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Sunday, May 3, 2009

Memphis to The Smokies -Day 2

Somewhere between bright and bleary eyed and bushy tailed, we started our second day of adventuring across the country. Happily, we found a Cracker Barrel right next to our motel. Hooray for breakfast!
Wilder loved the creamer cups. And throwing everything on the ground.
Tasty crayons.
Coloring with Mama.
With full bellies we hit the road. These two conked out for afternoon naps.
Disregard the bug splats. If I thought Arkansas was an undiscovered treasure as far as wilderness goes, Tennessee was paradise. I couldn't stop ooh-ing and ah-ing all along the drive.
With Wilder directly behind me, keeping tabs on him required this handy pocket mirror. Mommy is a shifty spy.
For Wilder rest stops are energy stops. He ran around and around, exploring the little hills the path took.
We were so lucky to be traveling in the spring. Blossoming trees studded the countryside and the weather was perfect.
Driving through Nashville.
This country-bumpkin tourist trap/restaurant/gas station was a hoot.
Some old treasures the store had outside -and a small museum-like collection of other good old stuff inside, too. I wish I knew what town we were in, but we didn't see any signs posted.

Urban cowboys.

Wilder with his first ice cream cone. Yes, we just gave him the cone part, not the whole pile of ice cream on top. That would surely spell disaster. This started our tradition of McDonald's soft serve as a staple on our trip.
My hero. I thought I dropped my little camera bag in the parking lot of the Bean Pot. Brian searched all over for it, the wind would have blown it Lord knows where. Finally we called the search off, but -wouldn't you know- it was in the car all along. I had to include this little blip because it meant so much to me that he'd spend the time and energy looking for something I lost. I love you, Honey!
Gopher! We passed through Knoxville and drove into the Sevierville/Pigeon Forge/Gatlinburg area.
Our first view of the Smokies. Also, our entrance into Hick Vegas.
Pigeon Forge/Gatlinburg is THE PLACE to go if you're sick of Disneyland, Branson, Missouri is a little too tame, and Las Vegas not too family friendly. It was overwhelming, but it looked like a fun place to go if: a) you are taking a trip with extended family, b) you have kids over the age of 5, and c) you want to spend a bagillion dollars. Outlet malls up the wazzoo, live shows and dinner theaters, Ripley's Believe It Or Not owns half the area, PLUS there's DOLLYWOOD -Dolly Parton's own themepark, which I believe started the ridiculous craze of tourist-trap mania. Basically it was Crazytown-and we couldn't wait to leave.

The Great Smoky Mountain National Park visitors center in Gatlinburg. Beautiful blossoms!

The beautiful view of Crazytown and the Smokies.

We were there.
Hunkered down at The Country Hearth Inn in Pigeon Forge (which we don't recommend) we had a memorable night of watching Frazier episodes and "Two Mules for Sister Sarah" -my new favorite Clint Eastwood movie.

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