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  1. #1
    Registered User Plateauplower's Avatar
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    Help me plan summer trip to mountains

    The kids want to take a trip this summer to see mountains. This will be our first real road trip that is more than a few hours in the car. Given that, from Chicago, probably looking at the Smokey’s. Saw some decent looking air B&B cabins in Tennessee mountains, I guess somewhat close to pigeon forge (12 hrs or so by car).

    What else is there to do around there other than hike? My last cabin in the mountains trip was at about 11,000 feet in an old 1800s mining cabin in CO, with no electricity or running water. That was just my wife (girlfriend at the time) lab and I. Pretty much hiked, drank, drove around and shot guns (not necessarily in that order). Will need to find some adult with kids type stuff to do in Tennessee. No desire for any urban city type stuff since I can do that in Chicago.
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    Originally Posted by Plateauplower View Post
    The kids want to take a trip this summer to see mountains. This will be our first real road trip that is more than a few hours in the car. Given that, from Chicago, probably looking at the Smokey’s. Saw some decent looking air B&B cabins in Tennessee mountains, I guess somewhat close to pigeon forge (12 hrs or so by car).

    What else is there to do around there other than hike? My last cabin in the mountains trip was at about 11,000 feet in an old 1800s mining cabin in CO, with no electricity or running water. That was just my wife (girlfriend at the time) lab and I. Pretty much hiked, drank, drove around and shot guns (not necessarily in that order). Will need to find some adult with kids type stuff to do in Tennessee. No desire for any urban city type stuff since I can do that in Chicago.
    There is a boatload of great family stuff in and around Pigeon Forge. Lots of cabins and B&B type places on any of the hundreds of lakes anywhere in East Tenn or Western, NC. If you call now you can probably still rent a boat.

    The Nantahalla River and others offer great rafting.

    The Cherokee Indian Reservation is a great stop.

    The Tennessee Valley Authority operates Hydroelectric dams along the Tennessee and Ky Rivers that are a cooler visit that you might think.
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  3. #3
    Registered User Plateauplower's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by eomrat View Post
    There is a boatload of great family stuff in and around Pigeon Forge. Lots of cabins and B&B type places on any of the hundreds of lakes anywhere in East Tenn or Western, NC. If you call now you can probably still rent a boat.

    The Nantahalla River and others offer great rafting.

    The Cherokee Indian Reservation is a great stop.

    The Tennessee Valley Authority operates Hydroelectric dams along the Tennessee and Ky Rivers that are a cooler visit that you might think.
    Rafting would be a great day trip. Probably going to stay in the area 3-4 days. Part of the plan will be driving back and exploring some places in Indiana. Found some areas with reasonably priced acreage with woods and creeks about 2-3 hrs from here. Kind of feel like I should take the opportunity while interest rates are cheap and buy 40-60 acres for later (diversify a little) probably put up a post frame bldg for a hunting camp.
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    Mountains? Yawn.

    Dude! How cool would it be to pack up the powerwagon and take the wife and kids to a Zombie Killing theme park?!?!

    Yeah, themes man... like western zombies, space zombies, errr.....sexy zombies, you name it!

    We should totally build that business and franchise that chit. Dude, all we need are the zombies. It's funny; they're never around when you need them!!!

    Anyways, give it some thought.
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    Registered User Plateauplower's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by ChazWood View Post
    Mountains? Yawn.

    Dude! How cool would it be to pack up the powerwagon and take the wife and kids to a Zombie Killing theme park?!?!

    Yeah, themes man... like western zombies, space zombies, errr.....sexy zombies, you name it!

    We should totally build that business and franchise that chit. Dude, all we need are the zombies. It's funny; they're never around when you need them!!!

    Anyways, give it some thought.
    Someone should totally do that! It could have rides and overpriced souvenir shops. It would be good to have some regular memorable characters. Like maybe a mouse, named Mackey or something. Could start out with cartoons for the characters and eventually build a production company. That sounds like a business just might work.


    I think deadwood Gregg lives out that way iirc (TN)
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    Knotty by Nature ChazWood's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Plateauplower View Post
    Someone should totally do that! It could have rides and overpriced souvenir shops. It would be good to have some regular memorable characters. Like maybe a mouse, named Mackey or something. Could start out with cartoons for the characters and eventually build a production company. That sounds like a business just might work.


    I think deadwood Gregg lives out that way iirc (TN)
    Dude, so you're in????

    We're going to be so rich! Speaking of which; we'll need ID for his cash. Oh, and brainz.
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    Registered User Plateauplower's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by ChazWood View Post
    Dude, so you're in????

    We're going to be so rich! Speaking of which; we'll need ID for his cash. Oh, and brainz.
    You came up with it though, so we will name it after you. “ChazWood World” is you first name Walter by chance?
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    Originally Posted by Plateauplower View Post
    You came up with it though, so we will name it after you. “ChazWood World” is you first name Walter by chance?
    haha! Walter; no.

    what aboot ChazzyWorld or WoodWorld???

    and I don't mean to be a downer already, but I'm not having any luck finding zombies on Amazon, eBay, Costco, or Etsy. Dude, even Alibaba was a bust.

    This could setback our big launch party.
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    If you’re going to Pigeon Forge with kids then Dollywood is an obvious choice.


    https://www.dollywood.com/waterpark


    https://www.dollywood.com/themepark






    Other than that maybe find a rafting or fishing trip to go on so you can take in more of the natural world in the area.
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    Registered User Plateauplower's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by jtaylor2010 View Post
    If you’re going to Pigeon Forge with kids then Dollywood is an obvious choice.


    https://www.dollywood.com/waterpark


    https://www.dollywood.com/themepark


    Other than that maybe find a rafting or fishing trip to go on so you can take in more of the natural world in the area.
    I think rafting will be a plan. Not doing any theme park type stuff. Our last two trips were water parks so going to try this one more nature. We will be fishing / boating a lot this summer. Indian res sounds cool the kids would like that too.
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    Registered User Plateauplower's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by ChazWood View Post
    haha! Walter; no.

    what aboot ChazzyWorld or WoodWorld???

    and I don't mean to be a downer already, but I'm not having any luck finding zombies on Amazon, eBay, Costco, or Etsy. Dude, even Alibaba was a bust.

    This could setback our big launch party.
    Woodworld sounds more pron than zombie killin. We will get zombies, don’t worry about that. We just need the MSM on our side . If we get that, we will have people lining up for zombification. We will need to outsource a good witch-doctor and I think there are some jungle plants involved that we will need large quantities of. We will plant a few trees somewhere else to be green and say we are “carbon neutral” to help our branding goals.

    I think this is really coming together.
    Last edited by Plateauplower; 04-11-2021 at 06:17 PM.
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    You will want to make the Pigeon Forge area as your base point. Lots of cabins and resorts for your lodging. Hotels/motels and restaurants everywhere. PF is similar to Branson, Missouri and probably a lot like the Dells that you visited last year. Very family oriented area. Lots of ziplines, horseback riding, shopping, helicopter rides, go-karts, caverns, mini golf, fishing, rafting, and other family tourist stuff. You could actually spend an entire week there and your wife and kids will be entertained.

    Go to Dollywood for a least a day. I know that it sounds hokey, but it really is a good amusement park. Prepare to get wet. Dollywood also has a nice water park.

    Gatlinburg is about a 15 minute drive away. You can spend a day or two there. Ripley's has a nice medium size aquarium there.

    Definitely, go to Cade's Cove. It is a 21 mile drive from Gatlinburg through the mountains along a river that you can tube float. Once you get there, you make an 11 mile loop around one of the prettiest valleys on earth. Pretty good chance that you will see black bears with cubs and other wildlife. You can bring bikes to ride the loop or just drive in your vehicle. I would take food and have a picnic/cookout. There are camping/picnic areas and plenty of hiking in Cade's Cove.

    You can also leave Gatlinburg and drive the Great Smokey Mountains National Park. As you top the mountain pass you can go out to Clingman's Dome which is the 2nd highest peak east of the Rockies (6,600ish feet). At the end of the park on the other side of the mountains is Cherokee Indian reservation. You might see some elk near the SMNP visitors center grounds before you reach Cherokee.

    Knoxville is maybe 30 miles away. They have a decent Zoo.

    Asheville is about 80 miles away if you would like to visit the Biltmore House & Gardens. You can take bikes onto the grounds at Biltmore. They also have a winery there if your wife likes drinking on vacation.

    Chattanooga is about 120 miles away. They have an excellent freshwater aquarium and an excellent saltwater aquarium. (highly recommended) There is other family oriented tourist stuff to do in Chattanooga.

    Sweetwater is on the way to Chattanooga. There are some caverns there with an underground lake. Take a boat out and they light up the lake. Interesting and kids will like it.

    I am sure that I can come up with plenty more kids activity recommendations before your trip. You won't have any problems finding interest things to do. Just Google the Smokey Mountains area for things to do.
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    Originally Posted by deadwoodgregg View Post
    You will want to make the Pigeon Forge area as your base point. Lots of cabins and resorts for your lodging. Hotels/motels and restaurants everywhere. PF is similar to Branson, Missouri and probably a lot like the Dells that you visited last year. Very family oriented area. Lots of ziplines, horseback riding, shopping, helicopter rides, go-karts, caverns, mini golf, fishing, rafting, and other family tourist stuff. You could actually spend an entire week there and your wife and kids will be entertained.

    Go to Dollywood for a least a day. I know that it sounds hokey, but it really is a good amusement park. Prepare to get wet. Dollywood also has a nice water park.

    Gatlinburg is about a 15 minute drive away. You can spend a day or two there. Ripley's has a nice medium size aquarium there.

    Definitely, go to Cade's Cove. It is a 21 mile drive from Gatlinburg through the mountains along a river that you can tube float. Once you get there, you make an 11 mile loop around one of the prettiest valleys on earth. Pretty good chance that you will see black bears with cubs and other wildlife. You can bring bikes to ride the loop or just drive in your vehicle. I would take food and have a picnic/cookout. There are camping/picnic areas and plenty of hiking in Cade's Cove.

    You can also leave Gatlinburg and drive the Great Smokey Mountains National Park. As you top the mountain pass you can go out to Clingman's Dome which is the 2nd highest peak east of the Rockies (6,600ish feet). At the end of the park on the other side of the mountains is Cherokee Indian reservation. You might see some elk near the SMNP visitors center grounds before you reach Cherokee.

    Knoxville is maybe 30 miles away. They have a decent Zoo.

    Asheville is about 80 miles away if you would like to visit the Biltmore House & Gardens. You can take bikes onto the grounds at Biltmore. They also have a winery there if your wife likes drinking on vacation.

    Chattanooga is about 120 miles away. They have an excellent freshwater aquarium and an excellent saltwater aquarium. (highly recommended) There is other family oriented tourist stuff to do in Chattanooga.

    Sweetwater is on the way to Chattanooga. There are some caverns there with an underground lake. Take a boat out and they light up the lake. Interesting and kids will like it.

    I am sure that I can come up with plenty more kids activity recommendations before your trip. You won't have any problems finding interest things to do. Just Google the Smokey Mountains area for things to do.
    Awesome, Appreciate it! I’ll check the stuff out. The underground lake sounds awesome. Lots to research. Maybe we’ll add a day or two to check out the more tourist type amusement stuff.
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    Originally Posted by deadwoodgregg View Post
    Sweetwater is on the way to Chattanooga. There are some caverns there with an underground lake. Take a boat out and they light up the lake. Interesting and kids will like it.
    .
    I would skip this. Its a tiny lake in a dark cavern only lit by artificial light. A crappy little jon boat takes you about 40 feet onto the "lake" then you go back.
    Everyone I took pretty much hated it.

    However, everything else Greg said is dead on.
    Last edited by eomrat; 04-11-2021 at 07:04 PM.
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    Originally Posted by Plateauplower View Post
    Woodworld sounds more pron than zombie killin. We will get zombies, don’t worry about that. We just need the MSM on our side . If we get that, we will have people lining up for zombification. We will need to outsource a good witch-doctor and I think there are some jungle plants involved that we will need large quantities of. We will plant a few trees somewhere else to be green and say we are “carbon neutral” to help our branding goals.

    I think this is really coming together.
    haha! Dude, I'm on it and wont bail on this like my last dozen or so crazy ideas. Speaking of which; luckily, crazy runs in the family so I'll put the word out within the clan that we're in need of a witch doctor with living references.

    And I'll start looking into the jungle plants and head to Home Depot in the morning for gardening supplies and buckets for the potions!

    We should probably setup an online QuickBooks account so the bookkeeping doesn't get away from us. That's the death of most small business, I'm told.
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    If you rent a cabin and want to see "wildlife," I strongly recommend pouring your bacon grease after breakfast around the cabin

    We went 20 years ago to Gatlinburg and was awoken by a raccoon digging in the area where we discarded our bacon grease. The next year, we take my mom and hear another disturbance outside in the middle of the night. I wake my mother and say "There's a noise outside. Probably a raccoon. Do you want to check it out with us?" She agrees and my wife, 4 year old daughter, mom, and I convene at the door that's made completely out of glass except for a wood frame about 3.5" wide around the perimeter. To our surprise, it's not a raccoon . . . it's a BEAR! He stands on his hind feet and his claws that I recall being nearly as long as my little finger touch the glass door AND HIS BREATH FOGS IT UP. With this:

    Me: Mom, did you bring your gun?
    Mom: Yes
    Me: Where is it?
    Mom: In the car.
    Me: Go get it (totally joking of course)
    4-year old daughter: DON'T GO MAMAW!!!

    This is one of my fondest memories of any family vacation that we've ever taken.
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    Originally Posted by Plateauplower View Post
    guess somewhat close to pigeon forge (12 hrs or so by car).
    You're braver than me, bro. I took my family out to Keystone, SD back in 2014 (9 hour drive) and it damn near killed. Car rides/driving are not my thing though.
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    Thanks for the tips all. Should have plenty to work with from the advise above!

    Originally Posted by ajdahlheimer View Post
    You're braver than me, bro. I took my family out to Keystone, SD back in 2014 (9 hour drive) and it damn near killed. Car rides/driving are not my thing though.
    LOL yeah I'm not sure how well the kids are going to do in the car for 12 hours. Pretty sure my son could play Link or Minecraft on the Nintendo switch for 12hrs w/out food, water or bathroom breaks without noticing . My daughter will likely get pretty restless. Maybe I'll buy another switch before we go. Sedate the wife with a gummy and I'd be GTG, I don't mind driving. I've driven to FL, Utah, SD straight through, just never with kids.
    Last edited by Plateauplower; 04-12-2021 at 07:13 AM.
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    If you are after outdoor time with the family, you could spend a month in the GSM National Park.If you visit there, do not miss Clingmans Dome.

    https://www.nps.gov/grsm/planyourvis...ngmansdome.htm
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    ☻/
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    Originally Posted by eomrat View Post
    If you are after outdoor time with the family, you could spend a month in the GSM National Park.If you visit there, do not miss Clingmans Dome.

    https://www.nps.gov/grsm/planyourvis...ngmansdome.htm
    I'll be sure to cehck it out. The driving loop Deadwood gregg posted with some hiking, along with a day trip rafting and Indian Res, (I'll work Clingmans dome in on one of those days) and a day or two doing typical tourist stuff should fill out the week. Not sure how long we are staying. Planning to go late June and the final stop on the way home will be my parents house for 4th of July (annual tradition).

    Originally Posted by Jtbny View Post
    I'd love to see the East and Adirondacks, upstate NY is supposed to be awesome but not traveling anywhere I can't legally be armed. Just the principal of it. I try to avoid spending money places that are anti 2A including IL, NY, CA etc. I obviously live in IL, but I try to minimize spending money here where I can (small house with "low" $6k year taxes) and plan to GTFO soon as I retire.

    Meet me in the Smokey's
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    Originally Posted by Plateauplower View Post



    I'd love to see the East and Adirondacks, upstate NY is supposed to be awesome but not traveling anywhere I can't legally be armed. Just the principal of it. I try to avoid spending money places that are anti 2A including IL, NY, CA etc. I obviously live in IL, but I try to minimize spending money here where I can (small house with "low" $6k year taxes) and plan to GTFO soon as I retire.

    Meet me in the Smokey's
    Weird flex lol. Some pretty great places out this way - Lake George, tons of hiking, mountains, ect. I'll let you borrow a shotgun if you'd like
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    Originally Posted by Jtbny View Post
    Weird flex lol. Some pretty great places out this way - Lake George, tons of hiking, mountains, ect. I'll let you borrow a shotgun if you'd like
    No flex, just don't want to end up in jail for CCW violation. Shotgun might be a burden hiking, but they do it in Alaska I guess (that would be illegal in NY too I'm guessing, since I couldn't even send you a toy gun from amazon."This item cannot be shipped to NY") I'd like to see Niagara Falls too, but will need to hire ID to fly us over in a chopper
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    Got it booked. Cabin that’s on a dead end in the woods but pretty much in Pigeon Forge. Looks like we are 20 minutes from Smokey mountains national park. Originally wanted to stay in a more secluded location but this looks like a perfect mix of seclusion but still easy access to do fun stuff or go out for meals but can take a short drive to be in more remote areas. Finally have something to look forward to. Place we found is usually booked, lots of repeat customer reviews. Only got 3 nights (all that was available) but that should be enough for one spot. We can hit a hotel for an extra night if needed. Thanks for the tips. It makes it a lot easier to google this $hit with some decent leads.
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    That region is the hiking mecca - Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Grayson Highlands, Roan Mountain, Mt Mitchell, Linville Gorge, Grandfather Mountain, etc. all within a couple hours. Lots of great live music in the Asheville area also, NFI what's open these days. If you end up near Kingsport, TN check out Little Panda Restaurant. Little mom and pop place run by a nice couple. The wife makes the stir fry fresh.
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    Originally Posted by Duplicitous View Post
    That region is the hiking mecca - Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Grayson Highlands, Roan Mountain, Mt Mitchell, Linville Gorge, Grandfather Mountain, etc. all within a couple hours. Lots of great live music in the Asheville area also, NFI what's open these days. If you end up near Kingsport, TN check out Little Panda Restaurant. Little mom and pop place run by a nice couple. The wife makes the stir fry fresh.
    I visit Asheville 6 times a year. It is the last place I would tell someone to visit though, unless they were into high prices, fake hippies, and homeless people.
    As an alternative to Asheville, I would recommend any city or place that was not Asheville.
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    I've heard that Ashville is nice this time of year.
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    Originally Posted by eomrat View Post
    I visit Asheville 6 times a year. It is the last place I would tell someone to visit though, unless they were into high prices, fake hippies, and homeless people.
    As an alternative to Asheville, I would recommend any city or place that was not Asheville.
    I don't visit or even move somewhere for the people. I go for the hiking/backpacking and it's one of the best regions in the country for that. That said, it's all subjective. I lived right outside NYC for 20 years and visited 200+ times per year. I hate everything about it. Millions of people disagree with me though.
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    Originally Posted by Plateauplower View Post
    buy 40-60 acres for later (diversify a little)
    I would think that the sooner you move on that the better. A new American migration is just beginning and it is from urban to rural.
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    Originally Posted by Duplicitous View Post
    I don't visit or even move somewhere for the people. I go for the hiking/backpacking and it's one of the best regions in the country for that.
    My comments were specific to Asheville.
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