Tag Archives: Vacation

ALL OUT

We headed out to Graveyard Fields today expecting a leisurely walk to a nice waterfall. We were sorely mistaken. Literally sorely mistaken.

There are many things we could do and want to, but as she said today, we aren’t in shape enough to do some of them.

The Upper Falls we’re worth the hike, and the soreness, though. We will pay for it over the next couple of days.

Devils Courthouse is tomorrow. We’re pacing ourselves, and we can pick it up on the drive out home. It’s right off the parkway.


Masonic Marker

We decided to take a ride and visit some old haunts the rest of the day.

One of these is the Masonic Marker off the parkway down past Mile High Overlook.

There’s supposedly a Deep Underground Military Base there or D.U.M.B.

A couple of years ago, we saw a military vehicle parked at Mile High overlook one night, and it was still there the following day.

Now you can believe what you want, everywhere else along the Blue Ridge Parkway in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the phone service is terrible. Running most of the stuff on this blog this week has had to go through Wi-Fi. I’m lucky I stayed at hotels with great Wi-Fi because there’s not a lot up here.

Out at the Masonic Marker, though, I’m uploading five or six pics for an IG post, checking email and Twitter. Go figure. Maybe they finally got a good signal up here, or maybe there’s a bit of truth to what people talk about.


Cherokee Veterans Park

There are a few places you can feel pride and see pride in the service of others anymore.

One of those is the Cherokee Veterans Park in Cherokee, North Carolina.

I am proud of my service. I am proud of anyone who served in anyone who served with me. No greater sacrifice can a man make than to lay down his life for his brother or sister. And all my sisters in service or who have served this goes for you too.

And then this, but you can feel the pride of the Cherokee people for those who have served. I know this park is all about the Cherokee tribe members, but I feel like they’re glad to have had all of us, and I am thankful for that.

I am very curious about the statue of PFC Charles George. The placement of the statue in the way it faces seems to be symbolic of something. I’m thinking I’m going to contact someone in the Cherokee tribe and find out why it’s placed like it’s placed.

PFC George was a Medal Of Honor recipient. He was killed in action November 1952.


After all that, it was visiting friends here and grabbing coffee, trying to catch the sunset, grabbing dinner.

And she suggested we head to Soco Falls. It’s an impressive little waterfall just off the old route between Cherokee and Maggie Valley. It’s always hard to park there, but we slid right in.

Soco Falls

We’ve had a good couple of days up here together. Trafficβ€˜s been like the crowds haven’t been bad. It’s been pretty much perfect.

That’s it. That’s the post.

Seegars

Thomas Divide Tunnel

We found a new lost thing this weekend. Most folk will drive over it without even realizing it’s there.

From visitmysmokies.com:

The Civilian Conservation Corps was created in 1933 to provide jobs to young men who were skilled in masonry, engineering, architecture, landscaping, or simply hard work. They built hundreds of miles of roads and hiking trails, bridges, buildings, campgrounds, and more in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The CCC most commonly used stone to build the structures. Some of the most well-known structures they built are the original Oconaluftee Visitor Center, the tower at Mount Cammerer, and the four-arch Elkmont Bridge. However, some of the accomplishments of the CCC are less well known, like the secret tunnel under Clingmans Dome Road!

The Thomas Divide Tunnel is less than a mile west of the junction with Newfound Gap Road. When Clingmans Dome Road was finished in 1935, there was a trail that closely paralleled the upper section of Newfound Gap Road on the North Carolina side. It connected to the Appalachian Trail on the far side of Clingmans Dome Road. Instead of routing the trail to cross Clingmans Dome Road, the engineers chose to build the tunnel under the roadbed. This old hiker’s tunnel kept the hikers from having to cross over Clingmans Dome Road


We usually visit The Road To Nowhere and a tiny cemetery on Independence Day. The. We head over to Nantahala. This year we added in Clingmans Dome because we found this online. It’s harder and harder to find something we haven’t done that’s regular tourist stuff. Occasionally you have to dig a little deeper.

Trying out the DJI Mimo for the first time on the trail.

It’s not hard to find. Just after the turn onto Clingman’s Dome Road, there’s a pull-off to the right. Park there and make your way to the bridge and down along the side. Watch your step.

And there you are.

It’s a neat place to find, and you certainly won’t have to deal with many people. If I’m heading out to Clingman’s, I will visit again. Maybe take a little picnic lunch and sit at the end over the parkway.

I have many other vids and pics to download and edit from the last five or six days. At least I have material to post.

That’s it. That’s the post.

Seegars

Back In The Mountains: Day 5: Headed Home

We’re heading home today, and I’m already feeling the tension.

We have a few spots to hit on the way back.


I wrote that early this morning and plans changed.


Sam and Logan

We headed on down the parkway after hitting Soco Tower. We always stop there. It’s billed as β€œThe Most Photographed View in The Smoky’s.” That may be an exaggeration, but the folks who own it are friendly, and they have a neat little gift shop at the bottom.

Soco Tower cost .50 per person. It’s a neat little throwback to simpler things. My parents used to take me up there, and so I take our kids. β€˜Nuff said.


We finally made it onto the BRP around 11:00 AM.

We made a quick stop at Water Rock Knob for the view and tradition, then headed towards Devil’s Courthouse.

We arrived at Devil’s Courthouse and the weather was looking like rain, and we decided against it.

Other factors contributed to the decision: my back, the wife’s knees, and both kid’s ankles. We went a little too hard this weekend.


We headed on down the BRP towards Asheville and gave Sam the decision of getting off at Asheville and running home or going out to Linn Cove Viaduct to hike underneath. He chose the latter.

We were detoured due to a road closure we knew nothing about. Simple five-mile detour, but the Linn Cove Viaduct visitors center was closed.


The road home was long today, but I see the lights of Kershaw right now, and it’s good to be home.

I’m tired.

That’s it. That’s the post.

Seegars

Back In The Mountains: Day 2

Today hasn’t been that exciting. We took the kids over to Gatlinburg to let them do their thing and we hit some of the old spots we usually go to.

What’s poppin’?

We went to check out Elkmont where they’ve been doing a lot of renovations on some of the abandoned houses. It’s nice to see history preserved.

Still no toilet.

Then on to Cades Cove to do a little bear spotting. We actually saw one far off in the fields.

I like watching the ravens beg for food alongside the cars on the loop. They are very entertaining.

We were out pretty much all day. We had a sit-down breakfast at The Mountaineer and fast food the rest of the day. The Mountaineer is fairly priced for good food. We got overcharged for what we got at Johnny Rockets in Gatlinburg.

We topped off the day with mini golf at Maggie Valley Carpet Golf.


Here is where I’m going to say something about Maggie Valley that won’t be popular. 

Y’all gotta step y’all’s game up. 

I know that the last two years have taken a bite out of everybody. And I know a business is hard to run but you’re not gonna keep a business if it isn’t open. 

Several of our favorite restaurants are still there but aren’t open for business on Fourth of July weekend. That’s very concerning for a town that thinks it’s going to jump up from the reopening of Ghost Town amusement park. I know I see the guy down at Route 19 Inn putting money into a place and hoping for the best. And he’s giving it his best. Like I wrote before me and the wife are very impressed with that motel. More importantly, we were satisfied with the money we spent with that place of business.

Chris Smith at Chris and Friends Antiques has invested a ton in his business. 

We love Maggie Valley. We would love to keep coming here. But if there’s nothing to do there’s no reason to come.

We spend the majority of our time on the trails around the town up in the mountains but we spend our money here on food and other entertainment.

We have real friends here that run businesses. And a lot of them are still open and running. 

And that’s all I got to say about that. 

That’s it. That’s the post. 

Seegars

Back In The Mountains: Day One (Part One)

We’ve finally broken free of lockdowns and masks and have run for the hills of North Carolina.

The kids came up yesterday morning, and we decided that if we got off work early enough that we’d come on up if we could find a room for one night.

We stayed at the Route 19 Inn which is a refurbished hotel that had been here since the 1940s.

I was speaking to the owner this morning and the place was buried under downed trees for years. They came in and completely refurbished the place, gave it an old school motor inn vibe and gone to work. They’ve really made something of the place in a year.

Y’all, abandoned is my thing. I have driven by this place for six years. It’s just off Soco Road. I can’t believe I haven’t noticed.

Just a quick review of the room.

Showers: EXCELLENT.

Bed: Comfortable.

It’s basic but you have cable (we didn’t even turn on the TV), USB charging ports, and the wifi was strong.

Nice price for a one night stay and finding a one nighter is hard nowadays. Extremely friendly owners.

We will stay there again.

That’s it. That’s the post.

Seegars

24 Hours…

…and some change.

In a little over twenty-four hours I will be out of here and in the mountains, hopefully. There are some things to wrap up.

Work things, house things, cat things. Then we’re off.

Kids gone tomorrow morning and us later in the day. But we’ll be taking a night alone while the kids are with their grandparents.

It has been a while since we’ve had a day/night alone.


And this afternoon has been the mad dash to get everything packed and sorted.

I’ve been up since 0330. Shower and sleep.

Work in the morning and we are ghosts.

That’s it. That’s the post.

Seegars