Knoxville to Fall Creek Falls SP, TN

Knoxville to Fall Creek Falls State Park, TN

Saturday, June 10, 2006 … 130 Camper Miles – Total 1,597

Sunny, 88F, muggy. Need for showers happened fast.

We left the Serbins about 10:00, making a stop at Home Depot and Radio Shack for electrical parts for maintenance on the camper … more later. We then found our way via back roads to Fall Creek Falls State Resort Park. Steve and Cindy had recommended it and it is the most popular state park in Tennessee. The idea of all those people didn’t really appeal to us, and it was crowded with nearly all the 228 campsites taken. We were lucky to find an empty one. But, it is beautiful place. Besides, who can complain about hot showers, water and electric for $11/nite with Bill’s U.S. Army veteran’s discount.

Beating The Heat At Fall Creek Cascade

We walked the Woodland Gorge and Fall Creek Trails. The suspension bridge seemed a bit precarious when folks bounced on it but we survived. The Cascade, which runs into a pool near the Nature Center, was full of swimmers and sun bathers. We then headed for the overviews of Cane Creek and Fall Creek Falls. Fall Creek Falls, by the way, is the highest falls east of the Rockies. Both the falls and their gorges were beautiful.

Bill Works The Wok At Fall Creek Falls SP

Another dinner; another one of Bill’s stir fries … what would we do if Sandy hadn’t gotten him a wok for Christmas? Maybe Sandy would have to cook an occasional meal! Afterward, we headed to the park’s amphitheater for a concert ($2 admission) by Avery Trace. They are a five person bluegrass group who were outstanding … very good musicians with excellent voices. They are one of those rare groups who manage to weave a tapestry of sound. Bill even bought one of their CDs.

Fall Creek Falls State Park

Sunday, June 11, 2006 … 0 Camper Miles – Total 1,597

Partly cloudy, hot, muggy.

Sunday was a laid back morning for us. We checked out possible Nashville area campsites, for our next leg and worked on this log. By 1:00 pm, 80% of the campsites were vacant and things got much quieter than they’d been on Saturday.

Fall Creek Overlook

We wanted to do the hike to the bottom of Fall Creek Falls, highest waterfall east of the Rockies, and headed that direction. The trail is steep but has stairs on much of the steeper parts so it was relatively easy. The view at the bottom was pretty cool.

Fall Creek Falls From The Bottom

Along the way on the falls trail and later, we kept running into a family from Homestead, FL. They seemed really nice and we struck up an extended conversation at the snack bar later on. They are in the area looking for land to build a retirement home. As we were talking, a spider … a dead one, fell onto the table next to Bill’s slice of pizza. A quick examination revealed the telltale red hourglass shaped marking of a black widow!

Later on we walked the Paw Paw Trail. We started down the so-called Cable Trail but chickened out, not that it was that tough but it was late and no one else was around in case we got into trouble. The rest of the Paw Paw was pretty level … a fast walk with only a couple of flowers. The advertised overlooks were a bit disappointing as the vegetation was too dense to see anything.

Sandy Descends Fall Creek Cable Trail
Fall Creek Falls From The Bottom

Fall Creek Falls State Park to Seven Points Campground, J Percy Priest Lake, Nashville, TN

Monday, June 12, 2006 … 106 Camper Miles – Total 1,703

Overcast all day, mid 70s

We left the campground about 8:00, headed for the Nashville area. We chose a US Army Corps of Engineers campground at Seven Points Campground on J Percy Priest Lake. The campsites were pretty but the ones on the water were full. We chose a nice one, set up camp and had lunch. Then we piled into the car to check out the tourist strip east of town. We checked out the Grand Old Opry and associated hotel. We were a bit disappointed at the shopping mall environment that surrounds the venue. The hotel was HUGE and the Opry was closed for a private event. Oh well!

Grand Ole Opry Theater

To ease our disappointment, we shopped at Outdoor World in the adjacent shopping center and Campers World up the road. We found a new tank for grey water (from the camper’s sink drain) at Outdoor World and a couple of new pocket tees for Bill.

Dinner was a stir-fry with yams, chicken & veggies. The temps cooled down pretty much that evening.

Seven Points Campground

Tuesday, June 13, 2006 … 0 Camper Miles – Total 1,703

Gorgeous, sunny day, low 80s, low humidity

We spent the morning hiking the Three Hickories Nature Trail at adjacent Cook Area on the lake. We found several new-to-us wild flowers in the meadow area and a box turtle. After showers we headed to Nashville’s downtown area.

Bass Fishermen On J Percy Priest Lake

We enjoyed the Country Music Museum & Hall of Fame very much and spent much of the afternoon there. Afterwards, we walked the area, past honky tonk bars, through famed Printers Alley (mostly closed) and past the renowned Ryman Theater. We had a couple of drinks at a corner bar with live music and had dinner at The Merchants on Broadway (excellent).

Nashville Skyline Towers Over Honky Tonk Row
Ryman Theater, Old Home Of Grand Ole Opry

Several folks had recommended a place for live bluegrass music. So, we headed to The Station Inn. It was a bit tough to spot … just a non-descript little joint with a gravel parking lot in a run-down, semi industrial area. The floors were plywood and a friendly woman took our $8 cover and put it into her honest-to-goodness cigar box cash box. The place served beer and soft drinks, sweet tea and snacks. The music started about 45 minutes later than advertised. But, the group was fabulous. They called themselves The Sidemen and mostly played with other bands as their main jobs. Most were also members of Grascals. These guys were excellent musicians and we had a memorable evening. It’s really nice being close to the band.

Sidemen Show Their Stuff At The Station Inn

The members were, to the best of our knowledge:

  • Robbie McCoury (Banjo) (his dad has the Del McCoury Band)
  • Terry Eldridge (Guitar)
  • Mike Bubb (Bass)
  • Bobby Nicholas (Lead Guitar)
  • Kim don’t-know-his-last-name (Dobro)
  • David Long (Mandolin)
  • Chad Cobb (Fiddle)
  • Jimmy Johnson (Snare Drum)

Ron Foster, Bill’s banjo-picking college roommate, would have loved the place!

Seven Points Campground

Wednesday, June 14, 2006 … 0 Camper Miles – Total 1,703

Sunny, Pleasant, High 80s

This morning we slept in … it was a late night at The Station Inn, after all. Bill headed in to refill one of our propane tanks. Afterwards, he wrote for a while as Sandy cleaned the camper. Afterwards we headed back to the east end of town for much-needed haircuts and to shop for groceries. Pretty amusing to be sitting across from each other while getting a haircut!

We spent the afternoon driving through the Hillsboro area, Vanderbilt University and the Parthenon. The Parthenon was originally was a temporary wooden replica of the original. It proved so popular that it was later reconstructed of stone and now is home to an art museum. We were there too late to tour the museum but got a couple of neat photos. We realized that today marked our first full month on the road.

Nashville Parthenon

Dinner was burgers and a salad.