|Great Smoky Mountains National Park|
Last night it got down to 28 degrees but it was very comfortable sleeping. We didn’t have any power but we had our Wave 3 heater. When we woke up it was a little nippy so we turned on the furnace.
We headed to Smokemont, another campground in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It is only 10 miles from Cherokee so we took our time. When we got to the park we were going to go on a motorcycle ride. Before leaving Cherokee we stopped at a gas station and filled the motorcycle.
On the way to Smokemont we stopped by the Oconaluftee Visitor Center to pick up information about the park. It was a beautiful new building built with money donated by local organizations. It had a museum that included information about the CCC and how they built the park and it’s buildings. It showed exhibits on the equipment the CCC used and how they lived. It also had exhibits of the people who lived in the Smoky Mountains before it was a park. There is a trail that goes along the creek to an old homestead. As we walked around the homestead there are signs explaining the different buildings and what they were used for. It was a very nice walk and I learned a lot.
|Oconaluftee Visitor Center|
|The homestead that was at the visitor center|
|Furniture in the homestead|
After visiting the visitor center we went to Smokemont Campground. We found a site and paid for a couple of nights. After lunch we went on a 38 mile one way motorcycle ride through the park. Along the way we stopped and looked at the vistas. We stopped at a monument representing when Tennessee and North Carolina joined together and created the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. At the monument you can hike part of the Appalachian Trail. We drove all the way to Gatlinburg, Tennessee.
|Tennessee and North Carolina State Line Monument|
Gatlinburg is a tourist town with lots of shops and places to eat. It reminded me of Pigeon Forge. It had a lot of people walking around shopping and the traffic was bad.
|A creek along the motor scenic drive|
On the way back we saw a black bear with her two cubs. We stopped and watched them for a long time until they wandered off. This was very exciting.
|Mama black bear|
We had a super drive through the park even though it was a bit cold. It was a curvy road that went through a couple of wonderful tunnels.
When we got back to the Minnie we relaxed and warmed up. Then we walked around the campground for about a half hour. Larry barbecued hamburgers for dinner. After dinner I walked around to get my steps in. We spent the rest of the night relaxing. We had a great day.