This is weird.
I usually do my writing while I'm actually traveling, but this time I was lazy! I was lazy and I didn't think that with such a short trip, I'd need to write every day, so I decided to try something different this time!
Steve and I took a rather impromptu trip to the Smoky Mountains. Well, it was as impromptu as we get, I guess. I went to work for a couple of hours on Thursday to finish up preparations for church on Sunday, and when I got home, we headed off on our adventure! Steve had downloaded the audio novel "A Walk In the Woods" by Bill Bryson, which was his story about walking the Appalachian Trail, so we listened to that on our drive up. I love Bill Bryson's books. It was a fun listen, and kind of appropriate subject wise. It made the trip go by fast!
Instead of staying in a hotel this time, we rented a cabin from Dollywood Cabins, and after we checked in at the office, we followed a map up the twistiest, turniest, most confusing road I've ever had the pleasure of traveling. I'm very, very lucky I didn't get car sick, because I usually do on roads like this! We couldn't even see around the turns, so every time we had to take a corner, we took our lives in our hands. Our cabin, named Magical Sunset (I know, it had a name,) was near the very end of this mountain road. It was a great place! It was built on the side of the mountain, and our whole back wall was made of windows, so we had a beautiful view. It wasn't very big, but it was just perfect for us. Another plus, was that we could see the nightly fireworks display from DollyWood from our balcony, which was a nice touch, I thought. We had a hot tub outside, and a loft that had a garden tub, a pool table/air hockey table, an old fashioned arcade console, and a TV. It was a very nice place.
Our first evening there, we pretty much just got settled. We went to dinner, got some provisions for the house, and spent the rest of the night relaxing. I think I might have accidentally swallowed some of the water from the hot tub, though, which I do not recommend. Yuck.
Since we'd rented the cabin from DollyWood properties, we got free tickets into the park for as long as we were there! We decided to go on Friday morning in hopes that it wouldn't be as crowded as it would be on the weekends. Most of you know that I do not enjoy amusement parks as a rule, but since I'd never been to DollyWood, I was willing to give it a try. We actually had a really fun time. It wasn't that hot, and we got a pretty good parking place. It was crowded, but not as badly as it could have been, and I only got slightly wet once, so most of my usual arguments against going to an amusement park were invalidated. We mainly rode the roller coasters, which I love, but we did a few other things, too. We didn't stay late, because we got tired, but it was a fun day. Once we got back, we spent the rest of the day just enjoying the quiet and reading. I fell asleep so hard once I went to bed that I didn't know where I was, and Steve scared me when he came to bed. I couldn't understand why the door to our room was in the wrong place!
On Saturday we went into Gatlinburg to just walk around. The first thing we did was stop at this haunted house attraction that Steve had been to when he was younger. It was off the main strip, and it looked pretty impressive. We decided to go through, and we were the only ones there! I'll admit, I was a little worried about going through, but not because haunted houses bother me that much. I can go through them all day, unless they have live people working inside. I don't like places where anyone can grab you or scream in your face. Mainly because I am jumpy and I tend to protect myself if I'm startled. The guy at the front desk said that we weren't allowed to touch anyone or anything, which made me wonder if there were actors inside that I'd run the risk of punching by accident, so that made me uncomfortable. We got through the first part with no problem, but the next room was very dark. I mean, it was really, very dark. All you could tell was that there was a central chamber surrounded by doors. We tried the doors, and only one would open, so we went through that one, and it turned pitch black. Honestly, we couldn't see anything at all. I was having to feel my way along the wall, and we couldn't find our way out. Every time we found a door, it would lead us right back into the central room. Now, I'm sure that was supposed to be part of the fun, but we literally couldn't find the way out of that part of the house. Steve was holding my hand, and every time he opened a door and went through, I couldn't see well enough to catch the door on the rebound, so I kept running face first into the edges of the doors. I kept asking Steve why he'd want to do something like this, and telling him I was so mad we were stuck in this stupid room, and he was frustrated because we kept walking down the same stupid hallway in the pitch dark and not finding out way out, so when we came across an emergency exit (which was so poorly lit that we didn't even see it the first three times we went down this hallway) that he just opened that door and we went out. I wasn't really mad that he took me to a haunted house, I promise, and I felt bad that we'd cut our visit short, but we literally couldn't find our way out of that room. I kept expecting that a voice might come from a speaker telling us where to turn, or maybe the lights would be turned up so we could see, but that never happened. The galling thing is that I'm positive that the teenagers who worked in that place thought we left because we were too scared to keep going, but that wasn't why! We could not find our way out of that stupid hallway, so we just went through the only door we could find. It was embarrassing. Now I want to go back just too prove we aren't cowards.
We finally made it to the main street and walked down that for a while. We visited a Ripley's Believe It or Not museum, which I loved, and spent the rest of our time just looking around. After lunch, we drove down to Sevierville. We tried going into the outlets, but once we realized it was the tax free weekend, we went right back out again. Yikes. We also stopped at the Titanic Museum. It's supposed to be pretty great, but we just went to the gift shop since we weren't in the mood to do the whole thing. I'd like to do that one day, but it was really busy and would have taken a long time! Once we got back to the cabin, Steve fell asleep, but I stayed up to read and wash our clothes so we didn't have to worry about them once we got home. That was a complete mess, let me just say. Our cabin had one of those stacked combination washer/dryer things. It was tiny! I managed to get the clothes into the drum and washed them, but when I put them in the dryer, it didn't work. It would tumble, but no hot air was running to actually dry the clothes! GAH! I ran them on every setting that machine had, just to see if any of them worked, but I ended up having to pull out all the clothes and lay them out on the furniture to dry. It looked like a rummage sale in there! By the time I got into bed, I was exhausted, but I must've had a bad dream, because I woke up a couple of hours later in a very troubled state of mind. I don't know what I dreamed, or why I felt that way, but no more sleep for me!
Sunday we began the day with some delicious pancakes, and afterwards we came home!
It was really nice to get away and get to just do whatever, or not do anything...no one telling us we had to do something or go somewhere. No plans, no itinerary, just fun and relaxing. Not all trips can be like that, but I really appreciate the kinds that are.
SOME NOTABLE THINGS:
1) Our cabin had one of those hotel-type hair dryers on the wall of the bathroom. Unfortunately, I didn't realize that the cover over the intake was gone. One morning I was using the dryer, and it sucked a chunk of my hair into the intake port. Not only did it touch the heating element inside (shoo, burnt hair is stinky) but it got twisted around the fan and I couldn't get loose. We didn't have a pair of scissors, so Steve had to use a pair of nail clippers to snip my hair off . SIGH. My poor hair is constantly getting caught in everything around me! It's making me rethink the whole long hair thing.
2) Did you know that if you sit in a garden tub while it's filling up, that your body will displace a certain amount of water? Did you also know that if you try and get out of said tub while the jets are on, and the level of water falls just below the jets, but just above the intake port, that the jets will basically power wash the entire room? If you didn't know that, please take this as a warning, because that entire loft got sprayed down. I felt so bad! Not only that, but the whole room was made of wood, not to mention the pool table and tv got wet. Luckily they weren't damaged, but geez, we were worried there for a while. We cleaned everything off as well as we could and had to leave it to dry overnight.
3) If you are in the areas surrounding Gatlinburg, don't be fooled by any store claiming to be an "As Seen On TV" store. You know my weakness for such things, of course I needed to go to one of them! Unfortunately, the "As Seen On TV" store we went to was an ex K-Mart with a bunch of cheesy souvenirs and bad t-shirts, maybe a few as seen on tv products (but you can see those same things and more at your local Target) and row after row of old, trashy, products that look like they'd languished in a storage shed for a couple of decades! Honestly, the sign on the building had a giant "As Seen On TV" logo on it, but it was a lie! A FILTHY LIE!