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Greetings From Pigeon Forge!

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Great weather & scenery for our first trip to the Pigeon Forge/Gatlinburg, TN area. Traffic in both towns is insane. Backs up for miles & miles. The trees are probably just past peak, but not by much. We spent Saturday in Gatlinburg and caught a show Saturday night in Pigeon Forge. Today we're going to mosy our way back up to Indiana via some twisty two-lanes.....the US 25-E tunnel through the Cumberland Gap looks enticing. Meanwhile, here's what the view over Gatlinburg looked like last night:

3014832537_74a403a252_o.jpg

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Pat,

 

So that is what the Tennessee hills look like. Quite pretty! As we move into the winter here it is nice to be reminded that there are blue skies and fall colors out there somewhere still! We had the most beautiful display of fall color that I recall, but now only a few leaves hold on.

 

I know that Gatlinburg is a tourist destination……but backups for miles and miles… is it the fall colors that attract that many?

 

Keep the Show on the Road!

 

Dave

 

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Today we're going to mosy our way back up to Indiana via some twisty two-lanes.....the US 25-E tunnel through the Cumberland Gap looks enticing.

We've been through the US-25E tunnel many times. We got rear-ended just before the south end of the tunnel once, fortunately no damage.

 

I always enjoy passing through Pineville on US-25 where the new alignment is built along the floodwall to protect the town, and there are huge gates when entering and exiting the city that they can use to keep the flood waters out (not my photo).

 

By twisty two-lanes, I wonder if you are thinking US-421 from Frankfort, KY to Madison, IN? We took that once and 'twisty' definitely describes it, especially the portion leaving Frankfort.

 

Chris

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The 25E tunnel thru Cumberland Gap is far less interesting than the old road over Cumberland Gap. One of those places I wish they'd left alone.

 

Hudsonly,

Alex Burr

Memphis, TN

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...the Pigeon Forge/Gatlinburg, TN area. Traffic in both towns is insane. Backs up for miles & miles. The trees are probably just past peak, but not by much.
Gatlinburg is not one of my favorite towns but it is in one of my favorite areas. There was a time when I would spend at least one and usually two weekends each year camping with friends near Townsend. This was in the early '80s and we would try to avoid the one or two weekends when the color was best because that's when the traffic was worst. I'm sure that's even truer today. It's been many years since I've seen the Smokies in full color. Looking forward to your report.

 

Today we're going to mosy our way back up to Indiana via some twisty two-lanes...
Sorry to correct you but I'm in the midst of William Least Heat-Moon's latest book which is subtitled "An American Mosey" and I've checked the spelling with dictionary.com. We'll let you get away with a mosy on this trip but it better be a mosey next time. :)

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Great weather & scenery for our first trip to the Pigeon Forge/Gatlinburg, TN area. Traffic in both towns is insane. Backs up for miles & miles.

 

We cruised to that same area 3 (I think) years ago during June and I agree with you about the insane traffic. Had we realized how insane it really is we probably would have gone elsewhere. The scenery, however, was beautiful and worthwhile. Rented a cabin for a week just outside Pigeon Forge and spent most of our time at a park south of Gatlinburg. Here's a summer shot of the TN hills between PF and Gatlinburg....Bliss

 

http://americanroadmagazine.com/forum/inde...=si&img=445

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Dave,

Many factors for the traffic. Up the road in Pigeon Forge, it's wall-to-wall hotels, restaurants, novelty stores, go-kart tracks, etc, etc. That's the reason for the backups there. In G-burg, it's the same, only a little more condensed. Either way, traffic be no fun when you're trying to have fun! <_<

 

Chris & Alex,

I think we covered just about every highway in Kentucky EXCEPT 421! The main routes we took in Kentucky were US 27, US 127, and US 60. We decided not to head through the Cumberland Gap tunnel due to some time constraints, as well as the fact that we'd have to head northeast to get to it.

 

Denny,

I'm sure Gatlinburg has grown quite a bit since the early 1980's. One needs to have patience when going through there on a Saturday in the fall when the leaves are at peak colors. Now, if I mosey on to my next reply..... :P

 

Bliss,

I plan on checking with one of my brothers who stays in a cabin when he & his family go there a few times a year. If we don't do that, then we'll probably stay in G-burg instead of Pigeon Forge. This way we can just leave the car at the hotel & walk to every place we need to go. Can't really do that in PF, since everything's so spread out.

 

A somewhat detailed report can be found here. I was tired when I started it last night, and I was tired when I finished it tonight, so my apologies if there's some things that don't make sense.....I'll edit in the morning. :wacko:

 

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Denny,

I'm sure Gatlinburg has grown quite a bit since the early 1980's. One needs to have patience when going through there on a Saturday in the fall when the leaves are at peak colors. Now, if I mosey on to my next reply..... :P

Indeed it has and I believe the sprawl... er, growth... is even more apparent in Pigeon Forge. I've been in the area a few times since the '80s and even spent a night inside the actual Gatlinburg city limits :o a few years ago. During those more frequent three-decades-past visits I believe I was in the park over a peak color weekend only once and on that occasion did not enter Gatlinburg. When you're surrounded by trees sporting just about every color imaginable, crawling along in a line of cars is almost tolerable but it doesn't help your MPG at all. Judging from the title of your blog entry, we appear to have similar opinions regarding the town of G*****burg. Nice pictures.

 

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Great Smoky Mountains National Park is, by far, the most visited of all 57 US national parks, about 10 mil visitors per year - more than double the Grand Canyon. There are only 3 main entrances, and Gatlinburg is the most popular. (Try Cherokee NC on the east side for lots of mid-century roadside architecture - while it lasts.) The confined gorge-like geography of Gatlinburg makes a tight squeeze for all the traffic entering/exiting that way, let alone visiting the attractions along the street. The road (Great Smoky Mountains Parkway) gets wider and sprawlier - some would say uglier - as you head north into Pigeon Forge and then especially Sevierville. We visited in early April and had no traffic problems, and luckily warm weather.

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We've made quite a few trips there over the past few years. We normally stayed about 10 miles to the east of Gatlinburg. It is much faster (doesn't look like it from the map) to take 40 to the southeast and enter heading west bound along 321 through Cosby into town. It has taken as long as two + hours to get through Pigeon Forge and Sevierville. The Little River Road is a pleasant drive but can also get congested. I'd also recommend the southeast corner of the park, near Cataloochee, much quieter, not as heavily visited. Just beware when you end up on the Carolina side, the fog can be thick, VERY thick as we learned one evening. When my wife offered to get out and walk in front (since that was as fast as I could go anyways) of our van to guide me and prevent us from driving off the mountain, you know it is serious.

 

Also for those people that like to get dizzy driving, Deals Gap is an area destination for motorcyclists because of the number of curves, but "32 South" from Cosby is probably just as curvy and has NO traffic as it turns to dirt at the state line. We had a Suburban with the Stabiltrak on it. The Stabilitrak was coming on while on dry pavement due to the amount of turning back and forth and tight hairpin turns. Made it that much more exciting driving it at midnight as it is in the middle of nowhere and climbs a @5,000ft mountain.

 

Jason

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Ah for the good old days, when you could run thru Gatlinbug at 70+ - at 2 in the morning that is AND if some unfriendly person was behind you somewhere. :D

 

Hudsonly,

Alex Burr

Memphis, TN

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Liz and I went through and stayed at Sevirville and Gatlinburg this past October. The last time we'd been there was back in the mid-70s. It's gotten HUGE!!!

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I attended a photography workshop in the Smokies last October and hope I never go back at that time of year. The traffic even in the park was unbelievable. I'm from out here in the west where we have much more open space. I couldn't believe crawling through the park at 5 miles an hour in bumper-to-bumper traffic. I'm a fan of touristy areas, but that was way too much.

 

It was beautiful, though. Just too bad the congestion has created a mess out of it.

 

I've posted some of the pictures from the trip at my blog - Dakotagraph.

 

Chad

Edited by ChadSDPhoto

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I attended a photography workshop in the Smokies last October and hope I never go back at that time of year. The traffic even in the park was unbelievable. I'm from out here in the west where we have much more open space. I couldn't believe crawling through the park at 5 miles an hour in bumper-to-bumper traffic. I'm a fan of touristy areas, but that was way too much.

 

It was beautiful, though. Just too bad the congestion has created a mess out of it.

 

I've posted some of the pictures from the trip at my blog - Dakotagraph.

 

Chad

 

Chad,

 

The slide show of South Dakota was beyond spectacular! Sheila and want to visit South Dakoda next spring or fall, and your photos are a big draw.

 

I have to agree with you on congestion. But as you know, even out west we have more congestion than park roads can handle at peak periods....so I recommend April, May, and October if you can.

 

Incidentally, I only noted a couple of road shots in the slide show.....I bet you have some more beautiful road shots to share with the world. :)

 

Keep the Show on the Road!

 

Dave

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Chad,

 

The slide show of South Dakota was beyond spectacular! Sheila and want to visit South Dakoda next spring or fall, and your photos are a big draw.

 

Incidentally, I only noted a couple of road shots in the slide show.....I bet you have some more beautiful road shots to share with the world. :)

 

Thanks Dave. Since I get paid to make South Dakota look good, I hope my photos make people want to come here.

 

Didn't mean to hijack the thread about TN, but won't complain if we want to discuss South Dakota. :lol:

 

If you followed the link in my post above, you may have only seen the blog page with the Tennessee photos, so if you click HERE, you'll find lots more photos with suggestions on places to go, including several road options.

 

Visit often, I will be posting many more routes in the future. I've already got photos and ideas for several backed up on the on ramp for the blog.

 

Chad

Edited by ChadSDPhoto

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Looks like the irresistible pull of Pigeon Forge will be getting even stronger in 2010 when Titanic II, "The World's Largest Museum Attraction", opens there. I guess the "II" in the name is because the same company already operates a similar attraction in Branson, Missouri. Perhaps stung by criticism that the Missouri museum is over 800 miles from the Atlantic (and nearly 500 from the nearest big water at the Gulf of Mexico) the company is positioning the newer version a mere 300 miles from the Atlantic shore. What more fitting spot than the Great Smoky Mountains for a huge building resembling an ocean liner that killed nearly 1500 people?

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Looks like the irresistible pull of Pigeon Forge will be getting even stronger in 2010 when Titanic II, "The World's Largest Museum Attraction", opens there. I guess the "II" in the name is because the same company already operates a similar attraction in Branson, Missouri. Perhaps stung by criticism that the Missouri museum is over 800 miles from the Atlantic (and nearly 500 from the nearest big water at the Gulf of Mexico) the company is positioning the newer version a mere 300 miles from the Atlantic shore. What more fitting spot than the Great Smoky Mountains for a huge building resembling an ocean liner that killed nearly 1500 people?

 

 

How about a castle in Anaheim, the London Bridge in Arizona, or Stonehenge on the Columbia River! I can tell you that even the thought of the Titanic beside the road in the Great Smokey Mountains would definitely influence any plans I might have had to visit the area! <_<:rolleyes::P:D

 

Keep the Show on the Road!

Dave

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How about a castle in Anaheim, the London Bridge in Arizona, or Stonehenge on the Columbia River!

 

Keep the Show on the Road!

Dave

 

I can't believe you left out the Parthenon in Nashville, Tennessee. ;)

 

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