It was supposed to rain on Saturday, so we didn’t really hurry to get up and going. Turns out, that forecast was wrong and we probably could have gotten an earlier start.
We had noticed that there was an NOC (Nantahala Outdoor Center) building on the border of the park just in Gatlinburg. I was unaware that NOC had physical stores – I thought they were an online only entity – but since it was there it got added to our list of things to do. We stopped in mainly just to browse, and because I wanted a less warm hat than the one I was forced to use the day before.
We headed south out of Chicago starting at around 9:30PM (central) and traded off driving through the night to the Smoky Mountains. Janet started out driving and I attempted, with limited success, to sleep. This is admittedly an obnoxious way of going on vacation, but it does help compress things into a long weekend.