Well we survived :) The trip included myself (39) and 6 kids- 20,16,14,14,12,12 - my kids and my sister's kids.
1pm..today, Sunday....A 4 1/2 hour drive (halfway point) from a Holiday Inn in KY to the area brought an "OH NO is THAT the traffic everyone speaks of?!!!) It was BAD coming out of Pigeon Forge to the highway. And I mean BAD.
No big deal, it was the opposite of where we were going so we trudged on. We couldn't check in with Timber Tops till 4, so we were off to do fun and exciting things! We did stop by Bluff MTN ATV but the office was closed :(...Will try again tomorrow!
We headed to Clingmans Dome. The drive took us about 40 minutes. The parking area was FULL and then some, but we lucked out on a spot and hit the toilets. They were pit toilets and stinky, but hey they were handy! One bottle of water I figured is all we needed.,.(take more than you think you'll need ♥)... Off we went. The 1/2 mile trail is VERY STEEP and there were many many stragglers and elderly huffing and puffing. Most of my group didn't complain, but there were some times when they wanted to sit. The walk up was hard, but once we got to the observation tower, it was well worth it. Not to mention instead of being 93 degrees, it was 72 up there! We didn't stay long as it was very crowded, but we took some great pics and started down. You think down is easy, well at a steep grade you are trying not to run ... Stopped at the store/rangers station and picked up a couple of brochures and learned more about the area.
It was now 3pm and we knew we had to get our cabin's info /check in soon.
We stopped on the side of the road where there were some rocks on the side with a mountain stream running through it. The kids and I LOVED this part, until I FELL in and skinned my shin, bruised my knee and elbow (all on a slippery rock) Oh yeah, I broke my camera, too, as it took a swim as well. I had a backup camera, so all is good! Swimsuits, watershoes and a picnic lunch would have made an easy 2 hour break (note for future reference!)
The drive down took 30 minutes and we headed to TimberTops... 10 minutes of waiting and free cookies made check in easy. A detailed map was given and we were off to Ski Mountain to "A Wonderful Way". A cute 4 bdrm cabin with nearby neighbors there are some pluses and minuses. (I'll write a separate report later for this) It's fine for my group.
We had 830 reservations for Dixie Stampede, so we showered and unpacked. We left at 6pm with an empty cooler to head to the grocery store in the daylight before the stampede. Hit Food City where the prices were decent and although crowded it was a quick trip.
Now off to the Stampede. We arrived at 730 . Picked up our tickets and headed in. First stop -group pictures. Then to the preshow. $4 boots with pop or icees to drink and popcorn was $36 I could have done without. I probably would skip this part, but if you like banjos and southern music, do stay. We were then cattled upstairs to the main arena. We were in North section C4. Regular pricing (Saved $3 each with coupon from these boards!) Food was average, but show was great. Lots of audience participation and a nice story overall. My kids didn't complain once! They brought around the group pics . We passed. They were $20 for the folder of 2 8x10s, but just not what we needed. Also, doggie bags were given for uneaten food , but we passed on those as well. I did tip our server, but saw most did not
We then drove the treacherous drive back to our cabin in the dark. I won't be doing that again LOL! The kids knew I was stressing so they were a little less obnoxious on the drive back.
Tomorrow is up in the air, I'm working on what to do--- ATV/River Rat/ Cades Cove.......Stay tuned