A Relaxing Float Down the River

Today we finish up with stories from my honeymoon. This time we relive the “relaxing” trip we had riding inner tubes down the little river in Pigeon Forge TN. We had a great time. We have the scars to prove it.

We talk about scooter and his ddeath-defyingdives, taking people out of the river, bees, deathly undertows, all for only $8 for the whole day.

Dolly Greedy Parton

Dolly Parton

According to an AARP article Dolly Parton is worth between 200 and 400 million dollars.  She has done some fine things with her money like she has donated millions of books for parents to read to their children. She created Dollywood and the Dixie Stampede in Pigeon Forge Tennessee which I'm sure brings in some great tax money for the area. She has had a music career that has outlasted many many artists.


We went to Dollywood. It was nice. We saw some very beautiful bald eagles. Its interesting in that the typical stereotype of a southerner is a guy named Scooter who has the brains of an ice cube. This then makes you nervous when you hear “Keep you arms and hands inside the ride at all times yall.” When Scooter or Goober or Cletus has your life in his hands it makes you just a wee bit nervous. Another fun fact was  I forgot to take my motion sickness medicine and we were worried about me getting sick. We did a few water rides and were having fun. Nothing too scary. Then we got on this coaster that you could only see a small portion of it. That is becuase the majority of it was inside in the dark. I knew I was going to be in trouble. It whipped us around upside down and backwords, and about the time I thought I was going to hurl it stopped. I was flat on my back looking straight up. I looked at Diane and said, “this is bad I need this to be the end.” About that time it launched us straight up, and pretty much straight down as it blew fire at our face. A couple of more spins and we slammed to stop.

I gagged. I had no good options. If I threw up I had a choice of spewing on the teenagers beside me, hurling on my wife, or swallowing it. I closed my eyes and tried to go to my happy place. I could feel the sweat dripping down my forehead. The little boy turned to me and asked, “Are you ok?” without looking at him I said, “No.” The boy next to him let out a “Man that was awesome.” Diane frantically tried to get somebody's attention to let me get off quick. He asked again, “Are you OK?” Again without looking at him I said, “No.”

Then the car in front of me emptied and the moved my car up and then stopped it suddenly. Here came the flood. I put my hand over my mouth to stop anything from coming out.  This was one of the grossest things I've ever had to do.

Diane again frantically tried to get someone's attention. The car moved again, and my restraints were loosened. I ran to the nearest waste basket and for whatever reason had a dry heave. The good news bad news. The good news was I wasn't doing the technicolor yawn. The bad news is I was dizzy, tired, sopping with sweat. We slowly made our way to the park exit. Thankfully we had hit all of the attractions.

We had some issues finding the exit only to find out that the only way to get out of the park is to go through the gift shop. OK, I know Dolly got this from Disney. Seriously though. I know you got this from Disney, but how much money do you need?

We later went to her restaurant the Dixie Stampede which was good entertainment. However they tell you to show up 90 minutes early before the show. It's imperative that you show up 90 minutes before the show. So we did and they ushered us into this big cantina where you can get a bag of popcorn. Well let me change that, you can get a bag of salt with some popcorn thrown on top of it. Then she will sell you a soft drink (probably about 8 ounces once you take out the ice) in the shape of a boot for 4 bucks. When you exit the place they send you through a weird back hallway down some steps so (you guessed it) you can exit through the gift shop.

Dolly you are the Gene Simmons of country. In fact you look a little like Gene Simmons at this point. I know you say it takes a lot of money to look this cheap, but my God you are scaring the children.  I'm buying stock in botox.

Who Wants Pancakes?

Pancake HouseDiane (my wife) and I  headed off for our honeymoon. Destination Pigeon Forge Tennessee. It was about a 9 hour drive and on the way we listened to the radio, and finally popped in an audio book about making your second marriage work.  It helped pass the time, and kept us alert. We got to Tennessee and when we got to Pigeon Forge it looked like a hillbilly version of the Vegas strip. Instead of spectacular hotels, you had a pancake house, and a pancake house, and a pancake house, and a pancake house, followed by, a pancake house. I’m not making this up. In a one mile stretch there were 5 pancake houses. I would also guess that on the other side of the pancake house was a “Barb B Cue” joint and on the other side of the pancake house was a fireworks place. With this in mind, if I ever meet someone with barbecue sauce on his shirt, maple syrup on his chin, and 9 fingers I’m going to guess he is from Pigeon Forge TN. On the other hand the Smokey mountains were breath taking. Seriously. Wow.

Cabin in Pigeon Forge TNLuckily Diane said, “We better find the cabin before it gets dark” as I wanted to get something to eat. The map from the cabin people’s website said, “do not use mapquest or they will send you on dirt roads.” We followed the map and I felt like I was on a roller coaster. I mean I know it’s a mountain, but the road went almost straight up, and had serious hair pin turns with no guard rail. If you were to slide off the road, you were going straight down. Needless to say this made Diane just a smidge nervous. It had me clutching the wheel with both hands as I would white knuckle it around a corner hoping there was more road under my tires. Our drive was an even steeper climb which was off the previous steep climb road. It also had another turn “blind” turn where you have no idea what you are turning on to. It had rained a bit before we showed up, and in some cases water would come out of the mountain and make the road wet. Kind of an “instant river” right in the road. Consequently, when I went to climb our driveway I spun my tires. Luckily, I made it up on the second attempt.

Our log cabin was gorgeous. It had a pool table, Jacuzzi, full kitchen, etc. It just oozed cozy. It also had water pressure that dripped out of the shower. Consequently, we spent a large amount of our first day relaxing in the hot tub waiting for Gomer to show up and fix the water pressure issue. Later that day we decided to go hiking and get up close and personal with Mother Nature.

Active Bear Area SignAfter talking with someone at the visitor center, we decided to go to Laurel Lake Water Fall trail. It was fairly short, paved, and sounded lovely. Now when we thin of bears we think of Yogi, Smokey, the Snuggle bear. All of these are our friends. They are funny, cute, cuddly. However, when we got to the trail, there was a sign that read “Dangers Bears Are Active In This Area Do Not Approach Them. Attacks on Humans Have Occurred inflicting serious injuries and death. Then under that sign was another sign. “DANGER Falling deaths have occurred closely control your children high vertical drop offs ahead and at falls area.” Well this adds a new slant to this lovely relaxing hike.

Then another thing dawns on us. This is the Smokey Mountains and any travel involves going up. A lot. Like turn the corner and there is another hill. And the sign was right. We had a small path about 5 feet wide (big enough for two people) and on the left we had the cliff of death and to the right we had a mountain that went straight up. Also the only straight road in Pigeon Forge is pancake alley. All other roads and paths curve and curve a lot . So we are hiking up the mountain and many times we are walking around rocks that are 8 to 10 feet tall. So you’re thinking if there is a bear on the other side of this rock, um, I’m SCREWED.

WaterfallThe level of awareness goes up tremendously when you are thinking “ACTIVE BEAR AREA.” Diane and both giggled as we admitted to looking at the path for paw prints. We made it to the falls. They were beautiful. We were amazed at the number of children who were not under control, and figured we would surely meet them at a restaurant later where they could scream bloody murder.

Later in the week we went to a little country church where they did church OLD School. I mean singing hymns with no organ out of a hymnal that I’m pretty sure Moses carried down with the 10 commandments. It was one of those fancy hymnals written on paper. But while we were there another couple who were visiting talked about how they too had gone hiking and indeed seen a bear.  To this one of the town folk also told us to “Watch out for snakes – Copperheads to be specific.”

To this Diane announced, “I’m done hiking.”

I’ll have more stories about the honeymoon. It was the best of times it was the not so best of times. I’ve been telling people it was memorable, and it was.

Music: (at the beginning)  Bluesgrass Album band the song is “Home Sweet Home.