Unscheduled Stop

Trip Start Feb 22, 2006
1
11
Trip End May 2006


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Flag of United States  , Tennessee
Sunday, March 26, 2006

Unscheduled Stop

Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Baker Creek State Park (SC)

March 19, 20, 21

Rejected Titles:
Who needs an RV when you've got the G. Prizzle and a leaky tent?
Snowy/Rainy Mountains National Park


Six straight days of camping (Chickasaw + Hot Springs) makes for very dirty hair and dry skin. At least that's my excuse for checking into a hotel in Memphis at around 3:30 and not leaving except to run to Best Buy and get a movie. Yes, I was right on the outskirts of the famous city of Memphis (Elvis and Justin Timberlake!), but I did not visit any of it. The only thing I visited that night was the hot tub and pool, my bathtub, and my bed.
After considerable shampoo and cocoa butter was used, and I felt like myself again, I have no more excuses. I wanted to visit Graceland, but I checked online and it cost like $20 to get in! Robbery!!
So, I hit the road towards Gatlinburg (home of Dollywood and lots of similar tourist traps) and it's a good thing I did, because it was quite a drive.
I got to the park at around 6:30-7 and set up my campsite in the dark. It wasn't one of my most comfortable experiences camping because not only was it raining (and my tent leaking) but this *@#%ing kids (my age) kept cutting RIGHT THROUGH MY CAMPSITE to get to the bathroom.
Not only did they do it undercover of darkness, they did it the following morning. One girl had the nerve to smile at me as she did so. I tried to keep my ghettofabulous-ness in check but when the second girl came through, I had to say something.
"Have you been camping before?"
"Yeah." (Like she was ready to help me with something. Stupid @#*%#!)
"Then why the ____ are you cutting through my campsite?"
"Oh, sorry." *scurries off*

Stupid kids need to be put in their places. Anyway, I cleared out early and went hiking up to Laurel Falls. It was gorgeous and I was THIS close to jumping in the water, it was so clear, but then it started to SNOW!! Sure, it snows in Utah and in Colorado this time of year-but Tennessee?
Apparently. At that point, I preferred snow to rain because it wouldn't leak as much in my tent.
I went back into Gatlinburg to get some breakfast at a local spot-country ham (yum!). And then headed back across the mountains to North Carolina to set up camp. It had been raining all day, very steadily, so I knew sleeping in the tent would be impossible, especially since it was already wet. So I put up the tent and threw all my coolers, my pack and other food in the tent. Then I used all the towels, blankets and big coats I had to pad up the inside of my car. I laid the front seats back, took the headrests off, and created a pretty cozy place to sleep.
When I woke up the next day, I was glad to see it had stopped raining. But when I looked in my tent, I saw that I had made a good decision in choosing to sleep in the car. There was literally a lake inside my tent.
I wrung out the tent, repacked the car and headed out for more hiking. On the North Carolina side of the park, there is a working mill that is 120 years old. I was the only visitor so the guy that works the mill gave me a special tour. It was fascinating. It continued to work until the 1930s when the private land was bought to create the park.
After that, I went to the Farm House Museum. It's similar to the Junior Museum in Tally, but more authentic because all the buildings on the grounds were real houses, farms, corncribs, blacksmith shops, etc. transplanted there when the park was created. With the mist in the trees, the extreme yellow bushes, and the deep brown of the wood, it made for a beautiful sight.
The ranger station was onsite, so I went to check it out and saw the forecast for the day called for more rain and snow. That's when I decided it was time to head south again.
I ended up in Baker Creek State Park, South Carolina. It was still cold, but relatively dry. So I was able to let my tent, towels, socks and gloves all dry out. Plus, it had hook-ups, so I got to plug in my lap-top.
I went for the short nature walk (1 mile) along the lakeshore and ran into a man along the trail peeing against a tree (at least, I think that's what he was doing!). I was a good ways off, so I tried to hide out before he saw me, but wearing a big white jacket in the middle of a forest isn't the best camouflage. I walked past him (after he was done) and smiled. But then he passed me again as I came back, and he looked at me and said, all politely, "I apologize, miss." Succeeding in only making the situation more uncomfortable. Why couldn't he join me in denial like any normal person??
The rest of the day and night passed without incident. On Wednesday, I packed up and headed south, towards Cumberland Island.
At about Richmond Hills (just south of Savannah, GA), I stopped at a hotel for the night to catch a soccer game and the latest episode of LOST.
Last stop...Cumberland Island!
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