postcards and wine from the Biltmore Winery.  250 rooms in this mansion plus gardens, stables, indoor pool, winery, bowling alley, you name it!  230 miles

Day 6. Sadly it's time to head home already.  We left early and finally got to our destination in suburban Chicago around 6:30.  Took longer than expected because 3 semi trucks crashed into each other and really screwed up traffic in Indiana. 595 miles

Day 7. Arrived back home around 3:30.  I had a great time, saw lots of new and interesting sites, met some wonderful, friendly people and I'm looking forward to another trip next year. 413 miles for a total of 2516!


Beth said...

This is very similar to a bus tour that my daughter and I took a few years ago. Beautiful country!

When you mentioned Champaign you made me homesick. Where did you eat there? Hometown Buffet or Cracker Barrel I am guessing.

Great pics.

Tammy said...

Looks awesome!

I want to know about the moonshine. How did it taste? I've heard it's like swallowing fire.

Horst in Edmonton said...

Looks like you had an awesome trip, good that you were able to get away and have a great time. The photos are awesome.

Nancy said...

Awesome trip Cindy. Maybe next time Jim will go too. Very interesting about the train history and your Dad.

Cindy said...

@Beth...We stopped at McDonalds in LaSalle for a potty break, then it was on to our hotel in Champaign where a meal was awaiting us.
@Tammy...Imagine what it would taste like if you drank lighter fluid. It smells quite a bit like it and burned all the way down.
@Nancy...not a chance that Jim would go along. He has no desire to travel and I'll confess I had a great time by myself. I met so many people because I was alone.

Terry's Tete-a-tete said...

What a great trip. Sure looked like a lot of fun. The decorations on the tree are just the best. ;)

Peaceful said...

thanks for taking us along :)

CAROLDEE said...

Ahh Sis.. do you think some big critter could have gotten in that blind and had a hard time getting out again? Figures they would tear heck out of it trying to get loose.
Glad you had a great time on your trip!! Love the pics!!

Cindy said...

No Carol, when the tripod that was inside fell over, it caused the rip. The blind sat out in the elements all summer and the UV rays weakened the fabric that wasn't all that strong to start with.

Janie said...

For a person that doesn't want to take many photos, you did a super job! I like the pumpkin photo that was laying out "yander". What a great trip for you to do.