Day 21 & 22: Gatlinburg & Bristol, TN & Coeburn

Trip Start May 25, 2010
Trip End Jul 03, 2010

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Where I stayed
Andrew's Grandparent's House

Flag of United States  , Tennessee
Tuesday, June 15, 2010

I'm sorry that this blog is so late but I am also sorry it will be so long. But this will encompass both yesterday and today so even though it is late for yesterday it is early for today. And yesterday's excitement was so much that I think it may have been too much to handle in one day's entry. So, with this being for two days it should be OK.

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. Although, he said he had trouble getting enough to fill the line but you don't really need to know all this information.

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. This was Ripley's Believe It or Not Odditorium. Here they had lots of crazy things that you think aren't real but they are. We say a goat with two heads, a guy who had two pupils in each eye, the suit from the tallest man in the world, and many optical illusions. One favorite exhibit of mine was describing how John Dillinger once escaped from prison by carving a potato into the shape of a gun and dying it with iodine. They also had a wax mold made of his face. That was a bit creepy. It was in a scary crime section where they had a door that would shoot people that came in, miniature guns that actually shot, a ball and chain, and the story of a man who was in prison for 20 years because his pants ripped. Oh one other very interesting thing we saw was a chastity belt. It is a bit difficult to explain so you'll have to see the picture. It was a bit disturbing. Andrew's favorite part of this attraction was this bridge that looks like it is swaying but it is actually an illusion and the room around it is moving back and Fourth. He also really liked this part where you walk out and it looks like they have a sculpture of a girl without a top on up ahead but then when you keep walking she disappears because it's just an illusion. We laughed really hard at this.

Next, we walked along and were planning to head down to one place we thought about going for lunch. On the way, we found Ripley's Moving Theater. This is one of the attractions we were planning on going to and we weren't really hungry yet so we decided to go right then. You must understand that I hate these things and I am very scared of 3D movies and things. Oh and did I mention, this motion ride also was in 3D. Yes, it was my worst nightmare. But Andrew loves them and really wanted to go. So we got in line even though we were not sure which of their 2 movies they were showing right then. It turned out that they were actually showing both of them. What a nice surprise for us! So I held on for dear life and closed my eyes for most of it. The first movie was about snow and you were riding a sled down a hill and through some rickety tubes. I thought it was pretty scary because we fell backwards a few times, another one of my fears. But then the second show started. I thought I would like this one because it was about skateboarding but then we kept going off these big ramps and flying through the air. Needless to say, my hands were rather sweaty and tired from holding on so tight to the grips. Then, when we left and I bent down to grab my purse, I whacked my head off of the hand rail between the rows of seats. Yeah, my day was really getting better. But after a bit of a stroll I recovered.

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. The best gem I found was a large chunk of a Ruby that all the people working there said was really nice. They told us that we could probably get 2 3-Karat Rubies out of it but it cost about $50 per karat to cut. So, we didn't cut right now but we may look for somewhere to cut it later. They will cut any stones you find and put them in different jewelry if you wanted. We did not get any cut them but went back later in the evening to talk to them when they were less busy. Andrew wanted some cuff links but to get a stone cut big enough for them was going to be a bit expensive so he decided to wait. I got an Amethyst cut but I still need to find a setting for it when I get it back in 3 weeks.

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. But the food was decent and it looked nice and the bathroom was clean. So it was an enjoyable experience.

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. Our waiter was very nice and the food was delicious. I got a spit roasted half chicken so I was able to better educate Andrew on the differences between dark and white meat. Andrew got some catfish which he also throughly enjoyed. We would definitely consider going back to this place and I recommend it to you if you ever head to this place.

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. Daniel told us we could be there at 11:30 but we didn't get there until midnight because we stopped for Gas and McFlurries. And we actually first stopped at a Ben and Jerry's but it was closed, sadly. When we arrived at Mamaw and Papaw's, I had already been sleeping for about half the drive so we pretty much fell right asleep. In the morning, we got up to have breakfast with Papaw before he headed out for an appointment then went back to sleep for about another 3 hours. Apparently, it was a very draining day of being tourists. Then we ate some lunch and headed back to Andrew's house. I very much enjoyed eating meals there and I think his Mamaw enjoyed cooking for us. She kept asking if I liked things then giving me the recipe. I wish I thought I could remember them, but I'm sure she would give them to me again if I asked.

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.

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akiser on

Dear Faithful Readers of Kylie's Blog,
Kylie was right in saying that yesterday was almost too much to handle for one blog because after reading her entry I realized a few interesting parts had been omitted. So if you would allow me to attempt to not only fill in the blanks but also attempt to write on par with my very talented and humorous travel partner.

Gatlinburg had many traps and vices along the streets including stores to entice every kind of person imaginable. Surprisingly enough even a sophisticated Canadian like Kylie (being the hillbilly I am I was attracted to nearly every store). Walking along to dinner we found a giant sock store that she found some very funny crab socks she got in honor of Crabby Cakes. Later we found a shop advertising that they had a scrapbooking section downstairs which had a t-shirts that said "Laugh, Love, Scrapbook" and "Live well, Laugh much, Scrapbook often". She also got alot of cool scrapbook pages that said Gatlinburg or just looked nice and naturey.

Other than that I think its important to note how at the Ripley's Odditorium they had this mirror you could practice rolling your tongue which you find out later is a two-sided mirror where you can watch people making idiots of themselves. As for the motion rides, while I do love them as well as 3D rides I did not force Kylie on the ride, it was her sweetness that drove her to agree to go with me becuase she knows I love them. You know since I take her to see so many chick flicks, which make me respond similarly to how she did during the ride.

Finally I wanted to add that while at the funny Italian restaurant with the Russian waitress, Kylie got yet another call from Liberty about a third department that wants to interview her. I was very proud that so many people are impressed with her resume there that three separate departments are looking to hire her. Good Job darling!

I return you to your regularly scheduled blog that is already in progress......

Rebekah on

Hooray for Kylie getting a US job! They would be crazy not to hire her.....

Also, we went to Gatlinburg when I was 10. We also went to Hillbilly golf (the one in the picture). I tried to play, but I hit the ball too hard and it flew right off into the mountain. I was forced to reimburse them for this golf ball. Good times

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