30. Apr, 2016

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FRIDAY 24-10-08 

The rain started falling at about 07:00, which was the only excuse we needed for a long lie-in, there was just nothing to get up for. 

My photographer was the first to surface and before I knew it appeared before me fully dressed, when asked why she explained that she would never be able to get her hair dry without the hairdryer and for that would need the generator on, but since we couldn’t use it….... After explaining that 8 ‘til 8 meant we could use it all day from 08:00 to 20:00 the penny dropped but by then she’d washed and was ready to start the day. I on the other hand got myself in to the shower. It’s surprising how little water you need to have a good shower provided you’ve got yourself organised. 

After breakfast the rain seemed to stop and so we decided to go for a walk while we could. At this stage we weren’t sure which of us had heard the weather forecast correctly yesterday on the Weather Channel back in Pigeon Forge. I heard ‘showers’ and The Chef heard ‘persistent rain’. Only one of us could be right and it looked as if it was going to be me. We dressed appropriately and took ourselves off down the road rather than go on to the trails which would be muddy. The grand finale to this walk was a visit to the campground dump station where we discovered they also very sensibly provide a tap and hose of drinkable water allowing RV’s to take on fresh supplies. Had we known this we need never have dragged 50 gallons of water up 5,000ft. Never mind, at least it means we can refill before leaving here on Monday morning. We were only out walking for an hour or so but at least we got some fresh air and exercise. 

It was then that we found we had a serious shortage of reading matter; The Chef did at least have a book on George Washington we’d bought in the gift shop at the Washington Monument in Washington DC which she was working her way through. I had ‘A Walk in the Woods’ by Bill Bryson, a story of his walk on the Appalachian Trail, which I was reading in snatches for only the second time, having forgotten what he’d written first time around. But first I had the free booklet on the Great Smoky Mountains National Park to read cover to cover. And then it started to rain…. and rain…. and rain. So we were both right really - it was a shower before we left for our walk and now it was persistent heavy rain. 

The highlight of the day was to be lunch; a whole tin of Heinz Baked Beans on toast, the tin had been carried around for thousands of miles since we purchased it at the Publix store back in Nashville, Tennessee. It’s a shame these beans aren’t sold in every store over here especially since Heinz is an American company. They certainly sell lots of tinned beans over here but the Heinz recipe we are familiar with seems to lack those ingredients that suit the American palate like, chilli, sugar, molasses, pecan nuts, or cinnamon. I don’t envy them though; we had a tin of their chilli beans back in June towards the end of our last trip and all I can say is they’re good for a chest infection because having eaten them you daren’t cough. 

This afternoon whilst the heavens continued to rain down upon us, three very bedraggled figures in full waterproof gear and carrying backpacks dumped themselves down on the picnic table in the vacant pitch next to us. They really did look all in. Eventually I said to The Chef we really should see if we can be of assistance, especially as folk have been so kind to us whilst we’ve been out here. I put my raincoat on and went to speak to them, by now one of them was on the nearby payphone as there is no mobile phone signal here. All they really would have liked was a hot drink so they had hot cups of English tea  (we were low on coffee) bought out to them. I did tell them they were very welcomed to join us in the dry and warm whilst they waited for their lift which was politely declined but eventually there was a knock on the door and they were happy to take us up on the offer just as we were very happy to accommodate them. It seems they had been up on the Appalachian Trail yesterday and last night at around 6,000ft, but as the weather was getting progressively worse, including strong winds today, they had decided quite wisely to come down, now all they needed was to be collected and taken to their accommodation. 

It was nice to have a good chat with them while they thawed and dried out. After about 90 minutes they left to go to the campground office where they were due to be picked up, we offered to keep an eye on their gear which was still outside on the picnic table while they were gone. After another hour or so a vehicle drew up, they grabbed their bags and they were gone with a smile and a wave. For us it was nice to have been able to repay just a little of the help and hospitality which we have enjoyed while over here. 

In the darkness of the evening we found ourselves looking down the leafy lane leading to the campground entrance and trying to guess what kind of vehicle was coming up the lane and what if anything it was towing. I decided I didn’t want to play anymore after guessing the oncoming vehicle was a large class ‘A’ motorhome only to find the lower set of lights I could see were the headlight reflections in the puddles, and it turned out to be a BMW Mini belonging to our neighbours a couple of pitches down. 

Our evening meal was most enjoyable washed down with lashings of wine. Our auxiliary batteries don’t seem to be holding their charge too well requiring me to run the generator for spells more often than I would expect, and so I will check out the fluid levels in them tomorrow when hopefully the weather improves. I had asked for these batteries to be checked in the past, but rather like our tyre pressures you can never be sure the jobs done properly unless you’re standing over them. Tomorrow should be a brighter day and we look forward to getting out for a nice long walk, and in the evening sitting by a campfire using up the $9 of logs I bought yesterday. 

LOCATION TONIGHT: Smokemont Campground, 60 Enloe Floyd Bottoms Road, Cherokee, NC 28719.