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» Sunday, November 02, 2008Little Chalet in the Maples…Pines…Whatever
Golden Guide. Leaves. Order from Amazon…
James hit the pillow and slept like that proverbial rock. I, alas, was restless. Went upstairs at least once about an hour after we'd retired to see if it was too warm/too cool for Schuyler. All seemed fine.
When I did fall asleep, I had the darnest dream. We were at some sort of convention and James decided to trade in his truck for a sports car. Not even a nice sports car, but a really ugly, low thing that had flat sides, was white with that lime green trim…all together now!…that is popular this Christmas. (Man, that color is haunting me. I must really hate it.) He had a bunch of people trying to sell me on it, including, God help me, Dr. Joyce Brothers. I was upset because he was angry at me and wouldn't speak to me, and couldn't sleep. At one point every time I descended a certain flight of stairs (or entered a certain foyer area, I can't remember), there was someone trying to talk me into letting James have the caryes, including Dr. Joyce Brothers!
Waking up was actually a relief.
We had breakfast here: James some Hot Pockets and me two packets of oatmeal and a yogurt and some milk. Schuyler had her breakfast with me. Willow is wandering around trying to figure it out. She is completely puzzled by this tendency of her humans to suddenly abandon the den and go to a strange den. The doors aren't where she expects them, and the windows, which go almost down to the floor and overlook trees because the chalet is set on the side of the hill, are confusing.
We got Willow and Schuyler settled for the day, then descended the mountain once more. It was again a perfect, sunny day. During the first few minutes of the ride, you can look out over the city of Gatlinburg. The trees are just at peak, starting on the downturn, and the slope is brilliant with autumnal impressionist spots of yellow, orange, and red.
We again used the back street to skirt most of the traffic, but there wasn't much this morning. First we had to go up to the rental office to officially register. We mentioned our modem problem and in talking about it, realized we had completely forgotten to try to reset it by unplugging it and replugging it in. We figured we'd try that tonight.
Next we got gasoline, then headed north. Since Gatlinburg is so crowded on the weekend we decided to use today to go to the Tennessee Aviation Museum. This is at the Sevierville Airport. Since we'd expected internet access, we hadn't printed out any instructions, but we let the GPS unit do its job. Except it tried to take us through a road where the bridge was outnot its fault. We eventually found the airport anyway, but on Sunday the museum doesn't open until one.
So we turned around and went back on the "main drag." One of the things I had been wanting to see here was a big Christmas store known as "The Incredible Christmas Place," which we've talked about on Christmas to the Max.
Well...wow! Christmas overload! I can't even describe it...it's a big store. There's a little café and candy shop, a Vera Bradley (ugh...clothes) shop, a regular gift shop, and then the main Christmas shop. You wander from area to area, shelves or upright displays with different theme ornaments and decorations: sports ornaments, or gingerbread, or cardinals, or angels, a big corner with nativity figures, a cubby that has all the different Department 56 villages set up, snowmen, Santas, poinsettias, a corner for their Singing Santa (who was not on duty when we walked through), a big Christmas tree display, and a corner where they had different types of lights, and more, plus the entire store was decorated for Christmas with garland, swags, lights...wow, wow, and wow.
We really don't have any room for more larger Christmas decor, so I just bought little bits of things: some icy branches and a snowflake for winter decorations, a candy-cane theme pick that just struck my fancy, a Jim Shore angel that I planned to use for the ceppo (found something better later on, but can always use a Jim Shore angel somewhere!), a couple of other things. They had several displays with Christmas CDs, but I eschewed the country music and the regular stuffinstead I bought a CD of music box Christmas music and James bought me another for our anniversary next week. I love music box tunes and prefer instrumental Christmas music.
By the time we had walked through the store it was quite past lunchtime. James wanted "real food" and not the sandwiches from the café, so we went a few streets down to Bennett's, a barbecue place. I had a pork dish and James had beef brisket, and we shared a chocolate cake slice for dessert. This was a dense cake, almost the consistency of a cheesecake. (The name of the place made me chuckle, as I had taken my little black-and-white stuffed "Cheeky Dog" with us because Schuyler likes him. His name is Bennett after Bennett Cerf.)
When we finished lunch, we turned around and returned to the airport.
This is a neat little air museum, with a display hall exhibiting various military memorabilia from World War I through Desert Storm: uniforms, medals, ration books, instruction manuals, photos, etc., the usual. However, each of these museums always has something unique to them, and this one had an exhibit about military chaplains in World War II, Korea, Vietnam, and in the Gulf. There were photos of how services were carried out on battlegrounds, items they used like portable organs and cases carrying hymnbooks, and stories of chaplains' heroism. There was one story about "the four chaplains" on a ship which was torpedoed and sunk by the Germans. The chaplains, one Dutch Reform, one Methodist, one Catholic, and one Jewish, who worked together to help the injured and encourage the survivors.
The other part of the museum is a clean, bright hangar where at least a dozen different aircraft are exhibited. There are also a couple of land vehicles: a jeep, a halftrack, and a beautiful 1930s automobile that was specially built for Amelia Earhardt, and an "Airwolf" type helicopter.
You enter and exit through the gift shop (it's a state law <g>). James got a T-shirt and a set of playing cards with beautiful airplane paintings on them, and I bought a sticker for his truck and some postcards that were taken from vintage posters.
On the way back, we did a goofy and stopped at a store that advertised itself as the largest "Advertised on TV" store ever. (There must be a dozen of these stores in the Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge/Sevierville area.) Well, it certainly was large; it was in an old supermarket! And it did have all the Billy Mays/Debbie Meyer/Sham-Wow/etc. gadgets you see blared at you on television every few minutes. I was interested in seeing if they had that Buxton handbag that is supposed to miraculously expand. I saw it. I guess you can fit two water bottles and an umbrella in it, but it sure looked small to me! The store wasn't just those items, either, but a lot of dollar-store type junk, too. The walk up and down the aisle was good exercise, at least!
When we were at the Christmas store, I had seen a beautiful poster of a fall valley, but was so in a hurry to get to the Christmas portions that I had put it back. Now we stopped back there so I could pick up the poster. Someone had bought the one we saw downstairs, but we found another upstairs and in doing so met the store's mascot, an African grey parrot who was asleep in a big cage near the stairs. He woke up as we talked to him, stretched his wings, then decided we were no threat and went back to sleep.
I also took the opportunity to take a couple of photos outside the store, which is nicely landscaped with lighted trees and bushes and a small railroad layout. I was particularly charmed by a blue spruce with blue lights on it.
Opposite the store is a big Christmas-themed-year-round hotel, The Inn at Christmas Place. I knew they had wi-fi, so I pulled out James' EEPCwe carried it with us just in case we ate or stopped at a place with a wireless signaland turned it on...sure enough, we were getting the bleed from the hotel's wi-fi signal. That's how I originally posted yesterday's entry. We bloggers find a way. :-)
We had seen another, smaller Christmas store near Bennett's barbecue place, so we stopped there. This was actually a very large store, not as big as the other place, but it went way down in the back and made a connecting-U with the china shop next door: tons of stuff including imported European ornaments, Jim Shore stuff, stuffed and standing Santas, different themed ornaments, etc. The difference was this looked like a department store with aisles, while the larger store looked more like a decorator's dream. I got a woodland deer for my woodland tree, two small china angels for the top of the ceppo, a small resin tree about four inches highthere were a dozen of these little trees, each decorated in a different ethnic theme, like Mexican and British, and I got the Italian one, with Della Robbia fruit, grapes, gondolas, etc.and a CD of brass Christmas instrumentals. If there's anything I like as much as music box Christmas music, it's brass Christmas music!
By then it was dark and after six. James stopped by Hardee's and got himself something to eat; I still had the rest of my steak from last night in the fridge. We came down Pigeon Forge's now less busy main street, did the five miles of darkness between the towns, and emerged into a Gatlinburg that was now decidedly less crowded. We even drove down through the hotels and gift shops at a normal speed.
So we were returned to the bosom of our critters. We had dinner at the table where Schuyler's cage is set, and you should have seen her as we were eating: she craned her little neck at James, eyes bright at seeing his salad. He offered her a bit of tomato and she nibbled on it. Willow got a bit of the gristle from my steak and was happy then and finally ate her dog food.
(Incidentally, it was very nice pulling into the parking area at the cabin. There is minimal light here and you can see a canopy of stars overhead. We identified Casseopeia and Orion quite easily. We used to be able to see the stars from our deck, but the folks next door keep their deck lights on all the time and it washes out the sky.)
Anyway, we unplugged the modem and replugged it in. No go. We are receiving packets, but not sending them. However, there's another modem downstairs and James got that to work, on the EEPC, anyway. Which how we were able to eventually post. Simple, eh? LOL.
In the meantime, I finished Conant's All Shots tonight, and we watched the nineteenth edition of "Treehouse of Horror." Is it me, or are these no longer really very funny? The opening gag was short and sweet, but the transformers thing was kinda blah, as was Homer as an assassin. The Great Pumpkin spoof was quite spot on until it veered from the story, and it remained fairly entertaining to the end, but...eh.