Sunday, October 18, 2015

Gatlinburg Vacay 2015: Day 1, Saturday, October 17

I had planned on getting up at 4:00 a.m. and getting us ready, packed, and loading everything in the car so we could depart from home at 6:00 a.m. thus getting us into Pigeon Forge at noon. Well that plan went south when I hurt my lower back/hip area at work Friday afternoon.  I'm not sure what I did, but it just all of sudden had a little pain when I would get up or sit down in my chair.  By the time I got home, I was in a bit more discomfort, which put a damper on my plans to do the majority of my packing that afternoon.  Instead I took a nap hoping the pain would go away.  When I woke up, I was still hurting.  I had to drive to Rockport to pick up mom and I wanted to visit Gavin for a few minutes.  My sister ended up giving me some muscle relaxers to take.  I picked mom up and headed home.  Once I got home I was going to get supper started and then take the muscle relaxer.  I bent over to get a pan out of the cabinet and seriously did myself in for the rest of the night.  I promise I've never felt the pain, hurt, and discomfort that I was experiencing at that very moment.  I couldn't hardly breath, or stand, or walk or sit.  I thought I was going to puke!  I ended up taking the muscle relaxer and trying to lay on the recliner of the couch, mom finish making supper, and keping dozing off on the couch, and then decided to slowly and carefully move upstairs to my bed.  When Shawn got home, he got me the heating pad out.  I used it off and on all night and by morning, I was feeling much better.  I was actually up during the middle of the night doing a little packing since I was feeling better and was wide awake.  I ended up getting up for good around 5:30 a.m. or 6:00 a.m. and started getting ready.  I felt alot better, but was definitely taking it easy with my movements and didn't lift anything.  I packed what I could, and then Shawn had to carry everything downstairs and loaded the car for me.

We left the house at 8:00 a.m. and stopped for breakfast at Dee's Diner in Owensboro.  Shawn had been wanting to eat there again, so I figured since we were actually going to be driving right past it that we should stop.  Shawn got the sausage omelet and it came with home fries and toast.  He also got one of their famous pancakes and had it topped with peanut butter and whip cream.  Can you say belly ache!  I had the country ham and scrambled eggs.  I also got an order of french toast, which was really yummy!

We stopped a couple times to get gas and drinks, and then at the Tennessee state line rest area.

When I was looking on Google maps the other day and planning our route, I noticed that it was taking a different direction through Bowling Green thus avoiding all of Nashville.  And once we were on I-65 South, Shawn's GPS actually took us the same way thus avoiding all of the Nashville, TN traffic.  I had to tell you that was definitely a nice route, and was nice not being in all that traffic!  I felt like the entire drive went really fast.  We encountered no delays, wrecks or construction at all and had smooth sailing the entire way here.  We were in some heavy traffic in Seiverville but I had already planned on taking some of the side roads vs. sitting in that super congested parkway traffic.  

We had a late lunch at Fuddruckers, which was just as yummy as it always was!  I had the chopped steak dinner, and Shawn had a 1/2 lb. burger with the works.  I've heard we are supposed to be getting a Fuddruckers in Evansville but there is nothing yet.  We also found our first geocache of the trip in their parking lot!


After lunch and a quick trip to Walmart to pick up Shawn's medicine, we headed to our hotel.  With it being Saturday and the middle of the afternoon when were arriving, I knew I wanted to avoid the main parkway as much as possible and re-familiarized myself with all of the back roads and side roads via Google maps before we left.  We bypassed all of that traffic and that makes me happy!  HAHA!

We have stayed at Vacation Lodge our last two trips to the area and have had much success with them so we booked again.  And again, we are not disappointed.  I waited out front while Shawn checked us in.  The check in was fast and the ladies were super friendly.  We are in the exact same room we were in last time, without requesting it cause I didn't remember the number (306 for future reference), and it looks the same with the exception of new carpet.  Probably the only thing I dislike about this room is that there is no desk, or work table, for me to sit at with my computer.  Last year I just sat in bed with my laptop but that always made me sleepy.  And I was going to pack a TV tray with us because I knew from past experience about this, but forgot.  I called the front desk to see if they had a table or desk that they could bring me and the lady said they didn't, but she said she might be able to find a card table for me to use and I told her that would work if she had one.  It was only a few minutes later that a worker arrived with a card table and table cloth for me to use.  Seriously great customer service!

Oh I seriously can't wait to take some baths in this big hooptie tub!  

The view out our hotel window.  

My little card table/desk set up!  

After unpacking and resting up for a bit, we decided to venture out.  By looking out our window, I could tell that traffic was seriously backed up in the lanes coming out of GB into PF, but on the lanes going into GB it was smooth sailing so I knew we would probably be fine. It was probably around 7:30 p.m. when we did this and completely dark.  I had seen some pictures from the Internet of being able to view the downtown Gatlinburg lights from one of the overlooks along the Gatlinburg bypass so I told Shawn I had wanted to do that, and then we could drive around GB for a while and then get a sweet treat back in PF at the Mad Dog Creamery.  They seriously have the best ice cream in town.  

My plans went south a little bit.  HAHA!!  It was smooth sailing all the way to the GB bypass, and even on it, traffic wise, with the exception of the one car behind me, and then not being able to see where the pulls off were because it was so totally dark out there!  I can tell you that I obviously have never driven that road at night and probably never will again.  HAHA!!  We got to the end without ever seeing either of those pull-offs.  I told Shawn that's something we are gonna have to do around midnight when there hopefully would be no traffic, and from the opposite direction so that we could just pull into the pull-out without having to cross traffic to find it.  Once we made it to the end of the GB bypass, traffic was backed up forever on the road going into GB!  It took us a while to actually get into and thru GB, but it was fine because it gave us a chance to look around and see where all the places were.  Plus there was a ton of people out so it's always fun to people watch.

I don't think either one of us were that hungry, but smelling all of the wonderful smells coming from all of the restaurants that we were stopped in front of, our bellies started growling.  Knowing that I definitely didn't want to sit in all of the traffic that was backed up on the main road that goes between GB and PF, we decided to find a place to eat.  We stopped at No Way Jose's Cantina next to the Aquarium.  They have a small parking lot and we had parked there the last time.  There wasn't any place to park and as we were circling some people came out and left so I whipped the Acadia into that spot.  Even though it was 9:00 p.m. there were plenty of people there and more came in after us.  We had eaten there before and it was pretty good.  I remember Shawn getting some kind of taco that was really good, so I knew I wanted that.  After looking over the menu, we ordered and then started in on their delicious chips and salsa.  They have a chunky salsa more like pico and it was so good!  When the food arrived I was in awe of how big the plates were and how much food was on them! ugh!  Everything was seriously delicious! And we ate it all!  And I have a feeling we'll probably be back again before we leave the area!  I had the fajita tacos - one steak and one chicken, Shawn had the carnitas burrito, and then we both got an ultimate taco (which is the one I remember being good from our last visit).  

These tacos were seriously packed with goodness!  And the onions and peppers were grilled to perfection in my opinion!

It was probably around 10:30 p.m. when we left the restaurant.  I was hoping that all of the traffic would be cleared out on the drive back into PF and thankfully it was, which meant smooth sailing all the way back into GB.

Back to our hotel and into our jammies for the night. I started blogging about our day's adventures, but quickly got seriously sleeping (thanks to the Tylenol PM I intentionally took hoping to sleep well during the night) and headed to bed.  The beds in our room are seriously comfy and I had no trouble quickly falling asleep!

So my goal is to blog daily about our trip and include lots of pictures!  I can guarantee lots of pictures, but not sure how the blogging daily will be!  


Jan said...

Awesome first day! You've given me a lot of ideas for our next visit. Driving through O'boro and Bowling Green? Who knew!!! We loved Vacation Lodge and stay there whenever we don't stay at our timeshare. No Way Jose also has a location in PF if you don't want to drive into Gburg. We have eaten at the PF one and the food is indeed awesome! Can't wait to hear about day 2!!! Jan S

Miranda said...

I love No Way Jose's! Have a good trip:)

Missy Finney said...

Love your blog!! We will be taking a quick trip to GB in November, so I'll continue to follow your post for some ideas! Have fun & keep the pics coming! ��