Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Day Five - On the Road Again

June 11 - Midday today we leave the Nashville area and head east toward the Smoky Mountains. We have a motel room in Pigeon Forge, TN for tonight and Thursday.

Here's a link to our route. Kallie should be able to do some driving at the beginning and end of the trip when we are off I-40. She drove over 40 miles yesterday on our trip to Santa Fe and to the Franklin Drive-In.

White House to Pigeon Forge

OK, I can type now that Top Chef is over. I lost a $10 bet with my daughter. I predicted that Lisa would win based on her final performance. Like most viewers of the show, Kallie didn't like Lisa, and rooted hard for Stephanie. Despite raving over three of Lisa's four dishes, the judges picked Stephanie as Top Chef.

Our trip to Pigeon Forge from White House was longer than I expected and a little more eventful. Fortunately, we left a little earlier than I had hoped--about 11 a.m. We dealt with a couple hours of rain, which kept Kallie from driving. Lunch at a state park took us about 10 miles off the interstate, but we got through a few anxious moments with Sac and got back on I-40 further east toward our destination. At the park we were entertained or distracted by a group of young boys playing and fighting in a sandbox. One boy threw sand while two others brandished logs and branches.

My last turn off I-40 toward Pigeon Forge caused some confusion. Heading east and turning right, I expected to find myself US 321 South. Instead, the sign read US 321 North. Sac was no help, as she wanted me back on I-40. A couple of miles down 321 I saw a church on the left, and turned into the parking lot to pray over the situation. At the same time, Kay consulted a map that showed us going in the right direction. After a couple more miles, Sac signed to our route. Apparently 321, which goes mostly east and west, does head from south to north (in the direction we were heading) over some longer distance.

We arrived in Pigeon Forge at about 5 p.m. (6 p.m. Eastern). The mountains are visible in the distance, but at close range Pigeon Forge presents a relentless array of neon and faux nature tackiness. Our second floor, non-non-smoking room was also a disappointment. We compounded the problem with a sickening lemony spray provided by the front desk. With all that roiling in the air, it was time for dinner at The Old Mill Restaurant across the street.

Even on a Wednesday night we had to wait an hour for a table. The Old Mill specializes in great quantities of food, though we really enjoyed most of what we ate, especially the fried rainbow trout and the corn fritters. Their "signature" corn chowder (made with clam juice, of all things) was disappointing.

The girls thought about go-kart rides, but not on such full stomachs. We headed back to the Vacation Lodge for the countdown to Top Chef.

Check out for more pictures from the day. Tomorrow we plan to venture into the twisty roads of the Smoky Mountains and perhaps onto the go-kart tracks of Pigeon Forge.

On To Day Six

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