Okay, I went, I saw, and I got frightened out of my skin. Who can ask for a better vacation than that?
The damn place was haunted. I'm serious, haunted. I picked up the scent the moment we walked in. Couldn't find a bedroom where I didn't get the heebie jeebies...traded bedrooms back and forth and still couldn't be happy. The best way I can say it felt was that it smelled like feet. Putrid smelly feet. I'm thinking the bedspreads were packed away for years and then when whoever it was bought the cabin to rent out, they figured they'd just unpack them and throw them on the bed...that's what it smelled like. Putrid smelly feet.
But, don't let this wonderful description of a wonderful vacation make you stop reading. Here, let me start at the beginning...
We didn't leave until about 8 that night. Figured we'd miss some of the heavy traffic. If anyone has ever been on I-64 before, you know what I mean. I break out in a sweat and I'm not even doing the driving. I never knew cars could go that fast.
Drove until 2, then stopped in a motel that didn't allow dogs. I live for danger. We threw a blanket over top of Skylar (our miniature sheltie) and flew in the side door. Let me tell you something about that dog. You can lay papers down and that damn dog won't go pee without being outside. Now, we're in a place that doesn't allow dogs and the dog has to go pee, so I'm casing the joint out through the sliding glass doors and seeing no one, I throw the dog on the leash and run outside. Thank God the dog can break records going to pee...out and back inside in less than 30 seconds.
Leaving the next morning was a little trickier. The maids were on the rampage cleaning rooms and eyeing anything suspicious. I knew the blanket on the dog trick wasn't going to work as her nose sticks out too far. So, one of the friends that my daughter took with us to drive had a huge plastic bag with a handle, so we threw the dog in the bag and made it look like she was luggage.
We made it to the van without anyone catching us and headed back out onto the open highway. We had stopped at Richmond, Virginia, and had quite a ways to go, but there was always a sense of adventure in the air when Skylar had to do her duty runs at the various rest stops. Who needs amusement parks when you have rest stops and they're all free?
I don't know if any of you have ever really fully enjoyed rest stops on the interstates, but man, they were like freaking parks. Picnic benches, bathrooms, pamphlets up the ying-yang...it just didn't get any better than that.
And the people. Omg, they were stopping us and asking about Skylar...what a great way to meet people.
Anyway, we made it to Pigeon Forge about 4 in the afternoon. I jumped in the back with Skylar and held her down while my daughter went inside to get the key. Well, it was kinda strange, but there are no keys! It's all buttons you push now! So, we got the code and went through the gate and up a few thousand hills and there were were. Rows of rows of cabins and all looked alike. Not quite what I had in mind because I really thought that if you were sneaking a dog into a cabin that didn't allow dogs, well, it had better be quite reclusive.
Danger. The name of the game.
As it was still daylight, we did the Skylar-in-the-bag thing again and headed inside. The look on my face would have brought you to tears. Well, it did me. It had 4 floors which sounded real neat on the website, but try walking'em. Not for the feint of heart who had one too many cheez whiz sandwiches while sitting on the computer day in and day out. The most excercise I got at home was getting up to get another cheez whiz sandwich, so you can imagine how many almost heart attacks I had while I was there just climbing to get anywhere. Not a good thing.
But, oh, don't even let me start complaining about where I was supposed to sleep. My daughter, son and friend all refused to let me sleep with them and I paid for the freaking vacation. Kids. Anyway, I chose a bedroom on the first floor which actually was the third floor. You know, after I got home, I got up to go to the bathroom and stopped at my bedroom door wondering whether to go up or down to go to the bathroom when it was actually right across from me! Just love those flashbacks.
So, anyway, I chose the bottom, or rather the third or was it the second, floor bedroom. But, I felt uneasy. This isn't going to work, I thought. It felt...well...eerie. I pleaded one more time for someone to let me sleep with them, but they reminded me of the hotel room where I kept them awake all night because they said I snored. Can you imagine that? Ungrateful kids.
So, I'm sitting there on the bed, looking around and I know this isn't going to do. I talked my daughter's friend into changing bedrooms with me and once I moved all my stuff from that floor to the floor above (I've given up remembering which floor), I sat on the bed and went "What's that smell?" It smelled like feet. I'm thinking it was the bedspread. Whoever owned the cabin must have had it stored away for years, then just plopped it on the bed. At over a grand for a cabin, you would think it would come with bedspreads that didn't smell like feet.
The first night, I was so tired, I nodded off but couldn't wait until morning. I still felt uneasy in the room. I woke up before the sun came up and said, "Thank God," and headed...uh...upstairs (remembering the floors is not easy to do) to make some coffee. I did get some fantastic shots of the sun rising over the mountains and I got to take Skylar out before anyone saw us, so that was good.
When everyone woke up, we did the tourist thing and rode around looking at mountains that all looked alike. We had rented a van which was nice to us, but not nice to the van because it just wasn't something you'd want to force up mountains. It made funny little sounds as if it were groaning, you know?
But we had fun. We stopped at Cade's Cove again and shot video...but word to the wise...make sure you pee before you leave because that road goes on forever!
Gatlinburg was hopping. I wanted to get out and watch people trample all over Skylar but my daughter nixed the idea. She's never ever fun.
But let me tell you something and this is why I say the place was haunted. That last night (now keep in mind I never touched the darn thing the whole time we were in there), we had just gotten back from picking up some pizza and walked in and we heard buzzing. We traced it back to MY bedroom...you know...the one where I had been sleeping for the last 2 or 3 days BY MYSELF. It was the clock alarm that had gone off by itself. Now why did it wait until our last night to do that is beyond me, but I'm thinking that whoever or whatever it was wanted us to leave and I was sure as shit I was going to do just that.
So, my daughter let me sleep in her room that night.
I can't say I had a terrible time, but I can say I should have picked another cabin because something did not want us there. Now, I am not a ghost hater believe me. As long as they are the friendly type, I don't mind sharing my cabin with them but when the hair rises the moment I walk in the door, that should have told me that this was going to be a loooong vacation.
I'll have pictures for you soon. Maybe there might be a ghost or two in them...booooooo.....