August 26-29, 2013, Paul and I went with Amy and Matt to Gatlinburg. It's the first time in about 30 years I have been. Paul went last year I think when Tommy rode his bike up over the mountain. (This isn't as organized as I started out to make it; there are just so many pictures. Since I have my blogs printed every year, though, I wanted to get as many representative of each day as I could.)
The view from our cabin.
Our cabin at Hidden Valley.
First night we ate here.
Next day the Aquarium.
Inside the aquarium - beautiful settings and exhibits, including exotic fish and people!
Visitors walk underneath the tanks and this is the underside of a sawfish swimming overhead. Looks like a "Star Wars" character.
Paul and Matt challenging each other on the pinball machine in the cabin.
Relaxing morning. Yes, Oscar went and he was so good! The chiggers did not bother anyone but me and you can guess where I had them...
Bears in the garbage bins one night. Mother and three cubs. Next morning Amy saw one walk right beside our cabin. After that I was skittish about taking Oscar out!
Typical vacationers' snacks, jackets and stuff strewn in the kitchen. Oscar's blankie goes everywhere with him. He was really good (I think) while we were gone a lot during the day. Of course, always happy to see us. Very good with Matt though Matt still doesn't make eye contact with him. Oscar tolerated him in the back seat. (Paul and Amy drove - Matt and I were in back (with dramamine) on the trip there; return trip Paul drove and I sat in front. Then O got a little hot and restless and I held him almost the whole way back and he slept.
Amy and Matt went zip lining one day - we dropped them off and that's the day we drove to Cherokee, NC. They loved the experience! Said after the initial zip it was fun all the way - 8 or 9 stops and zips through the trees!
Wildflowers at the top of the mountain.
This is one I found on internet - can't believe I didn't make a picture of the whole Rockefeller Monument, I only made the plaque. Quote from internet source (free to share): "Rockefeller Memorial honors a $5 million donation from the Rockefeller Foundation to help complete land acquisitions to bring about the creation of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park."
I have been on the Appalachian Trail!
This calzone really made their eyes bug out - they had no idea it was going to be so big! They shared and we had it the next night with chili that Amy made. Looks like the Horn of Plenty.
Gatlinburg view from the sky lift they did talk me into. Paul bought the tickets and before I knew it I was in a seat gliding on up that mountain! A slow peaceful ride up and back, with time at the top to look through the tourist telescope.
Strangers are always so nice about taking pictures so one of the group won't be left out. From top of the Sky Lift.
I rode up with Matt...
And down with Paul. See, I looked more relaxed! Riding facing the mountain you don't get the effect of the view below until you descend. The stream that runs through Gatlinburg behind us.
Years ago we did walk up to Clingman's Dome - after you reach the base, it's about a mile up and I do remember that! Now I'm glad to get a picture of the sign! I think it was 35 miles over the mountain and it took us a little over two hours, with a few stops along the way
One of I think three tunnels we drove through.
Ripley's Believe It Or Not. Well, I got separated from the crew and I don't do noise well - and of course I ran into the room that had all the surround sound noises and a man was pushing every button for his son. By this time, the rooms led off from each other and it had become somewhat of a funhouse feel - though not fun for me. I came to the "swinging bridge" and could hardly stand to look at it so I took the "Coward's Exit." I followed the nearest exit signs and soon reached the street. Believe It Or Not! The person below on the left is a real person. The one on the right is not.
Entering the National Park for a drive around Cade's Cove. We should have taken a lunch and better shoes. But we did get out at a few places and the small visitors' center in the Cove had chocolate and granola bars.
In Cade's Cove. I can see why Mr. Oliver didn't want to leave.
One of two bears in trees directly over the road we saw while driving through the scenic loop. Park rangers had them spotted and were moving traffic along, allowing just time for quick pictures. I read later that they stay in trees a lot of the time. The ones near our cabins had not read those instructions.
One of the cabins in the Cove. Three doors, one room.
The Alamo Restaurant where we ate the last night of our stay. Wonderful filet steak! Meant to order a petite, had to stop myself from eating all of it - way on up there on the scale with the pepper steak from Gruene, TX.
Monkey puzzle tree at The Alamo.
Matt's excied about eating here!
Blues Brothers at Happy Days Diner. Last time I met the Blues Brothers was with Teri in Destin I think. We had some interesting pictures with them.
Comedy Barn in Pigeon Forge.
Good family show - got the kids involved.
Great breakfast at Flapjack Pancake Cabin.
Sky Lift pictures posted in display case. My favorite from times past.
Last morning. Glad I took my tripod. No strangers around to take this one. First time I'd used the timer on the new camera.
Rest stop on the way home, above. (Won't let me type above the picture for some reason.)
Paul drove home, while I held Oscar and wore sunglasses, Matt slept (for a while) and Amy played with her phone.
Our last "tourist" stop - in Pigeon Forge - Amy and I could have spent hours in here but stayed 40 minutes while the guys and Oscar waited in the truck.
If we had gone on the trip before we bought tires for my 2002 Explorer, I might have this sitting in my carport! This is what carried us there and back - back up camera, auto hatch lift and close, push button stop and start... Verrrry nice. (Just would like a maroon color!)
A few parting photos...