Edited 9/10/05: Sorry, they’ve been taken down), for you to admire. Sizing and naming those damn things was a job in and of itself. But I did it even though it took for-fucking-ever, because I love you. We left home around 10:30 Thursday morning, and with only a few stops on the way – Subway for lunch, a pee stop or two – we were in Gatlinburg by – I think – around 5. We hauled our bags up to the room – on the third freakin’ floor. Gah – admired the view from the room, and then walked down into town. I don’t remember which stores we hit, because that was on Friday and this is Tuesday and I can barely remember what I had for dinner last night. I do know that we ate at Blaine’s Bar and Grill for dinner. After that, we wandered around the town some more, stopped to buy junk at the candy store (mmmmm), and then headed back to the room, where we ate some of that candy we’d bought, watched TV, and looked at maps of the area, trying to decide how to get to Abrams Falls, which we were planning to hike first thing Friday morning. Fred bitched several times about how he couldn’t believe I was "making" him hike, and I told him he could drop the spud and I off and come back for us, which he wasn’t willing to do, and as I was looking at the map, I realized that there was a shorter hike – 2.6 miles round trip – to a different waterfall, and I offered to hike that one instead, which His Majesty agreed to. We didn’t get to sleep until late, and neither of us slept very well, because we’re not used to sleeping in the same bed, and I move around an awful lot, which was bothering Fred. Fred got up at some point and went for a walk/ run through the town. What kind of person actually exercises while on vacation, I ask you? Freak. Then he came back to the room, settled into the chair in our room, and let me sleep until about 8. We finally found the beginning of the trail to Laurel Falls sometime around (I think) 9:15 or so, and began walking. I was thrilled – THRILLED, I tell you! – to find that the path was practically vertical the entire way. Okay, maybe that’s a slight exaggeration. It was, however, hillier than I’d expected, especially for a walk rated "easy." We finally made it to the top, however, and took 25,000 pictures of the waterfall. I love waterfalls, have I mentioned? We wandered around, checked out to view, and a few minutes later, we headed back from whence we’d come. We stopped to look over the vertical drop to the side of the path, and the spud kept edging closer and closer to the edge, which I responded to by grabbing her wrist, lest she trip and fall. She’s as graceful as her mother, y’know. I finally yelled "Stay away from the edge, damnit!" at her, and she did, for the most part. At one point on our trip back down the mountain, I had stopped to take a picture of something. Fred, who was slightly ahead of me, stopped as well, and turned to say something snotty, I’m sure. As he turned, he overbalanced and his arms started windmilling, his leg flailed about in the air, and he leaned toward the vertical drop. We were so high up that you couldn’t see the bottom of the drop. So I gasped in horror. With half his body hanging over the side of the mountain, his arms still flying about in the air, his right leg still trying to find purchase, and the foot on the ground halfway off the path, and his entire body about to plunge off the mountain, to be ripped and broken to shreds as he rolled to the bottom, Fred’s response when I gasped was to laugh at me. Yeah, laugh it up, dead boy. He finally found his footing again, and except for a few bitchy comments he made about all the picture I stopped and took, we made it back to the bottom without anything else happening. It took us a little over an hour to hike there and back, instead of the 2 1/2 hours the map suggested we allow. Ha! Next time, we’re definitely going to head for Abrams Falls. After our morning excursion, we went back to the hotel and cooled off and snoozed for a little while, then headed out for lunch. The last few times we went to Gatlinburg, we’d wanted to try out a restaurant called The Alamo, but it always seemed too busy, and we don’t like to have to wait around for seats, because we’re the impatient sort. So, we decided to show up for lunch, right after they open at 11. Not only was there no waiting, but we were practically the only people there for the first half hour or so. And the food, though expensive, was worth every penny. The sourdough rolls were so good that we bought a dozen of them to bring back to the room with us, and the side salads were excellent as well. Fred had steak, and the spud and I had hamburgers, and they were all very good. Two thumbs up for The Alamo! In fact, it was so good that we went back there for lunch on Saturday. Once we left The Alamo, we decided to drive into Pigeon Forge to check out our usual shops. We got back to Gatlinburg around 3, and I headed up to the room to take a nap, while Fred and the spud walked down into town again. They got back to the room sometime after 5, and we ordered pizza for dinner.

And it sucked. Really, really sucked. It was like our punishment for having a really good lunch. I slept well Friday night, until 3 am, when Fred started snoring like a madman, and there was nothing I could do to get him to stop. The bastard. After an hour of laying awake, listening to him snore, and hating him, I did a double-somersault with a half-twist, making the bed shake like hell, which stopped his snoring long enough so that I could get back to sleep. We got up, I dunno, at some point later that morning, and headed out to drive around the Arts and Crafts Community. I was in need of a trunk – preferably cedar – to put in my bedroom for storing stuff – and I thought perhaps one of the many arts and crafts places would have one. We drove up and around the loop, stopping at several places, with no luck. Looking at the map, I thought that perhaps a store called The Chair Place (or something like that) would have trunks, so we stopped there. It turned out that it was a custom furniture place, and the lady running the front desk went out back to get the guy who makes the furniture, so that he could give us some idea of what it would cost to have a custom trunk made. He and Fred chatted for several minutes – a trunk this big, made out of cherry, lined with cedar – and then he thought about it for a few minutes, scribbled down some figures, and told us it would cost around $600. I thought Fred was going to swallow his teeth, but he covered nicely, thanking the guy and taking his card. We finished out the loop, not finding anything like what I wanted, and I shrugged, said "Guess we’ll have to wait and check out the stores when we get home", and turned to head for The Alamo for lunch. As we turned onto the main road, I glanced to my left to look at a small string of stores. "Hey!" I said. "’Cedar chests made here’!", and we decided to drive back and check it out once we’d eaten lunch. Unlike the day before, we had to wait for about fifteen minutes to be seated, because they’d just seated several very large parties – one of which appeared to be a wedding reception – and they were caught by surprise and understaffed. A man in a tuxedo jacket and jeans, wearing a cowboy hat and boots, looking very much like a groom. We got tired of waiting, but since we knew how good the food was, we kept our mouths shut and just waited. See, that’s how restaurants do it – they suck you in with the good food, and then keep you waiting, because you know it’s worth it. After lunch, we drove back to the store, bought a cedar trunk, put it in the back of the Jeep, and drove back to the hotel. Fred bitched the entire way about how our room was going to smell like cedar all the time, and it would smell like a hamster cage, yadda yadda yadda. Of course, he complained about it AFTER we’d bought it, so he was shit out of luck. I figured if it got really bothersome, we could stick it in the guest bedroom. Actually, either the smell has faded a little, or we’ve gotten used to it, so it’s all good. Oh, let’s see. What did we do for the rest of Saturday? We parked the car at the hotel and walked downtown, is what we did. We poked through some of the shops, we played some skeeball, and we took the ski-lift ride to the top of the mountain, which was really pretty cool. Make sure you check out the pictures, because the view from the top of the mountain is awesome. I told Fred that next time we go to Gatlinburg, we’ll have to do the ski lift to the top at night, because I’m sure Gatlinburg at night is a pretty awesome sight. Then we ate dinner at Blaine’s Bar and Grill, wherein I got very bitchy and annoyed, because we had to wait forEVER for our waitress to mosey over and take our drink order, and I was dying of thirst. She brought my Diet Coke, we placed our order, and two seconds later my glass was empty, and I was still dying of thirst. She didn’t come back and didn’t come back, and I was slowly drying into a mummy, and frantically sucking on ice cubes to slake the thirst. "I can actually FEEL her tip going down," I snarked to Fred. When it had been forever and a day, I had a flash of inspiration. We’d gotten bottles of water at some point earlier in the day, and Fred and I had finished ours, but the spud hadn’t. I grabbed her mostly full bottle of water and dumped it in my glass of ice, and began guzzling. Of course, as soon as I’d done that, the waitress showed up to refill our glasses. She left the pitcher with us, and after I finished my water, I slurped down another glass of Diet Coke. Our food eventually showed up, and by then I was in better spirits. We ate and then booked out of there. After a bit more of wandering the town, we headed back to the room, where we stayed for the rest of the evening, watching crappy TV and eating fudge and pecan turtles (mmmmm!). We left around 9:30 Sunday morning and made excellent time home, arriving here around 1ish. We ate lunch, and spent the rest of the day hanging out, watching TV, and reading. All in all, a really good vacation. Though we couldn’t wait to get home, we both wished that we’d had one more day – which is a good sign. A bad sign would be driving home as fast as you could muttering "I’m NEVER going back to that hellhole ever AGAIN!" And now is the part where I show you pictures of everything I bought while on vacation (you can see Fred’s entry to see all the t-shirts he bought for himself): A little kitty sculpture. Y’all know how much I like those orange tiger kitties, right? An addition to my Quarry Cats collection. This one is Calypso.

And this one is Caz. The goofy grin is a little creepy, yet somehow cute at the same time, no? There’s a store that sells nothing but magnets in Gatlinburg. I LOVE magnets. I also love kitties. Whee! Fred chose this one for me. Fred pointed this one out to me, as well. I found this one on my own. This one’s in honor of the Tubman. img src=”http://bitchypoo.com/2002/May/May28New09Sm.jpg” width=”250″ height=”206″ border=”0″/> The cedar chest. It holds a lot more than you’d think. The cats are a little freaked out by it, but I imagine that soon enough they’ll take turns sitting on it so they can look out the window it’s sitting under. We bought this picture during our tour of the Arts and Crafts Community. To hang on the laundry room wall above the litter box. A set of kitty-paw-print coasters.