Sunday, April 15, 2012

TOO MANY PEOPLE & THE "REAL" TENNESSEE

click on photos to enlarge


I had the cover off the little boat and was getting ready to hitch it to the truck when I remembered I needed to get my cell phone.  I went back inside and picked it up to discover a message had been left on it.   It was my friend Bob who just returned from Florida.  I called him and we would meet in an hour for a bike ride to Tellico Plains.  The meeting would require that I drive back west to Sevierville and get on Route 411.  Sevierville is on the beaten path to Pigeon Forge which is the gate to the Smoky Mountain National Park.  Dollywood is located in Pigeon Forge.  That in itself equals traffic.  Over the years Pigeon Forge and Sevierville have been transformed from quaint little Tennessee rural towns to the largest amusement parks in the nation.  There is absolutely nothing left of Tennessee heritage in either town.  The traffic is non stop through the summer months caused by an endless stream of tourists who focus their vacations on these two communities.  I can't imagine why.  Who would willingly sit for hours in stand still traffic to ride bumper cars or use a water slide.  Seriously - both towns are nothing but tourist traps designed as "amusement dollar catchers" to the tenth power.  It was either ride to Sevierville or take interstate 40 west.  I wasn't in any mood for interstate anything.  Look below at the traffic leaving Sevierville this morning at 9AM.  By noon all lanes in and out will be jammed to a stand still as the incoming tourists heading for the Smokys will be flowing into town.  Its nuts!  Look below:
Look way down the road in the picture.  Thank heavens the lanes going into town were empty.  Not for long though!
These shots weren't even taken in town.  This is out by the interstate.  In town is a nightmare.  I only needed to drive one mile down this road toward town and catch Route 411 and head west away from this idiocy.  
The people who reside in Pigeon Forge and Sevierville have to use creative magic to find alternate back roads to get anywhere.  Imagine living in a place where you can't even use the roads in your own town to come and go from your own home.  This isn't Tennessee.  Its nothing about Tennessee.  This situation is all about getting the tourist dollars. The national park is just down the road and these two towns know you have to pass through them.  Well, you go right on ahead.  Gattlinburg is another town I could write a few words about but, I won't do it here. 
This "IS" Tennessee
























This is Tennessee also.


And, this is Tennessee.

We drove through Greenback, my old home, and down past Tellico Lake and headed for Tellico Plains.  Now there is a nice little town.
I particularly like the old section of town with its ancient, original buildings converted into shops.  This, by the way, is real Tennessee.  Its such a delight to just stop and hang out here.  Life just slows down.  Quite different than those other two towns previously mentioned.  I hate to even say their names.  One of my favorite stores in Tellico Plains is the ice cream shop.
This little store makes the largest banana split in the world.  I even took a photo of one and its on the blog somewhere.  A search would probably find it.  I settled for a cherry ice cream cone today.  Yum!
Across the street is a book store, which was closed today, and a duel sport touring motorcycle store.  The little motorcycle store has very high quality riding gear and equipment. Nothing is of poor or mediocre quality in the store at all.

Guess I didn't take a shot of the motorcycle shop.  Oh well.  You get the idea of the ambiance of the place I'm sure.

After an hour of messing around in Tellico Plains, we set off for Bald River Falls and the fish hatchery that is run by TWRA that sits at the very end of the seven mile road that follows the creek into the mountains.
The shot was taken from the seat of the motorcycle as we drove by.  Not a bad shot either.  I've stopped here a hundred times and wanted to get on up the road to the trout hatchery.  The pretty little stream, however, was a temptation I could not resist stopping for.

This is a very pretty area but there were a lot of tourists up here.  I kept them out of the pictures.  It was still a long way to the hatchery.
That old bridge that Bob is on leads to a hiking trail head.
This area is really pretty but it is just off the Chirahala Skyway and that is a tourist road thereby making this little creek road also a tourist road.
Its fairly safe to say though that everything west of Sevierville and Pigeon Forge is gorgeous.  One reason is because the Cherokee National Forest lies west of those two monstrosities and there isn't any amusement parks over here..The Great Smoky Mountain National Park gets all the tourists that flow through Pigeon Forge and Sevierville.  Wonder what the air quality is like in those towns.  Worse yet - wonder what the air quality is along the motor road through the national park.  Folks wonder why the trees are dying in the park.  Yep - I wonder why.
That trout hatchery is way up here.  The two guys who run it are provided housing by the TWRA agency.  They live here full time.  One of the houses is shown below.  Its right on the hatchery property.  They each have their own house.

Now, this could be me.  There is nothing but forest in all direction and it goes on forever.  North Carolina is just three miles beyond this spot and not a town for miles and miles.  Its big country.  I'll have to keep my eye on the job openings here, if there is such a thing as an opening.
These are trout rearing pens.  The fish contained in this water will consist of fish in various age groups.  They are separated from each other by dividers.  Many are scheduled to stock streams throughout East Tennessee in short order.  Its an on-going process of raising trout and distributing them to streams and lakes.
Brood trout are kept in a section of water all by itself.  These fish are huge.

As usual, the clock says I gotta head on back.  That's the way it always is.  The drive is so far that I can't seem to get here early and I always have to leave early too in order to get back at a decent hour.  Furthermore, I'm not looking forward to driving through congested roadways over toward Sevierville.  One thing I notice about my move to Cherokee and Douglas Lakes is that my morning drive to the lake is frustrating.  The tension associated with the four lanes I have to use starts before I leave the house.   After I get on the water I'm OK.   I'm irritated on the drive home from the lake also.  Once I get to my island in the woods - I'm OK.   When I lived in Greenback I was totally at ease all the time.  I could drive to the lake or mountain 35 miles per hour and no one was driving up my tail pipe ever.  Life is slower over there.  Life is more enjoyable over there.  I think I'll try to work my way back - over there.  See ya later.