Well, we wish we could've stayed in North Carolina for days, but we had to start heading home.
As we drove into nearby Hot Springs we saw a lot of hikers from the Appalachian Trail coming down. I hope someday Meadow and I can go on a mother daughter hiking trip.
An octagon house...next to the Blue Ridge Mountains? Yes, please.
As we turned on the highway we saw the sun peeking through the lifting fog. This is probably one of my favorite photos ever.
They didn't believe me that it was worth getting out the car, but I persuaded them to come out to see the view.
Brooke only wanted to see two places along our trip: a mansion in Asheville and the Lodge Factory Outlet. We made it to the latter.
When I saw that we would be driving through Pigeon Forge I knew we had to stop at the Lodge store.
The Lodge store just so happened to be next to a Coleman Outlet store. Score!
We got just a few things. Some new bakeware including a 9x9 baking pan, 9x13, casserole dish, wok and a lighter skillet for camping. We were getting tired of carrying around our heavy 10" skillet.
At the Coleman store we got new warm weather sleeping bags, ours are 30 degree bags. For Meadow we got her a cool weather bag, her current one is really made for sleepovers and doesn't keep her very warm. We had a few chilly nights on this trip.
I figured we'd be using them a lot this summer.
We were only 10 minutes away from another Lodge Factory store so we figured why not. At this store we got a good deal on a smaller size dutch oven. Driving through Pigeon Forge reminded me of Wisconsin Dells. Too bad we didn't have time to go to Dollywood.
I saw this Fiestaware outlet along the road and we had to make one more pitstop.
They had lots of discontinued colors, but everything was a bit pricey.
Driving through Knoxville I had to see the Sun Globe from the 1982 World's Fair.
She does love the World's Fair, but I'm guessing this is why America hasn't hosted one since.
We were all getting really hungry and I quickly looked on Google Maps to see what was available. We ended up at Full Service BBQ just outside of Knoxville. It's in a defunct gas station and even has a smoker that looks like a gas station tank.
This was probably the best bbq on the whole trip.
A few days ago we were discussing where we would stay on our way back home. I asked Scott if he could see if there were any locations on our route.
With the time change we arrived at our next location right as it was getting dark. As we were setting up camp it started raining and tornado sirens were going off. Our hosts didn't seem to worried, but mentioned we could go in their basement in case the weather turned bad. As we were setting up our beds and trying to relax, Scott got a notification on his phone that a tornado warning had been issued.
We went inside when the rain kept on getting heavier and heavier. Once there we chatted with Missie's husband Daniel, who's also a photographer. I even showed him my 360 rig and tried out a few of his cameras.
The tornado warning had lifted and the rain had slowed down. Meadow and I and eventually Scott headed back to the tent to get some sleep.
The rain never stopped and actually got worse in the middle of the night. We decided to take up their offer and sleep inside for the night.
In the morning I met up with Daniel in his neighboring photography studio. It was still raining and I couldn't scout the camp until it passed.
They had a really nice property once we could see it all in the daylight.
Their little lake had grown in size.
Our tent was also drenched and all the bugs thought it would be a good place to keep shelter.
Meadow didn't mind the rain.
I had left my raincoat behind on accident in North Carolina. Bad timing. I borrowed Meadow's hat instead.
Once the rain stopped we tried out the canoe on their little lake.
Meadow actually said she didn't want to canoe with me. So, I stayed ashore.
Everything was so green and lush here. It actually felt like summer.
Once I got my chance to canoe, you know I had to try out some of my new lures. Unfortunately my Mepp's didn't catch anything on the lake.
After we stopped canoeing, on to Illinois we went.