I remember making trips to Cades Cove when we were younger. We would
pile gingerly place our bikes in the back of Daddy’s truck, and head up to the Smoky Mountains. It is understood that in order to see the most wildlife–and beat all the traffic–you must leave at the crack of dawn.
I blame this on several factors: 1) My brother took a shower that seemed to last forever. 2) I wanted to stop for a biscuit. 3) Early morning Starbucks is hard to resist.
When we finally arrived to Cades Cove, the parking lot was full. We had decided that we would rent the bikes to complete the eleven mile bike loop. Unfortunately, we didn’t count on one small hang-up. See, the information on the website says that they rent bicycles to all ages. My six year old nephew was just a wee bit too small for the bike they had for him. And bikes with training wheels aren’t rented for the loop.
I willingly stayed behind with him to bike the camp ground instead…
As we passed campers in tents and rather large monstrosities, he waved and said, “Hello!” Most of the campers were rather friendly, and even if they weren’t–I don’t think he would notice. He did, however, notice every single squirrel. And he stopped at every stop sign. We loaded his cargo pockets with the keys to the car and my money. He was quiet a sight: A tee shirt proclaiming, “What happens in Pre-K, Stays in Pre-K!”, cargo pants sagging under the weight of change and keys, and a perky smile!
Before my sister headed out, I handed her the backpack I had brought along. It was complete with a water bottle and a box of Band-aides/Neosporin. Yeah, I know. I blame that on being a teacher. Turns out that it wasn’t for naught. When the kids and adults arrived back to the meeting spot, we heard that my oldest niece became quite adept at wrecking. As we enjoyed our ice creams, Landon (my riding partner), was stung on the face by a bee.
Over all, it was a success! The kids exclaimed the need for a repeat excursion next time they come to Tennessee. I have a feeling that won’t be an issue…