Thursday, May 31, 2012

Great Smoky Mountain Train ride and ramblings

This week we got a new neighbor. A couple who travels for the Jelly Belly company. The company supplies the Motor Home, a car they tow and their clothing (while working). They are going to be in Dollywood  over Memorial Day with the Motor Home. They will be giving out samples of the new jelly beans with Snapple flavors. Jelly Belly and Snapple teamed up for some new flavors, very good. They have been doing this job for 3 years and thoroughly enjoy it. Very nice folks to talk with.  They travel to big events, parks, fairs, etc.

"Never judge a book by its cover", a wise old saying. Or for that matter an uprooted trees, look at the flip side..

     Now to the train ride on "Great Smoky Mountain Railroad". We drove about 50 miles to Bryson City NC for the train ride. The train ride is about four and a half hours. The train leaves from the depot in Bryson City to the Nantahala Gorge and back. The ride is about 44 miles through the Smoky mountains. It travels over the Tennessee and Nantahala rivers and Fontana Lake. On the way back there is a short layover at the Nantahala Outdoor Center. See
Photo's: Bob picking up tickets. The open air cars, and the coach cars. We had  indoor coach seating.   When we made the reservations  they suggested the indoor cars as there was the possibly of rain and cool weather. It was neither, it was sunny and warm.If we would do the ride again, we would choose the open air cars and take our chances. 
      At the turn around point the conductor annouces  to switch sides, so you can see what was on the other side on your return trip. This was nice and very fair. We sat with a grandfather and his granddaughter. He had a very heavy accent. In our conversations with them we found out they were from Denmark. He came to the US in 1963 to work at the Oak Ridge Project as a scientists. He is also an amateur Botanist. He told us about the many different trees along our route. His granddaughter was here to visit him and other family members. It was great fun talking with them.

    Now that is a house boat. They look like small houses on floats. Nothing at all like the one we rented several years ago, or seen for rent at many big lakes. They are on Fontana Lake. There were many along the shore that we could see from the train. You can see Fontana Lake from the area of Kingmens Dome in Smoky MT Nat PK.
Scenes from the train. Note in the bottom right photo how the "kudzu vine" is taking over. It is called the vine that sollowed  the south. Do a Google search and see how this plant is talking over and causing many problems.

 This is the area were many kayakers train for the Olympics. It was also our layover stop.

More scenes from the train. We  had some bluegrass music along the way.
At the train depot there is a super Toy Train Museum. They claim to have the largest Lionel collection. We could tour it as part of our train ride package. There is a great 24 X 45 foot operating train layout with over 400 cars and many buildings. There were several Lehigh Valley cars, our home area, in the museum.

The town of Bryson City. Some old buildings. The last picture on the bottom right is the train depot.

The shortest route from our RV park is through Smoky MT Nat PK. This construcktion is new since our last trip thru here. We had a 10 minute delay both ways. They are repaving some parts of the only road through the park. They were still working about 7 PM when we returned.

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