I started with the last of the trip when I wrote about our hike to Clingman’s dome last week; now, let me continue on with the rest of the trip.
Earlier in July we planned for a weekend away. Originally, we were going to Knoxville, but then decided driving a little bit further would be worth it to finally get the chance to go to Gatlinburg. Friday we drove, and what was only supposed to be a little over a five hour drive ended up being closer to 7 because of all the traffic, road work, and accidents. I actually was a little surprised by how much traffic there was from out of Nashville on to Knoxville. I am guessing that is a pretty regular thing, or maybe it’s the norm on a Friday when it’s the last weekend of summer break for most around these parts.
So we finally made it, checked in to our Air B and B cabin, then took a walk around.
The place we stayed was great! Very roomy and clean with the perfect mountainy feel. It was also just a short drive from the main strip in Pigeon Forge. Pigeon Forge being the address of the place we actually stayed and not Gatlinburg at all. This I didn’t realize until Saturday when we went for a drive and saw the sign to Gatlinburg.
The two places, Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg, are only a few miles apart. Not sure what time of the year would make it so, but without the traffic it would probably only be a 10-15 minute drive between the two. For us, on Saturday, it was closer to 45 minutes. The traffic was crazy!! Even in Pigeon Forge people and cars were everywhere. Also getting a table for dinner on a Friday night takes anywhere from 30-90 minutes. We had pizza that night since that wait there was only 30 mins (we called around) and we were all hungry from the trip.
Saturday was much like our usual, only after the morning in the room reading, relaxing, and drinking coffee we went for a scenic drive. I saw online pics of waterfalls in the area so asked google and came up with The Place of a Thousand Drips. It was on a scenic motor tour and the GPS said it was over an hour away, that because of traffic cause mile wise it was only 17 miles.
Once we got onto the Roaring Fork Motor Trail it right away got very narrow and went to a one way single lane. There were vehicles parked where ever there was a place the whole way and a line of cars driving the entire time. There were also a couple of hiking trails along the way that got you to more secluded waterfalls, but we were looking for the ones along the side of the road. It was very green and very beautiful! We stopped at three places, actually found parking, and walked off the road just a bit on one to look at a little road side cabin and get close to the water.
At the end of the trail was the roadside waterfall so we nabbed a parking spot again to get a closer look at it. And I guess if you don’t end up finding a spot to park, you can just stop your vehicles in the middle of the road and get out like the group behind us did. But do that only if you want to be those annoying people that block up the flow of traffic and make everyone mad behind you, or block those trying to get out next to you – i.e. us.
From here we stopped once more on our way back to the room to take more pictures of mountainy river views. We had Yuki with us this particular trip so she was happy for the extra walks she got along the way.
This evening we called in a reservation for dinner, it was an hour and a half wait, and when the time was close we headed to the Local Goat to eat. Again, just down the road, but many minutes away because of the traffic. We still had a little time before we needed to be seated, they text when you’re table is ready, so we walked down the strip seeing what there was to see.
Dinner was awesome, I had a smoking cocktail, literally – it was called the Tail of the Dragon and it was fitting seeing as I spent a good part of the evening before begging the guys in my life to drive to Deals Gap so we could drive The Dragon. No one was interested so I consoled myself with a drink of the same name. Um, but actually the drink was not something I’d get again. It came with a smoke filled glass on top of it and every sip tasted how camp fires smell. Not my cup of tea, ha ha. But dinner was excellent and the night was still young, even though dinner was after 9pm, we were in another time zone after all, and I did end up getting the go ahead to drive the Dragon with my guy, but that will be another trip and with my Mini. (The Fusion just wouldn’t be as fun of a drive anyway.)
After dinner we went to a mountain coaster. The line was long, but it moved fast enough. My only experience with mountain coasters was when I was young and we went to Durango to do the Alpine Slide one summer. I did it when I was little, so surely I could do it again older. There were brakes and that’s all I needed to know. Right before we got on the coaster, they showed us the video of how to ride the ride and made it quite clear that you couldn’t use the brakes until the very end of the ride or you would put everyone in danger behind you. I was now very nervous for the ride. It was night time so we were riding in the dark but with colorful lights lining the track and the sleds looked like they picked up some speed. Oh, no!
Up we went and at the top we had to push the break levers forward to keep the breaks off, and hold them there the whole time! My arms weren’t quite long enough to comfortably hold them and I was so worried I’d make the person behind me crash, Stephen, should my arms let off and pull the breaks at all. So I held my arms forward the whole time and could do nothing but hold my legs together as tightly as I could when my skirt flew up once the cart picked up speed. At least it was dark, most of my skirt was tucked under the sides of my legs, and the picture taking part of the ride was not working. Whew! After it was over and we could pull the brake back to stop, Stephen informed me that you didn’t really have to push down so hard on the lever after all. I wish I knew that before. But like I said before, I was glad we did this in the dark. I think I wouldn’t have liked it as much had I seen everything in front of me knowing I couldn’t slow down. 😉 When all was said and done, it was fun. I’d do it again, but dress a little bit more appropriately.
And that was the first full day in the Smoky Mountains. We did even more the next day, so stay tuned for that and all the pics to go with it. 🙂
Thanks for reading.