Gatlinburg and the Smoky Mountains. Travels with Mom
Articles,  Blog

Gatlinburg and the Smoky Mountains. Travels with Mom


♪ I’m riding ♪
♪ Riding riding ♪ ♪ Riding in my RV ♪
♪ My RV ♪ ♪ Wherever I want to be ♪ ♪ Because I’m free in my RV yes ♪ – [Robert] Greetings from I-75 South on our way from Lexington Kentucky to the Tennessee Smoky Mountains. And we are once again in Tennessee. – [App] Welcome to Tennessee. – [Robert] Thank you. And we are almost there. I took this somewhat scenic route here to avoid the worst of the traffic. Lots of traffic. Dollywood! We must be close, in fact, here we are. Well here we are at the KOA
in Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge and you know what, there is a heated pool. I think that’s it, so I’m
going to check that out, and then we’ll continue exploring. So far so good, pretty nice. I was gonna jump in the pool
but it’s on the chilly side even though she said that
it was you know, heated. It’s not heated, well, it probably is, but not heated enough. Because of some stupid Tennessee law, they’re not allowed to sell propane here, so now I have to waste 45 minutes of my precious time and
go find some propane. Okay, they told me where I can find some. Passing two gigantic
fivers here on the way out. Anyways, according to what
they told me at the office, the closest place is
a Tractor Supply Store in Sevierville, almost eight miles away. Here we are and what we’re
going to do is an exchange. Mission accomplished! There it is, the Titanic. Pigeon Forge by the way is
your textbook tourist trap, with a bunch of these types of attractions like the Titanic museum, iceberg and all. Kinda reminds me of
International Drive in Orlando, or with a little bit of Vegas in it. It’s dinner time, or late actually, very late lunch in our case. (meat sizzling)
Cheese. Very good cheese. I also cooked some potatoes. It is time for my weekly
YouTube live video every Friday at 6 p.m., our hangout. I call it RV Chat,
although this one ended up being a little bit of an epic fail, since the internet is so bad here. Both the campground wi-fi and our AT&T LTE
coverage, both really bad. I even tried doing it from my phone, which wasn’t much
better, I’m sorry to say. We still have a little over
an hour of sunlight left, so let’s go check out
Gatlinburg real quick. We’re not even gonna get off the car, we’re just going to drive
around, see what it is like, just like we did a couple
of days ago in Lexington. Tomorrow we’ll do some
more in-depth exploring. I’ve actually been to
the Great Smoky Mountains National Park twice now. Tomorrow will be my third
time, but never made it down to Gatlinburg, so I’m really
looking forward to seeing it. And here we are. Let’s do the main strip
timelapse-style here. (upbeat dance music) A little bit slower now. I must admit, at first glance here, it does have a bit of that
tourist trappy feel to it. I mean, World of Illusions, really? And there’s more. Did I say a bit? I meant to say a lot, but I think there’s a lot to like here as well, so I will reserve my
opinions until tomorrow, when we actually get to explore the town. And this is the end of
town. Let’s turn around. The main strip here by the
way is about a mile long, you know, the pedestrian-friendly area. Yeah tomorrow we’re also going
to get on one of those lifts. Yeah, really looking forward to coming back tomorrow afternoon. Did I say afternoon? Because in the morning,
we’re going to the mountains. Cooking in the RV! (light jazz) It’s breakfast taco! (Camera Operator) Mmm!
– Check it out. We stop here on the side of the road to check out the west prong
of the Little Pigeon River as we make our way towards the mountains. It is a picture-perfect beautiful
morning here in Tennessee. We couldn’t have asked for better weather. A little chilly perhaps here in late April, but not too bad. And back in Gatlinburg we are. It is still pretty early,
about 8:30 in the morning, so the town is slowly waking up. By the way there is a road
that bypasses Gatlinburg if you are in a hurry, but
we didn’t think traffic was going to be too bad
this early in the morning, and besides, I wanted
to see the town again. Well here we are at the Great
Smoky Mountains National Park. It is the most visited National
Park in the United States. Do you think maybe it’s
because it is free? We’ll do a trail. Let’s see if we can see
the river from here. Very bright green because you know, everything is blooming, it’s springtime. Everything is so beautiful,
even the moss-covered rocks. This by the way is the Gatlinburg Trail, and it parallels this creek here. Let me tell you, I am tempted to continue on this trail
and see where it leads. (gentle guitar music) There’s the river again. Let me park one more time. Another stop on the road. This one has a little stairs here. Let’s go down to the river. Everything’s very pretty too. You all know I have a thing
for mountains and deserts, and I think now rivers too. I lived away from nature for too long. Let’s stop here real quick by
the Sugarlands Visitor Center. It is your typical
visitor center, as usual, very well made with lots of information about the fauna and the flora of the area. Well just in case we don’t get to see them in the wild, here they are. They of course have a 3-D
map of the whole park. Let’s continue, immersing
ourselves into the park, and gaining elevation in the process. (light jazz music) Stopped here, one of the many pull-outs. This is quite a view of these mountains. Here we have this waterfall here, on the side of the mountain,
but that’s not why we stopped. We stopped because of
this other waterfall, well it’s more like a rapid. And there’s Mom with her
signature selfie stick. (light jazz music) 4,700 feet above sea
level and here we are. Yeah, the views are
starting to get really epic. Well, let’s continue. Of course, as we gain altitude, the temperature begins to drop,
and we’re almost at the top. Starting to get chilly up here. Mommy’s starting to feel the chill here in the… In this very nice view. Here we are, at New Found Gap, the highest point on this road, and the Tennessee/North
Carolina State Line. Let’s stretch our legs. (people singing and talking) There’s some trail magic here. (“Wagon Wheel” by Old Crow Medicine Show”) The Appalachian Trail
goes right through here, and this year, there’s a group
of hikers who have stopped to enjoy all this trail magic. You know, people from the
area who come and provide food and things unavailable on the long trail. Through hikers are
usually extremely grateful when this happens.
♪ At least I will die free ♪ ♪ Rock me mama like a wagon wheel ♪ ♪ Rock me mama any way you feel ♪ ♪ Hey mama rock me ♪ – (sighs) Yeah, at some
point I would love to do at least a section of the AT. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park has been designated a
Unesco World Heritage Site. When I came here last
fall, the whole place was full with international tourists. Today, not so much. That time was also the peak season, during the turning of the leaves. This here of course is
the Appalachian Trail. If you were to continue walking, in 1972 miles you would
reach the Northern Terminus at Mount Katahdin in Maine. And they’re still there,
the trail magic going on for the through hikers. Doesn’t say how many miles
to Springer Mountain, but it says Clingmans Dome, and the next shelter, Indian Gap, and that’s the AT, here
comes a through hiker. I wish I’ll continue, or maybe I should walk down
to Georgia, how ’bout that? Well I was thinking of
walking all the way back to Springer Mountain in Georgia, but it’s a little muddy back there. Besides, I forgot my Mom
is with me, you know, I was going to follow in the
average camper’s footsteps, but instead, we’re going to hike north and continue exploring
the area, and who knows? We might make it to Mount Katahdin Maine, or not. (laughing) Let’s continue. Let’s cross here, 441, now
that there is no traffic, oop, there is traffic, never mind. We are going to take a detour here in order to go to Clingmans Dome, the highest point in
the whole National Park. Well, we won’t quite make it to the top but almost, far enough. Just in case we don’t find parking, I’m going to take a quick
shot of the Smokies. And we found parking! Because I’m a lucky man. There’s water dripping
down from the mountain, and the reason we’re not
going all the way to the top, is because we have to continue by foot, and my Mom, at her age, she’s
not really up to the task. Yeah, it is about half a mile that way and it is up and up and up. We did it once, back in 2011. Yeah… Half a mile is perhaps too much for today. The views from the parking lot area here are still quite spectacular, aren’t they? There, in the distance, we
can even see Fontana Lake. Oh these hazy layers that give the Great Smoky Mountains
their name, the fog caused by all the vegetation
emanating all these vapors. That’s what I read anyways. Check out this European motorhome. They come all the way from Germany. There, they have it. That’s probably a 25-footer, it fits in a regular parking space, kind of, oh it’s right next
to Kia, from El Monte RV. Very cool. Hello there. Down we go. Yeah, big traffic jam to get out of here. Are y’all dizzy yet? Okay, I’ll slow down. We are on our way back down
to Gatlinburg to have lunch and enjoy some of the activities this touristy town has to offer, which are plenty, let me tell you. Well, would you check that out? How Disneyesque can you get? It is the amazing Mirror Maze and the Circus Golf in black light 3-D! Hmm. The Hollywood Star Car
Museum, that’s pretty cool, but first, we’re really
looking for something to eat. That breakfast taco from
this morning is long gone. Here’s Old Smoky. We might come back later
for a moonshine tasting. It looks very similar to a
bourbon fermentation tank, doesn’t it, and it looks
like they are going to have live music later too, so
we shall return for sure. Oh but where to eat that
is not a chain restaurant? It’s the 5-D movie theater. (laughing) The Arcadia Space Needle, hmm, tempting, actually pretty tempting. We’ll see! Let’s continue walking. I think we’re going to
go for the steakhouse we saw when we arrived. And here are the Hollywood
Star Cars up close. Here’s a nice wooden sign
for you to take a picture. (camera shutting snapping) Oh brother. We’d like to eat somewhere local, not the Friday’s or the Melting Pot. We’ll find it. And this is the Cherokee Grill. Yeah, probably the most
expensive restaurant in town, but that’s how we roll. Beautiful gardens here at the front. Nice local IPA, I didn’t get the name but it’s got a nice bar here. Not very busy, but very good bread and a perfect steak, I’m telling you. Well this is where we
ate, the Cherokee Grill. Very fancy, but very good actually. I think we made the right choice. Now let’s check out the tramway. Oh no! Yeah, the tramway’s temporarily closed. May third, so, let’s go to the next one. Our waiter kind of advised
against Space Needle, and we actually haven’t seen anybody up there since we arrived. Maybe it’s more of a night
time attraction, I don’t know. We’re going to continue. Well at least one person went for it. Well my first impressions
about Gatlinburg Tennessee? Well yeah, the town is
unapologetically a tourist trap. It is what it is, but
you know what is good? It doesn’t pretend to be anything else. It’s just a touristy town,
and people are extremely nice and they are extremely
customer service oriented, and that’s a good thing, so even though it’s a tourist trap, I
approve, I like this town, unlike that other place
which shall remain nameless. (old time country melody) This is a little bit on the
creepy side, don’t you think? All right, we’re going
to do this Sky Lift. Well we are on the Gatlinburg Sky Lift, Mom and I here, and… Hopefully we’ll make it to the top. It’s actually a lot taller and longer than it looked from the ground, so the views on the way down
should be pretty amazing. (people shouting) I’d say that’s a pretty
decent view back there. What do you think? I mean we are way higher than that tower. Where’s the tower? You can’t even see it, it’s
down there somewhere there. And you can see the whole town basically, and now we’re going to see it
on the way down even better. Down we go. Yeah, unfortunately, the top
station is under renovation, so we couldn’t stop there it is just to round the trip today. (sighs) Yeah, we were
definitely much higher than the other similar sky
lift and the tower of course. (cheerful instrumental folk music) Well, that was kind of short, but certainly one of the
highlights of the day. Hmm, heated pool, probably. It is really filling up now, both pedestrian and vehicular traffic. (crowds talking, cars passing) It is a little bit overwhelming, I mean, how many fudge shops and mini
golfs do you really need? I wonder how much sugar and mooonshine are consumed in this town daily. Ooh, and wineries, and
another Old Smoky Moonshine. I’m going to go the main one though, it looked more lively,
and another mini-golf. This one has like the Indiana
Jones motif or something. And then you have the side streets, with more shops and stuff,
and pigeons, and ducks. Well hello there. (crowds talking) Hello fellas. (duck quacks)
Don’t go away. Wanna hang out?
(duck quacks) There goes a Cruise America. The time has come to taste some moonshine. So excited. And they have live music now. I actually love this Appalachian music. Is it Appa-lay-shun, or Appa-latch-in, I can never get it right. (“On and On”, traditional bluegrass music) ♪ I could cry ♪ ♪ With memories of how we
once loved each other ♪ The way it works, you pay five dollars and then you get five dollars
off anything you purchase, so if you end up buying anything, the tasting is basically free. ♪ My friends they all so
loved you my darling ♪ ♪ And they think that I’m to blame ♪ ♪ On and on I’ll follow my darling ♪ ♪ I wonder where she could be ♪ – Yup, you get to try all 13 of them. That’s a lot of moonshine for five bucks. Yeah, do not do this on an empty stomach. (crowds talking) (traditional bluegrass music) And now I lost my Mom. Okay, found Mom, let’s go. Now that was a great day, wasn’t it? But tomorrow, tomorrow we
continue on our way back to South Florida, almost non-stop. Still on the next video
we take the scenic route to one of my favorite
areas, northern Georgia, and the towns of Blue Ridge and Ellijay. We’ll visit my wife’s side of the family near Marietta Georgia, and I’ll try to fix old Kia’s air conditioner. Yeah, it broke, it gets hot. We’ll get a little bit of that
notorious Atlanta traffic, and then south towards
Florida, Anastasia State Park and Saint Augustine, but
I’m going to save all that for the next video, so make
sure you check that one out. If you have enjoyed traveling with us, make sure you’re subscribed,
and check out my other videos. Also, share it with your friends, spread the word, and leave me a comment. Now, if you really really
liked it, you have a chance to show your support at
Patreon.com/travelingRobert. As always, thank you so much for watching, and see you on the road.

100 Comments

  • John 259

    Hi Robert, excellent video as always. As a suggestion for the next time you visit Great Smoky Mountains National Park, I'd like to recommend Cades Cove, which is a beautiful isolated valley on the north side of the park, with a lot of historical cabins and farm buildings. It's on StreetView mode of Google Map if you'd like to check it out.

  • Khu NoPie

    Allow me to comment in song form:
    We're driving to the West in Rob's RV, We're gonna drink some Hooch in Tennessee. Because I'm free in Rob's RVeeeeee! Yiiiippeeeee!

  • SUBTT67

    Somehow that reminds me our road trip from Boston to Chicago (turning point) in 2001. In northern part of Pennsylvania is an old railroad bridge that we walked through couple of times and we were afraid of coming train. It was a Kinzua Bridge. From there we continued to Warren and Titusville, the birth place of modern oil industry. On the way Titusville the road followed the Allegheny river. It was one the most beautiful roads I've ever driven. By the way that Carthago RV is one of most expensive in Finland, but it is really good quality.

  • Larry Martin

    We have been traveling to this area for over 60 years love the mtns. and your videos.  What modifications have you done to your Kia to pull your RV  ?

  • Scott Gaskin

    Wow choice one of the busiest place and not the nicest one at all , food City Gatlinburg and pigeon forge sells propane 20lb tanks swap out

  • Martin Cordero

    Man they lied to you on the propane. There is a food city 5-10 minutes away from that KOA that will exchange the tank and cheap! How did the KIA hand the hills towing the trailer?

  • GunsAndPoker

    Hey Robert, love your videos. Quick question – I noticed this video was posted in July, is there any way in the future you could post the month and year when you were visiting in the description ? Thanks.

  • Andrew Evanoff

    Glad you had a good time in Gatlinburg. We went there twice. Nice little town. I'm surprised you did not visit the aquarium. It is surprisingly good and worth time and money. It's hard to believe that they managed to host so many salt water species in the Appalachian mountains, so far from the ocean.

  • Carolyn & Colin Hogarth

    We look forward to your chat tonight and the Sunday video with bated breath. Have a great weekend Robert, where you and yours travel. Thank you so much for sharing those gorgeous sunsets in the south. The colors always take my breath away. Love it. CDH&CDH

  • Matt from Florida

    Robert, in breaking news this just in… you have a twin brother. The Tombstone Pizza guy from the early 1990s. https://youtu.be/vKspf06XuaQ

  • Roadmasterism

    He should have gone to Cherokee NC on the other side of the park they have a casino and Grannies Kitchen then on over to Maggie Valley to see Wheels through Time Museum. Great motorcycle museum.

  • Janice Peck

    Thanks for a great tour of the great smokey area. My what a beautiful area. And coior of blue is true that comes off thru and havers over the mountains. Safe travels and adventures Great video

  • Lone Star Travelers

    We loved smoky mountains, we stop at Loretta Lynn's café and had a wonderful meal there… saw her place from there… we spent the night in the mountains for free right on a river… It was so neat there… This was over 25 years ago… we had our first old motor home we called it the Green Monster… but we had great times in it.. by the way you have Great voice for video… have you ever done voice over ? You could make some nice money doing that over the internet…

  • Awesome Adventurers Travel Network

    great video of a wonderful trip through GSMNP. I love your breakfast tacos Robert. Can you share the recipe?

  • Super G

    Great video my new friend I also plan to go traveling and taking two on my sisters with me as well I retire in one year and ten months

  • Lori Hamilton

    We are heading to Gatlinburg in October. Is there anywhere that you would say is a MUST see that we shouldn’t miss?

  • TJ Tampa

    Yep, if there's gonna be a tourist trap… you can bet your bottom dollar it's gonna be on Main Street. Fun trip 😊 Very beautiful and I look forward to Elijay next. Thx.

  • Captain Brandon Horror Film Lover

    Ah very nice to the uploader! I'm form the western part of the state in Jackson, TN though I must admit: Both times I went, Eastern Tennessee has all of the scenic routes & picturesque beauty of the state, for the most part. Middle Tennessee as well too. VERY nice road trip!

  • Southern Mommy of Three

    The titanic experience there is incredible I highly recommend it. The aquarium is great, and gem mining, such a great place.

  • Johnny Boyd

    Robert, I would highly, highly suggest that next time you stay in Townsend, TN across Wears Valley from G'Burgh and Pigeon Forge it is known as being on the quite side of the Smokies….and it is. By 9pm almost everything is closed and you can access the park within 5 minutes. I go and shoot fall photos almost every fall……it is great………Salud!

  • Susie

    Riverside RV Park in Sevierville, TN sells propane. We always stay there since my husband has to go to Smoky Mountain Knife Works. It is also close to I-40 so its less traffic to fight. We park the rv there and ride the Jeep everywhere. Convenient for us since we always come from NC on I-40.

  • Certo Glenn

    Robert, You may not see this post made Jan 30, 2019, nonetheless, the thing with discouraging trips up the observation tower usually is wind. The tower sways a little and that unnerves some folk. My heavy duty, my professional tripod was little help due to the motion. Even footsteps create vibration. Yes, wind and cold are penetrating up there. However, you are adventuresome and should have gone up. It is very nice.

  • Вова Питерский

    Очень КРАСИВО у Вас там👏👍👏👍👏👍👏 почему же у нас в стране такая ЖОПА практически везде(

  • Ghostwalker2061

    Dunno why your waiter advised against the Space Needle. The Space Needle once you buy a ticket, you can go up there twice. Once during the day, and your second time during the night. I've done both times, and it's a beautiful view. But maybe it has something to do with the big fire we had in 2016?

  • Smoky Mountains Insider

    I've been going to the GSMNP for over 25 years and never seen any of the things you showed in Gatlinburg. I've avoided it on purpose and now I know for sure I made the right decision to stay in the mountains and away from the towns. Thanks for the video.

  • Jana Deubner

    In the late 70's -early 80's my mother and I took a 3 day mini vacation and drove from central Ohio to stay in Pigeon Forge. It just happened to be in October so we got to see lots of beautiful foliage during our trip. We stayed one day in Gatlinburg and had a great time. Gatlinburg was busy then and looks much busier now! Thanks for the memories Robert!

  • Harmony Moon

    I have been watching your videos over the last few weeks. Love watching your travels. Tennessee!! Awesome! My family lives in Tennessee and I have been to Pigeon Forge, Gatlinburg, and especially the Smoky Mountains!!

  • Geir Kristiansen

    One of my favourite country songs is Smokey Mountain rain. So cool to see where the song has it inspiration from. 😀 Geir Roar Kristiansen/Norway

  • George Martell

    Boy has Gatlinburg changed since we were there 30 yrs. ago. Was basically just a village then. Just got back from visiting the Smoky's from the NC side. We stayed in a cabin at the top of a ridge. the mornings unbelievable with mist in valley and sun coming over the mountain.

  • philrockabilly

    Brilliant, I am from the UK and was there in May 2019 for a Dream holiday, the Carolinas, Memphis, Jackson, Nashville, Pigeon Forge, Smokey mountains.
    Great video. Well done, all the Best to you Robert and your Mum.
    I cant wait for my next trip.

  • Dead Bambi

    1st week of July we got to Clingmans Dome about 8:30am and had no trouble finding parking, in fact there were probably 20 empty spots or more, we were there about 90 min after going to the top and stopping at the gift shop…..when we left, cars were parked along the road over 3/4 of a mile from the parking lot IT WAS PACKED. Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge is a great place, definitely a tourist trap, but I just loved hanging out in the mountains and away from all the people. BUT the Hatfield and McCoys was the best place to eat…all you can eat food and a great show. The worst thing about that whole area is there are way too many places to play mini golf lol

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *