Turns out for me that Florence wasn’t hard to outrun. However, I don’t think my cousins Robin and Marta, who live on the Outer Banks, are going to be so lucky.
Aiming for something between Maryland and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, I was turned away from campgrounds near to water. Dixie Caverns had a spot. It was rainy and getting dark so I took it.
I forfeited my discounted ticket to see the stalactites and stalagmites the next morning so I could keep heading west. For most of my trip to Tennessee, the sun shone on gorgeous green countryside.
It did start to rain as I entered the park around 4:00. The good news is that I was able to have a campsite IN the National Park. That was a treat.
There was a lending library in the park office that had a Philippa Gregory book, the White Queen, so I was set for a good night of reading while the rain pitter-patted on Ramsey’s roof. Annie and I were very cozy. I’d bought some steel trout at Walmart. I hoped one of the many black bears in the park didn’t smell me cooking it.
Getting up bright and early, I drove to the top of Newfound Gap, the highest part of the ridge, the dividing line between Tennessee and North Carolina, and a crossing of the Appalachian Trail.
It is no trouble understanding why the Indians named the mountains after their blue smoke-like haze. The rangers said the park might have to close this weekend because of Florence. I was heading out through the Townsend Gate by 1:00pm.
Now on my way to Memphis, I’m in a terrific campsite by the J. Percy Priest Lake at Poole Knob Campground. It is managed by the Army Corps of Engineers. With my Sr. Pass discount, the fee for my POSH lakeside site is only $13.
I’m crossing my fingers for all those folks still on the Atlantic Coast.