Thursday, September 14, 2006

Smoky Mountain Vacation '06 - Clingman's Dome

Every night since my trip, my dreams have been filled with the Smoky Mountains. Serious. I am obsessed. Possessed. Give me one year to think about it, but I'm really considering moving to Tennessee. I found a new love...a love for something that is so overpowering, it's making entrances into my dreams. There must be a reason.

This second account of my vacation is filled with yet more scenic views and this time, it's a piece of the Smokies called "Clingman's Dome." It is absolutely awesome. I told my daughter this is where you can spread my ashes because it's the most beautiful place in the world as you can see by this picture I took below:

Awesome doesn't even begin to describe it. But, let me back up....

We arrived at our cabin on Tuesday at 4 and spent the rest of the night playing pool, downing Coors Light (I don't drink, but I did get tipsy off of a half of one, believe it or not) and playing in the hot tub. I beat Melissa's friend 5 games of pool and vowed that's one thing I am going to start saving up for. We just had a blast.

The next morning, we got up and headed out to the Gatlingburg Information Center at the beginning of the Smoky Mountain National Park. I don't think the clerk behind the desk was amused at all when I told her I wanted to see some bears. Think it's a local thing and I was the typical tourist. My, how the tables have turned. Living near Chincoteague and working in a restaurant on the main path there, I get many questions about the ponies running through the streets. "Do you actually see them running through the streets?" If I heard it once, I heard it a million times. Sure, they're running all over the place. Poor tourists...little do they know they're only running around the refuge and you're lucky if you see one up close.

Anyway, so bears were out, but she told me about a place that we'd never been before called Clingman's Dome that sounded pretty interesting.

She showed me a picture of it, and I said let's go. Seems it's the highest point of the Smokies, so this was going to be an adventure.

We stopped off at a really neat picnic place near there and cooked hot dogs by a waterfall. Tres cool. Man, they were good, too. I brought some chips and potato salad and we had a feast. Here I am stuffing my face.

Then, we were off. Silly us forgot to gas up and we made it to Clingman's Dome on less than a quarter of a tank. It really helped on the way down being as we didn't have to put our foot on the gas.

As soon as we parked, we headed out.

We stopped at the sign and got Melissa's friend to take a picture of me and my daughter and son. The paved road took us up, up, up and I was always lagging behind. This was a test of pure endurance, I'm telling you. Not to mention I forgot to pee. But, we made it. I don't know why this picture is turning out blurry, but the original is clear.

It was pure awesome, though. Visibility was bad, but we were actually up in the clouds which you'll see in this picture. Simply awesome and a truly wonderful experience! We were heading back to the cabin, but wanted to stop off at Ripley's

Aquarium, which I'll post about tomorrow. Awesome, awesome!


  1. Beautiful pics! You're making me think maybe we can have that mountain experience wthout going all the way back West. We just need to get out of Florida once in awhile. :)

  2. That's a neat area and the overcast doesn't hurt the photos. I look forward to seeing the Ripley's Aquarium photos when you get the chance to post them.


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