Wednesday, April 24
We were in no hurry to leave Cades Cove today . . . in fact we had guests over for breakfast! A cute little couple was camped next to us in a very small tent, with no other amenities: camp chairs, cooler, firewood, etc. Last night they shared our campfire and told us how they were “trying out” camping. As we ended the night we invited them for breakfast.
We also had not been around the cove loop road yet, so at 9:45 we headed out for a quick trip . . . no stops. The traffic was light of both cars and bicyclists making a speedy tour.
By 11:30 we were hitched up and heading for the ten mile drive into Townsend and the Little Arrow Campground where sister Tink was holding her annual Spring Fling. It used to be an RPod event . . . but nowadays many of the originals have transitioned to other style campers. Tink still has the original RPod with the colored “rings” on the side!
Tom and I each showered and then loaded friends Bonnie and Ken into our truck for a run into Little River Trading Post (still looking for boots for Tom) and a grocery stop. With that, we were back at Little Arrow and ready to settle down into camp life – with electric, water, sewer, cable TV, and shower houses. The shower houses even had real, individual terry-cloth towels to dry hands on – no paper towels -- and beautiful stone floor/barn-sided/marble-seat stalls, distinctive sink troughs, and strong waterfall showers!
Thursday, April 25
We met Bonnie and Ken 10 years ago when we were newly involved in our TAB teardrop. Ken was nick-named “Mr. Gadget” because he always had the latest doohickey. Ken was on a fast track for retirement so they could head out work-camping for a few years. Following a stint in Florida (on an Island!) they migrated back to their first love . . . the Smoky Mountains. Here, they are park volunteers and deeply involved in all things Smoky! Today, Ken was leading a bus tour for us through Cades Cove.
Twelve of us left for a four-hour-tour in the comfort of a 14-passenger van with Ken talking us around the Cades Cove loop road. Even having grown up here, I learned a lot about Cove history! We made some stops and had a lecture at the Primitive Baptist Church by Cove Historian Volunteer Ranger Tom Harrington. We paused at the gristmill for a lunch stop and tour of the out-buildings. By 2:30 we were back at the campground, and I think everyone headed inside for a nap!
Supper was at a Townsend burger shop with outside seating. Onion rings were outstanding, and my corndog was at least 12” long! With rain predicted for the night, and maybe high winds, we put the camp chairs away and took the awning up, and settled into the Airstream for the evening.
We don’t go camping any more . . . we go ‘streamin’ ! The “SIlvermine and His” is our 2016 23' Airstream, 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