Thursday, August 26, 2021

Riverbend Tennessee RV Park - 2021/07/30-08/03

Time to move the RV again! It was a great time in Kentucky at the Diamond Caverns RV park. The kids had a fantastic time. 

Today though it's time to go on to Tennessee and our next location. The Riverbend Campground in Pigeon Forge Tennessee! 

We'll be going south in Kentucky until we hit the Tennessee state line. 
And speaking of the Tennessee state line, welcome to Tennessee! The Volunteer State!

Just a 5 hour drive today. As we got closer, there was a certain section of 15 miles of the highway that was going to take 90 minutes to get through. Yikes! Navigator Theresa quickly went to work to figure out an alternate route. She's got a Trucker's Atlas plus an app that tells her whether a route is wide enough and tall enough for an 18 wheeler. We're shorter and smaller than they are so if it's good enough for them, it's good enough for us. 
So I took an exit and we started climbing some narrow mountain roads. And then imagine my surprise when we get to this bend. (Photo from Google Maps)

And then drove the RV over the Norris Dam! Wow! 

This would have been a cool place to stop! 

We successfully made our way around the backup on the freeway and drove the RV into Pigeon Forge!
Ian - Why is it called Pigeon Forge? 
That's a good question. I don't actually know. 
After a little research we discovered that the river that runs through here is called the Little Pigeon River. It was named that because passenger pigeons used to frequent its banks. In 1820, Isaac Love built an iron forge along the river and the name evolved from there. 

Pigeon Forge is a total tourist town and along with that comes tourist traffic. We did come in on a Friday, so I guess that's partly on us. 

Being a tourist town there's all sorts of visuals that are vying for your attention and trying to draw you in. This looks almost like Spaceship Earth at Epcot!

Tourist trap souvenir shops have all sorts of things to draw you in. This one has live sharks and another one had alligators!

The restaurants here were packed whenever we drove by them. 

There's also a bunch of different varieties of mini-golf all over the parkway. 

How often do you see a building flipped over? 

Or a building that has fallen over. 

There's even a half-scale replica of the Titanic. It's the largest permanent Titanic museum in the world!

And unfortunately was in the news while we were there. The frozen iceberg wall collapsed and hurt people. Yikes!

Here's our spot! Theresa picked a spot that was easy to back into. 

Our window looks right out to the Little Pigeon River! Our neighbors said that they've been here before and the water level in the river is really low right now. 

The kids love playing with their magnets. 

You can make just about anything with them. 

We've only got 4 days here in Pigeon Forge, which isn't a whole lot. There's 130 sites here, but it seems pretty small. There's a lot of permanent RVs making up those 130 sites, so people must like this area a lot. Instead of riding our bikes, we walked around the campground. First by the river, watching the geese and squirrels.  

After having such a fun time in the pool at the last place, the kids are really wanting to swim.

Their treasures they found on the walk. 

Baby ducklings! 

The kids really wanted to get on the water, and I know that floating on tubes down the river is a thing here. We've got these pool floats and we're going to give them a shot. Me and the kids walked up the river a bit and then made our way down into the water. They're excited!

We floated as best we could (more on that later) and even went over a tiny waterfall. 

Floating beside some RVs. I called Theresa up and she came out to see us. 

Hi Theresa!

Here we go!

The kids have heard stories about how mean the geese usually are. For some reason I was picturing in my head the Jurassic Park river ride, where you're trying to keep away from dangerous dinosaurs. 

We reached the point in the river where I knew we could walk back to the campground. Any further and I didn't know how steep the banks would be, or how wooded the forest would be. I pulled us over to the edge and we started the walk back to the top bend of the river. 

Just a little further than last time. We're trying to find some deeper water than before. 

The water was about the same. Even the kids were trying to lift themselves out of the water. We went under a bunch of trees and I noticed a few mosquitos decided to come joint us. Alli had a few on her face before we could get them brushed off. 

Hi again Mommy!

The White Egrets (also known as herons) aren't nearly as scary. 

Oh Alli. Those mosquitos do like to feast on you, don't they. 

You're just a little buffet when you go outside. 

How she got matching bites behind her ears, I don't know. 

Talking again about how kind campground neighbors can be. I was chatting with one of them and mentioned how the mosquitos always seem to get Alli and Theresa. They ran inside their camper and came back out with this. An indoor portable bug zapper. She said they had two and only needed one, so please that it and hopefully don't get as many bug bites. How nice!

But she stays in good spirits no matter what. 

Four days seemed to fly by and the kids were telling Mommy that she hadn't even joined us for the lazy river yet. We're leaving tomorrow so we've got to make sure we get it in today. 

Just across the river from our RV we could see that there was a running/biking trail, and looking at Google maps, I see that if we walk just a little bit (in white below), we could get an extra bend in the river for free (in red below)!

Since there's only 3 floats, the kids are going to have to double up. But here we are! All floating down the lazy river!

We're getting a little close to the shore and the trees. Thankfully it's not near dusk and the bugs aren't out. We can see little fishes that the kids want to feed. 

Uh oh. I was afraid of this. There's some big sections where the river is really wide and very shallow. 

It's a good thing we have water shoes. The rocks are slippery and sharp. In many places we were only up to our ankles, trying to drag the floats over. Theresa said that this was the opposite of a lazy river. With all the walking and dragging we're doing, it's turning into a lot of work!

And... I don't think these floats are meant to be dragged across rocks and pebbles. There's many places where you might be floating along fine and then a large rock that is sticking up a little higher than the rest bangs into your backside.

The kids got a real kick out of it and were giggling a lot. After one particular set of rapids, two of the floats started losing air and it was time to call it quits. 

There's a few different flocks of geese wandering the riverbanks here. These don't look particularly mean. They're just eating grasses. 

And I have some extra cereal from a taste test. I bet they'd like to eat that. The kids were able to get over their fear. 

After a while they were even eating out of our hands. Many of them still liked to hiss at us even right before taking food. The kids could see that the geese didn't really have teeth either. So they've got attitude, but they're not really dangerous. 

And once the cereal had run out, the kids started picking grass and feeding them. I guess any meal is better if you don't have to make it yourself, because the geese seemed to prefer the kids' picked grass to the grass on the ground. 

We've been negligent in doing our bike riding while we've been here. But there is that circular loop on the other side of the river. I'd considered carrying our bikes over, but opted to throw them into the back of the truck and drive over instead. That earned me another 20 minutes of traffic since I had to go out to the main road to get here, but oh well. 
Hey, that's our RV on the other side of the river!

Ian kept seeing these critters running around the river banks and was convinced they were beavers. They were really skittish though and would disappear as soon as they saw us coming. Except this one. This one was standing his ground no matter how close I got. 

It doesn't have a big flat tail like a beaver. This is a muskrat! 

We got part of the way around the loop and saw that this is just a small portion of the overall path. What? You can ride your bike along most of the parkway? I wish we'd known about this sooner! This would have been a great way to catch up on some bike mileage. 

Let's go see what we can tonight though. The path goes along the river and underneath the parkway. 

Ian - I smell popcorn!
It must be from that permanent carnival I see coming up. 

This interesting path takes you behind a lot of the interesting stage shows. We saw the giant AC units that keep these buildings cool. Pirates, in costume, on their smoke breaks, and a few animal cages. 
This path takes you through some pretty congested areas and because it's dinnertime and crowded, we had to get off and walk our bikes. I think we'll just turn around and ride more near the RV. 
Theresa and I did plan to get up a little early and do this long bike path again before we have to check out of our campsite at 11am. We'll pick up the rest of the story next time!

Alli - Pigin Forig. Mi favrit prt was fedig the ges. We flotid down the river. The funist prt was wen won ges pot a lef in its moth (The funniest part was when one goose put a leaf in it's mouth). The most unyost prt was I holdid some grass in my hand a ges att it. 
Ian - Pidgin Fodge. I liked Pidgin Fodge. My favorite part was going down the little pidgin river. We saw a golfer (gofer). We went to great smoky mountains national park while we were there. 

1 comment:

  1. The riverbend rafting definitely had its "giggling moments" along with the relaxing times...the mini waterfall was lots of fun (reminded me of POC's "mini, 2nd drop") Lots of geese...guess they knew where they would be fed free handouts! Some interesting tourist spots...strange sight to see the flipped building and the fallen-over sharks and alligators to draw you in, too. Always wonderful to hear of friendly, helpful neighbors!...mosquito bites are no fun (I've had my share!) EOM