I tried to post our trip events and difficulties, so I gave up. Now it's already 2007 and the stories are already fading in my he pictures right after we went but I never got it finished and had technicalad. I either need to be able to blog while I'm at work or else fight harder with Curtis for computer time prior to bedtime. My time here is usually so late at night that I cannot think to write or wait for pictures to load. Anywho... here's another attempt at storytelling.
We went to Pigeon Forge/Gatlinburg Tennessee the day after Thanksgiving for a family vacation and to meet up with Curtis' grandparents for some time together. Our drives always turn into twice as long as they are supposed to be. This time was no different. The kids traveled really well, as the generally do. It was getting late in the afternoon and they had all finished what naps they were going to take. I suggested stopping just outside of Gatlinburg for leg stretching! We were almost out of the Park and I was thinking about dinner. If we were expecting them to sit in a restaraunt and behave after sitting in their seats all day... well, I'd rather have them run around like maniacs in the National Park than the lobby of our dinner place. So, we stopped at what they call a "quiet walk" next to the stream. It was chilly and there was actually old snow still in some shaded areas that excited the kids. We were able to capture a family photo to use for our Christmas letter and enjoyed the fresh air. After about 30 minutes we decided we needed to head on out and work on supper. Ruth was starting to explain how "very very starving" she was.
We loaded back up and didn't any more turn back out onto the road then the traffic ahead came to a stand still. There was nowhere else to go. Once you're in the park... you're in. Plus, we were within a few miles of being out! So we sat and crawled forward a bit, then crept a bit more. After 45 minutes of inching along we came to the trouble... BEARS! You know, those 4 legged, big headed dark creatures who can be so scary. Today they were entertaining. People were pulled off the road in every direction. One lady didn't even get out of the road... just sort of pulled her front tire into the dirt and stopped. We sighed heavily and kept on trucking along... sped around the corner to find more cars pulled over looking at more bears. Maybe even the same bears from a different angle. Then we came to a third area of peepers. Curtis finally gave in to the urge to join and he also pulled off the road, grabbed Bennett and the camera and hiked down the embankment searching for a "remember when" photo. After mere seconds of listening to the girls whine about wanting to see too I gathered them up and hauled them across the road searching for those dim dark blobs down in the woods. It was dusk and there were just seconds of daylight left for such spectating! We got close enough to make the girls happy, Bennett was close enough to see them all and the Park Ranger didn't even have to get onto us for obstructing the flow of traffic.
We made it to dinner before Ruth wasted away and ate at Bennett's BBQ... more for the name than the quality meat! We had a great hotel where the kids could swim, eat whatever they wanted for breakfast, and had plenty of space to run around the room. Bennett took a walk during naps one afternoon and got to feed a gaggle of ducks... or is that flock. We played at one of the amusement areas and each got to ride in the go-carts. That was a big thrill for all three of the older kids... and Dad and Mom! We met up with Great Grandpa and Great Grandma at the time share in Gatlinburg on Sunday. The kids really enjoyed playing at the cabin, swimming outside in November, and being silly with Steve. We got to go to the Dixie Stampede one evening and mostly enjoyed their Christmas show. Ruth had a serious reaction to the dust and dander in the air so we were a little distracted with that. But it was good food and a good show. We also got a souvenir horse, Mr. Bizzy. We came home... but only after Bennett had already missed two days of school and I had to go back to work. We all desired for more time to play. We would have liked to go to the dinosaur museum too. Bennett has that one listed for our next trip!