Smoky Mountains – Day 1

Prelude:

Janet and I drove down to the Smoky Mountains in late June, which means that I’m about a month behind in posting this. We left my car at her parents’ house and departed the Chicago area on Wednesday night. She was driving and got us into Kentucky where we stopped for the night at about 2:30AM. The next morning we finished the drive to the park, getting there in the early afternoon.

We stayed in a nice little cabin off in the hills between Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg, somewhere around the #1 on the map below*.  After finding the cabin and depositing our stuff, we went back to Pigeon forge for a few more food items, to get a bit familiar with the route and to stop by the visitor center.  The cabin was about 5 miles, or 15 minutes out into the woods on some very narrow and winding roads.  There were definitely hotels closer to the park on the South side of Gatlinburg, but we were aided by the fact that there is a bypass around the city (#2 on the map) that we could use to get straight into the park without getting sucked into the tourist trap that is Gatlinburg.  We ended up not sure if we’d do a cabin or a hotel if we were ever to go again.

Park Map

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West Trip Day 10 – Grand Canyon

We only spent one day at the Grand Canyon, having decided not to spend the two days or so it would have taken to drive around to the South rim. The South is the more tourist laden We stayed in Kenab, AZ which is the closest town to stay in, but which really isn’t that close – about an hour and half drive to and through the park to get to the hiking. If I were to make a return trip to the North rim, I would definitely stay at the campground, probably for two nights. It was cheap, and didn’t involve an hour and half drive in the morning to get where we wanted to be for the day. Two nights would have eliminated the need to pack up the next day and would have been good because we would likely be too tired to drive that night anyway.

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