Friday, June 17, 2011

Storms and Sunshine

We knew ithere was a 60% chance of rain today as we headed to work, even some severe weather, so we put in our awning, tidied up outside and brought our raingear.  It was hazy all morning, but gradually got darker and darker.  Thunder shut down the rides, but it didn't start raining right away.  A few sprinkles and brightening skies kept the guests hoping things would move along, but the hosts knew better.  They had heard from Safety that a larger storm was heading our way soon.  Suddenly it got very dark; dark enough to turn on lights.  There was a Grandpa and his 12 month old grandson in his high-end stroller that couldn't get the brakes off.  I came out to try as he needed to head for cover immediately.  Andrew, who decided to stay with me on the hill instead of trying to make it down, came to help us, too.  Soon Mom wandered up to see what was keeping him.  Of course, she got it to roll immediately, and they ran for cover as the first lightning strike and thunder crashed overhead.  Then the rains came along with hail and wind.  Andrew called the boss who said to shut down and head home.  Done.

Back at the campground people were gathered around a MH who had lost his awning in the wind.  That's why, as much as we'd like to leave everything out when we leave home, we don't.  It would cost way to much to have to replace that thing for a little laziness.  Ounce of prevention thing, ya know.

Sunshine woke me at 7 am - yay, it is a play day!  Gary had to have an EKG at the hospital, so after breakfast we headed over to LeConte Medical Center pictured here. The EKG took 5 minutes, the waiting took 45.  Looked good, so he is set for his first infusion of the new drug Istodax tomorrow.  We will probably be there all day, so I will take our new iPad and a new book, too. 

After that, we drove the 12 miles to the Forbidden Caverns, but stopped at a gas station for some water.  Who do we bump into?  Our boss, Gary!  Small world...  He was going one way, and we were heading out the door, so we just said hello and smiled. 

The Forbidden Caverns were discovered in the early 1800s but not opened to the public until 1967. Indians and moonshiners inhabited the cave (along with a few bats) until the smoke from the moonshiner's stills alerted authorities to their whereabouts.  You can still see the barrel rings and smoke damage on the stalactites.  This was the only cave that I had been in with an underground river.  The water was considered 99 percent pure and looked so good, we all wanted to taste it.
cave pool
The longest stalactite was 5 1/2 feet long and here I am easily holding it up.  This cave also had the largest wall of milky quartz in the nation cascading down one wall from about 30 feet up.

  Pictures just don't do caves justice without proper lighting and a tripod, so not many of ours turned out well.  It was a 55 minute tour and really fascinating.  I keep thinking about the people who discovered it and how brave they were to go down in it with just torches.  And of course, thanks to Dollywood, it was free for us.

On the way back to town, there was a sign for the Harrisburg Covered Bridge and we turned onto a tiny country road.  Sure enough, there was a little bridge with modern homes on the other side.  It was built in 1875.  Then we passed another old abandoned mill right on the side of the road.  Had to get a shot of that, too:

We were getting hungry by that point, so we though a tour around the Old Mill area off the Parkway would yield some good food.

 By parking in the back of the The Old Mill Pottery House Cafe and Grill, we found that we had to walk through a lovely garden with outside tables and little streams.  We found a table and ordered when suddenly a Mallard and her three toddlers wandered up to have a swim in the pool. Then a robin took a bath.  Our meal was delicious, and we will be sure to return. 

We walked through the garden on our way to the local shops - I was surprised to see I owned a Doll Store!  Lots of kitsch in the shops, but I made Gary pull over to do a composition of the real Old Mill.  Not that it hasn't been done a million times before, but here's my version.  That's two old mills in one day!

We went home for a little rest and snack before we headed out to Cirque de Chine at the Smoky Mountain Palace Theatre.  This theatre was not built for the Cirque originally, but they have made it their place by adding colorful Chinese umbrellas on the balcony and huge red Chinese lanterns fitted over the hanging theatre lights.  The show was 2 hours with a 15 minute intermission and from the beginning to the end we were totally amazed.  Totally.  What physical talent!  I didn't know a body could do half those things!  The finale was a guys dream stunt.  A guy on a motorbike entered a wire sphere and proceeded to drive all around inside it.  That was cool, but then they added three more guys on bikes and, I swear, they were within inches of each other.  Everyone was holding their breath hoping they wouldn't crash.  They all took a bow then ran out to the lobby where we could have our photos taken with them.  Great ending to a great day.

It sure is fun to play! But tomorrow we will work at getting Gary better - his new drug is ready for him. 


  1. Good luck tomorrow, Gary. Hope this works really, really well for you.

    You guys sure don't let any moss grown under your feet when you're off! Those were beautiful pictures of the caves.

  2. What a great day!! There sure is a lot to see in that area of the country.

    Hope the new drug does it thing really well with few ugly side effects :o))