Our adventure to the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee.
Our adventure began Saturday, April 14, 2007. We left Calvary Baptist Church in our trusty 2003 Mercury Mountaineer. We headed North to the Sofitel Hotel in Minneapolis. We have no pictures from this leg of the adventure since our bags were already packed for the airplane trip to Tennessee. It was a nice european-styled hotel with a nice king size bed and flat panel TV, etc. We enjoyed the room and it was nice to just relax a bit after a stressful (but fun) few days.
We wake up at 5:00am so we can embark on our journey to Tennessee. We drop the car off at the Park and Ride and take the shuttle to the airport. We get through security but don't have a lot of time so just grab a drink from the vending machine and head to our gate. We took off from the Minneapolis Airport at 7:30am CDT.
Approximately 12:30 EDT we arrived at the Tyson-McGhee airport in Knoxville, TN. While we arrived safely and in piece, our checked luggage did not. Luckily, Jessica is an experienced world traveler and thought ahead enough to pack a change of clothes for each of us in our carryon bag. While Jessica was filling out the lost baggage form, I went to get our rental car. I asked what kind of car they had reserved for us. A Chevy Impala. Not bad, but not the most fun for a honeymoon, right? So I mention that it's our honeymoon and after processing a free class upgrade code and a Visa card promotion, she said that she could upgrade us to a Mustang Convertible for only $15 for the whole week! Done deal!
We hop in the convertible with our carryon baggage but make sure to keep the roof up since it's raining. We explore Knoxville a little bit in search of some food and a Wal-Mart. We have an enjoyable meal at Applebee's and a good chuckle at the souther accent and proceed onto Wal-Mart. To save money, we get some groceries to prevent eating out every meal. We also pick up some duplicate toiletries just in case our baggage doesn't arrive. We hop back in the Mustang and venture Southeast toward Gatlinburg, where our cabin for the week is located.
We pull into Sevierville and then into Pigeon Forge and are very surprised at what we see. We were expecting small, rural, and tranquill. We were greeted with flashing full-color lighted signs and billboards all asking for our attention and patronage. Eventually we get through Pigeon Forge and make our way to the outskirts of Gatlinburg. Gatlinburg proves to be similar to our expectations--remaining quaint and more rustic in appearance albeit tourist friendly. We pull off onto the county road to our cabin. We figured that Tennessee should be warmer than Minnesota, but we were wrong. It starts snowing! What is this?! We arrive at Gatlinburg Falls Resort and check into our cabin. Luckily it was nice and cozy and the fireplaces were just what we needed amidst the snow flurries. We settled in and had a good night's sleep. (Since we only got 5 hours of sleep the night before because we had to get up at 5am).
We sleep in until 9:00am and it feels good to just rest. We figure today we'll just kinda take the day as it comes and not plan anything too stressful or eventful. So we get ready and hop in the car. It's only about 60 degrees that morning, but I'm excited to try to convertible top on the Mustang and it's sunny, so why not?!
Here you can see our fun car that we got for the week as well as our cabin.
We don't get rolling until around 11:00, but that's not a problem. We're on vacation! We stop down a the resort office to get some literature about the area and to figure out what we should try to see. For the most part, we were in agreement! That's a good sign, right?! After a little bit, we decide to grab some lunch. Jessica had seen or heard something about The Alamo steakhouse, and me being somewhat a coinesseur of fine steaks, I immediately agreed that it would be a great place to eat. Their sign claims they are the best steaks in the country. We order their specialty--a New York Strip steak cooked over an oak fire. It was very good! We were both impressed and satisfied. Although we do agree that this wasn't the BEST steak we ever had. The Weber Grill restaurant in Chicago holds that honor. But alas, that is another story.
Dave in front of the famous Alamo steakhouse.
Since both Jessica and me are kinda nerds in the academic sense, we decide to go to the interactive Science Museum that was located in Pigeon Forge called "WonderWorks". The building even catches your eye!
Jessica standing in awe of the crashed building!
Inside the museum is fun since all of the exhibits are hands on. We didn't learn a whole lot since we're both fairly educated in the sciences to begin with, but we did learn that our children are going to be ugly--at least some silly computer program said so by blending our faces together. Thankfully I know that software isn't always correct. ;)
Jessica in a NASA space suit at WonderWorks.
After 100 interactive exhibits, we were getting a little tired, so we decide to run our errands. We decided to hit up Wal-Mart to get the things we forgot to get in Knoxville. Like Laundry detergent, sun glasses, some sparkling grape juice... that kinda stuff. We head on back to the cabin for some unwinding in the hot tub, playing some pool, and just bumming around and turn in early to catch up on some more sleep.
The scenic road between Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg.
Dave and Jess in the car overlooking the resort.