Bardstown, KY to Raccoon Valley, TN., Oak Ridge, Knoxville, Smokey Mountain Nat'l Park

Raccoon Valley Travel Blog

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Knoxville

Late November and it's cold. I have had several nights with weather below freezing so, it's still south I go. The ride down through Kentucky into Tennessee was pretty and an easy ride. I arrived at the Escapees Park in Raccoon Valley, TN. This is a small park nestled into a valley about 20 miles north of Knoxville, TN.

About 15 miles west is Oak Ridge, the place that most of the work on the first atomic bomb was done. It was the home of the Manhattan Project. They have a museum which follows the development from start to finish. Oak Ridge was chosen for a number of reasons, isolation, electric power, water, labor and transportation. The project had three huge plants and a town of about 75000 at it's peak.

Knoxville
each plant was in a valley with a ridge separating it from the others so that if a catastrophic explosion happened, the other two plants and town were somewhat protected by the ridges. Two of the plants were involved in different methods of processing the uranium while the third had a small reactor. Today the plants are still involved in the process, development and research of the nuclear industry. It was called the "secret city" and little was known about it until after the war.

On Thanksgiving, a group of us from the Escapees park all went out for a nice Thanksgiving dinner. A nice time but not the same as being with friends and family.

Knoxville was getting into the Christmas spirit and I was luck enough to be there when they had their annual lighted ship parade on the Tennessee River.

Knoxville
The weather was cold and windy but large crowds were in attendence. About 40 boats slowly cruised by us and the night ended with a nice fireworks show.

saw that I was near Pigeon Forge so I thought I would go over and visit Dolly Parton. The place was mobbed as the town was all shopping malls, outlet stores and tourist shops. Parking was impossible and the traffic was so bad, I just continued on to Gatlinburg. That town was even worse so on I went. Ended in the Smoky Mountain National Park and took a ride in. Beautiful country with rushing streams, high mountains and lovely forests. A nice place to return to see in the summer when the trees have leaves.

The last day at the SKP park was fun with a group of ten musicians having a jam session. Guitars, banjos and mandolins all playing bluegrass and country. The quality was quite good and we ended with an ice cream and pie social. Fun time!

Summary:

Elks Lodges: 18, Escapees Parks: 6,  Public RV Parks: 9, Nat'l Parks: 17, Major Ships: 5, Forts: 9

Expenses: 7 months on the road with an average expense of $1939 per month.

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Knoxville
Knoxville
Knoxville
Knoxville
Knoxville
Knoxville
Knoxville
Knoxville
Knoxville
Knoxville
Smokey Mountains
Smokey Mountains
Smokey Mountains
Smokey Mountains
Smokey Mountains
Smokey Mountains
Knoxville
Knoxville
Knoxville
Knoxville
Raccoon Valley
photo by: kensac