July 07, 2002

Logged off, to look for America. Oh, how cute and innocent I sound at the end of that last post: "I'm off to look for a hotel room." I'm in a resort town on Friday, July 5th, and I'm just gonna waltz off and find a lovely little suite at the Ritz. Hello, my name's Ken. This is my first day in this country.

But just to pick up the story where I left it: Gatlinburg and Pigeon Force are a pair of towns in the Great Smoky Mountains that pack more cheesiness into two strips of road than anyplace I've ever been (and that includes Vegas, Niagara Falls, and Kissimmee, Florida!). Pigeon Forge is famous as the home of Dolly Parton's Dollywood, and is also the home of the Lee Greenwood and Louise Mandrell theaters, not to mention Elwood Smooch's Hillbilly Hoedown! Oh, and about a billion or so tourist traps. I walked around for an uneventful hour, except for when I found myself in the opening movements of a bar brawl. For the most part I enjoyed my solo trip, but it ain't no fun playing miniature golf alone.

So off I went, in search of the aforementioned hotel room. "There might be some vacancies over in the Cherokee Reservation," I was told. "It's just on the other side of the park." Well, that park was the Smoky Mountains, and the drive involved over an hour of white-knuckled scaredy-catness as I winded my way over a mountain on dark, winding roads. I finally reached the Cherokee Reservation, which looked pretty damn cool, but there were still no rooms to be found. Nor were there in the next town. Or the next. Or the next. Et-freaking-cetera until I finally found one in northern Georgia at four in the morning. Yeesh. Definitely the low point of the trip.
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