Saturday, August 14, 2021
Karen went for a 6 mile run up Anthony Creek Trail while the kids had fun cooking pancakes, pouring batter in letters for their names, then adding caramel M&M’s on top. Of course they couldn’t turn them over very well, but they had fun with the project and readily ate them. Karen needed to get back at a decent time, so they packed up for their 4.5 hour trip home. I have been trying to kiss Melissa on the forehead for a week while she squeals, kicks, pushes and calls me “Crazy Dude”. I was taken by surprise when she jumped up in my arms with a big hug I will forever remember. It was a great week with the kids, one that will be hard to top.
We took the trailer to the Loop parking lot, which was busy on a Saturday. I blocked one lane of traffic while I parked it and unhooked. The batteries are at 35%, and we needed a good day’s charge so we can stay 5 days in Cataloochee.
Then we went to town to do laundry, fill up gas, get a fuse for the jack, grocery shop and fill a propane tank. We were too efficient. Everything was right there in one lot – the laundry, Ace Hardware, a propane refill, and even an excellent car wash that could fit any size RV.
We started four washers. Then I went to Ace for the fuse, but they still didn’t have it. Fortunately, the 25 amp I bought a few days ago was working fine. I got some more firewood and filled the propane tank. The people in this Ace Hardware are really nice and helpful. They also own the propane station.
A lady named Melissa, at the laundry told us places to go, showed us pictures of wildlife in her yard, and videos taken by a doorbell camera, of bears, turkeys, wild boar and a bobcat. She was a cool, big lady and very nice. She told us to go to Tennessee Sally’s Craft Store, where we would find local arts and crafts. Angels come in all shapes and forms.
We went to Tennessee Sally’s, and it must have been Sally who greeted us. It’s nice, little store with lots of interesting things. Martha bought a solar Mason Jar painted with a bear and trees to remind us of the Smokies. I bought a photography book with pictures of Cades Cove to send to the kids.
It was a good, productive, efficient day. where we got a lot of stuff done with good teamwork. We loaded groceries in the hot trailer parked in the parking lot. Checking the solar, we had gotten to 56%, not enough to make it five days in Cataloochee, so I suggested we go for a hike. We might not be at 100%, but maybe 75. Martha wanted to get out of the heat and go back to the campground. We hooked up, blocking traffic in one lane as people poured in for the Loop Drive on a Saturday afternoon.
People run their phones and iPads down to 0% all the time, but then they buy a new $1,000 phone before the battery wears out. As Lou told us after he installed the solar system, “The batteries are happiest between 20 and 80%.” These are lithium batteries, not lead acid. It’s pretty amazing we have been able to stay in Cades Cove with five people in the trailer for a week in a shaded site that got little sun.
At the campground, we packed up for the move to Cataloochee Campground tomorrow, and we had a full load with all the cooking stuff, bikes, firewood, cameras, tents and sleeping bags. Then Martha went to the Institute to hike to a waterfall someone had told her about. I was ready for a glass of wine.
I sat and listened to some music, first Elke Brook, then Andrew Lloyd Webber. I couldn’t connect Bluetooth from outside the trailer, so I put some earphones on and turned it up.