Bay's Travel Blog

I don't travel much any more. Resist!

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Pigeon Forge (Sevigeonburgville)

My apologies for the delayed blog. Usually I can get a connection *somewhere*, but Pigeon Forge continues to deny that the rest of the world is actually progressing. In other words, I had no way to update my blog. Ack! Disaster! Catatastrophe! Oh, well, here's my report.

Saturday, April 30 - Monday, May 2

Every year, Wesley's employer holds the comp'ny picnic in Dollywood. They've been doing this -- they say -- for 17 years. I think it's been longer than that. I think it's been forever. I'm actually kind of tired of company picnics at Dollywood. That's just me, though.

We used to just drive up there on Sunday morning and drive home that night, but as Wesley and I have gotten older and more curmudgeonly, we don't want to make that drive twice in one day. So we started spending a couple of nights in Pigeon Forge. We've stayed in a few different places, trying to find the exact, perfect place to stay. After much trial and error -- and after staying in a few places that should have been condemned -- we finally found it: The Vacation Lodge. It's older. It's not a glitzy highrise. It's cheap. And we love it. We get the suite with two queen beds, a sleeper sofa, a kitchenette, fireplace, and jacuzzi. We've been in the same room for three years now, and I love knowing what to expect. It's like home, only nicer and cleaner. The family who owns and runs the Vacation Lodge is meticulous about maintenance and the place is spotless.

The one problem is that Wesley's employer, in an effort to keep the picnic cheap, has re-scheduled it to the beginning of May. May is an iffy month in Tennessee. Our weather tends to be unpredictable. Of the last four picnics, only one has had decent weather. Otherwise, I have frozen my tush off. And I'm sick to death of freezing my tush off!!!!!!! Last year we froze in the rain; this year, we froze in the sunshine. My children are so braindamaged that they *still* went swimming in the heated pool at the Vacation Lodge and then rushed back to the suite to shiver in front of the roaring fire in the fireplace. If only the employer would change the picnic to the end of May, or hey, the beginning of June would be grand. But do they? Oh, no. They're sadists.

So -- on with the trip report.

Saturday, April 30th
I didn't want to go. I just didn't. My littlest cockatiel Guido had only been home from the vet hospital for a week, and I didn't want to leave him in someone else's care. Also, I was having serious issues getting packed for the trip. We don't own enough clothing. We don't own enough suitcases for said clothing. I don't own enough pairs of shoes. I only brought *three*, for crying out loud!!!! There's just something wrong with that.

But when Wesley got up (he had worked night shift Friday night), we still managed to pack what we could into the car, and we left by 3:30.

Our first stop was Kohl's in Farragut. I bought some more clothes for everyone except me. I bought myself a summer purse. I know you're shocked -- I'm shocked, too. I showed amazing restraint!!!! Truth is, I don't like modern clothing. Oh, the colors are pretty. But women's shirts are too short for my taste. I want something that covers my hips. I tend to "borrow" a lot of shirts from Wesley for this purpose, so I was looking in the men's department for some shirts for me. Then I discovered that it's hard to find something made of cotton. What *is* it with all this polyester and nylon???? I want natural fibers!!!! So I bought shirts for Wesley, and borrowed one of his *old* shirts for myself on the day of the picnic.

When we made it to Pigeon Forge, the traffic was -- as usual -- completely horrid. They have been steadily widening the roads there for years, and still the traffic is horrible. No wonder the Smokies are filled with ozone. All those fossil fuels belching their fumes into the air. Don't drive through Pigeon Forge with your window rolled down -- you'll choke on the fumes.

Check-in at the Vacation Lodge was quick and easy, and we drove over to our end of the building and unloaded our stuff. The kids were very helpful.

Wesley called Mike and Lisa to tell them to meet us at Bennett's at ... Oh, I forget the time. 7:00 or 7:30. We got there a smidgeon late because we took the backroads and forgot which road to turn on. Hey, we only make this drive once a year!!!! It's easy to forget!!!!!!

We *always* eat at least one meal at Bennett's Barbecue because we love it there. The barbecue is not sweet. I don't like sweet barbecue. I like it tangy and flavorful. East Tennessee is the land of sweet barbecue. I am the only person I know who doesn't like Buddy's Bar-B-Q. That stuff is rank. Bluh. But we love Bennett's and I always get way more than I can eat.

This was the first time we'd ever invited anyone else to come along with us. Mike and Lisa are considerably younger than Wesley and I -- in fact, they're closer in age to Emily than they are to us. Lisa is a sweetheart. Mike is going to be a cynic when he grows up. We like them a lot. They were very nice and patient with my wild children. We had to wait about twenty minutes before we could get a table -- that's how crowded Pigeon Forge was on Saturday night. I've never had to wait for a table there before, but then, I've never dined with a party of six before.

As usual, the food was sublime. I ate more than I should have and still brought a big box of leftovers back to the Vacation Lodge with me.

During the course of dinner, I told the story of the day my '66 Valiant ran out of brake fluid when I was coasting down my mother's very steep driveway and I nearly drove into the old county jail. Woodrow found this story absolutely *fabulous* and repeatedly asked me to re-tell it. I'll write it down for him so he can re-read it as often as he likes. Wesley is not as fond of that story as Woodrow is.

Lisa and Mike discussed dragon shirts with Emily, and we all managed not to talk about work too much. One of the great hazards of company picnics is the fact that all these people all work together and have a tendency to want to discuss work at social events. Ugh. No, please, no talking about work!!!!

Back at the Vacation Lodge, everyone started falling asleep.... except me. I'm the original insomniac. I flipped through the channels until I came across Saturday Night Live (a re-run) and I flipped between that and a West Wing re-run until SNL was over. Then I went to bed and stared at the ceiling. Note to self: Next time, I need to bring my own pillow. The one at the motel is half a size too thin. And two pillows together were too much. Very interesting ceiling? Not so much.

Next installment: Sunday! The picnic! Wretched freezing weather! Big crowds at Dollywood!!!!! And maybe a picture will be good enough to post!!!!


At 10/5/05 1:15 AM, Blogger Thena said...

We went right past Dollywood every day of our trip but hubby would not stop......I wanted to .......he didn't But he did let me go to the outlets.....


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