Cherokee, NC yesterday afternoon, and visit Pigeon Forge today. After sitting around the house for a while, watching TV and just relaxing, we took off for Cherokee. To get to Cherokee, we had to drive through the Great Smokey Mountain National Park, which was just incredible. (I’ve decided I’m going to put my vacation pictures on another page, or create a slideshow, because I know not all of y’all are that interested in ten zillion pictures of mountains and streams.) The drive was 33 miles, but the roads over the mountains were twisty and turny, to say the least. At one point, we drove in a complete circle within about half a mile. Everywhere we looked, there were streams and little waterfalls. Gorgeous, I tell you. Cherokee itself was less than thrilling – we walked around and did some shopping, and picked up a t-shirt for the spud and bought more stuff I didn’t really need (which could be my motto: Robyn: Buying Stuff She Really Doesn’t Need). We spent half an hour or so there, before heading back. Oh, now that I think about it, something fairly embarrassing happened. We were in the first store we visited, looking around, and there were a large number of windchimes hanging from the ceiling. I was standing there looking up at them when they started chiming vigorously, from – I assumed – a gust of wind coming through the propped-open door. After about two minutes of chiming, I good-naturedly said "Okay, we get the point," as if talking to the wind, and smiled at Fred. He got a pissed look on his face and poked me in the side and said "Stop it!" Bewildered, I said "What??" He dragged me to another part of the store and hissed "She’s retarded!" I stared at him and said "Who?" He nodded at a girl standing over by where we’d just been, and I looked at him and looked at her, and said "So?" It turns out that she’d been moving the windchimes so they’d chime. Like I was supposed to know that, fer chrissake. Yes, I was embarrassed as hell, and yes Fred thinks it’s the funniest thing ever. Grrrr. It was almost 5:00 by the time we got back to Gatlinburg, so we went directly to Maxwell’s to eat. Fred found their website before we left, and it sounded like they had a pretty good menu, so we decided to eat there. It’s a steakhouse, first and foremost, so Fred ordered the prime rib. I, on the other hand, went against a strongly held belief ("Seafood is best when eaten in a town on the ocean – inland seafood isn’t as good") and ordered the seafood scampi. The spud ordered her usual chicken fingers. The salad was just the best salad I’ve ever had (except for the salad at East Side Marios), aided by the excellent homemade blue cheese dressing. They brought out small loaves of wheat bread, which was also pretty good. When the entrees arrived, however, I realized that "seafood scampi" was code for "seafood sauteed in butter, with an entire head of garlic". It was the blandest thing I’ve ever had, and I ended up grateful that I’d eaten my entire salad and some of the bread. On the way back to the house, we stopped and rented some incredibly crappy movies (FX2 and I Still Know What You Did Last Summer) from a little store on the way. For the rest of the evening, we watched movies; around 9, Fred and I went out to the hottub. The temperature was a painful 105, which wasn’t in the slightest bit comfortable to me. After floating around for about twenty minutes, we gave up and went inside and started our second movie. That Jennifer Love Hewitt, some actress, huh? Shortly before 11, I voted we go to bed, which was seconded by Fred. After drugging ourselves with Tylenol PM, we headed upstairs. Watching a scary movie before bed wasn’t a good idea, because Fred started getting paranoid that someone would break into the house, and his paranoia sparked some paranoia on my part. That didn’t last long, though, because the Tylenol PM knocked us both out pretty quickly. We all slept well last night, and I slept until after 7, when Fred – who had been up for a while – woke me up. The spud slept until after 8. We left for Pigeon Forge after 10, and visited some little shops. My favorite, far and away, was The Cat House, which had all sorts of cat paraphernalia. I could easily have spent two hundred bucks in there, but luckily (for Fred) I restrained myself. Fred was aching to visit some arcades, so we drove around looking for one. Since I have zero, zilch, nada interest in arcade-type stuff, he and the spud went in and I waited in the car with my book, the air conditioning on high. We stopped and ate seafood for lunch (no, I’ll never learn)(at least this time it was pretty good), made one more stop because Fred was thinking about buying a 7UP shirt (it’s the shirt the guy in the commercial wears, which says "Make 7" on the front, and "UP Yours" on the back), and I waited in the car again while he and the spud went down to a couple of shops (no, I know I’m no fun, but I don’t mind waiting in the car, so hush up). Now we’re back in the house for the evening. We’re going to order pizza and subs for dinner, and watch another two crappy movies (Child’s Play 2 and FX), and Fred and I will take our final dip in the hottub. I’m starting to like the house we’re staying in. I like that the entire bottom floor is taken up with the pool table, ping pong table, and bathroom, that the living room and kitchen are on another floor – along with a couple of bedrooms – and that the master bedrooms are upstairs. It’s a charming little house, despite the fake wood paneling and shag carpet. The hottub is outside, but instead of just walking outside to get to it, you have to go outside and around the house, taking a treacherous, slippery path to get there. The bathrooms are a tad creepy, because there are mirrors wherever you look, and god KNOWS I don’t care to look at myself in mirrors any more than I have to. There’s a cool hall of mirrors effect, though, because there are mirrors on two walls, and they reflect back and forth. I’ll have to remember to take a picture of that. Speaking of mirrors, I noticed yesterday that my hair just kind of fell apart after a while in the humidity. So I carefully blew it completely dry this morning, happy for once with the way it looked when I was finished. I sprayed a light layer of hairspray and skipped downstairs to present myself to Fred. He looked up from his bowl of cereal and said "Well, don’t you have the flyaway hair this morning!" The man is full of compliments, ain’t he? ]]>