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Old 11-26-2017, 07:09 AM   #1
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BatDude's Avatar
Name: Bat Dude
Trailer: Escape
Posts: 347
Love places where the daytime temp is higher than the speed limits

Hi all,

We did escape Mich. before the next wave of snow and ice. Many cool/cold nights on the road. We abandoned the planned Walmart stop in Athens OH as it had little space, was very insecure looking and was a pre-turkey day pandemonium.

So we continued another 1.5 hours south and tried a Cracker Barrel for the first time. Not bad. The next day we were heading to a planned stop at a KOA in Virginia but decided since we had 2 days before we could check in at Huntington Beach State Park Sat. and were just approaching an intersection of Interstate HWYS we would jump off and head west to Gatlinburg to visit the Great Smoky Mountains, National Park. Spontaneous can be good while traveling. Or not

OMG! you would have thought we were looking for the proverbial manger at Christmas time. ALL RV parks were either closed for the season (after Halloween) or filled to overflow. We drove around and tried 5 places for about 1.5 hours. RVParky was useful, however, the app did not indicate which were closed for the season. Finally, the "Small is beautiful" mantra paid off and we found one RV resort further north at Pigeon Forge that had a slot for our 16' Scamp for 2 nights.

WOW, it was a postage stamp spot but we fit. The woman at the front desk indicated there was a 3 night minimum for weekend bookings. I told her we only needed 2 nights and since no other rig on the road other than a small FG or perhaps a tiny pop up could fit it was better to have gotten 2 nights of revenue than leave it vacant. None of the 30' ++ land yachts looking for space would have fit on the site any case.

The NP was wonderful, albeit bumper to bumper traffic through the park was a bit much even sans Scamp. There were two trails where dogs were allowed to be on so we did get our 10K Fitbit steps for the day after several days of <5K sitting while driving and rest stops.

Heading to Huntington Beach from Pigeon Forge was not uneventful

Our Ford Flex GPS/navigation took us south through Gatlinburg then east on Tn 321 as I saw on the AAA and RVParky maps and that seemed good. Our route was then to be an easy on to I-40 then head south to Asheville N.C. then to I-26 then I-20 then east towards Myrtle Beach then south to Huntington Beach. Easy No Tru?


Confidently following the nav we were directed onto a road that rapidly became very narrow that went up and up and up over the eastern end of the mountains. Scenic but no place to turn around or stop.

Flexi, our navigation voice continued to tell us to "Turn left here" but each of the smaller mountain tracks suggested were very steep dirt tracks down the side of the mountain to what appeared to be driveways and or one case a cemetery. One larger paved road to the east down another very steep track where we had the vocal suggestion to "Turn left now" on saw 3, we counted three HUGE red signs that stated, "GPS is WRONG do not enter this road."

We continued on slowly winding up the mountain then down then up then down at 5-8 MPH. For the first 45 minutes, we saw no vehicles or buildings along the extremely steep slopes. Then we passed a small very rural farm-like set of buildings perched on a ledge-like bit of land with a pick-em-up truck parked in front of a small place with wood smoke trailing up to the sky. They had hand painted on a large flat rock this sign... "All who are lost end up here" I almost chuckled at our temporary new reality. However, at the moment, I was working to keep the right Scamp wheel on the narrow pavement strip as there was no shoulder, and +/- 18" ditch at the edge.

Further on we came to a sign that told us the pavement ends in 100 yards!

Oh, Joy. Serious Boon docking anyone?

There was a "large" space more or less at the sign to turn around and we decided we might be better off back-tracking as the NAV map still showed I-40 far far to the east and miles and miles away from us.

Of course, every few moments we had Flexi's admonishment belted out "Map data incomplete... Proceed with Caution!"

It was still too narrow to simply turn around in one smooth arc so as I was backing up a bit to continue pulling forward to complete the turn the first vehicle we had seen the entire 50 minutes stopped to let me continue. Well, I was blocking the road in any case.

I then flashed my lights and the PU truck stopped and I asked the fellow about access to I-40. With a heavy Appalachian accent, he told me if I just turn around the gravel section was only about a mile long and when we hit pavement again a small access road to the left would take us east to I-40.

So I thanked him and backed down the road a bit and did another 3 point K turn.

At the next crest of the gravel road in .5 miles we came to, we saw 3 vehicles pulled off to one side. Then Carolyn noted WOW! there was a sign indicating the Appalachian Trail was crossing this point. So the cars were hikers. We had always thought traveling part of that trail would be fun... but perhaps not in a Scamp.

We did find the pavement and made it to I-40 after a very slow "Scenic route" that cost us close to an hour in travel time I merged onto I-40 South.

As we approached Columbia S.C. we encountered bumper to bumper traffic on the Interstate for an apparent Feet Ball game. This we deduced from all the flags flying and various decorations like helmets etc. on the cars, trucks etc.

We pealed off north of Columbia and headed east on I-20. WOW the west bound traffic on I-20 was backed up for > 5 miles at a crawl. Phew glad we did not need to pass through Columbia.

All in our our various road events took nearly 2 hours more than we planned. We did get into Huntington Beach SP. and our friends we were meeting indicated that had been waiting most of the afternoon.

OH well the Zen of travel... It is what it is.

So from here on out we should be good on our travels.

In any case WE LOVE being in places where the temperatures are higher than the speedlimts.

Cheers all
Conservation biologist specializing in bats. Now stepping aside from paid $ bat work and just Escaping, painting and mentoring grad students
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Old 11-26-2017, 07:38 AM   #2
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Name: Paul
Trailer: '04 Scamp 19D, TV:Tacoma 4.0L 4door, SB
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Great adventure, Bat Dude! We saw the Great Smokys last spring, unfortunately a few weeks before the rhodies bloom. It is a wonderful place. You are really discovering interesting places, and that is the way we often do it ourselves. It is much more fun than smooth pavement. Taking time is the key.

Many years ago we discovered a Christmas tree farm in Vermont which is in the back of beyond, on miles of dirt roads. They had also posted a sign advising the travelers not to trust their GPS. We found it without problems using the old fashioned paper map.
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Old 11-26-2017, 08:40 AM   #3
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Name: Lisa
Trailer: 1992 Scamp 13'
Posts: 768
Hey BatDude, glad to read you got on your way, the last post I saw of yours you had snow in your driveway!
I was happy to see that you didn't have to unhitch your Scamp to turn around (something I had to do this past week when I went down a dead end narrow street).
Keep the updates coming.
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Old 11-26-2017, 10:15 AM   #4
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Name: bob
Trailer: 1996 Casita 17 Spirit Deluxe; 1946 Modernistic teardrop
New York
Posts: 5,303
LOL Bruce, you should have stayed at Natural Bridge KOA as we did a week ago. Last night we stayed at the KOA in Kingsland GA so that we would only have to be on the road less than an hour today to get to Fort Clinch in Florida. The day we left home it had snowed during the night a couple inches. Road was only wet but the truck and trailer got covered with salt. Ten miles out the road was dry. Took me until the third day to find a car wash I could fit the trailer in. Same thing happened last year, snow at home, nothing ten miles out. A few years ago we got on some winding mountain road in Virginia when we had to detour off the Blue Ridge Parkway and finally found I 40.
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Old 11-26-2017, 12:43 PM   #5
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Name: Jon
Trailer: Escape 21C
New York
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Glad to hear you got out OK. By the way, if you are willing to head a bit west, even with the 70MPH speed limits, the temperatures (at least this weekend) are in the mid 80's here at Quartzsite, AZ.
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Old 11-26-2017, 02:25 PM   #6
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Name: bob
Trailer: Was A-Liner now 13f Scamp
Posts: 3,209
serious driving

good for you batdude if you want to do some serious gpsing go to Europe sometime believe me you will get all sorts of false statements out of it!

We drove all over one time mountain to mountain trying to find a campground getting false readings. we drove on 1 lane blacktops mountain to mountain without meeting anyone.

but the drive was so worth it amazing scernery in fact!!!

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Old 11-26-2017, 09:19 PM   #7
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Name: bill
Trailer: 2013 Escape 19
The Mountains of North Carolina
Posts: 4,029
Here in the mountains, there really is no substitute for an "analog GPS" = road map. There are so many errors on mapping programs, particularly here in the mountains. It will direct you down many dirt roads/alleys or whatever. Smoky Mtns National Park is the busiest park in the USA and often the traffic is a huge mess. Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg traffic can be even worse.
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