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Saturday, July 13, 2013

Family Vacation in Tennessee, Age Fifteen

So since it's July (my favorite month), and the month of summer fun and getaways, this month's posts are seeming to have a travel-oriented theme. And I'm ok with that. :)

Yesterday I shared some journal entries I wrote on vacation with my family in Branson when I was 14. Today, it's time to share my adventures in Tennessee a year later. (Warning - It's kinda long!) It's actually pretty fun for me to look back at my travel experiences at a young age. I only wish I wrote this stuff when I was much younger (like 9 or 10)...that really would have been interesting!

And now I present to you, my family vacation in Tennessee at the age of 15 (Complete with trip photos this time!):

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Sunday, July 20, 2003 (Tennessee vacation - 15 years old)
"We left for vacation yesterday morning at 8:00 in the morning. We ate lunch at Steak 'n Shake, and in the car I pretty much just listened to Good Charlotte and Eminem...I did lots of word searches and I looked at my magazines...We went through Illinois and Indiana. Oh yeah, and I also made 5 bracelets with my beads, and they're really cool. We got to our hotel in Elizabethtown, Kentucky at around 5:30 eastern time (In Kentucky, the clock is one hour ahead). We checked out our room and the pool and stuff. Our room was okay, but it did have a whirlpool bath, a microwave and a little refrigerator. The pool was only 3 ft. on one side and 5 ft. on the other! We didn't go swimming though. We ate dinner at Cracker Barrel. It was right next to Comfort Inn (our hotel), so we just walked there. Then we looked around in the Cracker Barrel store and went back to our hotel. After that we decided to go on a drive and see if we could find Abraham Lincoln's boyhood home or his birthplace. We found his birthplace but it was too late, because it was closed. We drove like everywhere to get to his boyhood home. We had to stop a couple of times because we were lost. Some of the houses were really nice, and there were some super nice additions, too, but there was a lot of like trailer parks and stuff. When we found his home we just kinda looked around and took a couple of pictures and stuff. There was nobody else there...Then we went back to our hotel and watched Trading Spaces and went to bed."

My sister Haley on our visit to Abraham Lincoln's boyhood home in Kentucky.
We look so thrilled to be here. This is the place we drove forever to find, apparently!
"This morning, I was the last one up (as usual), and we had to hurry up and get ready because it was about 8:30 and the continental breakfast ended at 9:00. We ate at the continental breakfast and then packed up all our stuff and left. Right now, it's 10:00, so we've been on the road for about an hour. We're going to Nashville, Tennessee. We'll probably be there in about another hour or so..."

Monday, July 21, 2003
"We got to Nashville yesterday a little before 11, but that was in the central time zone. (We've been back and forth between time zones constantly!) When we got there, we went to Gaylord Opryland Hotel, or something like that. It wasn't the hotel that we stayed at, but we just went there to look around, because it's a really, really fancy hotel. It is really cool! I wish we could stay there....We walked through all the sections of the hotel. There was a lot of greenery and plants and waterfalls.

My sister, my Mom and me inside the Gaylord Opryland Hotel in Nashville, TN.
We took some pictures and then a little while after 11, we went to Opry Mills Outlet Mall...When we got there we ate at Rainforest Café, and then shopped. The mall was awesome! It was one of the coolest malls I've ever been to. It was an outlet mall, but it was indoors. It had a million stores, I swear! Plus like every other store was a shoe store! Me and Haley got a lot of stuff!...At a Claire's store, me and Haley each bought 10 jelly bracelets that are rainbow colors and glow in black light, and at this one novelty store, Mom bought me this tin Marilyn Monroe lunch box that I want to put my make-up in. Then we went back to our hotel, which was Best Western, and watched tv for a while, and then we went to Hard Rock Café to eat. I got a Hard Rock Café tank top. We walked around downtown Nashville and looked at all the shops and stuff..."

"Right now, it's almost noon, but I don't know if that's central or eastern time. We were in central, but we're going to Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, and that's in the eastern time zone. We're going to stay in Pigeon Forge for three nights, and our hotel is supposed to be pretty nice, I think. It's pretty cloudy right now, and it's supposed to storm tonight. We've been watching the Weather Channel, and it's been rainy and stormy back home but really nice here. Yesterday it said it was 100 degrees in our van...I think it's supposed to rain maybe tomorrow too, but I'm not sure..."

"I don't know what all we're doing today, but we'll probably just swim and order pizza from the hotel or something. We might look around Pigeon Forge or something, too. We're going to Dollywood tomorrow or the next day, and we also might go mini-golfing or to a water park. Then Friday, we're going to Santa Claus, Indiana to Holiday World, which is a theme park, and I guess it's kinda like Adventureland only a little bigger, and it's supposed to have a couple of huge roller coasters."

Wednesday, July 23, 2003
"Right now it's 10:00 am, and me and Haley are in the hotel. Mom and Dad are talking to time-share people at some condo place or something. They probably won't get back until about 11 or so."

"Yesterday after breakfast, we went to Dollywood, even though it was cloudy and was supposed to rain later. We went on a motion simulator ride and the log ride. Me and Dad did the bumper cars, too.

Driving bumper cars with Dad
We mostly walked around and looked at shops and stuff. After we ate, we walked around a little and it started to rain.  We were about to go to a show, but they weren't opening up yet, so we started to stand in line, but it was like pouring outside, so the people let us in. We watched the show, and it was about the Sixties and Bandstand. It lasted about an hour, and it was cool. There was a girl in the show who looked exactly like Reese Witherspoon, too! After the show we went back outside and it wasn't raining as hard, but it was still raining. Everyone had bought yellow rain coats, so we were walking around looking for a store that had raincoats. Finally we all bought them (except for Dad) and then we looked at more gift shops.

With our rain ponchos in Dollywood. Mom cracks me up in this photo!
Dad and Haley went on a really big roller coaster, and then we all went on this one ride that was like an indoor roller coaster in the dark. It was pretty cool. We got a little wet, too. Pretty soon it stopped raining and we took off our rain coats. We rode the train, and I bought a butterfly candle. We also got a souvenir butterfly mug that says "Dollywood" on it. We left at like 6. Then we went up into the Smokey Mountains. It took forever to get there, though. It dropped 13 degrees, too. We also crossed the border into North Carolina.

The Smokey Mountains..They really do look smokey!
On the way back, we ate at Shoney's at like 8:00...Then we went back to our hotel and watched Paradise Hotel and The Real World.

"Monday, when we got to our hotel in Pigeon Forge, it was like, super nice...The pool outside has a huge slide and a fountain that's a mushroom. There's an indoor pool, too. Monday night we went swimming in the indoor pool, and for most of the time we were the only ones in there. Later, we went swimming in the outdoor pool, but we didn't stay in there for very long. We went back to our room and ordered pizza from Pizza Hut. We ate and watched tv in our room."

Haley and I swimming under the "mushroom" waterfall in the hotel pool
"Our hotel is called Music Road Hotel. We have a little balcony with patio chairs, and there's a view of the mountains and a river. We're on the fifth floor."

"Today, when Mom and Dad get back, we're going to Gatlinburg, I think, and maybe a mini golf course. Then tonight we have to go to this show, but I don't really know what show it is or anything."

Thursday, July 24, 2003
"Yesterday after Mom and Dad got back to the hotel, we went to Hardee's to eat. It was just down the road from where we were. Then we went mini golfing at Lost Treasure Golf. Dad got 1st place, I got 2nd, Haley got 3rd, and Mom got 4th. After we played golf, we drove to the trolley station and waited for the purple trolley to go to Gatlinburg. We got on the trolley, and it dropped us off at the aquarium in Gatlinburg that was right by all the shops. We looked around the shops on both sides. At a magnet shop, I bought a little license plate keychain with my name on it..I also bought a Strawberry Shortcake keychain at this one cool store. We got ice cream at Baskin Robbins, too. I got a scoop of chocolate-peanut butter ice cream in a sugar cone. It was really good. We went into the Guiness World Records Museum, and it was pretty cool. Then we went back to the aquarium to wait for the trolley, and we took the trolley back to the trolley station..."

"At 7:00 we left for the Dixie Stampede show. When we got there, they took pictures of us with different backgrounds, and then later during the show, we bought them both for $30. There was a pre-show in this one room, and these guys played guitars and sang country songs. We got to eat peanuts and popcorn, and we got pop in these boot-shaped glasses. Then we went to the main room where the actual show was. It started at 8:30 and we had a meal with it, too. I got the vegetarian meal, and it had a whole plate of fruit and veggies and dips. It was pretty good. The show was cool. It was like, the North versus the South, and there were like competitions like pig races, horse shoe contests, ostrich riding, and chicken races. They also rode horses a lot, and it was kinda like a rodeo or something."

"Today we checked out of our hotel and played mini golf again, and I got a hole-in-one. Then we ate at the Alabama Steakhouse. The meal was really filling! Right now we're on our way to Louisville, Kentucky. We're in Kentucky right now, but it's 3:00 right now, and it'll probably be a few more hours."

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That's where my Tennessee vacation passages ended! Bummer - I wanted to read about Holiday World. That actually may have been my favorite part of the trip. I remember some of it, and it was a good time! Apparently the only adjectives I knew back then were "cool," "pretty cool," and "pretty good."

That's all for today! More reminiscing of trip adventures to come!

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