Aquarium Part 2

Trip Start Oct 03, 2013
Trip End Oct 17, 2013

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Flag of United States  , Tennessee
Thursday, October 10, 2013

Its sad that I come to the smoky mountains and end up in an aquarium but when your government still hasn't gotten their act together you have to do what you have to do. And at least I got shot #2 at seeing penguins.  So we go to bed hoping to get up early but since my neighbors above me decided that they would like to do laundry at 5am I was woke up and laid awake and when I fell back to sleep we ended up not getting up til 9.  I immediately called the 1234 number (which is for all your needs and frustrations here at the Westgate) and I expressed how I rented this room specifically for the washer/dryer and now have not even been able to get 1 load done.  I requested a manager and ended up waiting and waiting and no one showed up.  Finally I called back and expressed that I was leaving and now even MORE mad.  So then Mike shows up.  Really nice guy with one of his maintenance guys who schools me on the use and quirks of the crappy LG washer/dryer combo.  He tells me that if AFTER the wash cycle I put it through the spin cycle again and then do a timed dry of 2:30 (that is 2 HOURS and 30 minutes MORE) it should get almost dry.  OK.  So we put in the clothes that has now been laying about since last night and was still wet and he does this and leaves. So we leave for the aquarium.  This story will be continued later…

So we decided to drive into town.  Now Gatlinburg is busy and tight and not any decent parking and the lots are all pretty pricey.  There is a trolley/town bus that you can take for $.50 per ride or $2 for the day bracelet.  I just wasn’t in the mood to wait for a bus and with the national park closed you never know how full it will be or how long you will wait so we opted to just pay to park.  The parking behind the aquarium was $1.75 for the first half hour then $1 per hour after that.  So I thought that was reasonable.  We walked onto the main street and found the Pancake Pantry which I had a brochure for.  The guy in front of us in the long line to eat asked if we had been there before and we said no.  He said it’s the best and he always says the people who are walking past have no idea what they are missing. I have to say I agree with him and frankly even though there appeared to be a long line we were seated in under 5 minutes!  It was very efficient.  I had the Austrian apple walnut crepes. OMG.  So good.  Everything is hand made there.  Jym loved the giant bowl of hand whipped butter that they slabbed on the pancakes.  He had to go take a picture of it.  Ironically they were having a Capitol lunch special featuring Senate bean soup.  Please. I will be having NOTHING related to the government thank you.  After our breakfast we went back to the aquarium.  We had pre-purchased tickets the day of on line and saved like $5 which was better than our hotel was offering. 

The Aquarium of the Smokies is smaller than the Georgia Aquarium but very nice and well kept.  We saw a lot of the same sorts of creatures but this time the penguin exhibit was OPEN!  Li was so excited.  We actually crawled into the tube and popped up inside the enclosure.  Very cool but rough on my knees.  It was supposed to be for kids but I said "Oh hell no.  I am going in!"  Then on our way out we stopped and inquired about the personal penguin experiences they have.  I figured since we have nothing better to do we might as well do SOMETHING different and enjoyable so I booked our penguin adventure for Saturday when we will begin with a penguin painting experience where Jym will be the “chaperone” because it was only $15 and he will just be there to take pictures of me.  I paid the big bucks and I will get to interact with the penguin and assist him as he paints me a picture with his feet!!!  Then we will return 2 hours later where we will both get to touch a penguin and have a photo taken with him!! I am very excited about this. 

So after our aquarium visit we decided to drive up to the Roaring Forks nature trail.  It is a one way drive through the forest…a one way DRIVE down a ROAD.  But I guess since part of said road is in the bounds of the national park it is all closed off.  I call bullshit. To me they just closed down everything to be complete dicks about it.  There is absolutely NO reason that drive could not be open.  Just like the pull offs.  Then I had to do like a 20 point turn around by the river because there was no place to turn the car around once you got to the blockade because the road is narrow and meant for one way car driving.  Ridiculous.

We then took a trip to the local Food City to get some groceries.  Although breakfast was amazing it was not cheap running $35 plus $7 tip so we really shouldn’t do that every day. We do have a stove in our unit and so we should really just be having breakfast here to save money.  After all this is the POOR TOUR.  We got a hot made pizza there for $7 and that was dinner. 

When we arrived back at the room…6 hours later our washer/dryer was STILL locked out!  They claim it goes through a “cool down” period (thus the error message Cd on the dial) and it locks you out from removing your clothing.  Well we were gone 6 hours and even WITH the 2.5 hours of dry cycle he put it through WTF??!  So I call again to complain and of course they said they will send someone which was the poor guy David from last night.  By then Jym has pressed buttons and jacked with it til it opened.  I then started load #2 and it is still going 5 hours later.  Waste of my time.  I have called to complain to them at least 10 times over 2 days.  Our ice maker is broken as well.  We requested ice be brought up along with fresh towels (since it’s a time share they don’t do maid service) and never got it.  Asked for it 3 times including from the lobby in person.  Finally got it.  Still no internet connection which they claim is because of the mountains which I would be willing to accept but at this point I just don’t buy anything they are saying at all. I am so fed up.  They have done NOTHING to assist or accommodate us in any way.  They don’t even show up to fix stuff unless I bitch like crazy.  They claim it is a “shared” modem which means that if other people are using it we can’t which is total bullshit.  It even says if Jym is logged on I can’t be so that means that depending on how many people are using the internet on this one modem I will pretty much never get on.  This is the first hotel that is cruising for a 1 star rating from me on Tripadvisor and I have reviewed like 60 hotels.  There is truly NOTHING saving this resort for me at all.  Oh and that seemingly nice shower?  Crap.  The rain shower head is covered in so much lime deposits that its sprays all over and to turn it on you have to get in and the water is ice cold.  So that aside the corner piece that you can put stuff on…like your foot when you shave is behind the shower head so if you turn the shower head water gets all over the floor.  Uhhh.  

Jym wasn’t feeling to well so he rested at the room for a while and then we went for a short drive over the bypass before the sun was totally gone.  We got a nice view of the city of Gatlinburg and the sunset on the mountains.  We even tried to drive into the parking area of the visitors center which was of course a sea of cones.  But we hoped we would see some wildlife.  I am STARVED for wildlife.  We did see a baby bear yesterday run across the road in front of us but Jym missed it because he wasn’t paying attention and it was fast.  Then there were a few bears near the entrance to the national park but people were running over to them so we just kept driving.  It is the elk rut too and we are missing it because the only place there are elk is in the park where we can’t go.  

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