One thing was for sure when we woke up Sunday morning it was going to rain and storm all day! The storms started in the middle of the night, and persisted in the morning with a gray, overcast sky that just shrieked of an all-day rain. Tink and I had a quick huddle and decided the only sane thing to do was to cancel the 10:00 hayride around the loop road, and the evening potluck! Then we sat back and waited for the rain to begin, and tried to think of "dry" things to do for the day.
Steve, Cindy, Tom, and I loaded up in Steve's truck for a trip through Wear's Valley over to Pigeon Forge. The Pigeon River made a split and left an island smack dab in the middle of the Pigeon Forge shopping district. All this time it has remained vacant, until a bright entrepreneur built "The Island" complete with retail shops, restaurants, rides, games, live music, moonshine-tasting ect.
First on our list was a ride on the Great Smoky Mountain Wheel -- 200' tall with inclosed cabs (heated or air conditioned) and an unobstructed view of the mountains! It is the 2nd tallest Ferris Wheel in the USA! A real HIGH!
Stepping off the wheel (to blue skies) we walked past Paula Deen's restaurant (Paula was in the house with police protection out front!) and over to watch the outdoor fountain show. All around the little lake were rocking chairs and other seating offering a comfortable view of the display. With no rain yet, we paused for a moment to enjoy.
Backed up to this little viewing area was the Ole Smoky Tennessee Moonshine Distillery. It wasn't happy hour yet, but they serve free tasting shots (in a communion-size cup) all day long. Tom, Steve, and Cindy lined up for the sampling, while I fanned out for pictures. Such pretty jars all lined up on the shelves: Apple Pie, Charred, Original, White Lightin', Peach, Hunch Punch, and everyone's favorite Blue Flame Moonshine at 128 proof. Tom, Steve and Cindy tried 'em all!
The title of this post is "High at the Spring Fling '15" and I bet you thought it was about the high-ride of the mountain wheel? Nope! It was all about the moonshine tasting high!
I don't shoot the straight shots, but I did roam around and collect the recipe cards for mixed drinks made with their moonshine. Can't wait to try "The Dolly" or the "Hillibilly Hammer" or the "Flame on the Rocks."
I guided the three samplers out of the distillery and down Market Street to the Margaritaville Restaurant and Hotel! All I can say about this place, is that it was just . . . FUN. The waitress agreeably snapped our picture. (Note the blue sky and light clouds in the picture of the restaurant -- still no storms!)
After a late lunch we headed back to the campground, this time taking the road all the way through Gatlinburg and back to the Townsend-side of the Smoky Mountains. After being in Pigeon Forge with all the outlet malls and amusement traps, we could see just why Townsend is billed as "the quiet side of the Smoky Mountains!"
Back at the campground everyone was looking up at that nice sky and scratching their heads and wondering where the rain was. It was almost time for the big extravaganza of the POTLUCK -- that had been cancelled for rain! It was evident that it would remain dry, at least through the dinner hour, so people flexed to reschedule the meal, and bill it as a "clean out your refrigerator" potluck. It was a great last gathering.
That night it did rain and storm. We had everything cleaned up and put away for an early take-off for home, and the rain didn't bother us one bit. Next door, TInk had closed up a lot of her shop -- but her flamingos were still out there, savaged from the storm!
The ride home was quick, stopping in Cincinnati for a quick lunch with Micah and to see his new truck. The next camping trip that is on deck is for Tom and the boys to enjoy a little bonding at the Indiana State Fairgrounds in Indiana, for the Indianapolis 500 Time Trials. I'll see if I can get them to snap some pictures and tell me the story when they get home!
We don’t go camping any more . . . we go ‘streamin’ ! The “SIlvermine and His” is our 2016 23' Airstream, and ‘streamin’ is the name we use to describe our adventures. Stream along as we document everything from weekend trips to longer summer excursions and full-blown vacations. You know what they say: if you’re not in an Airstream – you’re just camping!
Tom & Ella Brown