The Place of The Blue Smoke

The Cherokee called this mystical land, “The Place of the Blue Smoke” or Shaconage, (shah-con-ah-jey) in their tongue. I decided to go exactly that, and took my family or 4 for a vacation to The Smoky Mountains this year.

Tennessee is a centrally located state. It’s of little wonder, that the Great Smokey Mountain State Park is the most traveled state park in the USA.

There are a few observations that I would like to point out about Tennessee. The first thing I noticed was that gas was.20 cents cheaper than Indiana, and.30 cents cheaper then Kentucky. It’s as if the entire state is using a Kroger plus card.

In Indiana residents are charged $5.00 for pulling into any State park. Non-residents are charged $7.00. I was shocked, to have accidentally driven into The Smokey Mountain National park while driving. It’s Free!

Incidentally, they have 1,500 Bears in the park. That’s 2 for every square mile. You can pay $3.50 to see bears at the Christmas shop in town or you can drive into the park for free. Nowadays, free works.

Speaking of free, The park, has tours and Junior Ranger classes for Kids, during the travel season. This includes Blacksmithing classes; like the old west, and even a Hike to a beautiful waterfall in bear country. Many of these classes or tours are free to the public.

As we rolled into Pigeon Forge TN, we saw Country Glitz, the likes I have never seen; and I lived in Texas for 2 years growing up. You’ll see the Hatfield’s and McCoys with Rhinestone Sparkleys, and they even have a Mind Reading Pig. We counted 3 Farris Wheels on the parkway, and 5 miniature golfs (to die for).

On our first day, we went to Dollywood’s Splash Country. The park features a few rare rides. For starters, It has the world’s only water roller-coaster.

Upon entering the park, there is a sign that stated that foul language and actions would not be tolerated, not even on t-shirts. Most places nowadays, want your money, a little too much. It’s refreshing to see a place that places the needs of decent clientele above the almighty dollar. Dollywood also Offers a 30% discount to Military personnel and their dependents.

In fact, I could see a bit more of God fearin’ presence, in that entire area, than I generally do elsewhere. An example, we saw what appeared to be a huge adult sex store; right next to which someone planted a humongous white cross. They don’t have no cuams, about a good fight in them there hills.

Both days during our visit, it rained and stormed a bit. This may have been a blessing, as I got fairly well burnt on the lazy river. My son was a bit too short for a 15 ft single slide. So, he talked me into riding a double raft ride; which was about a thousand foot swirling vortex of tubed terror; which of course he was allowed to ride, only with me.

He had talked me into next riding a ride he referred to as the “Toilet Flusher” (actual name unknown), another rare ride, where apparently you drop straight down to a 300 mile an hour speed before being flushed down a circular bowl. Thank God that someone saw lightning a few miles off or I would have been flushed.


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