Wednesday, July 28, 2010


Our Chuck wagan
This is the group we travel with when we are in Florida. We had fun getting ready for this parade. Thanks to Jan and all her planning. Chuck was the driver for our Chuck wagon. Six of us followed and danced to the Tennessee Waltz. Even though it was pretty hot we did a good job.

Another group from Florida with their covered wagon.

This is the East Penn group we belong to in PA. They always have a fun time. They looked good. Sorry we couldn't join them too. Congratulations on winning first place in the parade.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010


After leaving Pigeon Forge we stopped at a Cummins dealership to have our radiator checked because Larry felt it has been over heating as we go over the mountains . We sat there for 4 hours, before they got to look at it. They checked it out, cleaned it out and all seems fine.

Larry checking out the atenna while we waited at the Cummins dealership.

Larry's favorite place to eat. He loves to get the hash browns fully loaded.

We pulled into Lebanon,TN at the NCT National rally on Saturday morning. the weather is extremely hot - 102. Thank heaven for air conditioning. We spent Saturday and Sunday in our rig working on the Oregon tour and planning tours for 2011.

Fiddlers Grove Historic Village is here at the agricultural center. A group of us met at 7 on Monday morning for a guided tour. This village consist of original buildings from many of the small communities throughtout Wilson County.
Sam Houston practiced law in Lebanon. Sam Houston was governor of TN and TX.
This is a very pretty Presbyterian Church. Its first service was in 1885 and its last service was in 1980. A local craftman who made stain glass sun catchers was asked to put windows in this church. He had never done it before but he designed and made 9 beautiful windows that fit this church perfectly.

Patty Williams is the curator at Fiddlers Grove, and she gave us the tour. She had many interesting stories about each building and the people who had lived or worked in them.
Cracker Barrel originated and has its head quarters here and this company makes bread exclusively for it. We had a loaf in our welcome bag and it was delicious.

Monday Larry played golf with about 20 other men from the rally. It was too hot for me to stand to be outside in the shade! They played in groups of four and whose ever ball went the furthest that is where they all played from. Larry said he made some terrific shots and he made many bad ones but he had lots of fun.

Since our trip to Alaska in 2008 we have had a reunion at the National Rally each year. Here is the group that is at the Rally this year. Two other couples that are here and Larry missed our luncheon. Only five couples that went to Alaska are not at this rally this year. Going on a tour for 33 days really forms friendships.
Today the Youth that are at the Rally sold hamburgers and hot dogs for lunch. They had a good turnout.
During the luncheon we had a power point program running showing our travels to Alaska, Nova Scotia, and the Oregon Trail, letting people know about our Masonic RV Tours.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


We left Cherokee today at noon to drive through the Great Smoky Mountains to Pigeon Forge, 42 miles. I was impressed by the painted bears around Cherokee. This one was painted like an Eagle.
There is no entrance gate to pay to go through this National Park because it is all from private lands.

Since we were going a short distance today and it was going to be on steep curvy roads we didn't hook up. Larry is driving down the road in front of me. There was a lot of traffic and most of the overlooks were full.
This picture is taken from Newfound Gap at 5046 feet, the highest point on our drive. We are now in Tennessee.

After we parked at the campground we drove back to this welcome center. It had a very good film on the Smokies, and a nice museum.

Outside of the welcome center was a mile long nature trail. There was a side trail to this waterfall.

This cabin showed the signs left in the forest by early settlers, before they moved on.

This is the last stop on our tour. We now drive on to our NCT rally at Lebanon,TN.

This is the view of Gatlinburg from the by pass. We drove through the town with the RV on the way to the camp ground, not fun. Traffic was bumper to bumper with lots of people walking around and crossing the street.

Our campground is very nice. Especially the beautiful facilities, the nicest I have ever seen in a campground. We thought about staying another night, but they are already filled.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


We only had a 57 mile drive today to Cherokee, NC. We didn't leave till 11:00 and arrived at our campground by 12:30. After lunch we took a drove on the last 40 miles of the Blue Ridge Parkway. A storm was threatening and there was some thunder but only a little rain.
We are getting high up in the Great Smoky Mountains.

One of our goals on this trip was to see this Masonic marker. It is just off the Parkway. The stones are from all around the US and 6 other countries. It was built in 1938.

The steps leading up to the marker has names of different lodges on them. One is a lodge in Pittsburgh, PA.
Dottie looking at he marker.

Joy taking a picture.
Our group gathered for an evening meal. It was at Granny's Kitchen. It was a small buffet but all the food was very good and we left stuffed.

After our meal we all went up to the Cherokee Village and saw an outdoor drama called Unto These Hills. It was the story of the Cherokee people from 1811 until today. They tried to be friends with the white settlers and learn their ways, but the government took over their land and forced them to Oklahoma. This march is known as the Trail of Tears for 4,000 of them died. Some of them were exempt from removal by becoming citizens, one was Tsali and his family. Unfortunately when they tried to capture him two soldiers were killed. He and his family went off and hid in the woods. The army made a deal with a few of the Cherokee to capture him and in return their families would be released and all the Cherokees in hiding could remain in their homeland. When Tsali heard this he agreed to give up his life in exchange for the freedom of his people. Today they are a nation of 13,000 people.
There was some beautiful dancing throughout the program, especially the traditional Eagle dance and the Mighty Eagle dance.

Performance before the show.

Selu, the Corn Mother and her husband Kanati , the Great Hunter . They narrated the story, between the scenes. I wish I had more pictures to share with you, but as soon as I took this one Larry informed me we weren't allowed to take photos. Oops, sorry.

Monday, July 19, 2010


We had been to the Biltmore Estate about three years ago. It was interesting to see the changes that have occured in those few years. We also had been there in the winter so it was nice seeing it in summer.
The 250 room house was built for George W. Vanderbilt in 1895. He had a wife, Edith and a daughter Cornelia. George died in 1914 at the age of 51. When Cornelia married John Francis Amherst Cecil they lived and entertained here. The house was opened to the public in 1930. Today the Biltmore remains a family business. Vanderbilt's grandson William Cecil owns the Biltmore and his son and daughter are on the board of directors and active in preserving this treasure. It is very impressive to take a tour through the house. The splendor of each room is almost over whelming. Sorry no pictures were allowed to be taken inside the house. They have just restored George and Edith Vanderbilt's private bedrooms and sitting area. An exhibit telling about the preservation and restoration was very interesting. Fredrick Olmsted, who designed New York's Central Park, planned the estates gardens and grounds. It was very pretty, but I would love to see it in the spring when the tulips are in bloom.

There are 8,000 acres and you drive for miles just to get from one area to another and then to the exit. They even have a shuttle to take you from the parking lot to the house. A new addition is an Outdoor Adventure Center where you can take a guided Segway tour, get a bike pass to ride the trails, go on horseback trail rides, and even a river float trips - all on estate grounds.

This is the newly opened Legacy exhibition hall at Antler Hill Village on the Estate. It has a very informative film about the family and how each generation has been involved with preserving the Biltmore.

The stables at Antler Hill had lots of things to see and do. Unfortunately the blacksmith and wood carver where not working. There was a person playing tunes on the fiddle while we walked around which gave it a festive feeling.

This is all new since we were here the last time. Another addition is the 12 stations through out the estate where you call a number on your cell phone put in the number of the location and you hear all about that area. The winery is here at Antler Hill and of course we took the tour and bought a couple of bottles of wine. There is also an ice cream shop where you can buy a dish of Biltmore vanilla ice cream, their original recipe only available here.
It was a very nice day. Even the weather improved from a very rainy morning to a beautiful sunny afternoon. When we were back at the campground we were given the use of their hall to have a meal this evening at 7. We had a spaghetti and meatball dinner made by Joy and Les. I made a salad, Liz and Jim some garlic bread, Jim a chocolate pie and June and John brought the wine. We had a good time of sharing and learning more about each other.


A very nice RV park west of Asheville, NC. Godiva always likes to check out the parks.
Sunday we left the RV park at Fancy Gap at 10:30 to drive 180 miles on the interstates to Asheville, NC. We drove south on 77 and went one exit further then we were suppose to, so Larry could stop at JR's to purchase his cigars. It is the cheapest place to get them. We then went back and got on 40 west. The road went bumpity, bumpity, bumpity and down came our new shade on my side of the coach, Luckily there was a rest stop in a mile so we pulled in and Larry got out his tools. We had to take the wood facing off first then he put the shade's bracket back up and put in three new screws on each side. We hope it won't fall down anymore. We stopped at a Love's station for diesel ($2.89). We unhooked the car here, because John had called and told us our campground was on a hill and hard to find a flat spot to unhook. It started to rain as we unhooked and then we drove in downpours the rest of the trip. We arrived at Bear Creek campground at 5:30. At 7 we all went to the China Garden Buffet, just down the road from our campground, for a nice meal together.