August 30, 2016

img_0219This is the last leg of my initial first expedition around the United States.  I had to head back to Florida for medical reasons and needed to be there by the first week of September. So the trip from Michigan to Florida was not as action packed.  I did however have a few stops in mind that were a must see for me.  In the last post I went caving and zip lining in Kentucky.  I ended the last post as I spent the evening watching the sky for bad weather in northern Tennessee.

The next morning I began driving south towards Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg Tennessee.  My plan was to get into Smokey Mountain National Park and spend the night.  Unfortunately things did not go as planned.

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Little Pigeon River – Gatlinburg Tennessee

Because I took my time and made a million cool stops along the way, I pulled into Gatlinburg well past dark.  I was immediately having a hard time finding a spot to park for the night.  I found an empty parking lot and parked in the far corner way out-of-the-way.  Not even 40 minutes had passed before I was greeted by a unfreindly tow truck driver, seemingly unsure how to go about towing both my truck and my Airstream.  img_0305I searched the back streets of Gatlinburg looking for a place to park.  For those of you familiar with the area, I wouldn’t suggest bombing around town with an Airstream attached to your truck.  The small mountain town is definitely a great place to get stuck due to narrow turns, dead-end roads and height issues.  I was lucky enough to be able to back down a long street and get turned around so I didn’t have to call for help.  No luck on the parking though, so I left town before midnight and drove to Chattanooga Tennessee.

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When I arrived in Chattanooga I knew I wasn’t going to find a place to park and that I wanted to check out Lookout Mountain the following day. Instead of wasting time driving around at 3am I just drove straight up the mountain.  I parked on a small street and crawled into the Airstream to pass out.  Despite being completely exhausted the night before, I was up exploring as the sun came up.

Exploring Lookout Mountain was an incredible experiance.  I wanted to see so much more of the battlefield areas but had run out of time.  I had to be back in Florida by a certain day so I was somewhat rushed.

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Stuck in some sweet traffic in downtown Atlanta
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As I pulled into St. Petersburg Florida the weather reminded me it was still summertime

 

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I shaved my face before the expedition.  That was 2 months ago.  Now the 1st expedition has ended and its time to start over! I hit up the Shave Cave in St. Petersburg; best shave of my life.

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END OF JOURNEY TOTALS:

A few stats from my amazing expedition!!

Miles Traveled :    11,704 miles

Money Spent:     Just over 3,000 $

National Parks Visited:     13

Oil Changes:      2

New Friends made:     Too many to list

Overall feelings after completing the first journey around the country:      Beyond Blessed and Happy 

I want to say a special Thank You to everyone that has been following along and checking in with me on this amazing journey.  I have had an absolute blast writing this blog and posting pictures and checking in with all of you.  My life was forever changed prior to starting this expedition  (check out the About Me Section for those of you joining late in the game.)  I cannot explain how amazing it was to drive around our amazing country and see everything and accomplish so many firsts.  I had no idea that my life would be so impacted by this trip and I encourage everyone out there to get off the couch and travel.  You don’t have to go as crazy or far as I did, but I guarantee you haven’t seen everything there is to see around you.  Get out.  Live your life.  Never Stop Exploring!!!  

Next up……  Flying to Chicago!  Oh you thought I was done traveling????

 

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