My worst trip everSeptember 25, 2013
I cannot believe I haven’t written a blog post since August. What the hell have I been doing?
Well, the boy and I took a trip to Pigeon Forge. It was awful. I wanted to just come home the entire time.
You may be wondering what the hell was so wrong with Pigeon Forge? Isn’t it a lovely place to go? Maybe you know tons of people that have been there and had a blast, in fact they even said it was the BEST VACATION EVER.
Let me ask you this: did they have kids? Because that place is 100% for people with kids. No wait, I take that back. It’s 75% for people with kids and the other 25% don’t have kids with them but don’t care about getting out and INTO the Great Smoky Mountains National Park that is just a few miles away unless it is on their Harley. And with a belly full of pancakes.
Basically, it was my worst nightmare. Let me start at the beginning though.
In January, I got dragged along on a trip to Bass Pro Shop. I thought maybe I’d find a funny Duck Dynasty T-shirt there, but I didn’t. Unfortunately, these marketers for a timeshare company found US. And we were weak. It was only $150 and we could go to Vegas. I’ve never been to Vegas because cities aren’t really my thing (shocker, right?!). But, Red Rock Canyon with TONS of climbing is just outside of Vegas, so we thought we could go to climb with the added bonus of showering at night and sleeping in a bed. As these things often happen, it starts out being a GREAT idea.
But since it is 2013 we have to sell the house, move, and you know that whole LIFE thing gets in the way. A few weeks ago I looked at our calendars and saw there was NO WAY we were going to get to Vegas and we needed to just take the stupid trip, so I booked it for the closest “getaway” which was in Pigeon Forge. I am an idiot though. I really should have just written off that $150 we spent in January at Bass Pro and ended it there, but no, I thought this would be a nice little thing for us to do.
Now, the boy and I have spent a lot of time at GSMNP. When we were last here in Clarksville we’d go on the reg to do “training” for our trip to Patagonia. It was funny how much we remembered about hiking in the park (and all the bears you’d always see which was because we’d plan our trips around the trails with high bear activity), including this one time that it was SO HOT and I was sweating SO MUCH it made me look like I had peed my pants. I am not joking, it was THE WORST because it was on a super busy trail. I wanted to die of embarrassment and thought about jumping all the way into the river just so it didn’t look like that.
On one of those previous trips to GSMNP we made the mistake of traveling through Seiverville, Pigeon Forge & Gatlinburg to get into the park just ONCE. That was all it took for me to never want to go on that stretch of highway through those tourist traps again. But I guess time made me forget how horrible it was.
What sucks? Let me tell you.
- There are more pancake houses than I have ever seen in my life along this strip of three towns. I asked a few locals we interacted with why there was at least 6 per square mile and no-one seemed to know other than “people like to eat a big breakfast before they hit the road.” Or gutbomb, you know, whatever.
- The only restaurants aside from the pancake houses are chain restaurants, which pretty much sucks. Savannah spoiled us that way and I am just not a fan.
- There are more “shows” than Vegas (well, this isn’t actually a hard fact since as I mentioned, I’ve never been) but there are hundreds of fantastical billboards with a billion lights about Fido, the talking dog at the Comedy Barn and the log saw-blaster up the street. Really? Is that what people come to the mountains to do?
- No, they also come to play mini golf (dozens of options here), ride a freaking FERRIS WHEEL, race go-karts, do bungee jumping and any other random thing you think totally makes sense in the mountains. Totally. And they are all trying to sell you tickets constantly. When a lady asked if I needed to buy any tickets I asked “for what?” Heck you don’t even need to PAY to get into GSMNP so no thanks lady, I don’t need any tickets.
But really, this is the worst part. We had to go to a timeshare presentation. We are easily the youngest people there. Some guy calls out our name and walks us 10 feet down the hall for Ron’s presentation. Ron spends more than 2 hours talking about what a GREAT IDEA this particular timeshare is (because it is based on points) and how it is so great for people with kids. Uh yeah, not going to sell us on that there.
They put up a map of where you can go. There’s a bajillion places for people who want to go to the Disneyland in Florida, but nowhere in Moab, western Colorado, Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, etc. (i.e. the places we actually want to go).
Ron is selling us on how great it is to be in places that are just like PIGEON FORGE (i.e. total touristy nightmares) for vacation. He’s just full of stories too, like this one time he took the family to MEDEIVAL TIMES (they’ve been at least 8 times since then they loved it so much) and I can’t think of any other place I would rather NOT be on vacation again.
They assign some poor guy to take us on a tour and then do a computer program to see how much we spend on lodging during our normal year of travelling together. Considering we usually camp when we travel together this is a ridiculous exercise in futility. I kind of feel bad for Bob because he can see that we are not “resort” type people. We don’t have kids and we don’t want kids and therefore we don’t care about spending quality time with kids and passing the deed to the timeshare on to some more kids. Did I mention how great this is for people with kids?
On a side note, is all that dumb stuff in Pigeon Forge what kids really want to do? I can’t imagine going to the mountains to play putt-putt instead of hiking a few miles in and camping all by ourselves and drinking while we watch the stars spin around in the sky. I guess kids can’t drink so maybe that’s why putt-putt is a better option?
Poor Bob can see he’s not making the deal with the initial offer (which they GENEROUSLY offer to finance at 16.99% APR) so he gets his boss. Kyle has on no less than 16 ounces of cologne. I want to vomit. He is also orange. And easily in his 60s. And guess what. Despite being orange and smelly, Kyle has a baby! What a great thing this is for Kyle whose kids like to race go-karts. Hey Kyle, we don’t have kids. And we like to sleep in tents. Kyle is not deterred. He will just cut the price and give us more benefits. Sorry Kyle, but you literally could not pay me $$$ to go to Disney. Finally Kyle can see we are just not going to do it. So we then get ushered into another room while he processes paperwork that says we can NEVER get the same AMAZING offer he gave us today again. Because it’s the LAW.
At this point I’m just wanting to get our stupid gift cards to Bass Pro Shop and get the hell out of there. We actually WANT to go to GSMNP at some point, and we did eventually make it there but this was definitely not what I had in mind! We at least salvaged a good 5 miles of up and down on the day, and made plans for our NEXT trip which I am very, very excited about.
Can you guess what it is? I’ve only talked about it like 18 times on this blog.
We are going to go to surf camp in Costa Rica!
I am so excited because it will be TOTALLY different than any other trip we have ever taken. I’m pretty sure it won’t have any alpine starts! We can pack in one tiny bag! There’s no pressure to be good or anything because we are total newbies! And there is a restaurant that serves “Nachos as big as your ass” which means I am going to be making BANK on that deal-io!
The only downside is that I now need to buy a swim suit. The last swim suit I bought was when we lived in Hawaii back in 2005. So yeah, it’s served me well but maybe it’s time for an upgrade. And one that isn’t a halter, that’s not a recipe for being comfortable. So, the search for a swimsuit is on. Lord help me. Maybe Bass Pro Shop sells swim suits? Because we freaking EARNED those $75 in gift cards, damnit!
Oh and by the by for the two of you that follow along, Palmolive continues to reign supreme as a dish soap that will not stink up your sponges and I still have not tried any Lululemon. I did buy two new pairs of row trou that make me thankful I don’t have a full length mirror because let’s face it, I know they look awful but I don’t have to worry about showing anything in them so it’s worth it to me. A gal pal is trying to get me to head down in that direction next week so we’ll see…for what it’s worth the new fabric of these row trou is wonderful!