Once again, most of the trip to east Tennessee was not on any Interstate, however, the state highway was four lane which made the trip easy. It was the longest drive we have had since last fall, being over 3 hours. Since my sister lives in the area, we were familiar with Lenior City, although we had never stayed at the Melton Hill Campground since there are closer commercial campgrounds to her house. However, with the Senior Pass, our stay at the TVA campground was at a substantial savings. The campground turns out to be less than a mile from I-40, so our GPS device had us turn on a side road as soon as we left the Interstate. Unfortunately the entrance to this road had a dip that was too severe for the RV and we caught the bottom rung of the ladder hanging off the back. It was severely bent and broke the first time I put any weight on it, so the step up to the ladder is going to require our step stool unless we get the ladder replaced (haven’t decided yet). There was also no sign for the campground where we turned, which should have been a warning but our GPS had done surprisingly well in navigating us to campgrounds. Getting to the Visitor Centers of National Parks has been an issue, since the GPS wants to take us to the offices which may not be the same location, but never a problem with campgrounds. However, when we got to a cross road with a sign just for the TVA dam and nothing in sight, we thought we had a problem. I called the campground and sure enough the GPS had us turn about 1/2 mile too soon from the highway. So we had to get turned around which is not easy with a 35 foot trailer. Luckily there was very little traffic on the road so we were able to take the entire intersection. Kal attempted to back the RV herself and nearly jackknifed the RV before I got her to stop. She got very upset and left the job to me. After a couple of attempts I was able to get the rig turned around and headed back to the highway. We easily found the correct entrance since it had a big sign along the highway. After finding the small RV they are using as an office they pointed out our site which was very small. We first had to travel around to a parking lot to get turned around to properly line up to back into the site. The volunteer was kind enough to assist me in getting the RV into the site which had to go in at a severe angle to fit. Once we pulled the truck off the road onto the site, there was very little room left. However, the site was very level and we got set up with no problem, although we could not use our awning as it would hang out over the road. Not really a problem, since we rarely use it anyway.
Since the last campground did not have laundry facilities (and neither does this one) it had been nearly two weeks without doing laundry. So our first order of business on Tuesday was to head to my sister’s house to get our laundry done. We spent most of the day visiting with my niece, Shannon, and doing the laundry until the kids and Suzy got home. Shannon made all of us a nice chicken dinner, unfortunately once Suzy got their it was nearly time to leave for the night (she had a late meeting at her school that night).
We spent most of the day on Wednesday cleaning the RV and relaxing at the campground. We joined Suzy, her family, and fellow teachers at the Mexican restaurant that meet every week for dinner. We had a enjoyable time getting to know her friends and kidding around with Shannon’s kids. I don’t suppose the margarita’s Suzy and I drank had anything to do with it? We took it easy around the campground on Thursday and Friday with plans to get with Suzy on Saturday.
Suzy had been contacted by our Aunt Ellie, who was planning to move closer to her family in Georgia over the summer and was going through all the stuff she and Uncle Jerry had accumulated over the years and deciding what to take with her. Among the items was an antique Secretary that had been in the family since the mid 1800s. My parents had it until my Dad passed away, so Aunt Ellie offered it to Suzy. Since we had a truck, she asked us if we would be willing to go with her to get it. Especially since it had been years since we had seen Aunt Ellie, this made it a perfect excuse to visit. She lives north of Knoxville, so it was only about 1.5 hour drive from Lenoir City. Suzy met us at the campground and we removed the fifth wheel hitch from the bed of the truck. We met Aunt Ellie at her home, which they have done a beautiful job with the landscaping over the years. It has many interesting features including gardens, flower beds, gazebo, and wishing well. Before we loaded up the secretary, Aunt Ellie first took us to lunch at a very nice steakhouse in town. After lunch we got to work and loaded up the secretary being very careful to secure it with straps and bungee cords. We then had time to visit and tour the property, which was our first opportunity to see it, even though she will now be moving out of. It was nearly dark when we got back to Suzy’s house to unload the secretary, but it was still a great day visiting old relatives and catching up with my mother’s side of the family.
On Sunday we headed back to Suzy’s for a dinner party with all of Suzy’s grandchildren. Kal took nearly 100 pictures of everyone before dinner. Since this is likely the last time in a long while that we will be visiting my sister, as our travels will be west of this point in the future, we sincerely hope they come to visit us in the future.