Yes, Virginia, there ARE recreational wanderers!

Custom Paint and Auto Body, owner Bruce Deaton, is the place to get body work done on your rig when in or around Red Bay, AL. Absolute best folks you could meet, quality work gets done quickly (despite most of the area running on “Alabama time”). And there were 4 families/customers there at the time we were there, all living in their rigs for the days they were there at the shop. We set up chairs in front of the roll-up doors of the shop and had covert happy-hours after shop hours (work starts at 0500 hrs. and ends promptly at 1400 hrs.), covert because we were in a dry county and did not wish to become guests of the local Gray Bar Motel. The locals drove by all night, probably wondering about us goofy touristas just hanging out in front of Deaton’s place.

With some of our new friends Steve and Christy, Harry and Kathy, at Deaton’s RV Resort and Auto Body Shop in Red Bay, AL. The locals think we are all nuts…Bruce Deaton, you are the best!

Work at the Tiffin Service Center went well. Marion in Bay #2 took good care of us and I would recommend anyone going for service to ask for Marion specifically. He is another one of their techs who other techs seem to go to for assistance or to pick his brain for a problem. We were out in 3 weeks, but could have cut that in half but for the body shop work that hindered us from getting into a bay within 10 days. The weather was good while we were in Red Bay, but we did no repeat sightseeing while there, so we were glad to hit the road.

We made our way to Woodville, AL for a couple of nights at the Parnell Creek RV Park. This park was right on Hwy. 72. It was OK for a brief stopover, not spectacular by any means. The gravel inner roads and sites were fairly newly laid, still a bit mushy for 30,000+ lbs. of fiberglass and steel to be rolling/parking on. The park actually had a funky small cabin used as a “fitness and tanning center” (had I think 1 weight machine and one small room for tanning). Must be a destination for the Hollywood elite…

For that hoity-toity lifestyle in Woodville, AL.

There were basically 2 local attractions to see here near Woodville. The Cathedral Caverns ran paid tours underground through the cave. It was a so-so cavern, as far as caverns go. No tight spaces, a few interesting formations to see, and it felt a bit “commercialized” to me; several of the inner “pools” appeared man-made, lined with visquine. I would not recommend this place as a must-see as it is a bit pricey.

The front door to Cathedral Caverns.

Elephant butts!

More cavernous contraptions…

The second “attraction” the campground owner recommended was the Unclaimed Baggage store in nearby Scottsboro, AL. We went and found it and I had to giggle. It is a large warehouse type store with racks and racks of items that are actually unclaimed baggage from various transportation venues that this company buys up, spruces up, then sells to the public. They have for sale, and on display some unique items that have gone unclaimed, such as a set of something that looked to be tribal warrior chest plates, and what I thought must be the world’s largest stand-up paddle board. I mean, who could go and forget to claim this stuff?!?

Racks and racks of jeans, oh boy!

Need some unclaimed cool shades?

Stand-up paddle board, anyone?

Done with Woodville, AL, we were off to Chattanooga, TN. We surfed the net for places to stay, and picked the Chattanooga/Cleveland KOA North because they claimed to be near the sights in and around Chattanooga. We found out otherwise when we arrived and discovered the park was at least 30 minutes from the central Chattanooga area. The road to and driveway into the park is very tight for our 40’ + toad. Then when I asked the camp host clerk if I should disconnect before we proceeded to the assigned site, he said no, it was not necessary. Wrong answer. I barely made a couple of the turns, spewing a good portion of my extensive 4-letter vocabulary as I went. But our site was gravel, level, clear from the trees, and otherwise a good site.

Home sweet home at the Chattanooga/Cleveland KOA.

While in the Chattanooga area we took in some of Lookout Mountain, including Rock City and Point Park. Point Park had some spectacular views of the valley and river below some of the gun placements that were situated as they would have been during the Civil War.

One of the batteries at Point Park overlooking downtown Chattanooga.

“Prepare to fire!”

Rock City is the brain child of a German couple who found this unique area of land formations and rocks to be like a pattern of city streets and alleys cut through the rock. They scattered quite a few gnome carvings and scenes throughout the rocky area, and the end is a walk through a “cave” with scenes from various Mother Goose fairy tales that are painted in bright fluorescents and lit up with black light. At one viewing platform they have the “Seven States Flag Court”, where it is purported you can see, on a clear day, the seven states of Tennessee, Kentucky, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Alabama.

Take a walk through the Needle’s Eye at Rock City.

Low bridge, duck!

After Needle’s Eye as a warm up, Fat Man Squeeze was the pinnacle of claustrophobia… 
Gnome standing guard…

…over Gnome village.
“Oh, say, can you see?”

It’s a pretty clear day, anyway…
Some of the fairy tale scenes at Rock City

How about some “Old Woman living in a shoe…”

We also visited the Chickamauga Battlefield. This was a self-driving tour through the battlefield area with hundreds of monuments, memorials, and cannons set up at actual locations from the Civil War. Very awesome to be in the middle of all of this history and reflect on what it was all about at that time and wonder where the heck did our country disappear to today? Career politicians and liberals are destroying us from within…

One of the many fields at the Chickamauga Battlefield…

Enough of Chattanooga, onward to the area of Limestone, TN and the Davy Crockett Birthplace State Park. The road to get into this park was a real nail-biter, especially as we approached a couple of outgoing 5th wheels. But we made it unscathed. The camp host was very friendly and set us up in a nice, open, level pull through site. The park is right on the Nolichucky River, with a replica of the cabin Davy Crockett was born in and a large swimming pool complex (must be a hangout for local families during the summer, it is fenced, gated, and they charge admission). During our three days stay here, we ventured into nearby Greenville. This is not a huge town, but it does have contemporary shopping facilities and what has become our new standard of measure, they have a Walmart. We did dine at a restaurant called Fatz, and it was very tasty, our server treated us very well. We happened to sneak in just early enough, when we left it was SRO waiting to get in. Jonesborough is heralded as the oldest town in Tennessee, so we just HAD to go see. We stopped at the visitor’s center and picked up a walking tour map, then meandered around downtown on our own, taking in the old historic buildings, many of which are still in use. Quaint town, LOTS of churches.

Davy Crockett’s cabin, recreated.

One of the historic buildings in Jonesborough.

More history in Jonesborough.

Next stop–Bristol, TN/VA. We stayed at the Shadrack Campground, a Passport America participant. The campground is just a couple of miles from the Bristol Motor Speedway, and I imagine it would be jam packed during all the NASCAR and NHRA events during the seasons. The sites are gravel with grass, level, open, and the park is surrounded by a creek that tends to flood when it downpours. And there are families of groundhogs that inhabit large burrows near the creek.

Home in Bristol, TN/VA

The neighbors are furry but really really quiet!
Start your engines!

We took a drive on a small piece of the Blue Ridge Parkway along the Blue Ridge Mountains, to the town of Blowing Rock. We wanted to see what THE Blowing Rock was all about, so we paid the admission fee, I think it was about $7 each, and took a close up look at it. Wow, talk about anti-climactic, way not worth the admission fee, I don’t suggest anyone waste their money or time on this one. A rock jutting out from the cliff, supposedly winds blow up from below full time, but not a puff of breeze while we were there. It did give us a nice view of the mountains and valleys, but not enough to justify charging admission. While on that drive we also went to Grandfather Mountain, but that also involved an admission fee, this time I think it was $20 each. And from what I could gather from info at the visitor center, the view would be the gardens and a suspension walking bridge. Not worth my time or money I’m afraid…

The legend of the Blowing Rock.

Looky me, I’m on the Blowing Rock!

One other sightseeing outing took us to the Carter Family Fold in Hiltons, VA. Unfortunately it was a Friday, and they only do their concerts on Saturdays. The Carters are considered the First Family of country music and they have been doing Saturday concerts of country/bluegrass here since 1953. No electrical instruments are used, strictly old style with the only exceptions being when Johnny Cash or Marty Stuart played concerts here. It is hard to imagine Johnny Cash playing a concert out here in the middle of NOWHERE!

The A.P. Carter cabin, relocated to here in Hiltons.

A little behind the scenes at the Carter Family Fold.

Hillsville, VA is our current stop, at the Lake Ridge RV Resort. The “resort” is seriously off the beaten path and is a Passport America participant. Even so, it is still way overpriced for what it is. The upper sites are for resort “owners”, those that actually buy their lots and the lower loop is for transient campers like us. The lower loop is gravel/dirt with pull through sites that have full hookups. At a quick glance the sites appear level, but I quickly found out they are anything but level. It took me 3 sites until I could find it somewhat level enough so that the MH auto-leveling system would not go to “excessive slope” mode. The sewer hookup connectors were way too high off the ground for a successful gravity action dumping system. And to top off my sour mood once we relocated to a spot we could get level on, we find the water spigot wound with duct tape and when turned on, we got some fountain action. Unwilling to try to find another close to level spot, I just filled my fresh tank from the fountain, flooding the dirt and grass area as I did so, and used the on-board water for our stay. There was not much to see here in this area, but we did manage to find an excellent eating establishment, Rio Grande Mexican Restaurant, in “downtown” Hillsville. We had the fajitas for 2 with a couple of the mandatory margaritas and both were outstanding.

But now, it is time to head eastbound and down, forging ahead toward Virginia Beach and points North. We’ll catch you on the flipside…

About rvrrat520

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