Well the day was BEAUTIFUL! Sunny and a high of 69. WOW!
After a coughing choking spell that was so bad I threw out my back because Ruth burned the oil on the stove we headed out with me walking like a crippled Geisha woman. Had to bring it up.
My plans I laid out was as such, head to Clingmans Dome, the highest point east of the Rockies and from there continue through the Smokies onto N.C. to see the Cherokee reservation. Unfortunately the plans were for naught. The road to Clingmans Dome is always closed for the winter months and the road to N.C. was closed because the road gave way.
The lady at the Welcome Center suggested I still head to Newfound Gap, turn around at the road closed sign and then back track to Cades Cove. What a plan. It all worked out.
At the bottom where we started in Gatlinburg the temp was 69, when we reached an elevation of 5,500 at Newfound Gap it dropped to 50, cloudy and windy. Because its January and there are no leaves the view was even better. Nothing to block your vision. It was such an awesome view I could of spent all day just gazing.
We hopped back into the car and stopped every so often, every turn the view was almost beyond words. Since it gets dark early and we had limited time I decided to see what the Impala could do. It did well. Curves marked at 20 with warning, 40 plus no problem. Ruth handled it well only two yelps and 30 signs of the cross - kidding there. She did get a bit queasy though. I don't recommend this and do remember its the off season so I had most of the road to myself. I always like to put a disclaimer makes me sleep better at night.
We stopped off at an IGA in Townsend for lunch and then headed to Cades Cove. This is a must see for everyone. A hidden gem. Its marked on the maps as a point of interest but I don't remember ever hearing anyone talk about it. It is a scenic loop of about 11 plus miles, scenic doesn't do it is justice. Again, we hit the park at the right season, hardly anyone around, and the right time at dusk with all the wild life coming out to feed.
There are open plains and in each plain were herds of deer. Now the really fascinating part was a man with a camera went almost up to the deer, some with huge antlers taking photos. The deer didn't spook at all. We drive on a bit and a car is pulled off the road. In the field was a father and mother with their little child going up to the deer. Again only a few feet from them. I never seen this before. That was impressive.
A rafter of turkeys crossed the road in front of us, had to look up that word, I didn't know what to call a herd of turkeys.
I even had to stop the car numerous times to allow frogs to cross the road. In spots they were swarming.
Besides the wildlife Cades Cove has primitive structures along the way. Churches from the 1820's, cabins, barns. All had the door open. We went inside a few. One we entered was at dark that was spooky. I heard something inside so that was the end of the exploring.
I was amazed that the restrooms were clean and left opened and the primitive structures. This wouldn't be up north.
From there we headed back. For once I was on the right road but thought I think I am going the wrong way so turned around and did go the wrong way only to have to turn around 8 miles later to go back the way I was going. Follow that?
Then it started the food fiasco. I opened the computer and started calling what sounded like independent owned restaurants. Everything around here closes at 8 except a few chains and the fast food. So we drove around until Ruth said its 11 pm lets eat. I gave her the option of a Mexican place or Food Court. She chose Food Court thinking it was a food court not a super market. Poor Ruth.
We didn't eat till about midnight but our home cooked meal sure beats the corporate chains.