Trip to Pigeon Forge - September 2010

Took a long Labor Day weekend trip to Pigeon Forge with the family and dogs. 

We stayed in a nice cabin up in the hills above Pigeon Forge.  As crazy as that place is, only five minutes away you have
tranquil mountain beauty.

We even had a welcome committee, a Praying Mantis spying on us through the sliding glass door.  Seems awful pervy for
such a religious insect.

The main reason for going to Pigeon Forge - a visit to the one and only Dollywood.

We had our photo "professionally" taken in front of their sign, and they inserted computer animated butterflies into the picture. 
Finally, we have true worthwhile uses for technology.

Being nestled into a holler, it's actually a pretty nice park, visually speaking.  Outside of a couple of coasters not many good rides

They had a bald eagle sanctuary there.  None of them were actually bald though.  Truth in advertising my ass!

This bald eagle wasn't bald either.  And despite her best efforts, never achieved flight. 

For the record, I shot the shit out of that hayseed family and their wares. 

No surprise, saw plenty of mullets in the park - but this was one of the best, as it appears to be the rare "perm-mullet".

They had an actual working grist mill there.  They sold this really super tasty cinnamon pull-apart bread in there, it was honestly
amazing.   Probably my favorite part in all of Dollywood.

Words will not do this photo justice. 

As they always say, the family that wears camo together, stays together. 

They had a real actual coal fired steam engine there, which is pretty cool.  Until
you're told to be aware not to let burning embers
fly in your eye, and after the ride
you're covered in soot.

Harriett and Bryan on the train.  Bryan is a train nut, for the record. 

We got to tour inside of Dolly Parton's tour bus...this was her bedroom in the back.  I was trying to think of a way to work a boob
joke in here but nothing is coming to mind.

Saw this cruising around Pigeon Forge, half VW Bug and half motorcycle.  Pretty amazing, though finny that the "car" passengers
were wearing helmets. 

Ah, Tennessee...

Yes, one of their main thoroughfares is Jake Thomas Road.  That's just how famous and important I am. 

On our final day we visited the aquarium in nearby Gatlinburg.  It was a pretty good aquarium, certainly much better than you'd
expect in a small mountain tourist town. 

One of them leafy seahorses, also known as a Leafy Sea Dragon if you're one of them marine science types. 

No surprise, the clown fish were very popular with the kids. 

Fancy shrimp!

Hi Guys!

Fact: I am not a deep sea diver.  This is a staged photo. 

My favorite part of any aquarium, the jellyfish exhibit.

They had some penguins.  Skeptical penguin is skeptical. 

We also took a drive out to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, which I hadn't been to since I was a little kid.  We mostly
just tooled around the Cade's Cove area, a once thriving farming community that slowly died out after the park acquired the land. 
Many of the homes and buildings still exist in their original state. 

The dogs enjoyed the trip.

An old graveyard behind one of the old churches (where they still hold the occasional service...and burial, assuming you are an
ancestor of the former settlers of the cove).

At the visitor's center they were making molasses the old fashioned way, with some sugar cane, a mule to twist it, and a cooker
molaso-fize it.  I'm pretty sure that is the technical term.

The old grist mill. 

On our way back to North Carolina, I took a terrible panorama shot. 

Burt don't care though.