A Stop in Knoxville, TN
Heiskell (Knoxville), TN - Events of Thursday, October 1 to Sunday, October 4, 2015
We were hitched up and on the road by 8:40 on Thursday morning headed toward Knoxville, TN. That was earlier than normal because we had a fairly long travel day (for us) of over 5 hours for an overnight stop at Fort Chiswell RV Park near Wytheville, VA.
We actually left a little earlier than we had planned because packing and hitching took us less time than we thought it would thanks to the practice we had gotten moving to a new site at Scenic Hills the Sunday before. Readying the 5th wheel for travel will probably always take a little longer than the motor home did, but we're happy to see the time for the 5th wheel getting shorter as we get better at it.
The temperatures in the Berlin area had been in the 70s, which is warmer than normal, but there was definitely the downward trend. That downward trend became a precipitous drop because the highs for the day we left and for the next several days were predicted to struggle to get out of the 50s.
It got a little warmer as we drove south, but not much. It was cloudy the whole way, but at least it didn't rain.
Fort Chiswell RV has 80 or 90 sites, all of which have full-hookups, and most of which have 30/50-amp electric. There is free cable and free Wi-fi. The Wi-fi was fairly fast, at least until the campground filled up. There is a good Verizon 4G signal in the area.
The roads are paved, and most of the pads are gravel. We got one of the few sites with a paved pad.
Although the RV park is conveniently located less than half a mile from the interstate, there is little or no traffic noise because there is a good-sized hill between the RV park and the highway. The nightly cost was about $34.
Most of the sites are pull-throughs, which makes Ft. Chiswell RV a good spot for an overnight stop. The RV park is located near a place where I-77 and I-81 run concurrently for a distance of about 10 miles, so there are a lot of overnighters. Every time we stay there we are amazed at the steady stream of RVs arriving in the late afternoon. When we got there around 3:00, there were only a few sites that were occupied. By early evening, the campground was almost full. The next photo shows the rows of sites behind us filling up about an hour after we arrived.
On Friday morning, we headed out on the next leg of our journey south. There was a light rain when we pulled out of Ft. Chiswell, and the rain continued off and on for the three-hour drive to Heiskell, Tennessee, which is just to the north of Knoxville. We got another relatively early start and pulled into the Escapees Raccoon Valley RV Park around 12:30.
We stayed in Heiskell last year on our way south because we were RV shopping and there are several RV dealers in the area who sell brands of RVs we were considering. This year, we planned to do a little visiting, a little sightseeing, a little eating out and a little relaxing.
Raccoon Valley RV Park has 68 full-hookup RV sites with 30/50-amp electric. The roads and pads are gravel. The sites are about evenly split between pull-throughs and back-ins. The sites are a little close together, but they're not awful, and there is a small strip of grass between most of the sites. Wi-fi is available for a fee. Our cost was around $21 a night including tax.
As you can see from the puddles in the photo of our site above, it had been raining in Heiskell, too. The rain finally stopped by evening, but it started up again the next morning and rained off and on all day Saturday.
On Saturday, our friends, Darrell and Judy, drove two hours from their home in Crossville, Tennessee, for a visit. Darrell and Judy, who used to be full-timers, recently bought a sticks-and-bricks house in Crossville.
We offered to meet Darrelll and Judy at a restaurant half way between Crossville and Heiskell, but they wanted to see our new rig. After they got the 50-cent tour and after we visited a while, we headed out to have lupper at Buddy's Bar-b-q. Buddy's has about a dozen corporate and three franchise locations in and around Knoxville. One of the franchise locations is located just off I-75 one exit to the south of where we were staying.
Buddy's has pork, chicken, ham and ribs. Sandwiches range in price from as low as $3 for regular ham to $4 for large pork and large chicken. Dinners are under $10.
We both had pulled pork dinners with two sides (potato salad and cole slaw) for $6.39. The pork had a nice smokey flavor and it was very tender and moist. The sides were good, too.
We chatted for a while after we ate, then Darrell and Judy dropped us off at our 5th wheel before heading back to Crossville. It was good to see them again and to catch up.
Sunday finally brought sunshine and temperatures back in the mid to upper 70s. Ahhh, that's more like it. We relaxed around the rig all day. The weather forecast for Monday was for sun and a high around 80º. We took advantage of the beautiful weather and did some sightseeing. We'll tell you about it in our next post.