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Old 07-06-2005, 01:48 PM   #1
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This coming week, I hope to pop "over the hill" to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

This will be the first time my wife has been there, although she has been wearing a Cades Cove shirt for years (of course she occassionally washes it) .

We will be leaving from the Atlanta area. I have forgotten how long a drive lays ahead. Pat isn't too comfortable with long drives. She received a DVD player for Christmas so's she can watch movies while I drive.

Can someone tell me how long it takes to drive from Atlanta to Franklin, NC, Cherokee, NC as well as Smokmont and Elkmont in the park?

Thanks
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Old 07-06-2005, 01:48 PM   #2
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Join Date: May 2005
Location: Cobb County, GA
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This coming week, I hope to pop "over the hill" to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

This will be the first time my wife has been there, although she has been wearing a Cades Cove shirt for years (of course she occassionally washes it) .

We will be leaving from the Atlanta area. I have forgotten how long a drive lays ahead. Pat isn't too comfortable with long drives. She received a DVD player for Christmas so's she can watch movies while I drive.

Can someone tell me how long it takes to drive from Atlanta to Franklin, NC, Cherokee, NC as well as Smokmont and Elkmont in the park?

Thanks
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Old 07-07-2005, 09:08 AM   #3
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It takes us about 2 - 2 1/2 hours to drive down to Atlanta from Franklin (depending on where in Atlanta and the traffic once we get down there). Franklin to Cherokee takes about 30 min or so. Time to Smokemont/Elkmont depend on the tourists and whether or not you get someone terrified of the curves and the narrow roads, but it's not long. BTW, we are used to driving in the mountains so we may drive a bit faster than you.

TIP: Try not to have to buy any groceries while there. Cherokee has high prices and Bryson City isn't much better (tourists).
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Old 07-10-2005, 04:06 PM   #4
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On our way back from The Great Smoky's we may stay for two days in the Franklin area to do some "mining."

The Frankilin Chamber lists 15 or more private campgrounds. Could you recommend one?

Harry & Pat
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Old 07-12-2005, 01:26 PM   #5
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I've not had much experience with Franklin's campgrounds. When we stay in Franklin, we stay in my parent's cabin. I've been in the Rose Creek Campground (cousins stayed there) and the Cullasaja Campground (in-laws stayed there 2x & Old Corrumdum out the Highlands Road (Corrumdum had lots of overhanging branches). When we camp in the area, we head down just across the state line into GA. All the Franklin campgrounds are pretty much the same. Mi Mountain is supposed to be easy in-out (Right on 441 on N side of Franklin). I will say that I wouldn't stay at the Pines campground. A few years back, they were in the paper almost weekly because the water tested for Guardia Cysts.

Best places to eat are Wiley's (BBQ) above Wal-Mart on 441 By Pass and Happy Garden (Chinese) next to Bi-Lo (get off By Pass at 64/Highlabnds and head West). For Hamburgers we opt for Dairy Queen but the service is lousy.

For Gem Mining, wear old clothes/shoes. Best if they are clothes/shoes you can toss (recommend you visit a thrift store for throw away clothes/shoes) rather than wash. You will get very muddy and very wet. "Native" means stones native to area. Enriched means you are geting stones that are not from that particular mine. Then many of the mines will add ANY gem stones. I know that Mason's Mine (Out Hwy 28 to Airport Rd to Olive Hill Rd to Upper Burningtown Rd) is a "real" mine because we used to live right near it and filled part of our yard with the dirt from one of their blasting sessions (they hit a very good vein that was supposed to last a very long time). Mason's is the only mine I will recommend since I know for sure about them.
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Old 07-14-2005, 05:46 AM   #6
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Many thanks for your very valuable reply.

We are popping off tomorrow morning for a week in the smokies!

Harry
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Old 07-26-2005, 10:48 AM   #7
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Our eight night "popin' to Smoky Mtn. NP" turned out as one of the best trips we have taken in our Rockwood trailer! The estimated distance and travel times were pretty close, especially considering the road construction just above Tallulah Gorge on Hwy. 441. While driving in the Smoky's we saw numerous deer and two black bears!

Thanks to Lorna's suggestions, while in Franklin, we stayed at the Cullasaja River RV Park, which was like a taste of heaven after 5 nights in the NP's muggy conditions. This shady CG was alongside the river (about five miles East of the 441 & 64 junction), had a great cool breeze and spotless restrooms; bingo and/or movies in the rec room at anight. While mainly a longtimers (six months) CG there is space for short stays. We will be going back. Thanks again, Lorna.

As recommended, we enjoyed a Chinese buffet at the New Happy Garden restaurant.

Our mining adventure did not work out as planned because we went to the wrong Mason Mine. We still enjoyed our first experience digging and playing in the mud and water1 The next time we will go to Mason's Ruby & Sapphire Mine on Upper Burningtown Rd. where there is no "salting."

They may call them Ruy's, Sapphires, Quartz or Obsidian but they ALL look like stones to me! A cuple more trips and I might just become a little wiser.
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Old 07-27-2005, 07:43 AM   #8
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Glad you had fun. Too bad about the gem mining. BTW, check out the uncut stones in the gem museums to see what the uncut stones look like. A native ruby is a bit odd shaped, moonstones are little flat rectangles and look a bit like the plastic buttons on shirts (kinda streaky white). Most of the others will leap out at you once you get the mud washed off of them. As far as the long terms... many campgrounds take reservations for the following year for the summer folks. It's about the cheapest way to stay around here. A lot of the little summer rental cabins/cottages go for $500 - up a week.
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Old 08-13-2005, 11:58 AM   #9
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Last Tuesday we went to the monthly meeting of the Cobb County Gem & Mineral Society in hopes of learning more about mining. There were many old timers there who had a lot of experience and collections to show. It was an interesting start. We hope to join them on a field trip soon.

We also made reservations in October to join the Appalachian Campers at Timberlake CG in Whittier, NC. That'll put us near enough to Franklin to do some more diggin and playing in the mud. Maybe we ought to bring our own shovel and bucket.
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Old 08-15-2005, 09:56 AM   #10
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You might want to pick up a little identification book on gemstones to carry with you. As far as your own bucket & shovel...you might take them with you but most of the gem mines frown on folks who B.Y.O.B (Bring-Your-Own-Bucket).
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