I had a great time at Cades Cove and the Smokies in general....with one major exception. On the way up there, my truck started making very loud noises. Eventually, I had to abandon it at a Dodge dealership in Lenoir City, TN. The good news is that Dad saved my trip by driving over and hauling my camper (which was in tow behind my truck) to the campground, so I could still spend a few days there. The bad news is that the dealership figured out what the problem was. My spindle rod bearings bit the dust, and the repair cost is so labor intensive, that it will be "cheaper" to buy a new engine for the truck. Notice that "cheaper" is a very relative term.
So today, my Dad came back to the campground and hauled me and the RV to his house. I borrowed their spare car and drove it the other 4 hours home. So now, my truck is about 6 hours away, sitting in the dealership's parking lot, waiting on a tow. I have arranged for it to be towed to a neighbor of my parents' who is a mechanic on Wednesday. He is going to check on prices for a rebuilt engine to replace my dead one, and gently break the news to me in a day or two on that, so I don't go into cardiac arrest the way I did when I heard the price the dealership wanted to do the same thing ($6,200). He said he could do it for MUCH less, which is a good thing.
Oh well, it was a nice trip other than that. We spotted 2 bears, 30 turkey, 30 elk, and about 50 deer. Photos will come in a day or two. Back to work tomorrow morning first though.