We left Spartanburg, SC right at 11:00 and took I-26 all the way up to Asheville, NC where we picked up I-40 west. There was a fairly steep climb on I-26 and the truck struggled a bit. But I'm so much more comfortable on the downgrades with our exhaust brake.
The trip through the mountains from Asheville is something we've done many times. The first time, I was on edge, but it's really not that bad a section. The grades aren't severe, the truck speed limit is 50 mph, and at that speed it's not scary.
GPS directions always tell us to take U.S. 411 into Sevierville, but that stretch of road, at least the first half, is a bit curvy and narrow for larger rigs. Been there, done that so we tend to stay on the interstate and come in from the north. It's maybe 15 miles out of the way and not a lot of time difference.
Though we usually don't like the interstates, they are much less stressful getting through the Smokies.
We arrived at River Plantation around 2:00 after our 160-mile trip. After checking in, we made our way to our usual spot, Site 441, and got set up.
There are a few permanent and seasonal sites here, but they are wonderfully maintained.
We back up to the river, and have lots of space for our pre-Rally campfires.
One thing that is new here at River Plantation is their RV wash bay.
Currently, they are charging $2 a foot and you can make an appointment in advance so you can drive in when you arrive. We didn't know any of this, and there was already a coach in the bay. It was going to be about an hour, so we went ahead and backed into our site.
Then we had Dayton Brownlow come in and wash our rig as we usually do. Although they have their own RV wash bay, they still allow a couple of local guys to come in and wash at the site.
After we were set up and washed, we gathered the many boxes and envelopes from the office and checked them off the list of expected items. RVs For Less has some fifth wheels here and will bringing more for our Rally. Butch was going to try to get us some motorhomes from another dealer, but only come up with one. However, the park manager, Mike, made a phone call and Tennessee RV jumped at the opportunity to bring a few more motorhomes. Awesome!
Later, my Dad called and said he was in the hospital. He's still having trouble with fluid retention, and he was having trouble breathing. His caretaker took him in, and then the neighbor across the street stayed with him. Fortunately, he didn't have to be admitted and they sent him home with a note for some medication adjustment. He's going to be okay - it was probably those White Castles he ate after driving his scooter a couple miles down the road the other day. :)
Linda made us some salads and added the chicken breasts I grilled a couple nights ago, and we had a nice, relaxing evening once we knew Dad was home and okay.
Tomorrow, we don't have anything planned, so I might play some golf.
This morning, we worked with our calendar and figured out our schedule for after the Rally, at least through the first week of June. We may even hold our first New RVer Basic Training in Elkhart, IN that first week of June. Gotta figure a few things out like location and pricing, but we're leaning that way.
Using GolfNow, I found a 12:15 tee time at Sevierville Golf Club. It was a "Hot Deal" for a single at $10. With taxes and fees, it was under $15.
I headed over there in the truck, while Linda took the Jeep to pick up some Rally items and groceries.
I was paired up with a very nice couple from Michigan. They just recently bought a travel trailer and love it. They picked my brain about places to go and internet on the road so she can easily work as they travel. They have no intention of being full-timers at this time, but you never know. :)
They have a couple courses at Sevierville Golf Club, and we played the Highlands. The first five holes are open and similar to the other course, but then you have to go through a tunnel under a road and the course climbs up into the hills. That part of the course is much more "target golf" and quite a bit shorter. It's kind of strange layout as those final thirteen holes loop back through each other.
I played okay, scored poorly, but didn't take any huge numbers, and it was a lovely, breezy day. It was well worth my $15, although I've always thought it's a bit over-priced at their regular rate of $59.
Back home, Linda had done her Rally chores. We've had a rash of last-minute cancellations, so we've been going to the Waiting List hard. As usual, many people have already made other plans, so those that can come on short notice are getting an opportunity.
Linda had a cocktail, and I picked up some dinner, then we had another nice, relaxing evening.
Tomorrow, Linda plans to defrost the fridge and freezer, we'll move our boxes and Rally stuff, to the conference center .....
and we'll have our first pre-Rally campfire and get to know those that have already arrived.
Getting ready to start the casual kick-off before the main event. :)