Summer in the Smokies

We are settling into our latest workamping opportunity in Stecoah, NC which is located on the southern border of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

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We will be living and working at the Ironhorse Motorcycle Lodge and Resort. We are located about 20 miles from the Tail of the Dragon, a section of U.S. 129 through Deals Gap that has 318 curves in 11 miles of roadway. The Dragon and several other routes such as the Cherohala Skyway and Moonshiner 28 make this area a mecca for bikers from around the world.

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We applied for this job way back in January and after a bit of negotiation on our start date were hired on for the season which lasts until November 1. Our benefits include a full hook-up site with free wifi and cable TV and free dinner on the nights we work. We will be making $10 per hour after our first 15 hours of work. Giving up 15 hours of work for our site hurts a little but should be partially offset by a lower grocery bill since we will be eating most of our dinners at work.

Our site is really nice with a wooden deck overlooking a pretty stretch of nice green grass. Our daily commute to work consisits of a walk of about 100 yards across the grounds to the main lodge.

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Ironhorse rents a variety of cabins, bunk rooms, tent and RV sites to the huge influx of motorcyclists to the area. They have great facilities here with a communal fire pit and patio overlooking the creek, a TV lounge with comfy chairs and sofas, meeting rooms for large groups, a pool table, covered bike parking and a gift shop.

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They also feature the Chuckwagon Grill, an onsite restaurant offering breakfast and dinner to Ironhorse guests. That’s where we come in. We will be working in the kitchen, cooking and serving dinners Wednesday through Sunday nights. The menu offers two entrees per night along with a choice of side dishes. It is mostly comfort food such as barbeque, burgers, chicken sandwiches, meatloaf or spaghetti and meatballs. Saturday night dinners feature their famous prime rib or baked salmon. Many guests say it is the best prime rib they have ever had.

We’ve worked three meals so far including prime rib night and we think it will be very manageable once we get used to it and learn the system and have experienced the various menus a few times. Chuck and Deb are the workamping couple who are training us. They have been full-timers for six years and have returned to Ironhorse for the past three years. They rave about John and Charlene, the owners, and the entire staff and say they have become part of the family and will continue to come back in the coming years. That’s a pretty good endorsement and a reassuring indication that this will be a good summer for us.

There will be plenty to keep us busy in our off time besides the miles and miles of awesome roads to explore on the Harley. There is a huge lake just to the north of us for kayaking, swimming and fishing. We can go whitewater rafting on the Nantahala River, along with lots of hiking and waterfalls in the National Park and Nantahala National Forest. There are many Appalachian cultural museums and even a few breweries to sample. The city of Asheville also has much to offer and is only an hour and a half away.

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