Tuesday, December 8, 2020

Great Smokey Mountains National Park Part 1

Originally, we had a vacation to Hawaii planned for April of 2020, but COVID put a wrench into those plans. 

Side note, VRBO was horrible at making things right. Their host did not follow the VRBO Covid refund policy at all, and they did nothing about it. 

The runner up destination ended up being the Great Smokey Mountain National Park in August. We actually stayed in Sevierville, which is the area where Dolly Parton is from. This city is North of Pidgeon Forge which is just North of Gatlinburg. While I really like Gatlinburg, as a tourist destination, it's great to visit but I don't want to stay there. 

We debated renting a car, taking the Forester, or the Crosstrek Hybrid. The latter won out because it has plenty of room for two, and I wanted to see how it did in regions with more elevation changes than mid-Michigan.

Driving in the clouds


Overall, the total from Michigan, to Tennessee, tour the Smokeys, and back to Michigan was a total of 1,769 miles and the total trip used 48.77 gallons of gas. Mileage works out to 36.27mpg.


In the Gatlinburg area, there were very few places to charge. On the way out, we did drive about half way, and stay in a hotel between Dayton and Cincinnati. The hotel had a charging port available (I picked the hotel for this reason).

Charging at the hotel

Other than at the hotel, we did charge while at Bennetts Bar B Que in Gatlinburg. 

All the rest of the time we were running mostly as a hybrid, instead of a plug-in hybrid.

Driving Impressions:

One of my concerns was how the engine would handle steep inclines, especially once the battery is effectively drained. The gasoline engine uses the Atkinson cycle and has less horsepower than the standard 2.0L engine in the Crosstrek.

While the Crosstrek Hybrid is no race car, not even close, it handled the inclines well. It never bogged down, or caused traffic to back up, always keeping pace with the traffic flow when going up hill. 

Going downhill, we were able to use the "B" setting on the shifter, causing the car to do more regenerative braking, and use the actual brakes less. I can't say for sure, but I suspect with careful driving, the brake pads will last a very long time, just because of the benefits of regenerative braking. 

The slightly lower center of gravity afforded by the boxer engine, and the battery, caused no issues on the turns and switchbacks in the mountains. 

Jeep Week:

 When we arrived, it was Jeep Week. Here are some pictures of a few Jeeps. We'll have more pictures of the Crostrek Hybrid in the Great Smokey Mountain National Park in the next blog entry. 

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Great Smokey Mountains National Park - Part 2

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