Rock Island State Park

So, we take the gig as camp hosts for Rock Island State Park in Tennessee. They wanted at least a 30 day commitment, about 25 hours a week from us, and in return we get the free full hook up campsite. No real “job description”, and the only physical labor they wanted was cleaning two bathroom/shower buildings in the campground. The main function they wanted from their camp host(s) was to “meet and greet” campers, kinda the Walmart Greeters of the camping set.  Piece of cake…

The park is located basically in the center of the state, in the middle of the Nashville-Chatanooga-Knoxville triangle. There are two large rivers right here, the Caney Fork and the Collins, with a large dam which is used by TVA to generate power. With that there are some spectacular water falls and a large gorge area. As has been the case for the past month, rain tends to come down in buckets at the drop of a hat and disappear just as quickly, with temperatures in the 80’s and 90’s. The humidity has been bearable, some days a bit heavier than others. We have been taking our time checking out the local sites, as well as nearby towns. Getting used to the local critters and bugs is going to take some time. The park Rangers here said we should not worry about running into Copperhead snakes, a person encounters such a snake about once every 5 years. So much for Ranger math/statistics…We had 2 encounters within one week alone!

Twin Falls, water just pourin’ out of the mountainside.

The Gorge just below the dam, a popular swimming hole.

Oops! The Gorge, just after a couple days of rain…

A view of the river, hiking down the Downstream Trail. Water still pourin’ out of the mountainside…

Another “view” from the Downstream Trail…Mr. Copperhead blocking our passage.  He was about 3 feet long…

This was “Baby Copperhead” found trying to steal from the Pepsi machine outside the bathrooms at the campground.


One of our eerie friends, just cruisin’ through our campsite.

We had to rescue Mr. Snapping Turtle from his wanderings through the traffic lanes of Hwy. 287. He was not too pleased with our unrequested assistance, he nearly snapped the branch off that I used to get him out of the road. Nasty little bugger…

We find flocks of these guys in and around the campground bathrooms…Cicadas, or what I classify them as “house flies on steroids”!

So far, the big towns we have checked out are Chatanooga and Murfreesboro. Jeanne really liked the Murfreesboro area, a town of about 100,000 which shopping-wise reminded her of Santa Rosa, CA. Plus, Murfreesboro is only about 1/2 hour away from Nashville.

The Tennessee River in Chatanooga.

There are a handful of small towns near Rock Island State Park; Sparta, McMinnville, Bell Buckle, Lynchburg (home of Jack Daniels distillery), Manchester, and Tullahoma, just to name a few. Everywhere we turn, Tennesseeans are EXTREMELY polite & friendly, and when they hear that we are full timers looking to relocate in this state, they invariably turn into recruiters, nearly begging us to move to whatever town they live in.

Antique shop in “downtown” Bell Buckle. More like a sight out of the movie, “Back to the Future.”


“Vinyl Radio” playing in downtown McMinnville during their summer concert series. “Day on the Green”, Tennessee style. They played 70’s rock hits…

Well, our hunt continues. Until next time…


About rvrrat520

Recreational wanderers just livin' the dream while we can still get vertical.
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