2020.06.27 Knoxville to Tulsa

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We made it Knoxville last night after leaving Dollywood.  Let’s be honest, in-room showers and air conditioning felt pretty good last night.

We pulled out of Knoxville at 8:30 and had our eyes set on Nashville for breakfast.  Mallory suggested a new restaurant that had just opened called Ladybird Taco.  

We found the place easily enough and parked a block away.  There were customers eating at tables on the sidewalk and others standing around waiting on their food.  The dining room was closed, so all food was sold as take-out.  We got our breakfast tacos and sat down in the shade in front of an elementary school that was next door.

Waiting for breakfast at Ladybird Taco in Nashville

The temperature was very pleasant, and we watched so many people going for runs, walks, or walking their dogs on the street in front of us.

Our Lunch Spot
Lunchtime View

As most trips when getting home, we mainly had the foot on the gas pedal and minimized stops.  But we did stop briefly at the Bass Pro Shops Pyramid in Memphis.  We had never been there as a family.  Mallory, who is probably the most logical of us, did not get out of the car, and said, “I’m not going into that virus cesspool”. 

Stephanie, Marissa and I only stayed inside a few minutes.  Just enough for a view. Their observation deck near the top of the pyramid was closed to visitors, so it didn’t take long to get a feel for the place.

Pyramid in Memphis at the Mississippi River
Pyramid interior

This place was neat enough, and in another situation and another time, I wouldn’t mind checking it out again.  It has shopping (of course), restaurants, and a hotel.

We did not stop for dinner on the drive home.  We were able to survive on the snacks we had packed in the car.  Arrived home at 8:30, after driving a total of 2,013 miles on the trip.

Final Trip Thoughts:

Stephanie’s favorite thing about Tennessee (at least at the Smoky Mountains) is no mosquitos.

Mallory got lasik eye surgery last summer and told us there was no way she would have been able to do the rain-filled Charlies Bunion hike without it.  Glad to hear that is paying dividends.

During our hike to Charlies Bunion, we were passed by a young lady hiker who was carrying one of those enormous backpacks, and using her two walking sticks.  She was obviously serious about this, not just a day hiker like us.  We asked her how far she was going and she said she planned to make it to Tri-Corner.  We just nodded like we knew what she was talking about.  Learned later that this is an overnight shelter about 15 miles from where we saw her.

Also during our Charlies Bunion hike, we met a hiker who said he had seen a bear up the trail, but we never crossed paths with one, thankfully.

We would like to come back at a time when the Visitors Centers are fully open.  The theatres and exhibits at the Visitors Centers were closed due to the pandemic, and we normally learn quite a bit by exploring those areas.

It would be nice to camp inside the park. Only a few of the campgrounds were open during our stay, so we had to stay outside the park.  Would definitely cut down on travel time each day.

We never got a chance to ask a Park Ranger why the Great Smoky Mountain National Park does not charge an entrance fee.  We don’t understand that.

The Great Smoky Mountain National Park has 11 species of fireflies.  One of the species is the Synchronous Firefly.  For about a two week period (which we missed), they synchronize their flashing light patterns.  This is a pretty good spectacle from what we gathered, and would be fun to see another time.

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