Day 21 & 22: Gatlinburg & Bristol, TN & Coeburn
Trip Start May 25, 2010
37Trip End Jul 03, 2010
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Yesterday began very early because we needed to drive to St. Paul for Andrew to take a drug test for his new job before hitting the road for Gatlinburg. The drug place was very shady. It used to be a tanning place and also a hair salon. You can tell what it was because the signs are still up and barely painted over. So he was very freaked out and just trying to drink a lot while we waiting for the workers to arrive back from the drug store (there was a sign saying they just stepped out). But he was glad to get it over with
Then we hit the road on the way to the closest Panera which was an hour away but only added about 10 minutes to our driving time to the tourist trap of the world. So we finally got there, by this time we were starved and got some breakfast. I had a very delicious bagel and pumpkin muffie and Andrew had a bagel breakfast sandwich. We got them to go so we could keep truckin'.
Daniel told us we would arrive in Gatlinburg right after 11 am so this was very exciting and about half an hour before we had planned. At about 10:30 we were already seeing the outside fringes of tackiness. For the last part of our drive we could see giant stores, mini-golf places, and lots of t-shirts for sale. We even saw an upside down building and a life-size replica of the Titanic. Yes it is a very interesting area.
Once we reached the actual city of Gatlinburg, which took a bit longer than Daniel said because of all the crazy traffic, we found a good parking spot near our first attraction and headed inside
Next, we walked along and were planning to head down to one place we thought about going for lunch
So, we kept walking towards lunch. Then, we saw this cool place that you could act like someone in the gold rush. They give you a bucket of dirt and this wooden frame with wire mesh inside. What you do is scoop the dirt into your mesh thing and put it down in the water to get the mud out. Then, whatever gems you find you get to keep. I asked if you actually found stuff and the guy said, "Of course, this is the real deal honey" or something like that. Anyways, it was lots of fun and we actually did find lots of good stones. We found some Topaz, Tourmaline, little emeralds, some Garnet and some others
Then finally we got to the place we were headed but it was closed. Then we realized we had planned to go to a different place on the other end of the strip to eat lunch but it was far away so we just wandered down toward the Aquarium (our after-lunch destination) and found a place along there. We decided on a place that's name sounded familiar so we thought we may have seen it be recommended online, Legends by Max (or something like that). It was good but I don't think we will go back next time. Our waitress didn't really speak English but seemed like she was from Russia or somewhere around there even though the restaurant is supposed to be Italian. I asked for a side salad to go with my sandwich and she said "I think I will bring you the whole thing and you just eat some." But I did get a side salad so apparently her assistant did speak some English
Then, it was off to see the fishies. We stopped at a few candy stores on the way, they are in abundance in Gatlinburg, to get some dessert and snacked on it as we strolled. The aquarium was also by Ripley's Believe it or Not so there were lots of interesting facts written about the fish there. We saw these fish that hop around in the mud. They were very cool and some of Andrew's favorite but the video talked about how they had to do with evolution so that was kind of not as nice. We also saw these fish that have built-in bifocals because they swim at the surface and can see above and below the water. There were other fish that could change their sex. One group of fish always travels in a group of about 32 females and 1 male. When the male dies, the highest ranking female changes and becomes the male for the group. They also had a shark tunnel where you go through and there are sharks all around you. There were even some scratches on the glass that they said was a result of a shark attack. They had a tunnel to crawl through the penguin aquarium too but none of the penguins were swimming so it wasn't as exciting. Although, you could come up in the middle and they were right there looking at you through the glass
I couldn't resist getting a few souvenirs at the aquarium and found this delightful little shark in a sweatshirt that said Ripley's Aquarium. But I wanted a shark in a blue sweatshirt but they only sold them in pink and purple sweatshirts. But they did have turtles wearing blue or green sweaters. So, Andrew was very sweet and had the brilliant idea to have a turtle and a shark switch shirts. The plan went off without a hitch and now I am the proud owner of a shark-y in a blue sweatshirt. I am very happy with him because he is very cute.
After the aquarium, we took our time strolling back to the place we tried to eat for lunch because we knew where it was and it looked good. We stopped at several shops on the way and got some cheesy souvenirs and I found some scrap booking stuff. I think we may have also stopped at another candy store. Well there was for sure some candy store we stopped at sometime through out the day where they had lots of gummy things - we got gummy lobsters, dinosaurs, and mini bears but passed on the eggs, sharks, and fishes.
When we got back to the Cherokee grill for dinner we headed right in and got a table
After dinner we strolled back to the area of the car and stopped to talk to the gem place when I decided to get that one stone cut, as I mentioned before. When we got near the car we found the space needle arcade. We didn't plan to go anywhere else. We were actually excited to be leaving a little earlier than planned. But somehow we ended up looking around this arcade. And I saw they had a pirate Elmo you could win. Then we were hooked. So we got some tokens and played for a while. We first played the fun games to get that out of our system so we could focus on winning tickets. So we played until we had enough for Elmo. When we went to trade our tickets in, the guy was very nice and actually let us have some extra prizes and charged us less for Elmo so that was good. Then we were satisfied and left just after the time we had originally planned to.
Since it was late we decided to only drive back to Andrew's Grandparent's house (his Mamaw and Papaw) since it was about an hour closer than his house
On the way back, we stopped at the Pizza Inn to get a cookie pizza. Andrew has wanted me to try one of these every time I have come in but something has always happened and we weren't able to. I have yet to eat a slice of it but it looks delicious. I think it will be for dessert after the southern feast Andrew's mom is cooking up for us. She is making sweet potato balls, fried squash and cornbread so far.
I am also excited I got two exciting e-mails today. One was from the person that interviewed me giving me some coding problems I need to work on as "next steps" and another was from a professor who was passing on some job opportunities. So you can be praying for those things especially that I have the time and knowledge to do that coding.
The rest of today will be focused on packing and getting things done that need to get done before I head back to Lynchburg then home. It has been a good trip to the south, a very different south than Charleston but still with the same pride. I hope you have enjoyed seeing both sides of it.