The Smoky Mountains

June 2004

I read somewhere that long ago a squirrel could go from Maine to Texas through the trees without touching the ground. I believe it. This has to be one of the most beautiful and breathtaking places in the U.S.


The brochure says "The combination of breathtaking scenery, intriguing history, and family fun make Cherokee an ideal vacation destination." I say after going there. It's a real tourist trap. Before Spanish explorers came - Hernando de Soto was the first to reach the Smokies in 1540 - Cherokee territory stretched from the Ohio River in the north southward into Georgia and Alabama. Some 25,000 Cherokees populated 135,000 square miles covering parts of what are now eight states. Which is more territory than they need so we took it away from them. Now they are scalping us legally by erecting huge casinos, and also in the case of Cherokee, there is only one street through town and it is lined with souvenir and gift shops. Including old Indian eating places McDonalds, Burger King, Windys and Dairy Queen. Oh and lets not forget the most famous one Big Boy, wow! I haven't seen one of these since they went out of business years ago in San Diego. There is also the outdoor drama "Unto These Hills" telling the Cherokees' story; the Museum of the Cherokee Indian shows Cherokee life through artifacts preserved through time; the Oconaluftee Village is an authentic replica of an 18th century Cherokee community; and the Cherokee Culture Center where you can buy genuine Cherokee stuff made by local Indians. Anyway we had a good time, it started out raining but cleared up and became a nice day.


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What a classic picture. Find the Golden Arches including the drive up sign, Arbies, Kristy Kream, and BP gas station. Also the flag is at half mast because President Ronald Regan died yesterday.

Have your picture taken with a real Indian. For a price.

Harrahs casino has taken advantage of the reservation.

David getting eaten by a bear on the souvenir strip.

I don't know what this statue represents. Its an Indian in an eagle shell standing on a turtle.

This carving is outside the Cherokee Museum.

There is an Island Park in the Oconaluftee River.

Lots of baskets for sale in the Cherokee Culture Center.

Peace pipes for sale also, probably came from Pipestone, MN


The Great Smokey Mountain National Park

Scenic tours through the Smokies that we took.

We spent a lot of time in the Smoky Mountains, these are two tours we took with our friends Jim and Jackie through the Great Smoky Mountains. The first trip was from Gatlinburg on highway 321 then right from the Sugarlands Visitor Center on Little River road. The second scenic tour was from Gatlinburg on highway 321 then left at the Sugarlands Visitor Center across highway 441 to the Oconsluftee Visitor Center and into Cherokee, North Carolina then back.


David, Nancy, Jackie and Jim.

The road followed this little river for a ways.

White water in the little river.

A small waterfall entering the river

Forest between Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg.

Gatlinburg, Tennessee at the west end of Hwy 441, and Cherokee, North Carolina at the east end.

Driving along highway 441.


Picture this in the fall.

The Blue Ridge Parkway extends 469 miles along the crests of the southern Appalachians and links two eastern national parks - Shenandoah and Great Smoky Mountains. We were staying an RV Park and just decided to drive a portion or the parkway to see what it was like. It is a pretty drive with lots of scenic overlooks.

Driving on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Now I see why they call these the Smoky Mountains.

A tunnel on the parkway.

Highway 441 into Cherokee.

We enter the Blue Ridge Parkway.

There are lots of overlooks.

Beautiful drive.

Outcropping of quarts.

I love these roads and their scenery.

There are dirt roads off the parkway you can explore.

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