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Original articles plus the "best of the web" on beginning and advanced RV care and maintenance by RV expert and writer Bruce Bernhart

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In Minnesota, Bruce Bernhart has been an avid RV 'er since the mid-1980's


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Updated June 30, 2013

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Camping.com reviews the Great Smoky Mountains

Straddling the border of Tennessee and North Carolina, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is one of America's finest national treasures. This park and its surrounding foothills are called "smoky" because of the mists and haze that swirl through the tree-covered peaks. This gives the mountains a romantic, old-world feel that connects to the heart of every visitor.

The Smoky Mountains are a part of the Appalachian Mountain range, the ridge that runs nearly the whole length of the Eastern United States. These glorious mountains, often referred to as "the Smokies," are home to the most visited national park in the U.S. 9 million people visit this area every year, admiring the incredible views and abundant wildlife.

When you visit the Smokies, you can head into the national park or spend your time in the neighboring Nantahala National Forest, Pisgah National Forest, and Cherokee National Forest. The national forests are an ideal choice for anyone who wants to get away from the crowds or enjoy activities like hunting, dog walking, off-roading, and ATV riding. Inside the national park, on the other hand, you'll find protected old-growth forests, interpretive trails, viewpoints, and helpful rangers.

The Smokies include stunning peaks like Mount Le Conte, Balsam Mountain, and Tricorner Knob. Most of the highest mountains are part of a 75-mile stretch that runs between the Little Tennessee River and the Pigeon River. The highest point is Clingmans Dome (6,643 feet). Visitors can drive to within 300 vertical feet of the summit and hike up a paved trail to the top. If the day is clear, you can see as far as Georgia and Kentucky from the peak.

Not only are the Smokies known for their amazing wildlife, but the park is also called the "wildflower national park" because of the breathtaking spring and summer blooms. Depending on the time of year, you can see trilliums, bee balm, Solomon's seal, native rhododendrons, azaleas, and even orchids growing wild in the mountains. More than 10,000 species of plants and animals have been documented in the park.

Animals are a hallmark of the Smoky Mountains. Inside the national park, there are around 1,500 black bears. You'll also see deer, chipmunks, squirrels, groundhogs, and more than 200 bird species. If you're out at night, be sure to watch for owls and bats!

Fishing is a traditional Smoky Mountain activity. You'll find brooks and rivers with headwater trout, smallmouth bass, and brook trout. There are also hundreds of miles of roads and trails to explore. Hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding are all popular pursuits. This is also a great park to explore by car. You can buy inexpensive booklets that guide you through sights like the Newfound Gap, the Upper Tremont, Cades Cove, and the Cataloochee Valley.

Be sure to keep an eye out for waterfalls and historic sites. Nearly 80 historic buildings are part of the park, from churches and schools to grist mills and barns. These include the best group of log buildings in the eastern United States! Many of these structures have been preserved by park staff and volunteers.

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Check out the other Bruce Bernhart RV Websites and Blogs:

Solar power for your RV

The care and feeding of your RV battery

The sport of "geocaching" and RV refrigeration basics

The basics of RV power inversion

RV travel tips and tire care

Advanced discussion on power inversion

Tips on buying a house battery and cold weather maintenance

RV Insurance basics

Buying the right generator for your RV and portable power

RV television reception options

Care and maintenance of the RV air conditioner

Top RV destinations

RV long-term supplies and weight considerations

RV Insurance- Road protection and bodily injury coverage

RV battery types and winter charging considerations

Deep cycle battery basics

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Also, be sure to check out the Bruce Bernhart Mandolin Websites:

Bruce Bernhart mandolin rock tabs

Bruce Bernhart mandolin lessons- common scales

Bruce Bernhart on buying and setting up your new mandolin

Bruce Bernhart mandolin lessons- tuning

Bruce Bernhart mandolin lessons- chord patterns

Bruce Bernhart on mandolin history and basic chord structures

Bruce Bernhart on string and saddle adjustment

Bruce Bernhart more tuning tips and whole/half steps

Bruce Bernhart on more chord patterns

Bruce Bernhart on the mandolin family

Bruce Bernhart on mandolin bluegrass chords and patterns


Bruce Bernhart on temperature considerations

Bruce Bernhart lessson on mandolin flats and sharps


Bruce Bernhart lesson on scales, circle of 5ths and meter


Bruce Bernhart on triads, gears

Bruce Bernhart mandolin chord diagrams

Bruce Bernhart on modern emergence of the mandolin

Bruce Bernhart on simple chords

Bruce Bernhart on whole and half-note steps on the mandolin

Bruce Bernhart mandolin practice excercises

Bruce Bernhart on playing waltzes


Bruce Bernhart on majors, minors and sevenths



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