Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The Hummer Tour

Monday, October 20, 2008

Today was the last day of our vacation in Gatlinburg and we planned a hummer tour at noon today. We got up early and got ready and packed everything, loaded the car and checked out of the hotel. We drove into Gatlinburg to pay for the tour and get direction to our destination. We drove through the Foothills Parkway and got some pictures at a pull-off before going to the hummer. Once at the hummer tours, there was the driver and three other couples on the tour with us. Once we all climbed into the hummer, we were off. We drove for a few miles before reaching the point of the tour. While I was a bit nervous about the whole time, it was quite fun. I would highly recommend doing it if you are every in Gatlinburg. It had rained a couple days before, so the trails were muddy and full of mud holes which made for an even more enjoyable ride for me. NOT! Once the tour was over, Shawn and I headed to Nashville to Wendy and Pedro’s House where we settled in for the night. Tomorrow we will head home, stop at Heather and Bowen’s to pick up our puppy, and will be oh so ever glad to sleep in our own bed again. While I always enjoy our vacations, I always enjoy going home and relaxing for a few days before going back to work.

Cades Cove Driving Tour

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Today we both did our own thing in the morning/early afternoon. Shawn went golfing at the Gatlinburg Municipal Golf Course and I slept in. After I finally got up and got ready, I walked down to Shoney’s for breakfast and then headed back down the street to the Old Mill shopping area. I stopped at a few shops along the way and also stopped at the Dixie Stampede to take some photographs.

At the Old Mill, I took lots of pictures, just really playing around with the camera. I went to a few shops and then sat in the park area listening to a local girl sing.

(You got your ducks in a row?)

When Shawn was finished golfing, he picked me up and we went and had a late lunch at Huck Finn’s Catfish Restaurant. Shawn had the fish and chicken, and I had fried chicken. Then both meals came with all you can eat mashed potatoes, cole slaw, navy beans, hush puppies and pickle and onion. After that it was around 4 and we decided to drive to Cades Cove and do the driving tour. Along the way, there were some cars pulled off observing some bears in the woods, so I was able to get a picture from the car before the park ranger had us move on.

Once we got inside the cove, we saw lots of deer and a coyote, but no more bears. It got completely dark on us as we got the second half of the drive, so all we could do was just drive out of the cove.

Once we got back into town, we went to Toyoko Japan Japanese Restaurant. It was a delicious meal with leftovers for breakfast the next morning. After dinner it was back to the hotel for bed.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Our Day Trip to the Mountains/Clingmans Dome

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Whew…what a day today was. I am completely spent!! I have never sat in so much traffic in all my life and honestly, I don’t care if I ever do it again. Honestly, if we ever come back here, which I am sure we will, it will not be at this time of year. We have been to Gatlinburg twice, once the last week in September and once the first week in October and have NEVER experienced the traffic the way it was today. And I don’t think I have ever been in Antarctica temperatures as we were today either. We slept in this morning and then got up and got ready to go to the Smokey Mountains National Park today. We left the hotel at 11:00 a.m. and stopped at KFC next to our hotel and got some fried chicken, biscuits, cole slaw and potato salad to have for a picnic later when we stopped at this place called Chimney Tops picnic area. It was only a few miles to the picnic area from our hotel. At 2:00 p.m., we finally made it to the picnic area and were able to eat lunch.
There was so much traffic going through town and into the mountains today that it was bumper to bumper for MILES! The Chimney Tops picnic area was lots of fun. It was pretty chilly today, but that didn’t stop the hundreds of people that were out picnicking. LOL!! Shawn and I were what you would call amateur park goers and picnickers. Everyone had their grills going cooking food and trying to stay warm and were having hotdogs and burgers and such, and there sat Shawn and I freezing our heebie geebies off, eating a now cold bucket of chicken after the 3 hour drive to the picnic area. People had blankets to wrap up in and hats and scarfs and we had a jacket. LOL!! How was I supposed to know it was going to be so cold while we were down there. At home, we were having 80 degree temps, so I packed like it was going to be 80 degrees!! Luckily, we both had taken a light jacket with us when we left home. LOL!!! It was still lots of fun and we learned a lot for next time. After lunch and cleaning up so the bears wouldn’t get you, we headed off to our destination…Clingman’s Dome.

We didn’t encounter much traffic the rest of the drive. The scenery was beautiful and the leaves were changing colors. There were quite a few pull-offs along the way that we stopped for pictures at. I was upset with myself that I forgot the new tripod, so we had to improvise with sitting the camera on the hood of the car or depending on others to figure out how to use the new camera (that’s why there are full body shots of us and not just the chest area up. LOL!!)

We finally made it to Clingman’s Dome. Once you climb the top of it, you are over 6,000 ft up, and are at the highest point in Tennessee and the second highest point east of the Mississippi river. I had read online that the temperatures at the top of the dome would be about 10-20 degrees cooler than they were on the ground. Well once again, Shawn and I weren’t prepared for the short, steep ½ mile hike to the top. I heard a few different people say it was 32 degrees at the bottom of the hill, so with the wind blowing, it had to of been -2 degrees at the top. It was FREEZING!!! Just the walk from the car to the bottom to the bathroom area, I thought I was either going to freeze to death, or die of pneumonia from breathing in all that cold air. I warmed up in the bathroom area for a second and then we started up the hill. I couldn’t do it, it was entirely too cold and too steep for me to try to climb. Shawn was like we made it this far, you can’t give up now, but I couldn’t do it. He went ahead and I stayed on the ground waiting for him. He was gone for what felt like forever!! I kept listening to see if anyone said anything about a little short chubby guy in a blue jacket having a heart attack or anything on the way up or at the top. Finally after what seemed like forever, I saw him coming down the hill. He said he didn’t think he was going to make it up and had to stop at the resting benches a time or two and that it was completely FREEZING up there. Once you got up there, you couldn’t see anything cause it was so foggy/smoky – hence the term Smoky Mountains, huh? After all that, I couldn’t wait to get to the car and turn the heat on.

Once in the car, we headed back to town. There wasn’t much traffic until you got about 5 miles close to town and we encountered bumper to bumper traffic for the next two hours. I was tired and was getting aggravated with the traffic that I didn’t want to do anything else. We still had our ticket to ride the space needle for the daytime view, but after the wait in traffic to get there and the $10 that it was going to cost us to park in Gatlinburg, I said forget it and we just left and headed back to Pigeon Forge for dinner. Of course that took us another hour in traffic. We finally made it to the Bullfish Grille and only had about a 30 minute wait to be seated. We had a yummy dinner of baby back ribs, potatoes, broccoli, salad and bread.

After dinner, Shawn wanted to play putt-putt at Hillbilly Golf, which is in Gatlinburg, so we drove back into town. Since it was late, there wasn’t much traffic so that was nice. We played the left side of the course this time. You ride a chair lift up to the top of the mountain and then play putt-putt halfway down the side of the mountain. When you are finished, the chair lift will come get you and take you back to the bottom of the mountain. I think Shawn won the came by 2 strokes or so, but I’m sure he cheated. After that we both wanted a sweet treat so we went to Baskin Robbins again for the $6 banana split. And then back to the hotel for a little R & R.

Rain, rain, go away....

...you are runing my vacation.

Friday, October 17, 2008

I got up early this morning and went to get some breakfast at the hotel. I thought it was blah and boring, but Shawn enjoyed it. (When doesn’t he enjoy food, huh? LOL!) Then I came back and took a nap. We went to the Applewood Farmhouse Grill for lunch and then looked around through the different stores they had there and did a little shopping. It rained all day so we spent a lot of time in the car and in stores. Went to a couple of outlet malls. I got a new purse and a new billfold and a cute little outfit for my new soon-to-be-born-nephew. Then we drove into Gatlinburg, paid $5 to park the car and spent the rest of the evening walking around shopping, playing games in arcades and eating. We ate at a place called Blaine’s Bar and Grill and it was delicious. We also went to the Space Needle and road up to the top for a night time view. Our ticket is good for tomorrow, so we are going to go back down there and get a daytime view tomorrow. On our way back to the car, we went into Shoney’s for some yummy dessert and then back to the hotel to hit the hay. I am extremely exhausted and my dogs are barking!!

It's Road Trip Day!!

Note: I always make a trip report of our vacations and instead of posting it all at once, I figured I would post each day as a different post along with some pictures to help tell the stories. LOL!! Happy Reading!!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

We planned on leaving the house at 6:00 a.m., however, we didn’t leave until 10:00 a.m. thanks to Shawn and his last minute shananigans. It drizzled rain on us the entire way, so it made for yucky travels. We stopped about half a dozen times to get munchies. I get sleepy when I drive long distances, so I was constantly stopping to get snacks to munch on or to go to the bathroom. We finally got into Pigeon Forge around 5:00 p.m. There was lots of traffic, but we finally made it to our hotel – the Best Western Plaza Inn in Pigeon Forge. It’s a really nice hotel and a really nice room. I read on the internet that the hotel has recently undergone a million dollar renovation. Our room is an extra large room with a king size bed and a fat whirlpool tub that makes lots of bubbles with only a little bit of bath soap. LOL!!! That tub is relaxing and I plan on using it everyday!!! After we got checked in and relaxed a little bit, we went to dinner at Boston’s Shrimp Bucket. We had eaten there in the past, so we knew it would be good. After dinner, we drove around for a little bit and then went to Baskin Robbins for our $6 banana splits. Yikes, I know! But it’s a vacation and we like to splurge a little bit. After that, I was spent and we came back to the hotel and went to bed.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Another trip to Holiday World

We ventured out to Holiday World again last Sunday. The park was a little bit more crowded than the last time we went and the weather was a little bit more warmer. But neither one dampered our fun. I went with Heather and the kids, and then Chrystal, Braidon, and Nathan joined us via my free tickets I had left. Sunday was the last day they were open for the season, so we had to put those free tickets to use. We had a great time. Brenton and Nathan ran around together and rode the roller coasters and raging rapids, while we all went around riding the kiddie rides and some adult rides. It was Braidon's first time to Holiday World and after a few little mishaps, he had a blast. And has a new best friend...Heather.

Both Zoe and Braidon were non-to-thrilled to see Santa Claus, much less have their picture taken with him. I told Santa that he should be expecting my Christmas letter and list any day now. HA! I actually should of showed Santa what he already brought me for Christmas. HAHA!!