Only fifteen rigs came in today, but the best arrivals were Terri and John Shea and Terri's sister, Cherrilynn ('scuse the spelling) and her husband, Wayne. We had met John on the Myakka River in Florida in our respective kayaks. The Myakka is not for the faint of heart. There are alligators LINING the banks only 10 feet away from your boat in some places. This was our maiden voyage back in 2009 in our inflatable SeaEagle kayak. As we were getting further down river, and more and more uncomfortable we heard voices behind us. Two men in hard kayaks were gaining on us and we slowed to let them catch up. It was John and a friend of his nearing the end of their journey. John noticed the SeaEagle.com branding on our kayak, asked about it, and when we told him that we discovered it on a blog called RV-Dreams, he said he read that very blog as well. He and his wife were counting down to fulltiming, and planning to attend the RV-Dreams Rally in Longs, SC that spring. Well, we were planning to make that our first stop on our fulltiming adventure. So with promises to see eachother in a couple of months, we ended our journey on the Myakka.
That first meeting seemed like such a long time ago, and we've met twice at subsequent RV-Dreams rallies. They are now living in their fifth wheel on friend's property in Sebring, Florida heading towards retirement so they can move around Florida but still be close to an aunt for a while. They are so excited to travel the country.
However, they are on vacation this week, and we had dinner with all of them last night at the Smokey Mountain Brewery for half-price pizza night. Terri and I shared the veggie pizza, and the rest of the crew had the Baker's choice: lots of everything. We talked a couple hours about how we met again and how excited they are to hit the road fulltime. We left in the rain, and headed home.
Earlier that day we decided to investigate Newfound Gap Road, even though it was promising rain. The trees at the bottom of the mountain were pretty green, but we climbed and climbed to more and more beautiful colors:
Get ready to see some beautiful leaves:
We finally made it up to the state line at 5046 feet in the clouds. It was also 47 degrees and as you can see we couldn't see much.
During the 1930s, President Roosevelt created the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corp) to help lift the nation out of depression. Over 4000 men worked in the Smokies building roads, trails, campgrounds and buildings. The Rockefeller Memorial, Oconaluftee Visitor Center and Park Headquarters near Gatlinburg are all enduring examples of the work of the CCC stonemasons.
Around a corner there was a small bear jam. These cute little guys were right next to the road - very obliging, don't you think?
We didn't even have to get out of the Jeep to get shots, but it scares me that people get out of their cars and get that close to cubs when they are not looking out for mama. Several people were doing just that.
My favorite shot of the day:
It had really started to rain a gentle rain, so we headed home with our bliss renewed.
This morning we were going to Dollywood with Donna, Ron, their daughter, Erin and her two daughters, Natalie and Megan. It was very cloudy, but promised no rain. We covered the whole park, ate at a couple places, visited The Sweet Shoppe and tried all the major rides. I also found out that I was working this Sunday and the next Sunday. Yay.
After dinner, we rode over to Cirque de Chine to use our passes to get Erin and the girls in to see the show. I sure hope they get to see the finale that we saw last June. All of Ron and Donna's company will be leaving tomorrow. Also tomorrow, Gary gets his port surgery done at noon. Hopefully all will go well.