EPDM Coatings
rvupgradestore.com Composet Products
RV Life Magazine RV Park Reviews RV Trip Wizard

Author Topic: Our first long trip, a week in the Smokey Mountains  (Read 8236 times)

pkanalyst

  • ---
  • Posts: 25
Our first long trip, a week in the Smokey Mountains
« on: August 17, 2008, 08:45:23 PM »
Our family camping trip in the Gatlinburg Tennessee area recently concluded, and what follows is a brief report of many of the things that we saw and did during this fantastic vacation.  We decided to break the trip up for the outbound and return voyage, and finding the right location to do so was not hard.  This summer, we have season passes for Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio.  The parent company, Cedar Fair recently acquired Kings Island near Cincinnati so our passes are also good there.  King’s Island is roughly halfway between home and Gatlinburg, which made it the perfect location to break our trip up on the way down and the way home.

Thursday, Day 1:

We left home at about 7:30 AM for Lebanon, Ohio.  We made decent time with the new Equalizer hitch performing very well on the highway.  This purchase made the driving part of our trip a part of the fun instead of something that had to be endured (more on that later).  We arrived at Cedarbrook Campground in Lebanon at 11:45.  Since we were only staying for one night, on the outbound and the return, we arranged for pull thru sites with full hookups.  We did a limited setup and hit the road for King’s Island (roughly 15 minutes from the campground) where several roller coaster rides awaited.  We’re all coaster lovers so naturally we gravitated toward the better known ones in this park that we had never ridden on.  A brief review of the ride portion of the park follows for those who are interested.

King’s Island

We had been here before, in 2002 and 2003 when the children were much smaller; as this park has one of the best kids’ sections (Nickelodeon character theme) that I have ever seen.  Most parks feature some extremely scaled back versions of the bigger rides that only little ones can fit into, and some carnival type circular rides in their kiddy land.  This one has 2 decent sized roller coasters, a log flume, bumper cars, and several other fun rides that are designed so that parents can ride with children who are as little as 1.5-2 years old (although we’ve noticed that the height restrictions are now more conservative than before).  The last time there, our 2 girls were too small to ride an inverted (hanging with feet dangling) coaster called the Rugrats Runaway Reptar.  So the kiddy land was where we started the day to check that one off the list and take a nostalgic ride on The Wild Thornberry’s log flume.  Then it was off to do a few of the grown up rides that we missed out on when the kids were too small to ride.

•   Rugrats Runaway Reptar: A slow moving and not particularly steep ride that delivers the thrill of hanging with your feet dangling in the open air, high above the crowd below for the first time for many park goers who have reached the 44” mark.  This is a ride that is designed to break the little ones in for some of the bigger attractions that they will be facing soon, and the parents can enjoy it with them.  A short but fun ride, a little rough but not overly so, and don’t forget to secure your wallet before riding.  The change all over the ground below serves as a reminder.

•   Wild Thornberry’s River Adventure: A scaled back log flume for the whole family.  Typical log flume ride but with reduced height and angle for that final hill before the ending and a minimal splash at the bottom.  Anyone can ride as the only restriction is that those under 46” must be accompanied by an adult.

•   The Beast:  Perhaps one of the most well known rides at this park, it still boasts the record for the longest wooden roller coaster in the world both in length of track and in duration of ride (4:50).  Approaching 70 mph on a 30 year old woody obviously means you are in for a very shaky ride.  If that is not for you, avoid the Beast.  But if you love the idea of racing through a forest and several tunnels built into the topography of the land and can handle a rough ride, definitely get on the Beast; just don’t forget the Tylenol.

•   Backlot Stunt Coaster: Opened in 2005 so we were not aware of this one before stumbling upon it in the park.  My wife is a lover of Mini Coopers so the fact that the trains are designed as a series of 4 passenger Mini Coopers caught her attention.  This ride reminded us of something that you might see at Disney World as it has a theme of racing through a city and into a parking garage while getting chased by the sound of police sirens.  You are then stopped and caught up in the middle of a police shootout scene involving a helicopter and a couple of neat explosions, then launched into a tunnel which you race out of and circle back to the unloading platform.  Very fun ride and interesting concept.  A good ride for those who want something thrilling enough to be a lot of fun, but not overly intense or scary.

•   The Vortex: the other “must ride” at this park besides the Beast is this steel monster.  This ride would be great except for one minor problem that ruined the entire experience.  As a steel coaster that features a very high drop, goes through a double loop and several cork screws it wants to be a very smooth ride and it is, except when it makes sudden turns.  Then, my wife and I both complained about getting cold cocked in the jaw by the seat harness.  This happened multiple times and we were hit HARD.  As we unloaded, I said, “great ride, but I feel like I just got my butt kicked in a bar fight.”
•   Other rides included the Flight Deck (featuring hanging cars), the Racer (an old woody that pits 2 trains against each other on identical tracks) which were decent rides.   Both delivered some good thrills, but there isn’t much more to be said about them.
We ventured back to the kiddy land for a nostalgic ride on The Fairly Odd Coaster, which was our daughters’ very first roller coaster ride in 2002.  The park website describes it as follows: The Fairly Odd Coaster is Kings Island’s wooden roller coaster for children. The Fairly Odd Coaster opened in 1972 with the park. Originally called the Scooby Doo, its name was later changed to the Beastie and a tunnel was added. This scaled down coaster brings adult-sized thrills to pint-sized thrill seekers in the Nickelodeon™ Universe area of the park.

After a day filled with driving and riding in the hot sun, we headed back to the campground around dinner time for some R&R and a dip in the pool for the girls and I.  Cedarbrook Campground is located on 760 Franklin Rd in Lebanon, Ohio 45036.  It has nice sites that are spacious and wooded.  The roads and sites are gravel and the appearance is well maintained.  The staff is very friendly and helpful, and they also help you park your camper when you arrive.  The pool is not huge, but adequately sized and centrally located, and there is a very nice park with modern playground equipment right next to it.  WiFi is available and the sites near the pool/playground area are reported to get the best reception.  For $35/night with a pull thru and full hookups, this campground was an ideal place for a whistle stop.

Friday, Day 2:

We were hitched up and rolled out for Pigeon Forge, Tennessee at about 8:30 AM.  I-75 takes you all the way to Knoxville, TN where you turn to the East on I-40, so this is not a complicated drive.  The ½ ton Chevy had to downshift to 2nd gear for some of the big hills (such as Jellico, TN and some other parts of Kentucky), but did just fine keeping up with traffic.  We arrived at Foothills Campground in Pigeon Forge, TN at about 2:30 PM.  The traffic on US 441 once you get off of I-40 is bumper to bumper on a Friday in July, and since we were new to the area, we were unaware of some new bypasses that can save you a lot of time getting around the area.  Luckily, we were parked next to a camper in his 20th year at this campground who filled us in on the Veterans’ Blvd and Teaster Ln.  These 2 bypasses are new, and may not get flagged by some GPS’s as the best way to go, but they save a lot of time getting around between some of the major attractions in Pigeon Forge. 

Foothills Campground is located on the Southern edge of Pigeon Forge where US 441 starts to split with woods and a river separating the northbound from the southbound traffic going to and from Gatlinburg.  The address is 4235 Husky St, Pigeon Forge, TN 37863.  This is a small campground on a bluff with about 30 sites, and 10 cabins.  Roads and sites are paved blacktop with a small pool, bathroom/shower house, and laundromat located right in the center and a very short walk from any site or cabin.  The family who owns and operates the campground is very friendly and helpful, and the facilities look brand new, and are immaculately maintained.  The bathroom/shower house is the cleanest and best maintained I have ever seen.  For full hookups which included cable TV, we paid $39/night and would recommend this place to anyone.  You get a beautiful view, fresh air, and a very attractive campground with friendly atmosphere for a real bargain here.  We noticed how many of the other RV parks were more like tightly cramped parking lots that were a little busy for our tastes and so we really felt like we hit a home run with this one.  All sites are not equally sized however, and some would be a little too small for us, so you may need to try and make plans with the owners if you are concerned about space on your site.  Ours was adequately sized for a family of 4. 

Once we were setup, we traveled over to Gatlinburg where the rest of my wife’s family was staying at the Westgate resort.  We had dinner at the resort restaurant, which featured a wide range of entrees in the $12-20 range.  We got a feast for 3 (since the 2 kids could share a 3rd adult portion) which included salad, rolls, chicken, beef brisket, pulled pork, baby back ribs, and mashed potatoes.  Service was average, dinner was fantastic and a good value at $35.

Days 2-7

Now that we were settled in, we started our first full day in the area at the Log Cabin Pancake house which is a stone throw from the campground.  Service and food there is excellent, and this place is a definite must visit if you are a fan of a good pancake breakfast.   The following are brief reviews of places and attractions visited.

Downtown Gatlinburg

This is a very visually impressive area that includes several options for sightseeing, including Ober Gatlinburg which takes you up the side of a mountain in a gondola.  There is a similar chair lift type attraction as well.  Ripley’s owns several tourist trap type attractions including a movie star car museum.  There is an indoor shopping mall which features more of what you are used to seeing outside: t-shirt shops, caricature artists, wild west photography studios (which we indulged in….hey, ya gotta do it once right?), novelty pet stores, and cowboy hat stores.  While visually beautiful in both the rustic architecture of the structures and the mountainous scenery which surrounds, we found the tourist trap atmosphere a bit overwhelming.  Some of the attractions visited are:

•   Ripley’s Aquarium: It is conveniently located in downtown Gatlinburg on a trolley stop for all of the trolley lines and a ½ a block from a parking garage.  It was on par with my expectations as far as aquariums go in my experience, and a little pricey at $60 for 2 adults and 2 kids (but who would expect it to be less?).  The kids enjoyed touching stingrays, and we all were awed by the acrylic tunnel under the large shark aquarium where you could watch all kinds of sharks and large fish swim around you and over your head. 

•   Legends By Max: We stumbled in here when it was time to grab a bite to eat after a day of shopping in downtown Gatlinburg.  It features very good personal pizza and several other Italian entrées; and kids under 12 eat free for each adult entrée purchase.  Not too shabby.

•   Best Italian: We went here for lunch on a recommendation from the photographer who took our wild west photos.  It is heralded by locals as a place that lives up to its name and so we gave it a shot.  While the food was excellent, the service was sub-par and the menu pricing was excessive as you could easily spend more than $10 on a lunch that consists of a half sub with chips (not including the cost of a drink). 

Great Smoky Mountains National Park

This is the crown jewel and highlight of a visit to this area for the outdoors enthusiast.  There is plenty of hiking, from low impact sightseeing walks to expert trails including the well known Appalachian Trail which cuts through the center of the National Park.  There are breathtaking views and scenic drives, historic buildings and communities, waterfalls, and the thickly forested mountains themselves.  Our stops within the park included:

•   Newfound Gap: at the North Carolina border, dead center of GSMNP.  Beautiful views of the mountains take your breath away from a lookout platform.

•   Clingman’s Dome: a ½ mile hike up a paved trail (which feels a little bit longer than ½ mile when you are going up) takes you to a massive lookout tower, with a large spiral ramp to get you up there.  The views are absolutely amazing up here, and every direction that you look in makes you want to get a picture, which will not do it justice, but you can try anyway.

•   Cades Cove: Located on the western side of the park, we went to Townsend to get into this section.  We accompanied our daughters on a horseback ride, which was well worth the $20/person cost.  This was our daughters’ first time riding horses, and we may have spoiled them so that they will always want to do this.  But this is what a family vacation is about, creating memories as special as this is not an everyday thing.  Our day continued and took us directly into the Cades Cove Loop, an 11 mile one lane road that offers a tour of an early settlement in the area.  The tour features several preserved buildings including original homes and churches (which most are a 2nd or later building for the congregations which used them, but are not replicas).  Some interesting history of the area includes the creation of new churches when congregations split over issues such as the Civil War and the role of women in the church.  This is a truly fascinating location.

•   Townsend Creek: a nice swimming hole area near the Townsend entrance to Cades Cove.  Tubing is a popular activity in this area, and the water has some very strong currents to contend with in some spots.  Beautiful scenery and a fun spot for kids (and dogs), but be careful in the current!

Downtown Pigeon Forge

If Gatlinburg and the Great Smokey Mountains National Park are the Disney World theme park, than Pigeon Forge is the Orlando sidekick; filled with condos and attractions galore all eager to separate you from your vacation dollars.  It is busy, and traffic can be overwhelming on US 441, which constitutes the “main drag” of attractions, but there are some bypasses such as Veterans’ Blvd, and Teaster Lane which can help you avoid the stop and go traffic.  You can’t spit without hitting a putt-putt course, go-kart track, outlet mall, or something huge owned by Dolly Parton.  Some of the attractions which we visited are:

•   Nascar Speedpark: A series of several go-kart attractions of various size and speed.  My brother in law decided it was time for the guys to go square off on their highest speed karts, which didn’t turn out to be all that fast, but a lot of fun still.  Then the kids squared off on one of the smaller oval tracks.  They hadn’t done this before, but took to it like ducks to water, beating and banging their way to the front and without wrecking.  This turned out to be a surprise favorite for the kids, even though our visit here was an impromptu decision.

•   Tanger Outlets: a huge outlet mall, with all of your favorite name brands represented, guaranteed.  Just beware, just because it is being sold in an outlet mall does not mean that it is a bargain.  Have at it.

•   Dolly Parton’s Dixie Stampede: with coupons, this was a $120 venture for 2 adults and 2 kids, but this came strongly recommended from friends who had been there.  This is definitely a unique experience, which starts with a pre-show featuring some country favorites.  Then you are moved into the large arena where excellent live entertainment and a delicious chicken dinner await.  The entertainment begins with a brief history of the US as the New World, with wild horses running through the arena and music and dance with a Native American theme.  The historical perspective continues leading up to the Civil War, where the main theme of the evening manifests.  It is now time to settle this age old conflict once and for all.  If you are from a “Northern State,” you are seated on the “North” side, and if you inhabit a CSA state, then you guessed it, you are seated on the “South” side.  Your servers are dressed in period military uniforms of either blue or gray (I’ll let you figure out which servers wear which colors).  You are then pitted against the folks on the other side of the arena in a series of wild contests that include races with chickens, pigs, and ostriches, a horse shoe matchup using toilet seats, and hilarity through good natured rivalry ensues.  During this, you are served an excellent dinner which includes creamy vegetable soup, rotisserie Cornish hen, barbecue pork loin, corn on the cob, a basted potato, and a buttermilk biscuit.  For desert, you get an apple turnover.  You have a choice of Pepsi, tea, or coffee with unlimited refills.  The fun and quality of food and entertainment were well worth the cost, and the kids had a blast!

•   Country Tonight: a fantastic 2 hour performance at the Country Tonight Theater featuring some very talented up and coming stars.  The songs are familiar, and performed superbly.  The theater is very nice, and photography is permitted during the performance.  Tickets were $25 for adults and kids under 12 are free, which makes this a great value.  There is an intermission where you can do a meet and greet with the performers and take pictures, and you can do the same in the lobby at the end of the performance.  This is a very patriotic performance with several interruptions for some great comedy.  If country music, comedy, and celebration of God and country are your thing, be sure not to miss this.

•   Wild Bear Falls (Indoor Water Park): this was our rainy day event.  It is located at the Westgate Resort where the extended family was parked.  It has a Gatlinburg address, but is located between the downtown areas of Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg.  It is a nice place to relax and get out of the rain, and has very reasonably priced food for a place of this nature.  I don’t know what the regular admission cost is, as the in-laws had secured our admission through the resort.  It is not huge, but has at least one iteration of all of the usual stuff you find at any given water park:
o   Zero entry pool for the littlest swimmers, with a mini-playground topped off with the ubiquitous giant bucket which spills tens of gallons of water on folks below periodically
o   regular style of pool
o   hot tub
o   lazy river
o   medium sized water slides, one with a tube and one tubeless

Day 8

We were packed and hit the road by 8:30, en route to Lebanon, Ohio for our second go around at King’s Island.  We arrived at Cedarbrook Campground in the early afternoon and did another quick setup before heading over to King’s Island to play at the water park called Boomerang Bay.  This water park is very friendly for families with kids of all sizes, with plenty of slides for the little ones, and some pretty thrilling ones of all shapes and sizes for bigger kids and adults.  Space for beach chairs where you park your stuff can all get claimed quickly on a busy day, and since we arrived on a hot Friday afternoon, we were a little late to secure some beach chairs.  So we headed over to the regular park where my brother and sister in-law were taking their 2 boys through the kiddy land for the first time.  Then we headed back to the water park and found some beach chairs and rode several exciting water slides with the kids.  This made for a very relaxing way to close out a busy but very satisfying vacation.  We headed back to the campground around dinner time for a camp fire and some much needed down time. 

This was our first visit to the Smokey’s, and there are several things that we have yet to do such as Dollywood, Cherokee, and several other attractions within the national park.  We fell in love with this area and its close proximity all but guarantees that we will return soon.  A few miscellaneous notes to end on:

We purchased the Forest River Cherokee 28A camper in 2006.  This was our 1st trip over an hour away from home and our 7th overall.  We love this camper more with each use as it meets our needs very well, and is very comfortable for a family of four.  It pulls very nicely behind the Silverado 1500, and the Equalizer hitch made the driving and hitching/un-hitching very easy and pleasant.  The hitch is inherently noisy when making turns due to the metal on metal friction in the sway control.  This can be reduced with grease or with boots which can be purchased from the manufacturer, but both reportedly will reduce the effectiveness of the sway control; although this effect may be negligible.  I am not sure if I will be following up on this option yet.  The sway control is superb, and I hardly had any fatigue from driving with this rig.  I definitely knew without using my mirrors when a semi was passing me, but the upset was not unmanageable at all.  We are all looking forward to our next time out, and could not be happier with our decision to purchase this camper.
2011 Jayco Greyhawk 31DS

Carl L

  • Forum Staff
  • ---
  • *
  • Posts: 7303
Re: Our first long trip, a week in the Smokey Mountains
« Reply #1 on: August 18, 2008, 12:44:07 AM »
Quote
The hitch is inherently noisy when making turns due to the metal on metal friction in the sway control.  This can be reduced with grease or with boots which can be purchased from the manufacturer, but both reportedly will reduce the effectiveness of the sway control; although this effect may be negligible.  I am not sure if I will be following up on this option yet.  The sway control is superb, and I hardly had any fatigue from driving with this rig.  I definitely knew without using my mirrors when a semi was passing me, but the upset was not unmanageable at all.  We are all looking forward to our next time out, and could not be happier with our decision to purchase this camper

Noise vs. lessened sway control.  Hmmm.  Go with the noise.  It ain't gonna kill you and besides it is fun to see the pedestrians jump when you make hard right turns in town.   ;D

Any one towing a slab sided trailer is going to feel a truck's high speed shockwave hitting them.   The point is that it will not de-stabilize your rig with a good antisway system installed.

Glad to hear your rig is really working out for you. 
Carl L/LA   [Forum Staff]  KI6SEZ

Prowler 23LV TT pulled by a '95 Ford Bronco

pkanalyst

  • ---
  • Posts: 25
Re: Our first long trip, a week in the Smokey Mountains
« Reply #2 on: August 18, 2008, 05:15:30 AM »
Noise vs. lessened sway control.  Hmmm.  Go with the noise.  It ain't gonna kill you and besides it is fun to see the pedestrians jump when you make hard right turns in town.   ;D

I tend to agree Carl.  I can deal with the noise, and you just can't put a value on safety!
2011 Jayco Greyhawk 31DS

Gary RV_Wizard

  • Forum Staff
  • ---
  • *
  • Posts: 63630
  • RVer Emeritus
Re: Our first long trip, a week in the Smokey Mountains
« Reply #3 on: August 18, 2008, 07:46:00 AM »
Sounds like you had a ball and the trailer performed to expectations besides. Hard to beat a trip like that!
Gary
--------------
Gary Brinck
Summers: Black Mountain, NC
Home: Ocala National Forest, FL

gonemissin

  • ---
  • Posts: 80
Re: Our first long trip, a week in the Smokey Mountains
« Reply #4 on: August 18, 2008, 10:07:51 AM »
PK,

Thanks for sharing your experiences, particularly on how the Equalizer functioned.  Sounds like you all had a GREAT trip!

We currently tow a 27ft TT with a dually diesel and use the Reese load distribution bars with chains and a separate friction bar for sway control.  It has worked FINE for us in all kinds of nasty crosswinds in the Great Plains over many thousands of miles.  Getting passed by a Semi with a large speed differential is the worst, but it is in no way a problem.  The disadvantage to this system, IMO is having to adjust the friction bar when making tight low speed turns (entering and leaving town and maneuvering into a camping spot. 

To combat making a bone-headed error and bending something, I end up compromising and setting the friction bar on the light side.  Eh, it works and I really have no function complaints, so upgrading would have to have a significant functional advantage.  (Yes, the DRW helps contribute to stability.)

My question to you is: On a scale of 1-10, how much better is the Equalizer than the older tried and true spring bar/chain with flat friction bar?  Was it really worth the extra dough?

Others with similar experience, please chime in.
Rocky

99 Dodge Quad Cab 4x4 DRW Diesel
2007 27ft TT
2011 Capri Rodeo

pkanalyst

  • ---
  • Posts: 25
Re: Our first long trip, a week in the Smokey Mountains
« Reply #5 on: August 18, 2008, 12:19:36 PM »
A couple of qualifiers are necessary....my dealer that sold me the trailer outfitted me with undersized Reese trunion bars, rated for 550 lb TW.  My actual TW is 850 lbs.  I didn't know this until I actually weighed earlier this summer (I know I should have done this sooner).  Gusty winds when comined with the chopping effect of bumpy roads (which undersized WD no doubt contrubted to) was just not a pleasant way to drive.  It was manageable, but I thought that this situation could surely be improved.  Since I had to replace the undersized hitch anyway, going with a correctly sized Equalizer on a SRW 1/2 ton for me was an improvement of 11 on a scale of 1-10. 

In your case, with a DRW TV that probably (I'm guessing) sees much less change in attitude prior to snapping up the spring bars; an Equalizer may not give you some of the gains that I saw.  The biggest differences that you might appreciate would be in the reduced number of steps in hitching/unhitching, and as you already said, no need for adjustment or removal for maneuvering through tight spots.  The Equalizer has 4 points where it resists sway, vs the 1 point on a friction bar.  Whether or not you would appreciate any control improvements would be a subjective interpretation based on how adequate you feel your current setup performs for you.  Just my 2 cents.
2011 Jayco Greyhawk 31DS

ArdraF

  • ---
  • Posts: 9982
Re: Our first long trip, a week in the Smokey Mountains
« Reply #6 on: August 18, 2008, 01:31:33 PM »
The technical issues aside, it sounds like you all had a wonderful time and that is what RVing is all about.  Lots of good memories not only for you grownups, but mainly for the kids.  Thanks for a nice trip report.  We haven't been to that area for about 10 years so it's nice to hear about the changes.  Next time you'll enjoy Dollywood, especially the musicians and musical instruments, but the rides too.  They had cloggers when we were there and they were fun to see.

ArdraF
ArdraF
:D :D

pkanalyst

  • ---
  • Posts: 25
Re: Our first long trip, a week in the Smokey Mountains
« Reply #7 on: August 18, 2008, 06:03:57 PM »
Sounds like you had a ball and the trailer performed to expectations besides. Hard to beat a trip like that!
Thanks!  We decided to start out with something manageable for the first trip, and were really glad that we were able to enjoy somewhere close by.

On another note, I've seen your post about Trenton, Maine, which is like a second home to me.  My family vacationed on Mount Desert Island every summer while I was growing up, and your descriptions brought me right back to that exact place.  I can practically trace the steps from Ellsworth to MDI and every landmark in between in my sleep.  I think I have a very good idea where you got your lobsters from.  I'm picturing a spot just north of the bridge to Thompson Island, and would be on the right side of Route 3 (when heading South) with the lobster pound outside and possibly some picnic tables (?).

Other great places to get lobster in the area are Beal's Lobster Pier (right next the US Coast Guard Base), and Head of the Harbor (right on Rt 102), both located in downtown Southwest Harbor.  Steamer's, mussels and corn on the cob all boiled in sea water with your lobster makes for one awesome dinner.  Either of these restaurants make for a good stop if making your way to the Bass Harbor Head Light and Sea Wall. 

I hope to be there with our camper one day, but in the meantime, thank you for sharing your experience there!
2011 Jayco Greyhawk 31DS

pkanalyst

  • ---
  • Posts: 25
Re: Our first long trip, a week in the Smokey Mountains
« Reply #8 on: August 18, 2008, 06:07:31 PM »
The technical issues aside, it sounds like you all had a wonderful time and that is what RVing is all about.  Lots of good memories not only for you grownups, but mainly for the kids.  Thanks for a nice trip report.  We haven't been to that area for about 10 years so it's nice to hear about the changes.  Next time you'll enjoy Dollywood, especially the musicians and musical instruments, but the rides too.  They had cloggers when we were there and they were fun to see.

ArdraF

Thanks, it really was a great trip, and one of the best parts about RVing is that we can bring the pooches with us and they can feel like a part of the family.  I think we will have to check out Dollywood the next time we are there; it sounds like fun!
2011 Jayco Greyhawk 31DS

gonemissin

  • ---
  • Posts: 80
Re: Our first long trip, a week in the Smokey Mountains
« Reply #9 on: August 18, 2008, 08:52:41 PM »
A couple of qualifiers are necessary....my dealer that sold me the trailer outfitted me with undersized Reese trunion bars, rated for 550 lb TW.  My actual TW is 850 lbs.  I didn't know this until I actually weighed earlier this summer (I know I should have done this sooner).  Gusty winds when comined with the chopping effect of bumpy roads (which undersized WD no doubt contrubted to) was just not a pleasant way to drive.  It was manageable, but I thought that this situation could surely be improved.  Since I had to replace the undersized hitch anyway, going with a correctly sized Equalizer on a SRW 1/2 ton for me was an improvement of 11 on a scale of 1-10. 

In your case, with a DRW TV that probably (I'm guessing) sees much less change in attitude prior to snapping up the spring bars; an Equalizer may not give you some of the gains that I saw.  The biggest differences that you might appreciate would be in the reduced number of steps in hitching/unhitching, and as you already said, no need for adjustment or removal for maneuvering through tight spots.  The Equalizer has 4 points where it resists sway, vs the 1 point on a friction bar.  Whether or not you would appreciate any control improvements would be a subjective interpretation based on how adequate you feel your current setup performs for you.  Just my 2 cents.

Thanks for the clarification!  You did have a nasty little problem.  Glad it worked out for you.  Sounds like you have a great setup now.

You're right about the DRW TV, it doesn't drop much.  And that drop will be even less with the new eight leaf springs (4000#'rs) I just installed (whoever said this RV thing was cheap??).  I've towed short distances (20-30 miles) without the load distribution bars and the friction bar.  Granted that was on flat back highways at 55mph and no truck traffic.  I could tell a difference without the load bars, but not a lot.  I've actually driven long distances on the interstate with the load bars correctly loaded and with the friction bar completely loose (by mistake).  Interestingly, things were relatively stable but I sensed something was up.  At our next break (std time to do equipment check, see why?) I found the loose bar and tightened it up. 

Yes, the reduction in equipment and hitching steps would be great.  That's one of the reasons I was looking at the design, but that alone isn't enough justification for me.  The design itself appears to be a quantum leap ahead of the old Reese bar and chain setup.  One more for the wish list.  Maybe an improvement for next year...  A little more rationalization... :D

Thank you for your input!
Rocky

99 Dodge Quad Cab 4x4 DRW Diesel
2007 27ft TT
2011 Capri Rodeo

Carl L

  • Forum Staff
  • ---
  • *
  • Posts: 7303
Re: Our first long trip, a week in the Smokey Mountains
« Reply #10 on: August 19, 2008, 01:01:12 AM »
Quote
I've actually driven long distances on the interstate with the load bars correctly loaded and with the friction bar completely loose (by mistake).  Interestingly, things were relatively stable but I sensed something was up.  At our next break (std time to do equipment check, see why?) I found the loose bar and tightened it up. 


And that is exactly why I have a predjudice against friction bar sway control.   It is just one more bloody thing to forget to do in hitching up.   If you had gotten into an emergency manuever you could have been in deep trouble and heading into the ditch.
Carl L/LA   [Forum Staff]  KI6SEZ

Prowler 23LV TT pulled by a '95 Ford Bronco

pkanalyst

  • ---
  • Posts: 25
Re: Our first long trip, a week in the Smokey Mountains
« Reply #11 on: July 20, 2011, 10:38:28 PM »
After 5 years of great memories, the Cherokee has been traded for a Jayco motorhome.  We love the new RV, and look forward to making lots of new memories in it, but it was very bittersweet; like saying goodbye to an old friend.
2011 Jayco Greyhawk 31DS

Clark Griswold

  • ---
  • Posts: 296
  • Chattanooga, TN
    • Our RV Travel Blog
Re: Our first long trip, a week in the Smokey Mountains
« Reply #12 on: July 20, 2011, 11:13:38 PM »
Awwwww......made me home sick.  Gatlingburg / Pigeon Forge / Townsend are in the backyard of where we use to live (and my wife was born & raised).  We're living in Chattanooga, TN now but one of our kids still lives in East TN area and our second child is already talking about moving back there.  Anyway.....we'll never forget the great times and peace of the one and only mountains for us.  ;D
Mike & Cindy (with Lucy the Miniature Schnauzer and Eddie the Yorkie)
"Until recently" 2002 Winnebago Adventurer 32V
Chattanooga, TN

http://highlightofourtwilight.blogspot.com/

"That's nothing to be proud of Rusty.  ......fifty yards."

camperpants

  • Posts: 3
Re: Our first long trip, a week in the Smokey Mountains
« Reply #13 on: August 31, 2011, 07:32:02 PM »
Nice report! The Smokies are a great area, with so much to do! Your Cherokee Lite looks just like the '06 we used to have. I loved that trailer! Happy trails!

pkanalyst

  • ---
  • Posts: 25
Re: Our first long trip, a week in the Smokey Mountains
« Reply #14 on: September 02, 2011, 08:03:53 PM »
Yep, we loved Gatlinburg and will go back some day.  Not sure when, next summer we're heading to the coast of Maine in the new Jayco class C.  I miss that Cherokee; it was a great trailer for us, but we love the Greyhawk too and will be able to take longer trips with it than we would have with the old setup.  It would have cost us almost as much to get the truck that we'd need to take long trips as it did to get the MH; and they gave us exactly what we paid for the Cherokee 5 years ago for a trade in.  It was time to make the switch!
2011 Jayco Greyhawk 31DS