Trip Report… Clingman’s Dome, Smith Family Theater and Dollywood

We arrived a little after midnight Wednesday night.  We settled into our home for the weekend and hit the sack. 

On Thursday morning, we decided to do something we RARELY get a chance to do… not set an alarm clock.  My wife woke up earlier in the morning, but I didn’t get up until around 11 or so.  It was awesome.  Then we went downtown for lunch.  (TIP: We almost always park behind Ripley’s Aquarium.  It’s $1.75 the first half hour, and $1 each additional hour, maximum $6. It’s also right in the middle of town) We ate TGIFriday’s for lunch, then walked back up to the Sky Lift.  Enjoyed both. Afterwards, the girls wanted to touch the huge 10,000 pound marble in front of the Ripley’s Believe It Or Not.  They had a great time there as usual.  If you have a young child, they will love playing with that for a few minutes (plus, it’s free.) After that, we walked back toward the car, stopping at Mahalia’s Candy shop so my wife could get some sugar-free fudge which she loves.  I told her not to buy too much, since we’re planning on stopping at the Dillsboro Chocolate Factory on the way home.  We stopped there last trip, and it was a great little place, so we’re going to make that a regular feature of our trips home.  I like to find little stops on the way home, because it makes the trip home go by quicker.  When we got back to the car, we headed for Clingman’s Dome.  It was probably 3-3:30PM by this time.  On the way up the mountain, we noticed the front right tire was making a funny noise as it turned (we bought this used car on Monday… a Kia Sedona Minivan, but it is in good shape, and we were excited about taking it on vacation.)  Anyhow, we made it to Clingman’s Dome without the tire tearing up.  We hiked Clingman’s Dome and enjoyed that trip completely.  I always enjoy Clingman’s Dome.  OH… I wanted to mention this one… The last couple times we’ve hiked Clingman’s Dome, I’ve been wanting to see if I could hike the whole way up without stopping to rest.  I took small steps at a time, but this trip, I didn’t have to stop ONCE!  That was a little victory for me:)  Anyhow, when we got back to the van, my wife and I were riding with the windows down listening for the tapping noise the tire was making, and we could still hear it.  On the way back down the mountain, I decided to stop the car and just look at the tire again.  I looked at the tire and touched it with my hand.  When I touched plastic hub cover it made that tapping sound.  I went around to the other tires and none of them tapped.  The plastic cover was a little bit loose!  I took off the cover and we got back in the car, NO MORE NOISE, LOL.  We were so happy.  I had considered going somewhere in the mountains to get my van fixed, when it was all just the plastic hub  cover.  The van is fine now.  By now, it was getting close to 6, and we had tickets to the Smith Family Theater in Pigeon Forge…. I’ll post all about that soon…. stay tuned:)



***When you head for the Smokies, make sure you head to when it’s time to relax and hit the sack.  It’s the perfect way to make your vacation all that it can be!***


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