From Shannon’s, we stayed on little country highways until we got to Spring City, stopping for propane and water tank refills.
Everything felt surreal. Looking out from the McDonald’s where we stopped for coffee and wifi, we were face to face with Spring City’s historic shops which run along its railroad track. They shrunk in the shadows of the mountains behind them. A nighttime baseball game was taking place next to the lake and the stands were packed. There was a pink halo around the moon.
The campground we parked at jutted out onto the lake. Some people looked like they had been stationary there for a while. The previous inhabitants of our site had left trash—dead fish in plastic bags.
In the morning, we found Our problems were now adding up! We couldn’t get the outside propane stove, the one Edd had so painstakingly installed, to light. We decided we’d worry about it later.
We took the Cherohala Skyway through Cherokee National Forest into Nantahala National Forest. Lots of motorcyclists were on it for turns and the mountain views. Nothing the old van couldn’t handle though!
We headed to a spot in the the forest called Lake Santeetlah that has a marina and where the park service maintains a dozen or so free sites.
The really level sites down the road were taken, but we found a spot that we really liked, secluded, with our own lake access. However, it was really hard to level the van. Without the van being level, the fridge could break (and then no bacon!). Getting level involved about two frustrating hours of Edd digging holes with a crow bar for the two driver’s side tires while I gathered wood to lift the passenger side. But we did it.
The excellent thing is that most parks have had barbecue grills or fire rings with these adjustable grates! So I cooked breakfast over the fire each morning.
The first day, Edd replaced the bad toilet pipes with new plastic valves, pvc hose and hose clamps! And he installed the shataf sprayer (more on that later). So we have water and a working toilet!
We cycled pay the marina and to Santeetlah Dam, which was built in the 1920s! There is a bigger one like it that was in the movie The Fugitive.
And on the second day, Edd spent the morning deducing the cause of the grill just need to be cleaned. He even phoned the company who makes our external propane outlet. In the end it turns out it was just clogged valves on the the outdoor grill. So all we have to do is clean them out.
Edd deservedly brought out his toy from the ex generator compartment: the inflatable kayak. He was so happy. We paddled beyond the marina and back. It was cool!
The water was cold but look how blue it is! And later we treated ourselves to an actual shower down the road at a campground, though we were supposed to be paying campers. If someone from the Park Service is reading this, please don’t judge us too harshly! We always bring our trash with us and we leave our place really clean! I will make sure to donate to you in the future!
We really enjoyed our little private lake access! Goodbye site P6! We’re off to Atlanta!