My Mind Is On Vacation

Townsend Travel Blog

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Used car lot in Townsend, TN. Kidding.
DAY 9 (7/3/08)
10pm / 75∞ / Cool

Today, I am convinced I have lost my mind. It began with some basic forgetfulness while on my morning exercise jaunt. This trip, (I started but didn’t maintain regularly while at home) I have tried to stick to 45-minutes of cardio activity each morning. Sitting in the driver’s seat, while at times elevating my blood pressure from asinine drivers, does not provide much exercise. So, today, at 6:30am I take off on my morning exercise walk-jog.

I go through our whole loop listening to a PodCast of “This American Life” and taking in the sights and sounds of Cades Cove, Smoky Mountain National Park.

Then I make a turn towards, what I “remembered” on the map as a way back towards camp … whoops, not a correct turn.

Then I think I hear the banjo’s playing and thoughts of Ned Beatty flash through my head, and I am nervous.
Stalactites and stalagmites in Tuckaleechee Caverns.
Please, no Deliverance, not here – not now. Ok, so the banjo’s were imaginary, but really, that is what went through my head.

Where am I? Why do I not remember if I turned left or right at the fork in the road back there? This is a loop, right? Just keep going right, it will loop back … it will loop back …

It does not loop back. Suddenly I’m on a desolate, abandoned road that has overgrown, unused campsites from an era long since passed. Then, on the horizon, I see a cabin. Civilization!

The cabin is abandoned, and is a part of the historic sites that mark the original settlers here in Cades Cove. Crap.

Follow the road, follow the road.

Ahhhh! Pay dirt! RV’s. Luxurious, mansions on wheels RV’s. Where am I? RV heaven?

“Staff Campground”? Interesting.
A waterfall. I tried to adjust my shutter speed so it would show up - not sure if it worked.
But where is MY campground (It is now 7:30am – one hour later)??

Follow the path.

Ranger station! But not the station we checked in with.

Camp store … yes, NOT the camp store near us.

Continue with this thinking for another 30 minutes. Then, I see familiar sites. Bike rentals. Bathrooms. Amphitheatre. Loop B campground – hallelujah.

My parents, needless to say, are surprised at my tardy return. I tell of the magical road that took me far, far away. Unconcerned at this point, the push me towards the car for today’s adventure.

I begin to realize how much more of my mind is on vacation. I can’t remember simple, easy words when telling a story. I get lost in a small campground. Whatever, it’s vacation.

Then we leave for our day at the Tuckaleechee Caverns, 500 ft. beneath Townsend, TN.

On our drive through the Cades Cove Scenic Loop, we take an unimproved, gravel road (one way) into Towsend. It’s awesome. During the drive I’m telling a story and stop mid-sentence. I can neither remember the rest of the story, nor remember the next word I intended to use. This happens several times today.

I am losing my mind.

The caverns, discovered in 1953 by 3 brothers who lived above them, are very interesting. We all take the 90 minute tour of the caverns, seeing plenty of stalactites and stalagmites, underground pools of 98% pure drinking water, a waterfall and about 287 stairs (see pictures). It was difficult to get pictures to show up, but fortunately I had a great photo teacher and adjusted my shutter speed and captured more light, thus a useable picture (not the best pictures, but useable)! Of course, I can remember how to work my digital camera, but I can’t remember the word for that you put water into to freeze (ice cube tray).

We cruised through Townsend, dropped off some mail, and came back to the campground. I promptly took a 2 hour nap (another sign my mind is leaving me – I got horribly tired today, beyond exhausted, and I hardly did anything!).

Tomorrow, is more sight-seeing and hiking around the Smoky Mountains. I saw in the news today that wildfires forced more evacuations in Northern California. I’m hoping we don’t have another summer of wildfires that destroys so much of our own natural beauty.

Anyway, with luck, my mind will return tomorrow…

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Used car lot in Townsend, TN.  Kid…
Used car lot in Townsend, TN. Ki…
Stalactites and stalagmites in Tuc…
Stalactites and stalagmites in Tu…
A waterfall.  I tried to adjust my…
A waterfall. I tried to adjust m…
photo by: finnjf