Our F350 diesel handled the long I40 climb up and over Black Mountain just fine although I had my foot in it all the way up the five mile steep climb. The scenery is wonderful and just the beginning of the beauty of the Great Smoky Mountains.
Our home for the week is Pride RV Resort that offers super easy access to I40 and the mountains of western North Carolina. We’re here using our RPI membership. That’s supposed to be $10 a night for us but by the time the mandatory “resort fees” (includes cable TV which I don’t need) and “50 amp fee” was added in we ended up at $18.50. Of course, if we just drove in and paid the nightly rate we’d have paid over $40. I think this is lesson learned and in the future I’ll budget with the add on fees expected and be pleasantly surprised with the parks that honor the $10 RPI rate. Also, I understand that we’re in a premier area. We’re in the mountains with wonderful views and mild to cool temperatures. It’s not unreasonable to pay for such things.
This place has some nice features. The facilities are quite good with a big building for events, plus a “pavilion” for either open air or enclosed activities. The mini-golf is nice and there’s a playground for the children. There’s a pool and spa. One of the nicest things is Jonathan Creek which borders the eastern side of the property. It’s a nifty mountain trout stream. There are plenty of places to sit and enjoy the creek. Also, the WiFi is the best we’ve had on our entire trip; it is also included in the resort fee.
At the same time there are some frustrating things about this park. For one thing the water pressure is noticeably low. When I asked about it I was told that the park is on a city water system that is being upgraded. Hopefully, the upgrade will be completed soon. Also, through no fault of it’s own it is placed between two lumber processing facilities. Opposite the beautiful gurgling creek is a saw mill with heavy equipment making lots of noise. A short distance across the highway is another mill with, I assume, some kind of big saw that makes a low pitched, penetrating whine that is pretty mush inescapable throughout the workday.
I think coming in on an affiliate membership in these places means that you’ll be treated like the park’s step-children. We were assigned a spot in which we backed into a narrow site within 20 feet of the highway. During the week when the one lumber processing plant was in full operation the sound of the trucks downshifting just outside our rear window was pretty loud. We compensated by closing the roof vents and moving a fan upstairs for white noise. I don’t know how much better it would have been a couple of rows over but I’m fairly sure it would have been at least a little quieter. Because of the road noise and the closeness of our neighbors just a few steps outside our front door (very nice people by the way) we didn’t sit outside much during our stay.
As you can tell this place is quite a mixture of very nice and rather frustrating. I think I’d return here simply because I love the area so much and because I think it would be easier on the budget than paying the rack rate would be elsewhere. At the same time I’d lobby big time for a site away from the highway.