Tuesday, March 29, 2016

The river offers a "Happy Valley' ride

Highway through my "Happy Valley" between Andrews and Murphy, NC
An invitation to attend a grand child’s dance performance last week in Georgia allowed my wife and I to extend our trip by a couple hundred miles.

We decided to take an overnight trip and make it to the southern side of the Great Smoky Mountains.

Our son introduced us to a new pathway to the mountains a couple years ago.

And the new route allowed us to add some special treats along the way, which usually means food stops.

Our routine is to get up early at their house and head out, making it to Blue Ridge, Ga., around 9 or 10, in time for breakfast at the LL Beanery.

And then it is on to the Nantahala Gorge and a late lunch at the River’s End, a restaurant on the river offering a wide variety of options.  But usually we each get a house salad and share a small pizza.

Overnight trips don’t allow for many options.

We spent the night in a motel in Cherokee (supper of ham sandwiches, cheese and Coke in the room), taking a brief jaunt up into the mountains to see if anyone was in the Smokemont campground.

The Park Service had closed off most of the area, but there were still 12 to 15 sites occupied, a lot of them by tenters. And then it began to rain.

Driving between Murphy, NC and the gorge, there is a long stretch of flat land flanked by mountains. The four-lane highway goes for, maybe, eight or ten miles.

There is a river that meanders through the area - the Valley River.

Thus, my name for the land that we traversed is Happy Valley.

I enjoy that stretch of  land, and my wife does too, since just outside Andrews, NC, there is a nice welcome center nestled alongside a small creek that offers nice restrooms.

It is a beautiful setting.

That was such a short trip, but enjoyable. This week we managed to make reservations for late September for the Elkmont campground just outside of Gatlinburg.

There may even be another trip or two into the mountains before the year is over.

Next post: April 5, 2016

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