Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Day 3: Dollywood

Monday, June 9

Fast Facts:
Start: Tennessee
End: Tennessee
Today's Mileage/Total Mileage: 112 mi (180 km)/797 mi (1283 km)

After some fun hijinks with the in-laws' car (wouldn't start & they had to get a rental), we were on our caravaning way to Pigeon Forge - home of all sorts of touristy shops, dinner theaters and the like. Our goal: to spend the day at Dollywood, the Southern theme park designed (or at least she's the poster girl) by Dolly Parton. (Insert inappropriate joke here. We might have.)

Dollywood is very Southern - first evident when you grab the tram in the lot - the driver will use the PA system to tell you how many seats are left & where they are. (And you do want to take the tram - some of the parking lots are a mile or more from the front gate!)

The park itself is rather quaint, and one does not have to LOVE amusement park rides in order to stay occupied all day long. (Although that's what I enjoy doing!) In addition to the thrill-seeking (or just mildly thrilling), there are all sorts of shops and shows to visit, not to mention all the food you can eat!! There is not so much that you can't do everything you really want to in a single day.

Particularly fun was that I was able to briefly meet up with a friend that I haven't seen in a while (in fact, she only had one child the last time we met! Her second is now 18 months old). Her daughter (same age as Bug) was really friendly while my kids just stared at her. (Oops. I think they get that from me.) We were able to get a great picture of us with the kids. Well, great if you consider the fact that the two mommies are smiling at the camera and the four kids are looking in four directions anywhere but the camera. [This is the part where I'd insert a photo, but sadly mine are on the camera that does not connect to the laptop!] They had gotten there early, and we were late because of the car troubles, and it was HOT, so they got an early start home.

Anyhow, after they left we managed to convince the kids to ride the Ferris wheel and the carousel. And some flying elephant ride.

Now, like I said, this is a place where you can easily do anything you want. Unless, of course, it rains. This park is not set up for rain. So, when a big storm started brewing around 3pm (and by brewing I mean dark clouds & lightning in the distance), the whole park essentially shut down. Now, I am fully aware of the dangers of lightning, and am not questioning shutting down a lot of the rides - especially the roller coasters. But when you can't even go watch a show because their sound & light systems aren't equipped to deal with rain, there's a problem. All you can do is shop. Not only did none of this appeal to us, there is no way you can do that with a 3 & 5 year old who just want to run around & play on the playground. (also closed).

So we left. We were kinda bummed, so we ended up having dinner at a buffet-style restaurant. We were spending the night at a local KOA in a large 2-room Kabin. The in-laws got the big bed, and the rest of us shacked up on bunk beds. The cabin itself was very nice and we were pleased with the facility in general.
The next day would finally find us travelling out on our own.....
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