Day 2 – Jan 7
On November 10, 2018, the National Park Service opened the long-awaited 16-miles section of the Foothills Parkway between Walland and Wears Valley, 12 miles from where I grew up. Since 1966 (when I was 14 years old) it has been continuously stalled by funding difficulties and for the last few decades I gave up thinking I would ever see it! With our unexpected trip through the area on our way to Jekyll Island, we headed out this morning to follow the 60-day-old parkway drive.
We followed TN Route 321 from our campground, 25 miles to the jumping on place, just down the road from my hometown of Maryville. I can’t even begin to count the times that we have driven past the access road with sarcastic remarks about “the parkway.” Would it live up to 52 years of hype?
ABSOLUTLEY! It was beautiful. The 16-mile road was so fresh and new, and somehow, even on this early date in January, the grass on either side of the road was a thick, bright, green! The pull-offs were well situated to show Wear’s Valley from grand over-looks, and the many bridges were literally hanging on the side of the mountain.
We ended up in Wears Valley and drove the rest of the way into Pigeon Forge. It was such a beautiful sunny and warm day (67 degrees) that we decided to walk the dogs on the lovely little outdoor strolling walkway of Margaritaville on “The Island.”
Our evening dinner plans were with my siblings, Richard, Johanna and Beccie, who all lived in the near-by area. Our favorite get-together place is Calhouns Restaurant on the Loudon Lake, just a few miles down the road from our campsite. We spent an enjoyable two hours chitchatting in the outdoor glassed-in dining room -- right on the water. Then back to the campsite for an early bedtime in preparation for a long drive the next day.
We don’t go camping any more . . . we go ‘streamin’ ! The “SIlvermine and His” is our 2018 25' Airstream Serenity with Salsa interior and front twin beds., and ‘streamin’ is the name we use to describe our adventures. Stream along as we document everything from weekend trips to longer summer excursions and full-blown vacations. You know what they say: if you’re not in an Airstream – you’re just camping!
Tom & Ella Brown