Thursday, July 11, 2013

Road Trip, Part The Middle

Scenes from our Road Trip, Part 2.  (Part 1 here).

I grew up in East Tennessee, so I'm sure that makes me a redneck in some way, except that the only manifestations seem to be that I say y'all and like bluegrass music.  Both of which I think are pretty acceptable.

Yet if you are a bona fide Tennessee redneck then you know the glory that is Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge.  It's full of fudge and airbrushed t-shirts and year-long Christmas shoppees and fudge.  It's also set in the very picturesque and stunning Smoky Mountains.  It's give and take.

Some of my favorite memories from my high school days are the trips we would take to Dollywood.  It required about an hour's drive and the willingness to stuff your face with funnel cakes and ride rides all day (I was ok with one of those).  Back then, the park was more so craft show meets local fair, with a few small roller coasters and lots of "mountain charm," only $25 to get in.  I liked going because I could get a corn dog and actually ride some of the coasters, since they were pretty tame and I was familiar with them (I hate roller coasters).  There were (are) lots of water rides, so a day to Dollywood meant you were going to be a sweaty hot mess who had to ride home in wet jeans.  It was awesome.

These days, it's changed and grown a lot.  There are a ton of new real-deal roller coasters, and it costs more than double what it used to.  But it's packed and a super popular spot.  Luckily, my parents know someone who works for the company, so they have a fancy VIP card that lets them get in for free and bring up to 10 people, as often as they want.  So, free day and something to do?  We were in.

(Eating, duh.  I got a footlong corndog.  A duck tried to eat our food)
I loaded up the sunscreen and endless snacks and toys to appease the monster.  My mom watches my niece Lyla during the days, so she got to come too.  It was certainly a much different experience than my days of maxing out every minute and dollar and riding everything - we took it easy, ate good stuff, and watched Lyla ride a few kiddie rides. 

We rode the big coal train up the mountain.  We rode the merry go round.  We saw lots of "interesting" people.

Then the storm clouds began to gather, but both kiddos were fast asleep in their strollers.  So we decided to walk around a bit more.  Then the skies opened up.

But, priorities being what they are, we had to get kettle corn before we left.  I was the lucky winner who had to stand in the pouring rain to get it.  The stroller canopy didn't help.

We spent about 5 hours there, which was more than I expected we would.  It was so much fun and definitely worth the $0 we paid to go.  Living in Georgia now, I miss the mountain views that are always around my hometown, and even better up towards Gatlinburg.  I definitely stop to appreciate the views whenever I visit now. 

Naps for all when we returned.  Or not napping, that too.

And just a few more shots of our 4th - courtesy of the iPhone:  
Target shopping in festivewear, a huge hunk of meat, a pretty lemon cake, and striped girls.
Part The Last, tomorrow!  


  1. Awwww looks like such fun! We've been wanting to see the Smoky Mountains and I'm sort of hoping we can swing that direction over Thanksgivign when we are sort of in the neck of the woods (on the other end of the state - snort).

    If there are corn dogs and/or funnel cakes, I'm in.

  2. Love that last pic of you and Harper! And I think I need to ride in that pig car. Right up my alley. Looks like fun!


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