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If you want to go into the Smokies on the TN side you have Elmont and Cades Cove campgrounds.  Both are great stops.  Cades Cove has a great loop to see wild life and old settler posts but can be crowded at times.  Wednesday is a closed day only for hikers and bikers (the non motorized bikers).  If you drive through the park Smokemont Campground is near Cherokee and about an hour from Asheville.  Stay on the F Loop if you can.  

About 4 miles south of Smokemont is the NC Side Ranger Welcome Station with a old settlers village which is great.  There is also Mingus Mill about 5 minutes away which is a place to purchase stone ground grits or flour.

Each day around 4 pm a herd of Elk wander to the open fields around the Ranger station and is very impressive.  The elk were reintroduced about 15 years ago and are awesome to see.  Wild turkeys are usually spotted in the fields or along the road.  A drive over to Cattaloochee is a great afternoon drive which has a old homestead and pastures where the elk were originally released before spreading throughout much of the park.  There is a campground at Cattaloochee but to camp there you would have your first adventure on a gravel road with your Ollie.  The entrance for this road is right at I-40 and 276Hwy exit to Waynesville

When leaving the park heading south on US441 take the Blue Ridge Parkway and not US19.  The drive is gorgeous and much less congested than going thru Cherokee and over to Maggie Valley then to I-40 to Asheville.  

The Smokies are my haven.  We have a mountain cabin about 1/4 mile where the Blue Ridge Parkway crosses over US 19.  Even being close to the house we love camping in the mountains.   I know all the restaurants in Bryson City, Maggie Valley, Waynesville, and Asheville.

Asheville is a great city with numerous things to see!  Sounds like you will have a great trip whether going north or south around the GSMNP!

 

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Erv & Sherry  Hull # 650

2020 Tundra SR5 Crewcab 4X4

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Just a side note: don't hurry, if you can help it. The Interstate in Florida, Georgia, Massachusetts, Maryland, or anywhere else looks pretty much the same. The real interesting spots are where the world has forgotten. The services are usually cheaper, the food is tastier, and the people are friendlier. You also will not find a "big box store" or a "fast food" outlet, but Ma and Pa stores are the BEST. You may have to slow down for a moose, or even a cow in the road, but that is ok.  The RV life takes some getting use to, but a day or two should do it. If you need a snack, a restroom, or a beverage while traveling, remember you have all that and even a bed following you around...

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Incredibly thoughtful and detailed post, @gatorewc! Thank you. I will refer back to these suggestions when we get close to planning our pickup in May. We stopped in Asheville on our way to Hohenwald and really loved it. What a beautiful town, and the Biltmore - wow. 
 

Suddenly spring of ‘21 doesn’t seem soon enough!

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You can take the Blue Ridge Parkway all the way to Asheville and the scenery is great but it will take several hours.  The shorter version is taking the Parkway from Cherokee to the Maggie Valley exit and then on to Asheville.  If you have the time the Parkway is great.   Just making it clear, I have had people going to Asheville jump on the Parkway thinking it was a the same time as thru Maggie, The Parkway is for beauty and enjoying the time.

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Erv & Sherry  Hull # 650

2020 Tundra SR5 Crewcab 4X4

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