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Saturday, October 13, 2018

No Vacancy Saturday

White Pelicans didn't seem to be bothered by the drizzle as they drifted by our campsite on the shore of Lake Barkley while we enjoyed breakfast in the van.
Having our fill of bison sightings we left Land Between the Lakes  behind and headed towards Nashville. We reached downtown in just over three hours to find food trucks being filmed for a tv show and parking lots filling up for a football game. Last time we tried to come to Nashville we were warned off due to street closures for a big bicycle race.  We parked for a few minutes in Victory Park, but were starting to get penned in by cars, so decided to move on.

We had chosen two different Harvest Hosts for the night, but both were having big functions so didn't have room. Beth started calling state parks along I-40, but none of them had any open spaces. Saturdays in the fall can be prime camping time.
Deciding we needed to stop and reconnoiter, we pulled into a railroad museum in the small town of Monterey, TN.
Beth asked if we might be able to park in their visitor's lot overnight and one of the docents said there is a new campground just down the road, dialed them, and handed Beth his phone. Turned out the campground had room, so we enjoyed the Monterey museum, then headed a few miles down the road.
Belle Ridge Retreat turned out to be a gorgeous campground owned and being developed by a young couple.

We ended up in a tent sight because we didn't need utilities and promptly set out to explore the campground. Here's a view from the overlook near our site.
Trails for walking and for ATV's are well marked.
There are caves, lakes, and waterfalls on the property. This place didn't show up in "Allstays" our favorite app and website for finding campgrounds, probably because it is so new. We highly recommend staying here if you find yourself anywhere near Monterey. It is very convenient to I-40 and has full service sites for big rigs, tiny cottages, and tent sites further from the highway. Click on this link to their website:
We hiked to this pretty pond in a limestone grotto with tiny streams of water falling over the cliffs.
A bit further on we had to duck under limestone outcroppings.
Beth made up the ladder to reach...
...a porch swing in a gazebo with a spectacular view of the Appalachian mountains. There is an easier path, but this hike was more fun.

We closed the day returning to the overlook near our campsite to watch the sunset over the hills.

Check out the video at the end of this post to see one of the "secret" grottos in the campground.

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