Sunday, August 9, 2009

Drive to Norris Dam State Park

A perfect day for driving. Well, sunny and hot. All of the way. But that’s not much of a problem in an air conditioned car. Certainly better than snow and ice, given the mountains roads I would travel on this trip.

[Click Photos for Larger Images]

Norris Dam S P RouteFour-lane interstate highways most of the way. I-20, to I-26, to I-40. All west, or more properly, northwest. Then just north of Knoxville, Tennessee, I-75 north to Tennessee 441. Nearly 300 miles in all.

Normally I avoid four-lane interstate highways since they require speeds higher than comfortable towing the Aliner, and offer only monotonous scenery. I-26 through the Blueridge Mountains is an exception. A well maintained road carved through startlingly beautiful mountain scenery. The views alone are worth the drive!

Nearly every turn – and there are quite a few – offers a new landscape worthy of a photo. Though I resisted the temptation, paying close attention to the driving. I stopped twice to stretch my legs. Once at the North Carolina welcome center and once at the Tennessee welcome center. And once for gas.

These state welcome centers are worth a visit. Lots of maps, brochures, and informative attendants during normal business hours. Well maintained picnic areas too.

Around 3:30 p.m., I turned in to Norris Dam State Park.

Norris Dam SP SignTennessee is justifiably proud of their state park system. They maintain 53 of them across the state. Large and small. And haven’t forgotten that the Tennessee system was named best in the nation a few years back. In contrast to some other states, the Tennessee state government seems to recognize the value of these irreplaceable resources, and allocates state funding adequate to maintain them. 

This Park maintains around 75 campsites with water and electricity at each in two campgrounds, East and West.

Map The arrow in photo above points to the west campground where I set up. You can see Norris Dam below the arrow and a little to the right.

Park Office Campsites all are well maintained. Here’s Number 9 in the West Campground with the Mobile Studio set up and ready for occupancy.

Site 9The Park’s maintenance crew keeps this West Campground clean as a whistle. Without giving it an antiseptic flavor.

Mowed Area Areas around the campsites are mowed regularly, and youngsters brought along will enjoy the elaborate playground equipment near the bath house.

PlaygroundThe facility readers most often write to ask about after reading about campgrounds is the bath house. How well they are maintained, and so on. I haven’t had an opportunity to ask Park personnel about the size or scheduling of their maintenance crew, but everything is ship-shape in the West Campground bath house. Even Sunday night when I arrived. After the departure of the weekend crowd.

Bath House Inside Bath House There’s much more to this Norris Dam State Park than the West Campground. I hope to introduce more of its features in subsequent posts. Here, though, is a view of the Norris Dam from which the Park takes its name. One of the TVA system of multi-purpose dams.

Norris Dam I took the photo from an overlook maintained by the Park just for this purpose. The views are incredible.

Off tomorrow for day one at the Museum of Appalachia. Stay tuned!

1 comment:

  1. Man o Man this is a good post and I am excited about what will be coming.