After our stay in Maryland, our next destination was Bluff City, Tennessee. A relatively small campground located about 10 minutes from Bristol Motor Speedway for you NASCAR fans. Since our stay was early January and COMPLETELY off season, we got to use our Passport America discount and stay for 50% off. This time of year there aren’t many activities open, but we were only looking for a 2 day stay to rest and recoup from the long drive from Maryland.
We arrived after hours at Lakeview RV Park 4550 Highway 11 E Bluff City, Tennessee 37618 . The owners put our paperwork taped to the door handle of the office. We had a SUPER easy pull through site again, and as you can imagine setup was quick and effortless. On the paperwork we received from the office, there was a note saying… DISCONNECT WATER SUPPLY LINE AT NIGHT FREEZING TEMPERATURES. How cold can it really be… lol Lets just say I didn’t.
We whipped up some sweet potato fry “nachos” for dinner and after a little reading, it was time for bed. Cole was still wearing off his “surgery” anxiety and snoozed pretty much all day. The temps were fairly low this night and in an effort to save some propane we maximized the electric fireplace in the RV and added the electric heater for the girls’ room. Running on 50amp circuit gave us nothing to worry about.
The next morning I woke up to Jen saying…”Um Jere, there is no water.” What do you know, the water hose froze. Luckily for us we have 2 25 ft hoses so I just replaced the frozen stiff hose with a new one and we were good to go. But I think I need to look into a real solution for the cold weather locations we are still to face.
For an adventure we chose to visit one of the less expensive caverns near us. While passing signs all through Tennessee advertising the “best Cavern Experience in Tennessee” we kept saying, How do they know it is the best? We also know our girls, and know the girls really wouldn’t care if it wasn’t the most popular one.
Jen did some researching on the phone prior to this cavern day and we found this particular one. It was located only 15 minutes from our camp location. The Appalachian Caverns seemed fine enough online and for half the price of most of the other caverns we decided to try it. I think it ended up costing us $12 each per adult and $7 each for the kids.
We arrived at the front desk of the caverns and we were most likely their only customer for the day. The owner gladly got us situated for the underground hike, then turned the sign on the door to closed (it is a one man operation on this day) and we were off.
For much of the hour long tour the girls were mildly impressed, but for a few instances they thought it was pretty amazing. The tour guide was extremely knowledgable and seemed to be a real genuine nice person.
The girls had the most fun when they were in charge of the flashlights and were able to go up ahead first.
Unfortunately there wasn’t any actual moonshine available for us. 🙁
There were quite a few bats hanging from the ceilings which the tour guide pointed out to the girls. The bats really peaked their curiosity I think.
At the end of the tour we were encouraged to look around the store and see if there would be any souvenirs we should purchase. The great thing about being in an RV is there isn’t any room for anything more in it, so it is SO easy to say no to things like this. There were a few dead bats at the counter and the guy demonstrated to the girls how their claws can grip onto things like the ridges of your fingerprints. That was kinda cool.
All in all the caverns were awesome, and a great starter “adventure” for the girls during our trip. As much as we want to bee-line it to the south, we don’t want them thinking all we are doing is driving all the time. Jen and I both just loved the way this guy’s white truck sits on the ridge of his house while his horse grazes all day.
Hands down the most popular thing the girls ask to do at EVERY campground is hit the playground. Even though it was 40 degrees out the girls could NOT stay away.
Jen even takes advantage of the time to get in a little workout. (Yeah she’s pretty awesome) While we were out earlier in the day I looked into heated hoses and unfortunately they are like $200-$350 from the camping stores. I figured I would just make my own if I could find a Home Depot. I knew I needed to do something because the first frozen hose from the night before didn’t even thaw throughout the whole day. If we froze the second hose, we don’t have anything but our fresh water tank. So for $45 I bought a 30ft pipe hose freeze protection cord and some foam pipe insulation. Keeping the solution temporary, I coiled the wire around the fresh water hose and popped the insulation foam around it. I deliberately didn’t tape it or make it more permanent because I knew I wouldn’t need it insulated in our future travels. I even wrapped the excess wire around the ground spigot. Last step was to keep the hose off the ground and take up the slack inside the RV storage space.
The final outcome… it worked perfectly in the 27 degree night and the 25 degree night to follow. First thing after breakfast Leighton pulled out her journal to write about the Caverns, but she opted to take it outside to fill it out. She wiped a spot clean off the frost covered picnic table and away she wrote. This second day was uneventful. We went grocery shopping at the closest thing we could find to a Whole Foods, and I worked the rest of the day. Below the girls are skinning Garbanzo beans in preparation for them to be made into hummus for the next day’s easy lunch on the road. Good night Tennessee, we will see you on the way back. Below is a 15 minute exposure shot of our RV.