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Southern Comfort: Jason & Kerry Crash Deep South 09!


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What better way to procrastinate from starting my Scandinavia TR than doing a different one that happened a few weeks later? Funny how that happens.

 

How this all started is quite long but suffice it to say, I was going through TPR trip withdrawal in a serious way after Scandi. (Yes, the trips are that good!) As Deep South approached, I realized how many people from last year’s East Coast trip would be there. Between some subtle nudging from Kerry and a desire for a spontaneous adventure, both Kerry and I decided to head off to the land of Cheerwine and Jack Daniels for three days! Kind of ironic given that we would spend most of our time in a ‘semi-dry’ county, which left tons of room for creativity at the bars!

 

Keeping it a surprise was fantastic! I think both Kerry and I got some great reactions out of everyone in the lobby when we walked into the hotel. I can’t begin to explain how awesome it was seeing a lot of people from last year’s East Coast trip and especially the East Coast Crew. For some, it was really good seeing you all again within a month -- Robb, Elissa, Kid Tums, Dave and of course, Ice Bat! It was as if the last trip never ended. Now, being able to drop in on the West Coast tour to see everyone else from last year would have really ended TPR 2009 with a bang, but Cali is just a wee bit further.

 

Kerry and I still talk about how amazing this trip was. The places we visited combined with hanging out with awesome TPR folk, either from last year or for the first time this year (including all of the trip ‘virgins’), made this trip one of the best! We could even say that we all made “Memories worth Repeating”, something the marketing types at Dollywood, and Dolly of course, can be proud of (Queue sentimental music). Ok, moving on….Day 1 below!

 

Day 1

 

Ah, the first day. We followed the bus to Carowinds. A nice park and an awesome day! OH, it also happens to be Kerry's home park.

 

Some great memories: Insane short drop tower, Hurler pain redux from KD and Afterburn goodness, just to name a few! Oh, and who could forget the flyers that almost rivaled Knoebels! They actually encouraged getting your flyer as high as possible (ie...snapping)!

 

After Carowinds, we began a long but scenic drive to Pigeon Forge.

 

Just a few pics to get things started.

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Just hanging out on our balcony as the bus arrived.

 

Stay tuned for Dollywood and what seriously felt like Food Fest 09...

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Just an awesome drive into the Smoky Mountains.

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Back on the road.

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Yes, pee break at the rest station! Well hey, all those drinks...

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....with an awesome view must mean...

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A parking lot...

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Mountains - check.

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A great start to the trip! After Carowinds, it was road trip time to Pigeon Forge! After stocking up on a few cans of Cheerwine, Diet Dr. Pepper, Vitamin Water and regular water, we were off! Oh, did I mention how hot it was and how parched we were? lol

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Ok, that's better. Oh and look closely, Ice Bat makes an early appearance!

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After a long and hot day, it was time to get everyone organized for a group picture. Ok, first of all, not everyone is here and second of all...Eli, your other "straight ahead".

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This mine train was awesome! This is of course, pre-lowering of the bars. A bit of clenching and squeezing is a requirement on these things.

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Happy Afterburn riders.

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Ah, most likely a dirty joke or HerBlackWings is just giddy about riding Afterburn.

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For here on this spot rejoice and feel the awesome power of the North-South divide that split the mighty Carolina into the Carolinas of North and South! Ok, time for a beer.

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"Welcome, to my backyard park".

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That's where we are!

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Cool stuff! I always love these reports where I see lots of familiar faces!

 

What better way to procrastinate from starting my Scandinavia TR than doing a different one that happened a few weeks later? Funny how that happens.

 

That's shocking Jason. I can't believe anyone would do such a thing!

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Robb, Dave & Jason -- Thanks guys, it's always a blast hanging out. I seriously am still surprised at how much craziness can be stuffed into only a few days, which were so much fun. The rest of the trip must have been fantastic.

 

Divv, I can only say the same about all the familiar faces in yours! Oh, yah, procrastinate. Maybe I'm taking a queue from your Europe one? lol

 

I will have to get Scandi started soon. I think having only a fraction of the pictures for this is a good 'ease' in to that big kahuna of a trip report.

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Day 2

 

Hi. My name is Jason. I like to dance. This is how I do my dancey dance.

 

Ok, so I don’t dance and I’m sure Christiana and Kerry can attest to that after seeing me try to audition for a part with DJ Lance. Well, you’d be doing a dancey dance too if you saw and experienced a place like Dollywood.

 

This place was beyond all expectations. Where to start? It offers an incredible location, great staff, beautiful grounds and theming that truly gave the entire park a sense of place. Oh, don’t even get me started on the food. Between Scandi buffets, southern bbq along with Dollywood skillets and confectionary delights (let’s call them pastries the size of your head), it’ll take a few more weeks to fit back comfortably into a lot of clothing. Was it worth it? Oh yah! So, if you haven’t figured it, the food at Dollywood rocks!

 

The rides really fit in, from a Timber Tower soaking to an amazing Arrow. Oh and can’t forgot about the old school dark ride, Mountain Slidewinder, Mystery Mine and Thunderhead.

 

Aside form all the rides, we were able to squeeze in time for ‘reserved’ seating at the new Sha-Kon-O-Hey! show, maybe a gigantic danish pastry or two and zip lining!

 

Enjoy the pics!

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It definitely is a beautiful park. Still looking for coffee.

 

Will we find coffee? Will we eat pastries stuffed with growth hormone? Could there be anything worse in life to worry about?

 

Stay tuned for more!

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Still looking for coffee and enjoying the walk around the grounds. Dave tells us of a legend. A bakery, with coffee and pastries "the size of your head". I almost shed a tear -- could such a place exist?

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Walking around and enjoying the place. Still looking for coffee.

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After the park opened it was more rides, including Timber Tower and Thunderhead followed by a hunt for good coffee.

 

This is the Grist Mill, home to Cinnamon loaf!

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"We all still LOVE Tennessee Tornado!"

 

Honestly, this was a huge surprise in terms of how good it was.

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Ok, remember how the Brian and Adam show was supposed to be "Going Deep" live from the Deep South Tour? Well, they lost and/ or broke their cameras. Adam thinks this is cool or that there's ice cold Coca-Cola behind me. Brian isn't so sure if it's a good thing or if there is ice cold Coca-Cola behind me.

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"We all LOVE Tennessee Tornado!"

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That would be of course, Tennessee Tornado!

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More awesome theming! Time to say goodbye to Mystery Mine. Since they were still having trouble with the ride, it was off to that awesome Arrow!

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No seriously, don't go in, the bird will peck you. True of False? Email Robb with your answer! On second thought, keep it to yourself :)

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Just in case you forgot what we were touring.

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The thought of Dolly actually being up there really had a profound impact on David. Well, is she or isn't she?

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The top of Mystery Mine. Are you there Dolly?

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Geeks! :)

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Track heading into the ride's finale, which I think is the first part of the ride that you see when walking toward it.

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The exit form the 2nd and largest lift, heading into an amazing finale.

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One more for the road.

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Tall, proud and all phallic-like

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Off to see the first of two lifts that leads into a fairly 'shaky' part of the ride.

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Ooooohhhh...track...touch it, you wanna.

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Pete telling us a bit more about the ride. Just an incredible host. Thanks again Pete!

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I was definitely pumped about this being my third Eurofighter coaster in a month. It is true what they say about those lifts and and drops being terrifying.

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A Eurofighter car!

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Unfortunately, the rain and electric storm didn't help things out at Mystery Mine. It was really awesome of Pete to give us tour of Mystery Mine while we waited.

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Here we are at Dollywood. It was turning out to be a really hot day after all the rain that came down the night before.

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Haven't you found that damn coffee yet?

 

"We all still LOVE Tennessee Tornado!"

 

Honestly, this was a huge surprise in terms of how good it was.

 

I remember my reaction cruising up the lifthill last year and getting a glimpse of the layout: "This does not bode well." But this ride is great--one of the best Arrows around.

 

Head-sized pastries! Show us head-sized pastries!

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Way to take creepy stalker Afterburner queue pictures.

 

Thanks for doing this TR, and thanks for almost killing me with shock when you showed up.

 

hahah you're just jealous because it wasn't of you. I thought the laughing was because Chris actually noticed me waving like a mad man...My bad lol.

 

Haven't you found that damn coffee yet?

Head-sized pastries! Show us head-sized pastries!

 

You'll just have to wait and find out. Unfortunately, we don't have a sponsor such as 'dirt' to keep this moving along as quickly as your TR (which incidentally I'm loving).

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Awesome report so far Jason, I love it!

 

I heard a little secret that Kerry was coming, but when you showed up I was insanely surprised! It was really awesome getting to talk to you guys again...hopefully we do the same trip sometime down the road!

 

Can't wait to see the rest man!

 

-Jake

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Great photo TR Jason!! I'm glad that you and Kerry crashed the trip for a few days. It was so great meeting the two of you and hanging out. You were both alot of fun, and I look forward to meeting more on future trips. I'll always remember riding my first "sky-scraper of death" at that random speedpark in Pigeon Forge and ditching Nascar Speedpark to go Zorbing. I'm still having TPR trip withdrawls, I guess your first time really is magical.

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Hey Jake and James, thanks guys!

 

Yah, that adventure park in a parking lot set-up was somewhat freakish lol.

 

So, first off, a huge shout out to Kerry who is as of now I'm sure still having an amazing time on the West Coast trip! Robb, Elissa and Dave I think are on their third trip this year. What a great summer! I'm sure I speak for the rest of us when I say that we wish we were there. Have a great trip all!

 

Ok, rewind, back to walking around Dollywood. This update is made possible by lots of sugar, azúcar, sucre, zucchero, etc.

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I'm sure the price will drop a bit when they clear out these '09s for the '10s. But then, I'll have an '09 instead of a '10. Ah, either way, they are beautiful pieces of work.

 

Thanks for checking this out so far. More to come soon!

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I think this is for an '09 but I'm really torn.

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Definitely more of what really adds charm to the place. A lot of local craftspeople have outlets and shops inside of Dollywood. Here's the carriage shop.

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Meanwhile outside, Dan tells us of his adventures so far.

 

"I swear, I didn't get wet today and then, I escaped this place where all the sugar in America was stored.....this place of nightmares where there were hot cross buns the size of my head!"

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But, we all knew the real draw of checking out the store was hearing something quite wonderful inside and finding out who the source was.

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After lunch, it was more checking out the stores and park. Chillin' at the back of a guitar and banjo shop was none other than Dolly! Be a gentleman. "Don't look down, don't look down, don't look down..."

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Well, if anything could transition us from food back to the other awesome parts of the park, it would be the really nice chicken lady.

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Sup, sup? I know. Our table is waiting for the cobbler too.

 

I think at this point we were all hoping that this wouldn't put too much stress on the zip lines later in the afternoon lol.

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Beans, beans the magical fruit...

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Kerry and Nay ready to dig in.

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Full? Kinda. Ready for more? Sure, why not? We have back-up.

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The next bit of time kinda flew by, most likely on a ride or two. Must have been the sugar. Would you believe after our coffee and snack break, it was time for lunch? Queue up Granny Ogle's Ham 'n' Beans!

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Over to my left, after reaching the half-way mark of a box of Rice Crispies with marshmallows cooked in, Dave calls in for re-enforcements.

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Come on Kerry!! Only 200 more bites! You can't let the boys beat you on this one :)

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Regardless, time to chow down! So begins Food Fest '09!

 

This, is Nay's selection.

 

At this point I think my heart was pumping faster just so that I could get through my cherry Danish "loaf". All kidding aside this stuff was bliss!

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Dan, run now.

 

For here rest the awe-inspiring pastries the size of your head!

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No really, look closer.

 

Case in point. Either Jason

 

(a) Just came off a water ride

(b) Is suffering from the heat or

© Took just one look at what was in those display fridges.

 

Chris wont' look.

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So yes, we did find coffee! The legend that Dave shared of the bakery was true. It was the 'Bakery of Awe!'. So, us coffoholics were so relieved after our tea-colored water flavored coffee from breakfast. Coffee was brought to us by these lovely ladies. Wait, take a closer look at what else these wonderful ladies use to oblige certain cravings for sugar.

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Great pics, as usual, Jason. So sorry I'm not strong enough to swim across the ocean. All those faces bring back good memories. Too cool you're coming next summer, Jay. Can't wait to meet again. Now I know you like pastries, I'll challenge you with Belgian ones !!!

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  • 2 weeks later...

Eric, really good seeing you, Candace and your new son as well! Congratulations again to you both. I can't believe how good he was, at least whenever I saw him... haha

 

Oli, what can I say? You said you haven't posted on here in forever! Cool that I sparked your interest in the site beyond just viewing..haha

 

Moving on...

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Who's lovin' it? This was my favourite GCI to date. Definitely what I would have expected a twister to be....crazy turns, crazy twists (go figure) and insanely fast.

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This ERT should have been a sanctioned Olympic sport since they made us exit and 'walk' around to the entrance each time. It was like the running of the bulls.....fun times!

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The flyby!

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Howdy!

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Thunderhead ERT!

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Just walking around and waiting for....

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Another great area!

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Sure sure, Nay thinks she can hide at the other table..... :)

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Hey everybody full yet or is there room for a cinnamon loaf?

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"Hello sir, is everything ok with your meal? Oh I'm sorry is your mouth full?"

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What! They're almost done and no sign of Kathy Bates and Jessica Tandy?

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Trying to show off our fried green tomatoes. Dave will have none of it...they're there to be eaten.

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Uhm yah, probably easier to just roll that up beside our table...

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So of course any sort of physical activity is always a good excuse for more food to follow! It was mega skillet time!

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Our Skyzip group! This was well worth it, especially if you've never been. The setting in the mountainside was awesome.

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Yah...this was the last one. It was also the fastest and highest, which meant no more running starts (good news to Leon lol). Just to give an idea I think it was just at or above Tennessee Tornado loop level.

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From theater to up-charge adventure! It was Skyzip time! I was mighty scared of this thing but it turned out to be such an awesome experience.

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The band. Profits from the sale of Dolly's Sha-Kon-O-Hey! CD benefit the foundation that supports the Smoky Mountain National Park. We had a great Q&A with the producer of the show.

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Cool stuff!

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This was when Brook wished (out loud) that the cables had more slack.....

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A lot of flyin'!

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A lot of spirit

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A great show about the Smoky Mountains National Park, focusing in on the story of the families and Cherokee natives that were displaced in its creation.

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We had great reserved seating at the new Sha-Kon-O-Hey! show. Dolly wrote the songs herself. Here is the one only..blue smoke herself.

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Just a fantastic day! So in typical TPR styles, some went to the pool and some drank. Us boring folk (me, Kerry, Nick, James and Dave) went for a little walk and came across this li'l place: Smoky Mountain Speedpark!

 

So, I'm not sure what to make of Pigeon Forge and this 'main strip' so to speak. It's somewhat like Clifton Hill in Niagara on steroids. This was yet another home to a 'double decker' go kart track, a slingshot, Skyscraper, Screamin' Swing and Bungee tower.

 

Well, we decided we'd see if we could make ourselves "pee or poop" our pants by the end of the night.

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Wow. Kerry, Dave and James...next time..you have to try it lol

 

With that, it was time to head back, sleep and get ready for day 2 in Pigeon Forge!

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Hard to catch your breath up there.

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Too late!

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Sheer terror.

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Just starting to panic.

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Dave would have none of it of course and looking back, probably the best decision. He got to watch us on the TVs looking like complete dorks. By this time we did the Screamin' Swing and Skyscraper. Nick and I were the only ones brave enough to try out this slingshot thing.

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Y'all did it!

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Whoot whoot!

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Give in, you know you wanna let go...

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Next up..N'sync Screamin'!

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You ok James?

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That bad huh?

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Funny enough, this was James' and Kerry's first time on one of these and they tipped a 'bit' more than we did. How bad could it be?

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That's better. So, this was after a what seemed like a good 10 minutes and there was no choice but to laugh since this thing went on forever. We tipped the operator. Tips = "A longer and special ride". No disagreement here.

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Nick..breathe!

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I dunno, judging by Nick, pretty insane...

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It's a second time, how bad could it be?

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We decided to do this after daring ourselves to go on the huge skyscraper at Morey's last year. Ah...TPR tradition.

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Yah, that place looks interesting...

It was a beautiful night in the Smokies what with the go kart exhaust and all.

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How frustrating it is to live so far away !!! Nick and Kerry's faces on those pics are FANTASTIC !!! They could be used for advertising, without a doubt. Did Kerrygirl YELL like on some Allentown inverted B&M ? Next step for you, Jason: a TALL drop tower, hands up, and looking dooooooowwwwwnnnnn !!!!!

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For some reason I guess I missed your update last week, so, a few things.

 

I like the cheerful elderly floating head behind Dave in the Dollywood Bakery.

 

I was certain I was going to die during the "Running of Thunderhead ERT". A herd of people sprinting down stairs/uncontrollable laughing isn't a good combination.

 

Thank you for posting the Skyscraper photos where I look like I'm crying.

 

 

Love the captions.

 

And Oli, Jason went on the one at Carowinds! Not too huge, but it's a step :].

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Hey all, thanks for following along!

 

^That is quite the perspective and it's scary how close to reality it seemed lol

 

Our last day featured more time exploring Dollywood, a visit to Nascar Speedpark and rollin' down the mountainside. A ton of fun as usual. Was there ever any doubt?

 

Enjoy the pics.

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Or going to other places with TPR without this...

 

Pete and everyone at Dollywood, thank you for a great two days.

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Definitely looking forward to going back! Not sure what it would be like without TPR and this fun group of people in particular.

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Still saying our goodbyes to Dolly. East Coast Crew minus a few.

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Yep, we're lovin' the train.

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Teehee! Bestest friends!

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The sites and sounds of the Smokies.

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Hanging out with Nay and Kerry.

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This locomotive is the real deal, as authentic as they come. Amazing site and sounds!

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Why the Dollywood Express! Don't look so surprised...

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What train?

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Heading to catch our train.

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Nick and his purchase. No really. He bought that.

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Well, at least someone joined me lol

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Ok seriously, a wall of taffy?

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How about a little Guitar Hero?

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After our tour, it was time to walk around a bit more and explore...not before re-riding that amazing Tornado!

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Fire in the hole!

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You all know what to say!!

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Yep, bridge still down. Luckily, we took the side door to the best part of all.

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Bridge on fire...where to?

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No words necessary.

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Would this work if looking for a wife?

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Ah....the classic lovely lady in distress...

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Hey..he's still alive! Where's Rhea Perlman?

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First set

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Lights on and away we go!

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This ride is a classic in its own right, it does what it does exceptionally well.

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Blazing Fury!

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Not just any tour but a TPR one-of-a-kind backstage tour of..

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Our morning started off with a tour.

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Good morning. Breakfast?

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The afternoon was spent hanging out in Pigeon Forge, with Nascar Speedpark as home base.

 

A few of us had the opportunity to shuttle ourselves over to the mountainside to try out something a little out of the ordinary....

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With that, we headed back to Nascar Speedpark for the worst part of any trip: The goodbyes. Thanks to everyone for an amazing time!

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After-zorb shot! Kerry and I were definitely happy watching and filming this time around.

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Triplets.

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No way! The ball's a birthin'!

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There's something in it. It's alive!

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I'm really not sure if I want to know what it would be like with three in there. Brent and Nay went on their own, which let them try out the curved course.

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Starting at the top

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The Zorbists! Nay dares to be different. They all chose the hydro option -- up to three people in a ball with water.

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So, there are two options, Hydro or normal.

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Seriously, this looked amazing! I definitely want to go beyond filming and observing if I ever come across one of these again.

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..you know....role down a mountainside in a ball.

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Ah..the Zorb-mobile! Selling such wares to allow one to well....

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Jason, this was a great TR!! I'm so glad that this bonus TPR trip worked out. It really was a highlight of my year. And thank you Deep South Tour participants for making us feel so welcome! Now we really do need to have an ECT reunion at Knoebels!! Maybe some DST folks would like to come along?!? It was so great seeing old friends and meeting new ones as well. Oh and let's not forget a great park or two...and lots of food!!

 

...as a side note, it was a very interesting ride home. I was slightly flying down the mountain (I do love curvy roads!!), windows down, singing loudly when something walked out into the road in front of me. It was a very lanky bear cub! Fortunately, for both of us, it ran back into the woods just as I got a little too close for comfort.

 

Anyway, I'm just glad that Carowinds presented itself very well. (except for the lunch maybe) I even got a hug from one of the ride ops after the insane Thunderhead ERT at Dollywood! All in all a great trip. As a genuine Southern Belle just let me say...Y'all come back now, hear?!?

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