Moving on – to Waynesville, NC and Great Smoky Mountains National Park

11/1/13 Friday at Waynesville, NC (Creekwood Farm RV Park-PPA ($16/night)

That punishing “Halloween” storm hitting the middle of the country was headed our way. Predictions were of heavy rain for this morning, even thunder, so we took our time, hoping to wait it out. The heavy rain and thunder didn’t show by 10 am, so we got serious about leaving then. By 10:30 am we were on our way. While waiting for the weather we watched “Kelly and Michael”, one of John’s favorite shows. They always have someone from the audience do a little dance and the lady today was from Lenoir (Leh NOR), NC. Can you believe that? Speaking of towns, they seem to name a lot of towns with -ville. Hillsville, Asheville, Waynesville. I bet the -ville stands for village.

We took NC 64 then I-40. Pretty smooth with light rain for less than half the trip, then sunshine. I-40 does some mountain climbing before Asheville, but the grades aren’t so bad. I really appreciate that the freeway doesn’t go through Asheville like it does in so many large towns like Los Angeles, Houston, Seattle.

It seems we need a little adventure to spice up every trip. This time it didn’t happen until we arrived at the campground, That’s the best kind. The Honda’s battery had died while the car was being towed. John had left the cooler plugged in and I had not checked it. Happily, our campground host drove his golf cart to where John had driven Miss Zanzibar (expecting me to follow in the car), told him my sad story then drove him back to the office where I was waiting. We have cables and another host brought his Jeep over. Power achieved in just a moment and then we were back to our site.

One thing unique about this travel day is that we hit the ground running, instead of taking it easy. I got a load of laundry started, we ate lunch then I hand washed our microfibre cloths and got them outside (warm sunshine plus breeze) on our clothes rack. By 2:30 pm we were off to the Great Smokey Mountains National Park, via the Blue Ridge Parkway (the last 16 miles or so).

At the Oconaluftee (Oh CAHN uh LUHF tee) Visitor Center a Ranger told us some things about the Cherokee Indians. We learned that there are 7 clans. Each follow the lineage of their mother to know which clan they are in. One group had a white man for their chief. He’d been adopted by the Cherokee and made many investments for them, including the purchase of land. Because this group owned the land, they could stay and live on it while others were forced from their homes by President Jackson’s Indian Removal Act (The Trail of Tears). We drove through this very Indian Reservation (Qualla Boundary) to get to this Visitor Center.

Here they had a cultural museum of the peoples that lived in these mountains. They also moved buildings removed from throughout the Park in the early 1950’s.

View from back porch of Visitor Center

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View of Mountain Farm Museum

IMG_3533 View of Mountain Farm Museum

Farms in the Smokies included valley farms that covered several hundred acres because the land was so rich, farms outside the valleys which were smaller and worked by the family as well as farms on the highest ground or remote locations, where little surplus could be grown.

Typical buildings:

John Davis built his home in 2 years, finished by 1900, the year Cornelia Vanderbilt was born.  He and his wife also had 7 children!

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Springhouse – for cold water and to keep perishables cool


Blacksmith Shop

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Hog pen – the main source of meat in the mountains. Easy to raise.


Barn.  I’m sure you recognize the plows and the seeding tools, but did you know the 4th photo below is of 2 instruments that act as vises and below that the image is of a machine that mashes something.  We couldn’t figure out what, though.

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Corn Crib – housing the family’s most important crop and sometimes their gear


Horseshoe hinges – metal was scarce so these were handy.


Apple House


Chicken Coop


Smoke house. Hogs were butchered in the fall for the cool weather, then salted or smoked for preservation.


Ash Hopper. Used to produce lye for making soap. Ashes were stored here until there were enough. Water poured through the ashes leached out the alkali in the ashes and the liquid collected was lye. One way to test its strength was to place an egg or potato in the middle of it. If it floated it was considered strong enough to make soap. Lye was also used in making hominy. John says that’s why hominy tastes so bad. I say I want to at least try it so I can make my own judgment. I’m also interested in boiled peanuts which he says are horrible. Hey, let me decide.


Now we’re more than ready to head home to an easy supper of fish and pumpkin pie. TV finished our day. We get cable here included in our nightly fee.

Note: when we arrived here I was telling John how different campgrounds have different appealing features. The best features of Green Mountain were that you were surrounded by nature: trees, streams. Unfortunately, since we were in a deep valley we saw little sun, no cell phone service nor Internet service unless we went to the Great Hall. Here, we are in open space, the trees are away from us, not so close to nature. Because we are close to I-40, we have 4G cell service, TV and even their WiFi, available from our RV. I love that too!  Also, their bathrooms are individual rooms (not stalls), with the most generous sized showers-like home.

About Patricia Elser

I've always loved the loose, flowing, transparent look of watercolors, of Chinese paintings and their calligraphy, but alas, no watercolor classes were available when I was in school, so that interest remained buried until my children were grown. Even then, I was afraid that I couldn't really paint, so upon my sister's advice, I actually started to take classes. I signed up for every class available, determined to learn no matter how afraid I was. I came upon a teacher, Stan Miller, who inspired me, who opened the door to success in watercolor. I love to look at beautiful images. I want to capture them forever. All my life, photography was how I gathered images of the beauty I saw. Thanks to all that photography, I enjoy composing pictures, especially up close. Watercolors allow me to add more of me in their translation of that beauty. My paintings reflect my love for music and dance, with their rhythm and flow. I am fascinated by the play of light, so it appears in my pictures as drama for they are filled with darks and lights. Maybe it's the challenge, maybe it's the beauty, but now, when a work comes together, it fills my soul.
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