October 2005               


We spent a great week in Chillicothe, OH at the Travel Supreme rally.  It was great to see old friends and make new ones. This was a smaller rally than the previous ones we have had.  We are wondering if the storms in the south and higher fuel prices are keeping folks home.   Dick attended several seminars and we made the decision to put disc brakes on the trailer.  We made an appointment for the last of the month to go to MoRyde in Elkhart and have the work done. 

            Travel Supreme had a crew of technicians at the rally and we were able to have a couple of issues looked at.  However, correcting them was not feasible at the rally so we would have to call for an appointment and go to the service facility in Elkhart.  As we were to be in Elkhart anyway it was not a problem for us. 

            Weather for the week was wonderful.  Sunny and warm. We were treated to two excellent dinners.  We signed up to help with the farewell dinner and had a good time serving. We also had several evenings of entertainment and one night of Bingo.  Millie attended the Red Hat Society luncheon. 

            Several years ago a Halloween decorating contest was initiated.  We had a lot more rigs who participated this year and it was fun to see what each had done.   The winners for the third year in a row were Alan and Linda Greager. They have a really great witch who attaches to the windshield of their motorhome and it looks like she flew into the windshield.  Splat!  Alan and Linda and their pup Spencer were neighbors of our friend Phyllis this summer in Colorado.

            This year we had a pet parade.  Several of the pooches showed up wearing their Halloween costumes or best attire.   We didn’t take our girls, they really don’t like crowds and of course, two cats with a bunch of dogs would really be a riot. 

            Friday was hitch up day and of course, it rained and turned cool.  After saying our goodbyes we headed south.  We stopped in Berea, KY at the Kentucky Artisans Center.  This new center contains many items for sale from Artisans in the state.  Millie had an enjoyable time browsing thru the center.  Even if you don’t make a purchase, the wonderful items are great to look over.

            We spent the night in Renfro Valley, KY and it stayed cool and rainy.  Saturday we traveled on to Pigeon Forge, TN.  What a change from the last time we were here!  Traffic was unbelievable – it took us 45 minutes to go 5 miles.  Pigeon Forge has become a big outlet mall town and with it being Saturday, everyone was out shopping. 

            We located Holly Haven RV Park and checked in.  After setting up we had dinner and spent the evening resting.

            The weather warmed up and the sun came out for the remainder of our stay at Holly Haven.  We took care of chores, and just hung around the house on some days.  Dick took the truck into Knoxville one day for service and Millie decided it would be a good day to head into town for a shopping trip. 

            Pigeon Forge has a great trolley system that runs all around town.  Millie caught the trolley at the entrance to Holly Haven and for 25 cents rode to the Old Mill area of town. 

            On a side street across from the trolley station was a great needlework shop The Dixie Darlin’ and Millie had a great time looking at all the wonderful cross stitch patterns and kits they stock.  She purchased fabric for a Christmas ornament project and some other kits. 

            After visiting the Old Mill Bakery for a great lunch of baked potato soup and chicken salad sandwich, Millie visited the other great shops in the Old Mill area before hopping the trolley back to the RV park.

            One of our favorite places in the Great Smokey Mountains National Park is Cades Cove.  Of course, the Cove is also becoming a favorite of many visitors to the park.  We took off on a warm sunny morning to drive the loop of the Cove.

            The 11 mile loop thru the Cove is one way the majority of the way.  During the summer months we understand that this drive can take up to 5 hours due to the traffic volume.  The Cove is also closed to vehicle traffic on one morning a week for bicycle use.

            Our first stop in the Cove was the John Oliver place.  This family came to the area in the 1820’s and the property belonged to the family until the park was established in the 1930’s. 

            It is always a surprise to modern day folk to see the small spaces that very large families lived in.  Usually the cabins contained one or two rooms that served as living, kitchen and bedroom area with perhaps a loft above where the male children slept.  Many of the places we have seen were not even as large as our modern RV’s.

            The next stop we made was at the Primitive Baptist Church.  This church served the area from about 1827.  The present church was built in 1887.   We walked thru the cemetery beside the church, looking at the interesting and very old gravestones.  Of particular interest to us were two graves next to one another.  One was the grave of a young baby girl born and died on Feb. 3.  The adjoining marker was of a woman with the same surname who was also born on Feb. 3 but died when she was a very old woman.  It is our thought that these were twin sisters.  The many infant and children’s graves in the cemetery reminded us of how hard life was in ages past.

            A sign outside the church building told of a ranger program to be presented and we stayed for this presentation.  A very interesting program on the history of the church, its influence in the community and beliefs of its congregation was worth the 30 minutes or so we sat on the hard wooden benches. 

            Two items during the program were of particular interest.  As the Primitive Baptist faith does not permit musical instruments, the congregation sang their hymns with the old shape note method.  The park ranger had a recording demonstrating this beautiful music. 

            The other unusual part of the program was during the presentation of the building of the present church.  The ceiling is boards and they have some very unusual marks on them.  They were cut from trees in the area and were attached to the ceiling while still green.  When you sit and study the marks, you can see that they are actually the hand prints of the builders left in the sappy green lumber!   It really gives you a connection with these people from so long ago.

            Our next stop in the cove was Cable Mill area.  We had to look hard to find a parking space here, there were so many people.  In a number of trips to this park, we have never seen so many people in the Cove.

            The mill is an operating mill with demonstrations taking place daily and products produced there being for sale.  The water is carried to the wheel by a wooden trace.  The wheel is an overshot wheel (this means the water flows over the top of the wheel to turn it).

            A home built in 1879, a barn, blacksmith shop and small visitors center is also located at the mill area.  During the summer tours and talks are given by rangers.

            There are also a number of other log homes in the Cove but we did not stop at them as parking was very limited and most areas were filled. 

            Our next foray into the park was The Roaring Fork Motor Nature Drive.  This drive is a 9 mile loop and the road is very narrow.  Large motor homes, buses and trailers are not permitted on this road.  In some areas, we were almost too large and Dick had to stop, back up and readjust to get around the curves.

            Our only stop on this loop was at the Noah Ogle place.  This 400 acre farm was home to the large family of Noah Ogle.  The house, barn and a tub mill are on the property and there is a walking trail.  It is hard to imagine how this land could be farmed, much of it is very rocky, but the family worked hard and lived successfully here.

            The Ogle family was one of the first to settle the Gatlinburg area in the early 1800’s.

            Our second week in the area started with a trip to Dollywood.  The park was featuring their National Music and Harvest Celebration.  Again, we found the trolley system the best mode of transportation to go to the park.  We would catch the trolley at Holly Haven, ride to the main trolley station, hop on the trolley to Dollywood and be let off at the main gate.  The cost was $1 round trip as opposed to the $6 to $9 parking fee at Dollywood. 

            The first day we arrived at 3:00, planning to use the “arrive after three, the next day is free” option.  However, we quickly realized that with the large number of shows and performers during the festival we would not be able to see them all.  For a few dollars more, we upgraded to a season permit. 

            We spent 4 days at the park and really enjoyed being able to see shows at a leisurely pace.  We were treated to shows by groups such as Ricochet, Confederate Railroad, the Pfeifers and the Peasall Sisters.   One of the most popular shows in the park is a southern gospel group, The Kingdom Heirs.  We quickly learned that we needed to be in line for this show at least an hour before start time.  If you like music, you can have a great time at this park.

            Millie particularly enjoys all the craft demonstrations and shops at the park.  We have been here a number of times.  Our first visit was back in the late 1960’s or early 70’s.  The park was then known as Goldrush Junction.  It was owned by the Cleveland Browns organization and was a very small park.  Our next visit was during the time the park was known as Silver Dollar City.  We have made several visits since it became Dollywood. 

            New to us is the Eagle Mountain Sanctuary.  This exhibit area is under the care of the American Eagle Foundation, which is licensed by the government to possess birds.  The sanctuary has a large collection of bald eagles that cannot be released into the wild and they are used to educate on the birds.  Several of the birds are also breeding pairs, which enable this great symbol of our country to come back from near extinction.  A wonderful program is presented several times daily with raptors including a bald eagle and a golden eagle.  It is such a thrill to be able to see these wonderful birds up close.

            We packed up on Saturday, the 22nd and headed north.  It turned cooler and we stopped at the TN-KY border at a rest area so Millie could change from her shorts to jeans. 

            We stopped at an RV park in Berea where we had made plans to meet Sue and Don Rector.  They had been our neighbors at the Freightliner rally in the spring and we were happy to be their neighbors again.  We had a great time visiting and had dinner together at O’Charleys.  After dinner Millie and Sue visited.  Dick wanted to watch the World Series as the Astros were playing. 

            On Sunday we bid goodbye to Don and Sue and continued north. It was a cold, rainy day.  Heading up I-75, we saw many FEMA trailers going south.  These RV’s will be home for many of the victims of this year’s storms. 

            After spending Sunday night near Indianapolis, we arrived in Elkhart on Monday around noon.  We located MoRyde and got our paperwork done in preparation for our work to be done the following day.  MoRyde has space at their facility with electric hookups so we spent a comfortable evening. 

            Tuesday morning our trailer was backed into the service bay and work was begun to add our new disc brakes.  We went to Bob Evans for breakfast, made a stop at Camping World and Wal-Mart, and then returned to MoRyde.  We spent the afternoon in their very comfortable waiting area. 

            At the end of the day, we were informed that our job wasn’t finished due to a failure of some parts to arrive and that we would be spending the night inside the service area.  We were provided with a key so we could go in and out.  It was really quiet inside and an interesting experience.

            Wednesday we were again in the customer waiting area.  We visited with other folks having work done and had a nice lunch provided by MoRyde.  Around 2 our rig was finally done and we were on our way to the Travel Supreme service facility.

            Thursday we were up early (Travel Supreme starts the day at 6:30 AM) and ready for our service tech.  After going over the things needing done, we headed out to have breakfast and afterwards came back to the service area where we visited with folks who were also having work done. 

            Our problems were addressed by the end of the work day and we planned to spend the night and leave for Texas in the morning.  While Dick was plugging in our electric, our neighbor noticed that one of our slide seals was coming apart.  Dick went inside and let the receptionist know we needed further work the following day.

            Friday our service tech replaced 2 of our slide seals and also replaced some screws on the mechanism for the bedroom slide. 

            We took advantage of our time at Travel Supreme to make a trip over to Shipshewana.  Millie checked out the fabric department at Yoder’s.  She also wandered thru some of the many shops in the downtown area. 

            Last fall there had been a fire in the downtown area that had destroyed a large historic hotel.  A new, large shopping area has been built on the site and shops had recently begun opening.  Millie checked out the quilting fabric shop in the shopping center and several of the little gift shops.  When fully occupied this will be a great shopping place. 

            Elkhart was a beehive of activity with FEMA trailers.  Several of the RV factories are producing units for FEMA and there were large lots filled with the units, also many signs looking for drivers to deliver them to the needed areas in the south. 

            We left Elkhart on Saturday morning and began our drive south.  We had planned to arrive in the Dallas area on the 1st.  When we got to Oklahoma City, we stopped for fuel and Millie asked Dick how much further it was to Dallas.  We had planned to stop for the day on the south side of Oklahoma City but as it was only 2:00 and we were within 4 hours of Dallas, decided to continue on. 

            It was 6:00 when we arrived at Destiny RV Resort, we were tired and had to park after dark, but we were here.  We would just spend the next day resting. 

            We will spend the month of November here at Destiny.  Come back and see how we spent our time.

(Lots of new photos in the gallery, take a look.  We couldn't link to all of them.)