Thursday, October 21, 2010

Gatlinburg Trip

We are back in Dillard after returning from our trip to Gatlinburg, Tennessee. We left for Gatlinburg Monday morning at 9:45am. We drove through the Arts and Crafts Community Loop when we got there since we couldn’t check in to the hotel until 3pm. We stopped at our favorite candle shop anywhere and stocked up on some more soy candles. They are made with 100% natural soybean base and premium botanical fragrance oils. Unlike paraffin, soy is not made from crude oil. These candles burn longer and cooler than paraffin. They are fragrant, burn clean and you can use the melted soy liquids from the candles burning as a lotion to rub on your hands, feet  or wherever. It makes a great moisturizer believe it or not. Like I said, we have bought many candles in our days and these are our favorites. We discovered these candles 2 summers ago. We purchased the following scents this time: lemon grass, pineapple papaya, evergreen, tranquil breeze, cinnamon orange, eucalyptus mint, coconut lime verbena, and southern nights. It is a tough choice deciding on which fragrances to buy. Barbie and I must enter into intense negotiations to come up with the decisions. Check them out at (click here) SOY CANDLES for different fragrances, sizes and prices. You won’t be disappointed.

Before going to the hotel we stopped at a Subway sandwich shop and had lupper (a lunch/supper combo) and took a quick ride to Pigeon Forge, stopped at a Super WalMart and bought a new camera I’ve been looking at and researching for a week or so. It is a Canon PowerShot SX30 IS digital camera. It is a 14.1 mega pixel camera and has a 35x optical zoom lens plus a 4x digital zoom on top of that. It is sweet and I’ve only started checking out all the features. Oh yes, it takes individual photos as well as videos. The traffic for a Monday was crazy in Pigeon Forge, Sevierville and Gatlinburg. By this time we were more than ready to check in at the hotel.

We stayed at the EconoLodge and Suites, one block off of the main drag in Gatlinburg, directly behind the Space Needle. It was also about 100 yards from the Convention Center where the Fall Arts and Crafts Festival was being held.

Space needle from overlook zoomThe top of the Space needle at night or a UFO ? Space Needle 1

Tuesday, we got up early, had breakfast at the River Road Pancake House, then drove to Cades Cove in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Let me get the stats out of the way first. We spotted about a half dozen wild turkeys, 2 deer and hundreds of people. Much to Barbie’s chagrin-NO bears were seen. Barbie got out of the car to take pictures of the deer and was within about 20 feet of one of them, but when it took a couple of steps towards her she scurried back into the car. This was the culprit.


Following our Cades Cove journey, we headed back thru Townsend (“the quiet side of the Smokies”, as the locals say) and Wears Valley before entering Pigeon Forge. We drove through a couple of the campgrounds while there and found them FULL of rvers. We didn’t expect the crowds but I guess they came for 1 of 2 reasons or both: 1) the leaves changing, 2) the Alabama vs Tennessee football game this weekend. We did see a bunch of Alabama Crimson and Cream gear! After we got back to the hotel, we were too tired to go out for dinner so Barbie went out and picked up some KFC dinner boxes. It rained overnight but by the time we got up and going Wednesday morn the rain had ended and it was turning cooler as we headed over to the convention center for  the Arts & Crafts Festival. We got out of there without spending as much as I had anticipated. We left with 2 more soy candles, a new handmade purse for Barbie and some homemade hand/body lotion. I almost bought a 1 string dulcimer, aka “canjo” (I figured I could handle 1 string), but I fought off the urge-maybe next year.


It has only one string so it is very easy to play. It does have a tin can for the body where the sound comes from and a full diatonic fret scale with real guitar frets. I couldn’t decide between a Mountain Dew can or a Miller Genuine draft can so I passed on it.

We returned to the room to drop off the purchases, catch a break then took off in the car thru the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail (one of my favorite drives). It is an 8 mile,  one way road through a portion of the Great Smokey Mountain National Park just outside of Gatlinburg. Check out a few photos below. You can click on any of them to enlarge it.

Driving along Roaring ForkGSMNP Roaring Fork stream Roaring Fork stream 3

A mile or so after exiting  the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail, our next stop was the Smoky Mountain Winery in Gatlinburg. Barbie went in and picked up 4 bottles of wine which we have had before and enjoyed- 2 Muscadine Red and 2 Muscadine White. By then we were hungry so we journeyed back to Pigeon Forge and a Five Guys burger joint we spotted the day earlier. Doncha just love their burgers and especially their fries? By then this old boy was exhausted-you see other than the trip to the Arts & Crafts Festival, this old boy was using my week old walking sticks and my two legs to get around. It is amazing how much strength and endurance I lost being down with my back issue from June 26th until last week. My RE-newed favorite song is the old Chicago classic, “Feelin’ Stronger Every Day.”

This morning after checking out of the hotel we returned to the River Road Pancake House for breakfast before heading “back over the mountain” for the 2 hour drive back to Dillard. You see I had a doctors appointment with the neurologist that I saw 8 weeks ago at 3:30pm. She was the one that walked me through how the nerve damage caused my issues and how the recovery would go. She was pleased at my progress enough to say she did not need to see me again but to call her if I needed her. Of course, she made her point one last time that I reeded to lose weight for my backs sake.

Whew-I’m beat after reliving the past few days. So….’til next time I leave you with 2 campers along the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail.

Barbie and stream

Jeff by tree

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