Tennessee Mountain Home

Our fourth state so far, we have really fallen in love with Tennessee. The rolling Smoky Mountains are sweet, and a few of the tress are changing colors, like bright freckles against the old green mountains. We listened to pretty much entirely Dolly Parton & old bluegrass music yesterday. We woke up early in Pigeon Forge, TN. We ate “lighty” breakfasts at the Old Mill Restaurant, which were super-carb breakfasts that came with grits, biscuits, muffins, homefried potatoes, AND french toast! Carb coma! We drank plenty of coffee & headed to Dollywood.

Dollywood was everything you might imagine it would be. There is an amazing museum there of Dolly’s life, the Chasing Rainbows Museum, with tons of old pictures & costumes & stories. It was definitely my favorite part. We the Waltzin’ Swinger so many times, got wet on the river raftin’ ride, and Krista won a plush Scooby Doo for me with her incredible Skee-Ball skills. The park was very very commercialized and over-produced — not a big surprise, but fascinating to see anyway. We bought several Dolly for President in ’08 bumper stickers. We have a ton of pictures.

We drove to Gatlinburg to see the Salt and Pepper Museum — the only one in the world, with over 20,000 s&p shakers on display. It was really extraordinary – we were both amazed by the collection. It is inspiring to see someone who loves something so much go to such measures to maintain her collection. Andrea Ludden delivered the same verbatim speech to us that she gave everyone else who came in while we were there – “Very good artists have worked on the pieces. Look for the creativity. And they are part of history.” I asked her what her favorite was and she acted like I had just punched her, “No favorites, there are too many.” That woman has spent too much time there because she was *salty* but the merit of the collection redeemed the experience for us.

Driving across Tennessee, we saw a gigantic SUV with a big McCain-Palin sticker on the back! I told Congress, “thanks but no thanks.”

We drove into the Central time zone, which is an experience Krista has never done, and we watched our cell phones reset themselves. We gained an hour! I forgot about that feature of driving west. It didn’t make us any less tired, but it did make our hotel arrival an hour earlier. We wanted to stop various places in the middle of TN, but we just didn’t have enough time.

We stopped in Nashville at a gigantic Whole Foods to refill our personal, bodily gas tanks. The car was getting 41mpg, but our stomaches were empty. We had delicious salad and fruit and a gigantic iced latte, and then got back on the road. That was all that we saw of Nashville. It was, uh, beautiful. At night. In the dark. In the whole foods-yoga studio-plaza shopping kind of way.

In Memphis, we literally got off I-40W and drove 1 block to our hotel, where we promptly fell into a king-sized bed (much much bigger than a queen!) and didn’t even watch the huge flat-panel television.

Today, Elvis awaits. Also, we don’t have anything planned in the way of small roadside attractions between here and Oklahoma, so if you know of anything within a few miles of I-40, please feel free to call our cell phones & give us directions so we can stop. Thanks!

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