Bay's Travel Blog

I don't travel much any more. Resist!

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Dollywood/Pigeon Forge, Part... I forget

Sunday, May 1st....

OK, it's a week later. Yeah, I've had a rough week. Don't ask. Also don't ask me how much I've cried today over having an incompatible stupid computer that doesn't want to communicate with professional graphic designers' computers. Those people are whole 'nother race unto themselves. And their computers are, too.

Anyway, it was cold and not raining at Dollywood. Wesley and Emily stood in line for almost an hour to ride a thing that was like the good old fashioned swings ride, but bigger. You know the swings, right? The Swing-a-ma-jig? You get in one of several little swings that dangle from a giant umbrella-shaped top, and the whole thing goes around and then the main beam telescopes up, and it tilts mildly from side to side, slinging you around high in the air in nothing but a swing. I used to really dig the swings before I developed my healthy respect for heights. There's a new ride at Dollywood (for once, *not* a Disney rip-off), but it goes much higher than the old swings ride. So there are shoulder harnesses to keep you from falling from a height of 60 feet or so. I wouldn't get in that thing if you paid me. I'm a huge weenie for heights.

After Wesley and Emily rode that thing, we all went to the picnic pavilion and for the "picnic" portion of the day. Wesley had been informed -- no doubt by a company representative who was trying to brainwash the employees into happiness with the picnic locale -- that the menu was supposed to be improved. I'm not big on brainwashing. I know what it is, and I know how to avoid it. I am a world-class Skeptic. I let my tastebuds do the thinking, thankyouverymuch.

The food is *much* worse. It gets worse and worse every year. It's getting to the point that I would almost prefer to go back to public school and eat in a cafeteria. At least in the last couple of years, they served the yummy fried potatoes. A person could live on those, for heaven's sake. This year the yummy fried potatoes were replaced by horrible, mayonnaise-laden, mushy potato salad. I love a good potato salad. This was not one. The meal was rounded out by lukewarm, bland burgers; lukewarm, bland hot dogs; lukewarm, bland "barbecue ribs" (snort!!!!); baked beans; and potato chips. Do you see a green vegetable in that menu? No? Hmmmmm. I thought maybe it was just me. I would have knocked over little old ladies for a salad.

We sat with Mike and Lisa, Lisa's dad, and their nephew. At least the company was good. And I was very surprised to discover that Mike and Lisa were the couple wearing the dragon shirts we had bolted past when we were running for the park entrance around 10:30 that morning. Lisa and Emily discussed dragon shirts a bit. I have to admit -- Lisa makes them look good. She looked *cool* in hers. I almost get it now. Not quite -- but almost. I'll be a cool mom someday if I work really hard at it and hang out with Lisa more often.

About fifteen minutes into the "meal" (snort again), a woman stood up and gave out "door prizes." Wesley has won a door prize every year except one. It's a big joke for us, but it's true -- Wesley always wins a door prize. It's usually gift certificates that we can use in the park. I like those because then you can buy a cheezy souvenir and not feel like you've wasted actual money, so that makes the kids happy and easy to get along with. They also give out *one* ticket (at a time) to Dollywood or the sister waterpark (Splash Country? something like that). ONE ticket is utterly useless. Who would pay the admission price for anyone else in the family? They should give away at least a *pair* of tickets. The year that Wesley won a ticket to the waterpark, we gave it to a guy who also won ONE ticket. At least *he* might have gotten to use them.

All this grousing is just a preamble to say -- Wesley didn't win a door prize this year. Bummer. At least my kids are old enough not to beg for cheezy souvenirs any more!!!!

Dessert was peach cobbler with non-Mayfield's ice cream. The cobbler was mostly crust. The ice cream was not Mayfield's. The only people who are as addicted to a regional ice cream brand as Tennesseans are to Mayfield's are Texans who love something called Blue Bonnet. If I were running a company picnic in Texas, I would serve Blue Bonnet. I would not force them to eat Mayfield's. And in Tennessee, one should eat Mayfield's ice cream. Period.

OK, so, kids, let's recap:
A. Bay didn't get enough sleep last night.
2. Bay's hair is STILL WET.
III. It's FREEZING in Dollywood.
d. Lunch was horrible.
v. It is Sunday. In Dollywood.

Can you guess what the next step is? Yes. This is the part where we leave the nice, warm picnic pavilion and re-join the throngs and throngs of people in the park. And while I thought it was fairly crowded earlier in the morning (remember, Wesley and Emily stood in line for one ride for NEARLY AN HOUR), at least eleventy-hunnert people had *joined* the throngs of people in the park while I was not eating the icky lunch.

I turned to Wesley immediately and said, "Let's leave. Let's leave right now. Let's go back to the hotel, get a nap, let the kids freeze in the swimming pool, and let's come back around 5:00. The park's open 'til 7:00. We can do it. Let's leave right now."

And my darling husband, who, if we were in Disney World would have said, "Oooh, yeah, that's a great idea!" instead said, "There's no way. No way! We can't leave now!"

We checked the lines at the bumper cars -- long. The lines at ALL the rides were now long. Woodrow wanted to go back to see the eagles. The eagles were up the hill near the Crafter's Holler stuff (and the steel drummers). There's a nice little loop rollercoaster up there called the Tennessee Twister. I love that coaster. Last year I rode it twice in a row without getting off because I got there early in the morning before the crowds had gathered. It's a sweet little ride. But by the time we got up the hill, the line for the Tennessee Tornado was about an hour long.

Ya know what? As I get older, I find I have slightly less patience about standing in lines. I didn't want to ride the Twister if I had to stand in line.

I grumped down the hill to find Wesley and Woodrow looking at eagles. We tried to think of something else to do. No, that's not true. I'm making myself sound better than I actually was. Truth is, I was in a full-blown snit over the whole thing. The park was PACKED with humanity, and it was *still* so cold that my nose was actually *hurting* from how cold it had gotten. My toes were numb inside my sneakers. I was just freezing, all the lines were long, nothing was going to get any better, and I was hungry *and* tired.

Thank heaven, Wesley and Emily and Woodrow finally realized that it was *not* going to get any better, and we all left the park.

Whew. Just in the nick of time.

We got our hands stamped before we left for good -- because I was convinced we still might come back at 5:00. All I needed was a nap and a decent snack, and I would've been good to go. Besides, I hadn't ridden the Thunderhead Gap. That's a *sweet* wooden roller coaster that they debuted last year. Y'all -- I'm not kidding -- I love the Thunderhead Gap. It's an *excellent* coaster, and I'm still shocked to the core of my being that it's in Dollywood. If you get a chance to ride it -- as long as the line isn't an hour long -- it's definitely worth the trip. *Highly* recommended.

So despite the fact that I hadn't ridden a single ride -- not ONE -- I left Dollywood. My hair was still damp, and I made Wesley turn on the heat in the car until my teeth stopped chattering.

Back at the lovely Vacation Lodge hotel, we were surprised and disappointed to discover that housekeeping hadn't made it to our room, even though it was just after 3:00 in the afternoon. We called housekeeping and asked for fresh towels, and that was all we got for the day. I was way too tired and grouchy to put off my nap for another minute. As Woodrow and Emily changed into their swimsuits and prepared to hit the pool, I cranked up the fireplace, crawled between the snuggly blankets of my bed, and promptly fell asleep.

Finally -- *finally* -- finally I started having a good time. I was warm. I love sleep. And no one fussed at me when I snored!!!!

OK, this post is long enough. I'll do the evening portion later!!!!


At 11/5/05 12:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

ROFLMBO @ knocking down little old ladies for a salad! ;) You're a hoot! Awesome-while nursing-reading. ;)

At 16/5/05 1:39 AM, Blogger Bay in TN said...

Oh, I need to correct myself. Texans love Blue BELL ice cream. I'm a doofus. I got it wrong. Then again, I've never lived in Texas, so I hope you'll forgive me. :)


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