Preparations for our first RV trip were exciting as we were trying not to forget anything essential for us and for our two dogs. A short while after noon on Friday, we hit the road and headed toward the Smoky Mountains.
On our way, we made our mandatory Apply Guy stop. Wilford sells delicious apples and sometimes other goodies on the side of the road on the way to the mountains. The apples we get there are the real deal: juicy and crisp, and for $6/bag, it’s a great deal. Wilford, who usually greets us, didn’t recognize our new vehicle – we usually drive a sedan and always chat with him for a while. Often, he’ll let me taste one of the latest types of apple he has and lets me know what types he’ll bring in the next month or so.
Just around a corner or two, we arrived at our destination, Townsend/Great Smokies KOA, and followed our host to our reserved parking spot.
We got the dogs outside and then I helped David level our rig. I read stories about getting bad headaches if the bed wasn’t leveled. That being done, we took a walk around the campground to see what’s around. The place was very nice, with trails winding underneath shady trees. The amenities included a dog park, showers, bathrooms, supply stores, and kids’ playground. There were several types of spaces to rent, from parking areas for RVs, to cabins and tent spots. Our spot was close to the bathrooms, which wasn’t bad (convenient and not intrusive) but I think that next time, if there’s anything available, I’d choose a place closer to the river.
When we reached the river, we stood for a while enjoying its roar – the water was high and energetic, fueled by the rain we had received for a week before that. Our friends had reserved their spot by the river a year in advance and later on that night we stood by their fire and enjoyed stories and wine. The night was chilly so we had to turn on the heat in Lexi. We slept OK but a bit fitfully, like I usually do in a new place.
Saturday morning came and the sunshine greeted us warmly. After a cup of coffee we took the dogs for a long walk. We stopped by ACE hardware store that was specialized in RVs and picked up a few things, including a portable water bottle for the dogs. We headed back sipping on a strong cup of coffee from The Artistic Bean – the instant coffee we had earlier didn’t quite hit the spot… We splurged on a couple of T-shirts from Jake’s on the River, a bright yellow Life is Good apparel store appropriately marked by a yellow VW bus. Back at the camp, lunch was light: toast with roasted red peppers spread and homemade roasted eggplant spread (similar to babaganoush). We saved our appetite for dinner with friends later on that day.
The birthday celebration was on that evening, as was the grill. We enjoyed both the food and the company. When the party was over, David and I made a fire in the pit by our RV. The moon came out and we finished the night sharing a bottle of red wine and a fuzzy blanket. The dogs passed out near us, tired from all the excitement and our earlier walk. Not a bad way to celebrate a birthday…
On Sunday morning, after an appropriate cup of Joe outside with the dogs, we started packing up. David did the honors of cleaning the grey and black water tanks, while I secured belongings inside. We took one last walk to say good bye to our friends who had booked an extra day so they didn’t feel rushed to leave by the checkout time of 11 a.m.
We were home and unloaded by early afternoon, with plenty of time to get ready for the week ahead. Actually, we even had time to get and prepare delicious tuna steak and cod from our favorite local store, The Shrimp Dock.
Our first RV trip was a success! Next, we have a week-long trip planned for Destin, FL (sans dogs) in May.