Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Summer Vacation Days 1 & 2

This year, Alec, Zack and I are going to Gatlinburg and Chattanooga for our summer vacation.

Day 1 – Sunday

We drove up to Gatlinburg Sunday afternoon. It was a great drive, I made a playlist with 528 songs (about 1.6 days worth of music) for our trip. We jammed to whatever came on and the 3 of us talked pretty much the whole way here. It’s great that Alec still likes talking to his dad, even though he’s 15. We got up here around 5 and checked into the hotel. We went out and walked around for a bit and found somewhere to eat dinner. We ate at the Mountain Edge Grill, which was pretty good. Then we walked around and found an indoor miniature golf place. We pretty much had the place to ourselves and had a great time. We also road go-carts, which was fun.

Day 2 – Monday

This morning, we decided to go hiking. We drove up to the national park entrance and went to the Sugarlands visitor’s center. We got a map of some day hike trails and decided to do the Chimney Tops hike. It’s a 4 mile round trip and rated as strenuous. The first part is easy, leading down to a bridge over waterfalls and a pool in the river. Several people were swimming, even though the water is pretty cold. Alec & Zack waded in and got their feet wet. We climbed out over some big rocks and got a lot of pictures. Someone picked up Zack’s water bottle, so we were down to 2 bottles. We hiked on, going up some pretty steep inclines. We crossed several bridges and got tons of pictures (which I will post this weekend). We reached a point and realized we were only half way up. We were tired and running out of water. Alec wanted to press on, but I knew we would run out of water and would need some food soon. So we turned back. Not 3 minutes later, it started to rain. It was just a drizzle, so no big deal. We got back to the car and started back down the mountain and it started pouring. It was raining so hard, we had to pull into one of the parking areas because I couldn’t see the road. If we had pressed on, we would have been over a mile up a mountain getting soaked. So we eventually got back to town and relaxed in the room for a bit and dried out.

We went out walking, looking for something to do and hit one of the candy stores. It was still raining and we couldn’t find anything fun to do. We headed back to the room to get ready for dinner. For dinner we went to the Hard Rock Café. It was pretty cool, the food was not bad, just nothing special. But it was cool to look at all the guitars and pictures on the walls and listen to good music while eating instead of the standard muzak. Our waitress was Anna, who was from Belarus. I've now met 3 women from Belarus (I worked with 2 years ago) and let me tell you, there are some beautiful women in that country. The table we were at had Chet Atkins memorabilia, including his Fender Telecaster (with his name on the neck) and a red, sequined outfit he wore at Carnegie Hall in 1969. The table next to us had Johnny Cash stuff, so Zack had to get a picture of that. He also took a picture of the Chet Atkins stuff cause my granddad will get a kick out of that. Other acts in the room we were in were the Allman brothers, Stevie Ray Vaughn and Jimmy Vaughn next to each other and Billy Gibbons from ZZ Top. I didn’t get pictures of those because people were eating at those tables. In the lobby, I took a shot of Eddie Van Halen’s display, Guns N’ Roses (Duff McKagan), a Sex Pistols t-shirt and a couple of other things.

Tomorrow, we go white water rafting!

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