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More GSMNP then on to Asheville.

Posted 05-24-2013 at 08:08 PM by BillB44

Awoke early to sunshine and drove into nearby Gatlinburg to grab breakfast and take care of some freelance work via wi-fi, since we have zero signals in the park. Gatlinburg is another commercialized town gone awry. It’s cuter than Pigeon Forge but it’s still plenty kitschy with all the faux outdoor stores and phony Bavarian schtick. Where Pigeon Forge reminded us of Vegas, Gatlinburg was more Disneyland-esque.

After breakfast we drove the Newfound Gap Road, all the way up to Clingman’s Dome, the highest point in the Park, and third highest East of the Mississippi, at 6,643 feet…including a steep ½ mile walk up to a concrete observation tower. On a clear day you can see 100 miles. Not today. More like 10 to 15. Some cool views but clouds brushed against us all the way up. While there, we hiked the Appalachian Trail. Not quite in its entirety, but at least a few hundred feet and can conclusively say it’s a nice little trail.

Forecast called for more T-Storms here this afternoon so we decided to move on to Asheville, NC a day early. We drove back, broke camp then headed back up the same Newfound Gap Road towards N.C. A spectacular drive with lots of great pull outs/view points. We also took a detour and did a portion of the famous Blue Ridge Mountain Parkway--steep, slow and twisty but far fewer cars.

We arrived into Asheville about four hours later, greeted by a black sky, lightning and yet another downpour. Found our way to a cool private RV park on a mountain top overlooking Asheville that KB made reservs at a few days ago.

Pasta and wine in the Spud, then series finale of Modern Family thanks to a cable hook-up. Enough of that brutal NP no hook-up camping. Although we are still roughing it--no DVR so we have to listen to all commercials AND no FF nor rewinding if we miss a funny line. This might be sort of how Lewis and Clark felt.

(And overnight, a massive lightning storm, yet again. One crack made us both jump--a blinding flash with deafening blast at same instant. If we make it thru the night we’ll explore Asheville tomorrow.)
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