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» Saturday, June 27, 2009Hot, Hot, HOT!
Whose idea was this?
Oh, yeah, it was mine. LOL. But when I made the reservations two weeks ago I had no idea it was going to be as hot as...well, you know. I was figuring...June in Tennesseee. 80s, tops.
At one point we were parked and the thermometer in the car read 103°F. (After we got moving it went down to 95.) It is also evident that my car needs its freon, or whatever they use now, recharged. It's fine if you start from the garage or under a tree, but cold start after sitting in the sun in 90 degree temperatures, and the A/C never really gets cold.
I managed to make it through the day even though I forgot to take my Claritin last night and have been sneezing and stuffy all day. It got progressively worse as the day went on. Ugh.
So we had our complimentary "continental breakfast" (and Willow lucked out as I didn't realize they had hot water for the oatmeal so I put cold water in it and was going to warm it up, until the lady showed me where the hot water was, so Wil had cold oatmeal for breakfast) and then headed for Gatlinburg. It was about 9:30 and there was plenty of parking in the rear of the stores on the parkway.
So we walked around for the next couple of hours. Visited the Maple's Tree gift shop and got more little prim items, and a couple of gifts, stopped at a knife shop, went to the little "village" with its quaint shops and stopped at the Celtic store to get the Gaelic Storm albums we didn't buy last time and then regretted, stopped and had ice cream at the Mayfield Dairy stand, bought another gift. As it got on toward noon it started to get warm, so we decamped and headed back to Pigeon Forge.
The first place we stopped at was a cross-stitch store called Dixie Darlin' in an area called "The Old Mill." There is actually a mill still there, at the falls, but the water wheel no longer works and it's a restaurant now. The needlework store was in an old house behind the little shopping area. It was a mix of the commercial stuff you can get in JoAnn, like JanLynn, and more exclusive patterns and kits like Shepherd's Bush and Lizzie Kate. I was good and only got two patterns and a fall wreath kit (only 5x5, but with beads).
We made a brief stop at the Book Warehouse, and James got more books than I did. I did buy something about the history of Daylight Saving Time. Then we stopped by the motel to see how the animals were doing and James took Willow outside. Finally, about 1:30, we had some lunch.
Then we went almost back to the freeway, to one of the two Christmas stores I saw on the way out on our last trip. The other, Christmas Done Right!, had closed. (James said dryly, "I guess they didn't do Christmas right after all.") This turned out to be the same folks that have the Christmas store just a few blocks down from The Incredible Christmas Place. I was determined not to buy anymore stuff, but we found a perfect Christmas gift for someone, plus a lovely glass collie ornament, a little resin Scottish tree to go with the Italian tree I got last year, and a little Thomas Kincade house. James got a set of LED Christmas lights for his tree at work.
Then we went up to the fireworks place to get some stuff for next week. I got some sparklers and Roman candles, and James got some rockets and a multipack.
We were going to hit the sugar-free chocolate at the Russell Stover store, but this is where we saw the 103 temp. I figured even in both insulated bags it wouldn't last! We'll stop tomorrow on the way out.
On the way back we stopped at this huge knife store. I mean, huge. They didn't just sell hunting knives and Swiss army knives, but they had swords, and swords based on Lord of the Rings and Klingon weapons, and kitchen knives and other stuff for your kitchen, and grilling, and camping, rocks and minerals, and a bunch of other things. This was on several levels and waterfalls in the middle of the building!
I started running out of gas here because of the allergy attack and we were both suffering from the heat. By now it was about five, and we came back to the motel, turned up the A/C, and I fell asleep for over an hour. Schuyler just kissed at me once in a while. Poor sweetie, I wasn't much company.
We went out for supper about seven. We went to Dennys in Pigeon Forge and I just had soup. For dessert we had something called "pancake puppies" (I kid you not). They are little doughnut holes covered in cinnamon and sugar and you dunk them in syrup. Very sweet.
On the way back we stopped at the Inn at Christmas Place. This is across the street from The Incredible Christmas Place and is decorated for Christmas all year long. It's beautiful! They are always talking about this hotel on my Christmas group and I wanted to see the public areas. The lobby has a huge fireplace, and there is a big tree with stuffed deer, antique Santa Clauses, and even an antique music box. Downstairs is a gathering area where the "Singing Santa" gives a concert every evening. He was just chatting with the audience when we looked in.
I'd like to stay here just once. You can get a plain room or one decorated for Christmas, and all of them have jacuzzis in room.
But we ain't coming back here again until it gets cool. Even with the mountains hovering in the background, it's mind-numbingly, exhaustingly HOT.
My nose had cleared up a bit after the soup, and we'd been passing miniature golf courses all freaking day, so now that the sun was down we decided to stop at "Old McDonald's Farm" and play a round. This was either a good or bad idea, as we did have a great gameI got three holes in one, a mind-boggling event, and we had a good time with the three girls in front of us and the family in backbut it was still hot and humid, no breeze to speak of, and the wait time for each hole was very long because the place was so crowded. It took us 70 minutes to play 18 holes!
But the course was fun; lots of crazy animals, like a goat on an outhouse and pigs on a mud-slide, sheep, turkeys complaining of being "stuffed," one hole like a pinball machine with rabbits' heads sticking out of their holes, and the last hole was the henhouse. The animals "cracked wise" via recordings, and there was even one shot where you shot under the outhouse. At that hole you heard the toilet flush, but a gadget attached to the outhouse also shot water onto another hole every time someone shot the ball under the outhouse.
We got back to the hotel drenched to the skin with sweat and basked in the A/C! Watched the end of "The Tholian Web" on Star Trek and joined chat already in progress.