November 9, 2003

gatlinburg and points east

Last weekend, we took a long-anticipated anniversary trip to the Redneck Honeymoon Paradise™ of Gatlinburg. Gatlinburg is actually part of a wider tourist area that has grown up into kind of a megalopolis of entertainment including Sevierville and Pigeon Forge. Sevierville's attractions fall mainly into the theater category with stars like Louise Mandrell and variety shows. Pigeon Forge is filled with go kart tracks, t-shirt shops, more theaters, and DollyWood. Gatlinburg is a mountain town, a classic vacation spot with one main street, lots of hotels, and several tourist (trap) attractions.

Our vacation actually started with a Neyland Stadium experience at the Tennessee - Duke game. We first went to the BCM (a.k.a. BSU) where Lydia lived for a year and a half of her college experience. There we met up with Betsy, the assistant director, and her new adoptee Lilia.

Take a look at some pictures from the trip!

We bought tickets outside the stadium (half price... for great seats!) and had a great time at the game. Afterwards, continued on to the greater Gatlinburg area. Our cabin was through Timber Tops, a company that administers about five hundred cabins in that region. Ours was just out of Pigeon Forge, just a mile and a half off of the parkway. Of course, if you know the area just out of Pigeon Forge, you know that means a mile and a half up. Since it was late at night, we of course took a wrong turn and ended up at a dead end and had to make a 24 point turn to get pointed back the other direction. When we landed at our cabin, we were tired, but happy!

The gist of our two days was: wake up whenever, go into town, do something, eat lunch, go back and take a nap, go to an outlet mall, eat dinner, go back to the cabin and sack out. It was wonderful.

There were only two problems the whole trip. Our Dish network hookup wasn't working. A quick analysis of the situation found that the installer had put the dish on a tree... not exactly the most stationary object when you are trying to aim at a satellite 24,000 miles away. The Timber Tops folks tried to fix it, but were really in over their heads. Happily, they refunded $15 a day for the inconvenience. The other problem - Lydia's Treo accidentally got washed in the washing machine! It was looking pretty bleak until we got it home and let it dry out. Now, it's almost back to 100%! We thought the vacation was going to be more costly than originally anticipated... but not now!

On Tuesday, we took our time coming back, going through Townsend and Alcoa and hitting the U.T. Bookstore. All in all, the trip was well worth it.

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