Tag Archives: fun

Cades Cove, TN

We live about five hours from Gatlinburg, TN. If you’ve never been there, it’s a town just outside the entrance to the Great Smokey Mountains National Park. Gatlinburg has gone over the years, from being a sleepy little mountain town to a tourist mecca. It has a decidedly German flavor to many of the buildings and in the summer, there are beautiful flowers everywhere. I know lots of people don’t like tourist towns, and I often don’t like them either, but I like this one. It is a great gateway to the beautiful park, and inside that beautiful park is Cades Cove.

Cades Cove was a community way back in the mountains. Today, it is basically a museum of past Appalachian living. There are a few houses, some churches, a nice visitor center and a campground. We decided to take a bike ride on the loop road, and quickly discovered that it’s a lot hillier than we ever thought it was from the car. We had to bale, but in the meantime, I got some awesome photos.

A morning view from the Loop Road.
A morning view from the Loop Road.

We got there early, it was shady and cool. Suddenly, the sun rose all the way and the humidity began to creep up.

The boy beginning to realize that a black shirt was a bad choice...
The boy beginning to realize that a black shirt was a bad choice…
The Loop Road.
The Loop Road.

We realized that we were going to all die and dry up like empty corn husks if we kept going, so the sight of this cross-over road was a welcome sight.

Posts along the cut over road to chop that trip in less than half.
Posts along the cut over road to chop that trip in less than half.

The boy was in the worst shape because he had on a black shirt. My husband is the kind of person who trades us for crappy meals in restaurants, and will give you the shirt off his back. His shirt was NOT black and large enough to allow for air circulation when it was put on my son, so they traded shirts. I’m not sure if it shows well enough for you to tell, but that black shirt was TIGHT on the hubs. It was really funny, and a little embarrassing…

The hubs goofing off because the boy's shirt was too small for him, the boy dying.
The hubs goofing off because the boy’s shirt was too small for him, the boy dying.

Lesson learned from this? Just because you can handle an eight mile loop road bike ride on a perfectly flat island in Michigan when the temp is in the low 60’s, does NOT mean you can handle a loop road bike ride on a hilly, 80 degree, humid Tennessee morning. Just say no. The Cades Cove Loop Road is for cars. Use one.

Have a great day full of level walking/riding paths, cool temps and low humidity. Be nice ūüôā

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The Road Less Travelled – We Tend to Find It

My family and I recently took a four-day¬†trip to Chicago over spring break.¬† We stayed in a very nice hotel a block from Michigan Avenue.¬† We went to Bloomingdale’s, and the Sears Tower, which is now called the John Hancock Center or something along those lines, we ate Chicago pizza at Giordano’s and got creeped out by the scary waves one day on the lake.¬† But the REAL fun came when we veered off the beaten path and marched to the beat of our own marching band, like we tend to enjoy doing.

Before we left home, my husband went on Roadside America.com and looked for unusual things to do in Chicago.¬† GOLDMINE!!¬† We had breakfast at The Time Warp Cafe, a little place that made me feel, well, timewarped to the 80’s.¬† They had a Back to the Future DeLorean and a flux capacitor for heaven’s sake!¬† I also had the prettiest vanilla latte I have ever had in my life.¬† In a china cup, not a paper one with a stingily given cardboard sleeve to prevent third degree burns to my delicate digits.

We went to see The Shit Fountain.¬† Seriously.¬† Apparently, this crotchety old man got tired of the neighbors letting their dogs crap in his tiny little postage stamp front yard, so he paved over it with concrete to make his area less appealing, then he had The Shit Fountain erected.¬† It is a lovely affair with a nice large pile of fake doggy doo coiled coyly up on top.¬† The title of said fountain is carved in block print around the base that holds the poo.¬† It was totally awesome.¬† While my husband and daughter were taking each other’s picture in front of it, my more easily embarrassed son and myself (also easy to embarrass) stayed in the car nervously giggling as some neighbors came home and almost knocked my hubs and daughter over as they brushed past them into their home.¬† My son and I almost died and most assuredly would have, had we been out of the car.

The Shit Fountain

Then, we went to Graceland cemetery¬†to see the Grim Reaper.¬† Now, you gotta love a cemetery¬†with creepy monsters in it.¬† As I’m sure you know, most of them consist of lovely memorials, weeping angels and the occasional crypt.¬† This one has a ten foot tall spooky dude who doesn’t have a scythe or anything, so I’m not sure he’s the GR, but he is kinda scary.¬† I vote for a cemetery where all the monuments are scary.¬† Finally, a boneyard that you actually CAN be afraid of.¬† Sounds cool.

Grim Reaper at Graceland Cemetery

After lunch at Potbelly’s, a sandwich shop I’ve never been to before, we went to the Woolly Mammoth.¬† It is an antiques and oddities store similar to Obscura, the one in New York that is the star of the show on the Science Channel.¬† It was cool.¬† They had jars of teeth, taxidermied¬†critters, a zombie Elvis lamp (THAT was cool), and the awesomest¬†guy¬†ever¬†running it.¬† When we told him we had spent the morning frolicking in the cemetery and that although it might sound kind of weird, we had a blast, he said, and I quote, “That’s not weird at all.¬† I go frolicking in the cemetery all the time.¬† In fact, there is another one not far from here called¬†Rosehill that has a lot of good ghost stories associated with it.¬† You should go check it out.”¬† I swear to You Know Who, that I think I am just going to stop trying to live the pretense of normality and start seeking out my people.¬† Those considered “weird” by everyone else.¬† They are usually super nice, and they don’t think I am excentric at all.¬† In fact, most of them think I’m a little too “normal.”

The moral of this story is basically to let your freak flag fly and to take the road less travelled.¬† Quit worrying so much about whether you are “normal” or “weird.”¬† Face it we are ALL weird in our own special ways.¬† Embrace it.¬† Do the stuff you like and don’t worry about what other people think.¬† Go see the regular stuff just so you can talk about it if you need to, but take the road less travelled.¬† You’ll see cool stuff and meet nice people.¬† Even if the stuff and the folks are a little “weird.”¬† Life will become an adventure instead of a drag.

Have fun and be kind to one another ūüôā