Friday, September 20, 2013

Tennessee Girl's Trip: Day 2

Day two began with brunch at Cracker Barrel (it's a vacation necessity, after all - plus Shannon and Dylanie had never been!) before we headed into Gatlinburg. We were supposed to pick up Jennifer at the Knoxville airport that morning, but due to some confusion at one of her lay-overs she missed her connecting flight and would now be delayed several hours. This was not the weekend for flying. So we arranged for one of the other drivers coming in to get Jennifer and we headed into Gatlinburg.

I offered to do driving duty in the mountains because it didn't give me anxiety, so I took the keys and off we went. It is so beautiful there. I spotted about a million antique shops and places I wanted to stop along the way, but we couldn't do that.

Our plan was to head straight to the house we rented for the weekend and unload the car. Man, oh man..when I say this house was at the top of the mountain, I mean it. We literally couldn't drive any further up because it was a private drive beyond our road. It was, well, a typical mountain road. There were twists and turns and steep hills and sharp curves and it was nerve-wrecking to say the least. I had to keep my map in one hand while driving so I could figure out where to go.
 Our house was one of about a dozen on this tiny little road, and rather than being the typical cabin in the woods style, they were sort of victorian looking which was really cool. Our view was gorgeous, and we could see a sliver of Gatlinburg from our balcony. In hindsight, I'd much rather have stayed down in town though rather than have to deal with that commute up and down the mountain every time we wanted to go somewhere. There was no "quick trip" to the store or anything - once you went down, you didn't really want to have to drive back up until you were home for the night.
 Speaking of driving down....soo I'm a city girl, and everyone in the car with me lives in flat land. So no one bothered to explain to use that putting the car in low gear to come up and down would be a good idea. Especially on these scary on our first trek down the mountain, when we got close to the bottom I began to smell something.......something an electrical type smell.....and then we got to the stop light at the bottom of the hill and the smoke came billowing out of both front tires.
 Yeah...we over-heated the brakes. We didn't know!! I threw the van in park, jumped out and yelled "Get out of the car! It's on fire!" because I had no idea if I should expect flames to come shooting out of the wheels at any moment or what...and the last thing I needed was to kill a van full of ladies on our first meeting. Yes, the mental picture is just as funny as you think - 6 ladies standing in the middle of a street with a smoking van and we are all panicked. I grabbed a small glass of water because that's all I had and threw it on the tire I was standing beside. I'm such a fire fighter.
About 30 seconds after all this began, a local man came moseying over to us and casually said "You have to put the car in low to come down the hill and don't ride the brakes. Go park it, let it cool off for about 15 minutes." He forgot to add, "moron" but it was kind of implied. I bet he rescues 2-3 car loads of clueless women a week.

We did as we were told, which led us to a little walking trail near where our incident occurred. It actually turned out to be a bit of a blessing because we walked along the river a bit, some people got to stick their feet in the water, and we had a nice little nature walk until we could drive the car again.
 We headed further into town and parked and began exploring while we waited on the final 4 to get into town after they picked up Jennifer from Knoxville. It wasn't long and the whole group was together! We decided on Bubba Gump's for dinner and I ordered a pound of crab legs which I happily consumed. They were delicious!
 After Bubba Gump's, we walked down the street in Gatlinburg, peeking into shops and talking, laughing was great to be here with everyone. A few of us decided to ride up in the space needle to get a nice view of the area. I don't remember that being there where I was last in Gatlinburg, but it's been over eight years.
Part of the group is sitting down below, waiting. The far right arrow on the bottom is pointing to them.

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