Leaving for Tennessee

Yep, on Monday Sam and I head to Tennessee, home of the Great Smoky Mountains, and it’s safe to say we’re both terribly excited. (Well, I definitely am, and if I jump around enough, shouting “Want to hit the road, Sam?”, he wags his dollop of a tail and starts jumping, too. Which I take as a yes.)

American highway

I plan to visit 13 national parks (that includes a few on the road there and back), as well as Memphis, Nashville, and Chattanooga and, of course, Graceland and Dollywood. I also plan to eat more BBQ than you can shake a clogged artery at.

I’ll post here and on Facebook along the way, and if you haven’t already, make sure to sign up for the email list (upper right corner), so you don’t miss out on subscriber-only giveaways and special offers.

When we get home, I’ll get to work writing up all our adventures for the first ever Gone Scamping book, so you can get the whole story in one tidy package. Wet-naps not included.

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  1. Who knew there were 13 national parks between Taos and Tennessee? Have a fantastic time, take lots of pictures, and give Sam a hug from me.

    • Beth,

      I know! (I’ll sneak in a few that straddle Tennessee and other states.) It’s going to be a blast – pictures and hugs on the way.


  2. Roadtrip!!!

    Are you taking Sadie?
    Kim recently posted..Southwest Trip Wrap-Up

    • Kim,

      Absolutely! I should put at least 3,000 miles on her. This is my first Scampabout with no solid return date – I think that’s how you travel, yes?


      • Yes. And we share the same M.O. National Park sites.

        I’ll be going through TN on the way to the Badlands late this spring but only plan to visit Ft. Donelson National Battlefield. (Battlefields and forts are not my favorite NP sites but I always learn something to make the visit worthwhile). My trip total will be something like 15 sites.

        Have you been to the Smokies before? A great destination. Because of the season, you’ll miss all the foliage, the dogwood blooms etc …. BUT … you’ll be able to see vast distances up there. That’s a good trade-off, IMO. But best of all, you’ll miss the crowds.

        I’m so excited for you and can’t wait to hear about your adventures!
        Kim recently posted..Southwest Trip Wrap-Up

        • Kim,

          I’m with you on the military sites – not my favorite, but always educational. I love the Badlands, but then I do love desolate places.

          I haven’t been to the Smokeys, or any of the parks I’ll see on this trip. Can’t wait to hit the road, and am glad you’re following along!


  3. rob toscano says:

    Bee yourself in the moment, share, and remember somewhere along this journey, there will be a people that needs your assistance, be there for them.

    Its just a premonition I have, I’ll look for the gold myself. I have to read the Fenn book first for all the clues.

    • Yer not really traveling until it’s open-ended! So excited for you and may the weather Goddess be with you. xoxo

    • Rob,

      I’m happy to help if I can. And if you do find the gold, I’d humbly suggest investing in your very own Scamp. They’re not expensive – you’d have lots of gold left over.


  4. Hi, Deonne,

    I will be headed toward Smoky Mountain N.P myself soon….I have a date with Mt. LeConte in May. I will be eager to hear about the campgrounds you find. I am particularly interested in hearing about what kind of connectivity you encounter, if you will please share your findings along the way.

    I am looking forward to following along as I prepare for my own departure soon!

    Suzanne recently posted..“True Texas” — You Know it When You Taste it.

    • Suzanne,

      Nice! I’ll definitely report out on campgrounds. Do you have Wi-Fi in your RV? I don’t – I rely on my iPhone for email/web access, and do all my posting at Starbucks or wherever there’s free Wi-Fi.


      • Yes, since I am working, I have a no-contract MiFi plan on Verizon through Millenicom, and a back-up with the iphone thru AT&T. I have never been able to get any kind of cell signal in or near the park on trips past, though I haven’t been in to the park in a couple of years. I am looking forward to trying some of your BBQ reviews! If you like fried shrimp, I hear “Nikki’s Drive Inn” is a must for Chattanooga.

        Suzanne recently posted..“True Texas” — You Know it When You Taste it.

        • I’ll see how it is now. Honestly, I’m always glad to spend way less time on the computer on the road than when I’m at home.

  5. Make sure you get to Cades Cove. A great campground with lots of animals to see early in the morning and late, before sunset, at night. Should not be too crowded now. The pass across the mountains from our area is closed but you should be ok. There will still be snow and ice at the higher elevations so be sure to take some layers to wear. Have fun, can’t wait to see the results as you are doing what I have always dreamed of doing.

  6. Gwen,

    Thanks for the recommendation! I’d never heard of Cades Cove, and now it’s on the list. Glad you’re following along.


    • They close Cades Cove (a loop) to vehicular traffic on Sunday mornings for the bike riders. This is a fun loop to do on a bike, if Sadie has a bike rack…
      Suzanne recently posted..“True Texas” — You Know it When You Taste it.

      • Suzanne,

        I don’t bring a bike – with Sam it’s not as much fun to ride around – but maybe I will later on.

        I forgot to thank you for the recommendation on Nikki’s, which looks delicious, and to say that I loved your recent blog post. I have a real affection for Texas. (Most of it, at least. Ha.)


  7. Deborah Dash says:

    Okay, I know the National Parks are your aim. But DO NOT MISS GRACELAND if you haven’t already been there.

    • Deborah,

      Absolutely not! Like I said in the post, I’m visiting both Graceland and Dollywood, plus probably the Jack Daniel’s distillery and a bunch of other fun, non-national-park, attractions. Yay!


  8. kathy barron says:

    YEEEEHAAAAAAW!!!! Say hi to Dolly for me!

  9. Deonne, how exciting. Sam, help her find some quirk for us. :)
    Safe travel!
    B0B recently posted..This isn’t sprocket science

  10. Sounds wonderful, Deonne! Can’t wait to hear it about in the first-ever Gone Scamping book.

    Sorry to hear I’ll miss you, now that we’re finally in NM. But hopefully by the time you’re back I’ll be settled in a new place and then we can go in search of coffee.

    ~ Milli
    Millivers Travels recently posted..London Calling . . .

    • Milli,

      Thanks! Yes, when I get back let’s make a coffee date. So glad you’re back in New Mexico.


  11. Umm, so, you know there are sasquatch in that area, right? Hope you see one or two. Your trip sounds like a blast! There is a national park in MN so i can’t wait for the time you decide to head north.
    Manisha recently posted..60 – hello March

    • Manisha,

      Wait, what? Sasquatch? I did not know that, but thanks to you I’ll be extra alert for sightings.

      What’s Minnesota like in June? I was just talking to someone else about how great a state it is (I have family and friends in Minneapolis and love it), so maybe I should head there this summer.


      • Mark Geelan says:

        Cant wait to follow along as you are taking a similar path that we will be in August! We cant wait and will need some campground/food/sight reviews along the way! Take care and drive safe!

        • Mark,

          Glad to pave the way for you and your clan! I’ve been boondocking so far, but when I get to Tennessee I’ll stay in campsites and will let you know how they are. Thanks for commenting!


  12. Deborah Dash says:

    Graceland is awesome.

  13. Deborah Dash says:

    Oh, and be advised: There are something like a dozen gift shops on the grounds – and they all have different merchandise in them.

    • Deborah,

      I’ll hit Graceland this weekend – yay! It sounds like I have to allot plenty of time for souvenir shopping, so thanks for the tip.


  14. Been thinking of you—hope you’re having a great trip! Can’t wait to hear all about it!
    Jacqueline recently posted..MY BIGGEST DREAM!

    • Jacqueline,

      Thanks! The trip has been great. Next up is a few more national parks, then Nashville. I haven’t had nearly enough BBQ!


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