October 2013

This month we participated in the SKP Photographers BOF Great Smoky Mountains National Park rally and photography workshop and then met up with family for a weekend of “camping” before returning home.  Our basic bus route covered ~ 1,200 miles as follows:

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Our first night on the road we boondocked at the Fulton Farm Market on OH-202 between Troy, OH and Tipp City, OH, about 200 miles.  This was another Harvest Hosts location.  They had homemade blackberry pies that were made without animal products.  We bought one and it was very good.

Our second day of travel took us another 200 miles to Acres of Land, another Harvest Hosts winery and vineyard about six miles west of Richmond, KY.  We purchased a wine sampler and shared it.  We liked several of their wines, but only bought one bottle of Late Harvest Vignoles.  (Harvest Hosts locations are strictly boondocking on a space-available basis, and there is no charge to spend the night.  You are not obligated to purchase anything, but they often have very nice, desireable and consumable products that we might purchase anyway.  They trick is to keep “free camping” from turning into the most expensive nights you spend on the road.)

Day three on the road got us to the Tremont Outdoor Resort (RV Park) in Townsend, TN.  This is the closest RV Park to the Cades Cove entrance to Great Smoky Mountains National Park and would be our “home” for five nights while we participated in the photography workshop.  The workshop organizer had arranged with the owner of the park for us to use a small activities building that was set up with a ceiling mounted video/data projector and had tables and chairs facing a screen that accommodated our laptop computers.  We used our cars to visit the Cherohala National Forest and GSMNP once it re-opened.

When the photography workshop was over we swung back SW then NW to Knoxville to pick up I-81 and head northeast into Virigina.  Linda hadn’t driven the bus much since we bought it, so we changed drivers at a rest stop so she could get some time behind the wheel.  We switched again before exiting the Interstate and made the final part of our leg into the Natural Bridge – Lexington KOA, where we met up with family and spent three nights.

The KOA was only 12 miles south of Lexington, VA which made for a nice day visit in the car.  The following day we drove the car to the Blue Ridge Parkway entrance near Waynesboro, VA and hiked up to a vantage point ~950 feet above our starting point.  We then drove down the Parkway until we exited near Natural Bridge and returned to the campground.

The trip home took two days from there.  The first day we had a spectacular drive on I-64 from Lexington, VA west into West Virginia, where we eventually joined up I-77 northbound.  We stayed with I-64 W to the Ohio border where we picked up US-35 N and headed to Sunset RV Park near Chilicothe, OH.  Our 12th and last day took us north on US-23 from Chilicothe to I-270 W on the south side of Columbus, OH.  From there it was around the horn to the northeast corner of the metro area where we picked up US-33 headed NW to Wapakoneta, OH where we picked up I-75 N.  We left I-75 N south of Toledo, OH in favor of US-23 N through Sylvania, OH and into Michigan where it runs straight north through Ann Arbor and then to Brighton and home.