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Erik & Misty's Smoky Mountain Adventures


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This golf course is also right next door to the Nascar Speedpark which I believe the TPR Deep South trip will be paying a visit to.

 

Great thread so far! Although, it could use some shots of Ninja weapon stores.

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"A famous song with a Tennessee connection was written in one of this hotel’s rooms. Anyone?"

 

What is the answer?? I can only think of Rocky Top or Tennessee River....

 

It is indeed the state song of Tennessee, "Rocky Top."

 

See The Gatlinburg Inn for more details.

 

This golf course is also right next door to the Nascar Speedpark which I believe the TPR Deep South trip will be paying a visit to.

 

True enough. I'll have to make sure to post Nascar before TPR comes through.

 

And I'll see what I can do on the ninja weapons stores.

 

Thanks for the kind words, everyone. There's lots more to come. (Until I or everyone else gets sick of it.)

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Billing itself as Tennessee's largest waterpark resort is the oddly named "Wilderness at the Smokies," at the far end of Sevierville.

 

Though the resort itself is fairly huge, and still largely under construction, the indoor waterpark and first phase of the hotel are up and running. And while it's hard to say without actually staying there, it looks like what is open is pretty self contained--with the folks I've talked to, who've stayed there, saying that the construction didn't really impact them.

 

But what I'm here to show you right now is basically just the indoor waterpark, “Wild WaterDome.”

 

During the summer months, it's restricted to hotel guests only. But in the off season, they'll let anyone in. (Er...for a fee, of course.)

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I leave you with a construction shot. This is one of their two outdoor parks, "Salamander Springs." Both are currently due to open May 22. I'll have to get back up there once it's all finished. But what they have right now seems pretty nice.

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There's an arcade, too--right next door to the waterpark. This kid really like the Big Bass Game.

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One more shot of the wave pool and a sand play area.

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And that's pretty much it. I can see how it would be popular on a crummy day, though.

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And on the other side is their wave pool and some tables and such.

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...and the three main slides that travel outside (see first photo).

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...an interactive play area...

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It's not terribly large. One this side of the park, there's a Surf Rider...

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The outside entrance. You can also access it from inside the hotel, obviously.

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This is what'll catch your eye from the road. Make sure you ride that green one!

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Another great PTR Erik! Seems that you have totally gotten used to that new camera of yours! I love that you have one thread for everything you have been doing. I know I am enjoying it! I actually am contemplating posting TR's in one thread for this year also. I won't be as funny I am sure...

 

A bit off subject for a second, although it is a trip you took this year - that huge aquarium. Where was it again, and what was its name? Thanks!

 

I look forward to more, MORE MOOOOOREEEE!

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I love that you have one thread for everything you have been doing.

 

The funny thing is, I sort of dislike the whole "one big thread with all my TR's in it" thing. For me, it really only makes sense if: All of the updates happened on the same trip (or otherwise share a common theme); many of the updates are too small for their own TR's; or you're Big Mike. But this just seemed like the right way to go with this stuff. Any other trips (outside my home area) will get their own TR's, though.

 

A bit off subject for a second, although it is a trip you took this year - that huge aquarium. Where was it again, and what was its name? Thanks!

 

The Georgia Aquarium in downtown Atlanta. I highly recommend it. In fact, I think I liked it more than SFOG.

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The reason that Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, and Sevierville are a tourist area to begin with is that the valley they occupy is the one easy, relatively flat way into the most visited National Park in the country, The Great Smoky Mountains.

 

So now, in an effort to show you that we are well-rounded individuals who enjoy more than just amusement parks and mini golf, a genuine culture credit!

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Not bad, eh? Just make sure to bring a jacket, as Clingman’s Dome is generally 20-degrees colder than down here in the valley.

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There's a small observation tower at the top which provides 360-degree views from the park’s highest point.

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Let's do it!

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Clingman's Dome Trail...it's paved, but steep.

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A rare shot of me drinking soda and Misty drinking water.

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Yeah, the road really does that, too.

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I’m not sure why, but I really like this picture.

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Let's go for a drive.

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Warning: Nature

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Laurel Falls

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This is one of the best photos I've ever taken of anything.

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Where to now?

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Looks a bit like an elephant, no?

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I like bridges.

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The same river that winds through Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, and Sevierville, the Little Pigeon.

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The path to Laurel Falls is so popular that it’s actually paved.

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The city of Gatlinburg, as seen from the appropriately named Gatlinburg Bypass.

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Let’s get ourselves oriented, shall we? Today we’re going to concentrate on the Newfound Gap area and Clingman’s Dome.

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There's a small observation tower at the top which provides 360-degree views from the park’s highest point.

 

I may be tired from lack of sleep lately, but isn't Mt. LeConte the highest point in the Smokey Mountains?

 

Despite that, love this report. I really have been meaning to venture up to Newfound Gap and Clingman's Dome. Maybe, this will motivate me in the near future.

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I'm starting to love the "road trip" style trip reports moreso than I am the actual park reports. Although technically you were in a "park"... Great stuff - totally makes me want to pack up and head for the Smokies right now... Were most of these shots taken with your Stylus Tough 6000? If so I'm going to Best Buy after work to buy one... (your pics are my final decision maker!)...

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^ Yes, most of them. But some are Misty's (cheaper, older) Pentax W10.

 

I do like my Olympus Tough 6000--very much so--but it hasn't changed my basic approach: Take 1000 picture and hope that 100 turn out. Then post 10.

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I got bum info as a kid. I stand corrected.

 

Actually what you might be thinking of is the fact that Mt. Leconte is the TALLEST mountain in the Eastern US if you measure from the valley floor to its peak. Clingman's Dome is higher, but it's really just a rise along the spine of the Smoky Mountains.

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These reports are all kinds of awesome. I drove through the Smokies in March 2007 for the first time (or at least the first time through Gatlinburg and not I-75) and had no idea that such a tourist area existed, let alone Dollywood like 10 minutes from the national park. It was so oddly amazing to see some of the most beautiful country in the world, then BAM! downtown area. Keep it up, Erik!

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I know what you're thinking: "Erik, these updates have been cool and all, but I'm ready for something more. I've been all over the world, and I need something that will make me put down my crack pipe and know joy and excitement again."

 

Well, I have just the thing. The most majestic display of free entertainment and blatant advertising Sevier County can slap together:

 

The 24th Annual Dolly Parton Homecoming Parade

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Well, that's it for the Dolly Parade. I hope you enjoyed sitting through it as much as I did!

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Genius!

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Llamas. But not just any llamas. No, these llamas represent the entrepreneurial spirit of the smoky mountains. (See next photo.)

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In a parade full of randomness, the monolithic tractor-trailer for an attraction that hasn't even been built yet really stood out for me.

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There, that's more like it.

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Even for us, this is pretty sad.

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Clown.

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"Toby's Wonderful World of Erosion." I know it's a little hard to read, but that's really what it says.

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Shriners driving tiny tractor-trailers.

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The Boy & Girls Club followed by The Wilderness Resort.

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Food City is a local grocery chain. And this is their giant dragster shopping cart thing.

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My Ripley's Aquarium update is coming soon!

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I...don't...know. Honestly, I've never heard of this.

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That's almost cool.

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This float forgot all its people. Or they all left once they'd seen Dolly. It's hard to say, really.

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It's the area's biggest radio station, in case you're wondering. Yes, it plays country.

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The best part of this is the really visible tattoo on the one chick's forearm.

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Firetruck. Really, we'll just put anything in the parade that runs under its own power.

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I guess Wes would have enjoyed himself.

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A trolley. That you can see 20 of every day here. In the parade.

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Misty was supposed to be in the parade, but she had to work. Santa was here, though.

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"International Jr. Teen Miss Virginia"? Chuck, can you explain this?

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Oh my gosh, it's an RV!

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Visiting dignitaries.

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Still haven't been to this attraction...but I've seen their float!

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"Behold, the two-headed dog--born with only one head!"

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"I can't believe they're making me do this. Just for that, I'm going to be a stripper when I grow up."

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"Pottery is for sissies. I've got a chainsaw!"

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Daughters of the American Revolution, for some reason. I guess parades are just what they do.

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Yes, it's the KOA Campground float.

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Dude's making pottery in the back of a truck.

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But we can't let that stand. Let's follow the China float with the USA!

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This was actually pretty cool. All the girls were drumming really fast, and there was a dragon.

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More parade goodness.

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Props to WonderWorks. Considering how basic it was, I thought this one worked really well.

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Country Tonight followed by Elvis.

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This one's not bad.

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Political humor...?

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Gay cowboy float.

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I guess these people have a TV show about having a lot of babies or something...?

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Yep, we're here too, folks. Stick around.

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Dolly channeling Dio.

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Ladies and gentlemen, Ms. Dolly Parton.

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Lynyrd Skynyrd doesn't start with Free Bird...but we do.

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What's this...?

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It's just not a parade without a high school band.

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Yes, it's the City of Pigeon Forge VIPs!

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Oh, this is gonna be good!

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I loved Pigeon Forge SOOOO MUCH...

 

But now that the Duggar Family was in the parade (and probably got an all expense paid trip to be there)...

 

Well, I just lost A LOT of respect for the place.

 

DIE DUGGAR FAMILY DIE!!!!!

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