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» Wednesday, November 19, 2014An Interesting Detour
Our original plan was to drive into Knoxville today.
However, by the time breakfast was over, it was already 10:30, and since I still had to call and make reservations for the dinner theater one day this week (we get a free ticket to the Lumberjack Feud, which I wanted to see last year, but we were too damn sick), I had decided to do it after breakfast and thought, well, we'll do that tonight. And since we picked the early show, we had to be there by 4 p.m.
So we will get up earlier tomorrow and go then.
Today we started out by driving out to the needlework store in Wears Valley; I would drive out to Wears Valley anyway, without the shop, since it's such a pretty ride. Must be lovely at peak! It is cold this morning, but without the snow and the wind, nothing like yesterday, although I should have started the car before bed last night, as it started very sluggishly.
I got a couple of Prairie Schooler patterns, two "Stoney Creek" magazines (no one in Atlanta sells them), an old "Just Cross Stitch" with a pretty autumn band sampler, a magnetic wrist bracelet to hold needles, and some two-ended needles. I always feel nostalgic when I walk in because there's a tatting display right in the doorway; my mom did shuttle tatting for years.
Next we drove out to the Russell Stover outlet store, which is almost at I-40. James found very little in sugarless candy that we can't get in Walmart, but we got our Christmas chocolate for the season; eating one for dessert a night I think we will still have enough by Epiphany. I bought a box (24) of the peppermint bark snowmen, a box of those wonderful dark-chocolate covered gingerbread Santas, and a half-dozen each of dark-chocolate covered caramel and dark-chocolate covered mint. Also picked up cashew brittle and some candy for friends.
Heading back in from the outer edge of the Parkway, we stopped at Smokey Mountain Knife Works. I can't describe this as a Bass Pro or Cabela-like shop; they don't carry fishing gear or a lot of camping stuff. They do have knives, from Case to other models, plus guns, tarted-up knives (with sequins and junk), some camping and camo things, specially-made swords from fantasy movies like The Lord of the Rings, and downstairs there is gourmet food, barbecue paraphenalia, kitchen gadgets, etc. The neatest part of the store is the Relic Corner, which carries old things you can buy: Civil War trash found on battlefields (bullets, belt buckles, etc.), older relics like Revolutionary War things (Hessian buttons, musket balls), fossils, 19th Century medicine bottles, dinosaur coprolites, fragments of mammoth bone, etc. Very neat.
We left there early enough to stop at Kroger to get James more Coke Zero, then arrived at the Lumberjack Feud in good time. They saw James' Rollator and put us a front row so we didn't have to climb stairs, so we got a really good view of all the action. All the actors are actual winners of lumberjack contests (men and women), and they do old-fashioned lumberjack activities like log rolling, speed tree climbing, etc. in the framework of a corny but entertaining show about two feuding lumberjack families, the Dawsons and the McGraws. You also see the "Timber Dogs" (three Labradors and what looked like a redbone hound) do several feats like water jumps and fetching balls while walking on logs, and a black horse named Bill came out several times to deliver logs on skids.
We got the Christmas show, in which a maniac elf named Elfred comes from the North Pole to Pigeon Forge, where he's found the perfect Christmas tree. Both families want to cut it down, since, since the National Park opened, they've been out of work. So the ranger decides that a contest will be held to decide who will cut down the tree. This leads into demonstrations with climbing, chopping, two-man sawing, one-man sawing, chain saws, and finally the log rolling. Santa Claus appears via "Elftime" to say both families will benefit if he builds a road to the Park (one family will open the 17 pancake houses in the 3 mile stretch and the other will open amusements which will make them all rich), so everyone technically wins.
We were served dinner in "bear proof" tin lunchboxes that latched shut: a complete holiday dinner of turkey, dressing, ham, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, and tri-color corn, with a roll each, a drink, and a surprisingly not overly sweetened apple cobbler. The pre-show was a bluegrass trio singing standards and Christmas music. It was a lot of fun. We even got a show souvenir, a "lumberjack cookie" (a slice of wood sawed in one of the contests) that I got autographed by all of the Dawson performers, the Ranger, and the maniac Elfred.
Yeah, and we bought the photo they took of us, just like last year at Biltmore. In fact it's the same outfit who takes the pics at Biltmore.
Back to the cabin for an early bedtime...I hope!