Sunday was a work day, but it was the beginning of Bluegrass and BBQ at Dollywood. They have been setting up buildings and huge gas cookers all around Market Square. The water was emptied from the Friendship Fountain and a stage and tent were erected over it. There are several bands every day performing bluegrass and the aroma from the BBQ wafts everywhere except where I work. I hear the same old music everyday, but tomorrow I will be working "Vending". I've never done that before, so I'm interested to see what that's all about. Gary's face and eyes are really very bad, so he's taken a little break from work until he can see better and his face heals. Everyone at Dollywood wishes him well.
Attendance is down at DW because of summer vacations ending and kids and teachers returning to school. This is expected, but still it is a shock to us workers who are used to running during our hours at work. September will be another slow month, but October will be really busy as the leaf-lookers begin to arrive.
Monday was another work day for me and I was at my favorite spot at Barnstormer MiniMelts. It was really slow all day, and I got to go home early. But on my way home I stopped at Walmart to pick up some medications his Dr. ordered. Poor, pitiful guy. He took his pain medication and another dose of steroids to help him feel better. He tells everyone that from the chin down he feels fine, which is true, but he also says it looks like he fell on a land mine face first. Some people may agree. But he's still my favorite, handsome guy of all time.
Tuesday was haircut day for me, and I had my usual razor cut, but made the back a little shorter. Oooh, that feels cooool. The pain medication made Gary feel much, much better, and he was raring to do something when I got home. Just nothing public. Well, alrighty then!
I quickly thought of the Cherokee Orchard Trail loop road that begins and ends in Gatlinburg, meandering through the Smokies. It was a spectacular day, 88 and sunny, so we stopped at Burger King for a picnic lunch and headed into the National Park. Just before we got too far, Gary stopped at a pulloff near the Little Pigeon River and we found a huge rock hangover - perfect for a picnic. Here we are on the edge.
After we fed the fish most of our buns (they didn't like fries), we put the top down on the Jeep and drove off into the coolness of the trees.
Making a left at the Aquarium onto Cherokee Orchard Trail, we passed through some condos and small homes, and then entered through the gate into the Park. Almost immediately we came upon the Noah Ogle Place and decided to investigate. A decendant of one of the first family to settle, Noah and his bride, Cindy started a 400 acre farm in 1879. We followed the 1.2 mile nature trail through the woods which was at one time pastures, cornfields and playground for their 8 children.
A lot of the path meandered along the river with many miniature waterfalls, shadows
and even an old tub mill
A tree growing around a few boulders and
some fungus amongus.
We came out by the homestead and took some 'artistic' pictures:
Room with a view
The old Bud Ogle place
It was interesting to imagine how it was in the 1800s, and how very difficult it was to remove all the rocks, boulders and trees for pasture and garden land. It must have been backbreaking work all the time. How different things are now.We continued on our drive on the one way road and pulled off at the Rainbow Falls Trailhead among lots of other cars. A family of three with all their gear on started up this trail. Gary and I followed and all of a sudden I looked down and saw this:
A Timber Rattlesnake 5 feet in front of me. I let out a little scream and backed away. He rattled his way along and other people came over to investigate. He crawled right across the trail and into the grass around a tree, apparently very curious about trying to climb up it. By then we had a little crowd. Gary took a short video, but I can't get it to load.
After that little episode, we got back into the Jeep and continued up and up turning the corner to this beautiful view.
For dinner we made pizzas; Gary's was a meat lovers and mine was a veggie. We used Naan with garlic and green herbs for our dough which was delicious! We just threw on the ingredients and baked it in our toaster oven for 14 minutes. Yummy!
Wednesday I went to work at Sausage, Gary stayed home. I'm moving fast now... and Thursday he felt well enough to play golf. (go figure) Off he went at 7 am and I researched various cancer treatments and trials through the NIH and Cancer Centers. It was an intensive education in a short time and I have plenty of questions to ask the Dr. tomorrow. The good news is if we have to move for treatment elsewhere, it's not big deal, except that I might have to drive. Yikes. I hope we can get his eyes at least good enough to drive the coach. I'll keep you updated.