It’s spring, and the Dixie Leisure Travelers were on the road again for our spring gathering. This time we headed to Harrison Bay State Park in Tennessee, May 5-8.
Created in 1937, Harrison Bay is Tennessee’s first state park and offers camping, boating, golfing, biking, birding, fishing, hiking, and last but not least, beautiful sunsets, just to name a few of the available outdoor activities.
When the Tennessee Valley Authority dammed the Tennessee River, Chickamauga Lake was formed and part of the town of Harrison was submerged – hence the name Harrison Bay. The Park is on Chickamauga Lake about 20 miles northeast of Chattanooga, just off I-75. It is also located on historic lands known as the Cherokee Campground, consisting of three villages ruled by one of the last great Cherokee chieftains.
This gathering had 19 coaches bringing 38 people to Harrison Bay for a relaxing, fun outing. The campground is wooded, providing a lot of welcomed shade. Since the campground was so wooded and spread out, one of our members came up with the idea to use an RV collage to show off all of our coaches and the surroundings better. It really is a beautiful campground.
As has gotten to be normal for our group, people started arriving on Saturday, May 4, and by the end of the day, half of the expected rigs had arrived. There was a raptor feeding that afternoon, and some of those who had arrived early decided they wanted to go. It was an interesting and informative presentation. As the ranger fed each bird, he talked about their traits and personalities and how they represented that species. The park has three rescued birds in residence: a turkey vulture, a red-tailed hawk, and a great horned owl.
That night for dinner, two grills were set up, and those who wanted to could bring their meat to grill and their sides. It was an informal gathering, and we began catching up with all and getting to know some of our new members. It was a very pleasant evening that was cut short by a little rain shower, but we were promised much better weather the next day.
Sunday morning brought Cinco de Mayo (let the party begin) and the rest of our group. Visiting continued from the previous evening, and we started to get ready for the Cinco de Mayo lunchtime feast. The chapter supplied the fixings for taco salads, and those attending supplied all the extras, potluck style. After that wonderfully delicious lunch, it was siesta time.
Siesta in this situation is defined as visiting and getting to know our new members, even though a few members were seen nodding off just a bit. We did have one couple drive over from Memphis to check out the Leisure coaches and have lunch with us. We hope to see them soon in their own coach.
One would think after that huge lunch we would be through eating for the day, but no, we were just getting started. Plans had been made for dinner at Dockside Restaurant, located at the Park’s marina. Being only about a mile from the campground, some decided to walk off lunch, and some drove. There were tables set up inside the restaurant, but because it was such a gorgeous day, some dined on the covered patio. The service was great and the food delicious, but the company is what sent the whole experience to a higher level.
Less eating was planned for Monday. The morning started with people chatting, comparing coaches, and sharing hints for the easy RV lifestyle. About 12:30, we gathered for carpools to Countryside Cafe for lunch. It’s “good ol’ Southern Cookin'” with meat and three or so other choices from the menu, such as the mile-high strawberry shortcake seen below. Everyone seemed to enjoy their meal. Back at camp, we visited some more, strolling between coaches to catch up and meet new people.
Well, so much for eating less today. We had planned a light evening potluck of hors d’oeuvre or finger foods. Well, everything was so good and so plentiful that some of us over ate, again. But it was great fun, and we visited until way after dark.
On Tuesday, the last full day, we had no planned activities until dinner. People were strolling, visiting, riding bikes, hiking, or just lounging. Or some combination of all of those.
People had a good, relaxing time, and began getting ready to leave on Wednesday.
About 5:00, we gathered for carpooling to Puléo’s Grill restaurant in Ooltewah. They specialize in Italian foods, but have a good variety of other tasty items. The food was very good. The highlight of the evening, however, was a presentation made by our new chapter leaders to the out-going leaders who formed the group in 2005 and have been the leaders ever since. The chapter is where it is today because of their tireless efforts and dedication.
After returning from dinner, people strolled, said goodbyes, and continued getting ready for departure on Wednesday. A few coaches had decided to stay another night or two, so they could relax more than the rest of us.
In ending I would like to thank all of our wonderful photographers for sharing their pictures to enhance this post. Their time and talents are so greatly appreciated.