Smoky Mountains, Appalachia, Blue Ridge Highway and Hot Springs

The man in the uniform approached us briskly. We hesitated, thinking surely he wasn’t looking for us! But apparently he was……

“Hey, are you the slowcarfasthouse people? I’ve read some of your blog and when I saw the van I said, drop me off here!”

And that is how we met John a museum curator and Park Ranger at Smoky Mountain National Park. After a bit of talking and looking over the van, it was decided that we would camp in the driveway of his home nearby. He and his wife Maggie had recently purchased their first Vanagon and had read about ours.   smoky mountain park ranger camp We spent a wonderful evening with them, enjoying Maggie’s good food and relaxing from the many miles we had done recently. Maggie is a math teacher, so I told her stories from Northpoint. The dogs ran around the hillside yard and relished the off-leash romping.

Driving through the Smoky Mountains was breathtaking. We walked to the top of Clingman’s Dome (highest point) and drank in the views.  view from blue ridge parkway

From these beautiful Appalachian hills we headed to Hot Springs, North Carolina. This town is the first city that the Appalachian Trail hikers pass through since they started the trail in Georgia. It is a mountain town, with a laid back vibe and some great, small restaurants. It also has two train tracks and a couple of rivers running through it. shore of the french broad in hot springs Oh, and hot springs! We grabbed an hour of a riverfront hot tub. We did laundry. We watched the trains chug by our tree-shaded campsite hot springs train watching with seri hot springs north carolinaWe ate yummy restaurant food and used the public library internet. And we watched the hikers from the AT stream through town with heavy packs, sore feet and soggy boots. I really fell in love with this small town! wildflowers in VW shot glass

Alas, there is no time for growing attached and the navigator must make sure the trip goes on. So I drew up a plan for the next few days how to plan and we jumped on to the Blue Ridge Parkway. blue ridge above clouds

The Parkway is along the highest ridge of the mountain range so the views on both sides are stunning. blue ridge 2 But it is also above the cloud line on a cloudy day. blue ridge1Clouds become fog and fog slows down travel, so we jumped off the Blue Ridge Parkway and resumed our pace along the back roads and small highways of North Carolina and right into Virginia. smoky mountains view

4 thoughts on “Smoky Mountains, Appalachia, Blue Ridge Highway and Hot Springs

  1. I had the same kind of cloud experience on the parkway. Beautiful if it’s not foggy. 

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  2. How amazing that you got spotted like that for being the “slowcarfasthouse people”! Do you feel famous? What a delightful way to make some new friends.

    I have a small piece of coal that I picked up on a trail while hiking in Applachia over 20 yrs ago. Stunning region of the country.

    Keep soaking in all those adventures and sharing them back out. Love hearing of your travels.


    Date: Fri, 1 May 2015 20:06:44 +0000 To:

  3. Love to read your Blog’s wish we could keep up. The back roads are the best traveling. Thank you, from all us armchair travelers.

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