2010 Pigeon Forge Jeep trip

In early December I received some email specials from Patriot Getaways for cabin rentals in Pigeon Forge. They came at a time when my relationship with my girlfriend was 'spiraling in', and the idea of getting away for awhile sounded good. I've also been interested in going to Pigeon Forge and seeing what it's like during the wintertime. I checked the calendar and settled upon the Martin Luther King Jr. weekend in January. That would give me four days off. I've been very busy with a project at work and this would be a good break for that, too.

I've stayed at a few different cabins in Pigeon Forge. My previous girlfriend Sarah and I stayed at the Beautiful Views cabin in 2007 and 2008. Mike Padgett from work and I had stayed at Angels Nest next door during our East 50 motorcycle trip last September. The Beautiful Views cabin is a little nicer, so I picked it on the outside chance my girlfriend would go with me. I offered, and she declined for appropriate reasons. That said, I would be going on the trip by myself. No biggie..."alone in a crowd" has always been a good description for me. If Mike hadn't went on the East 50 trip I'd have went by myself.

As much as I'd loved to have ridden the Goldwing, it was just too cold, so a few days before the trip I cleaned up the Jeep and got it ready to go.

January 15

I took my time getting up this morning and packing the Jeep. I had thought about leaving around 8am but I rolled out at 10:34. Ha! Besides getting to Pigeon Forge I'm also planning a side trip to Wynn Fire Equipment near Corbin, KY. Our pumper was involved in a rollover accident and might need to be replaced. We also received a favorable reply for a grant for a new minipumper so I want to check out their apparatus. (Update: We got the grant!)

A chilly, cloudy day.

When I wrote the trip report for the East 50 trip I described my brother as 'single' since he's not married. I was told I shouldn't have said that since he has a girlfriend that lives with him. Apparently 'single' means completely unattached these days. By any definition, as of the start of this trip I've been single now for almost a month. There will be plenty of reflection on this trip. Not only about girlfriends past, but contemplating things and just remembering the other times I've been in the area. You just get in those moods.

I started the trip by fueling up in Bedford. I few miles down the road I stopped at Bunch's convenience store for gizzards and a coke. A great start to the vacation. Yummy!

The GPS was my co-pilot on this trip. Here I'm 2.5 miles northwest of Salem, IN. 14:34 is the estimated time of arrival at Wynn Fire Equipment.

I took SR60 to Louisville. I had contemplated taking US150 to Mt. Vernon, KY. I love taking the 2-lanes, but due to my late departure I decided to take the interstate the whole way.

The courthouse in Salem. I love the tower.

I stopped in Borden to ditch my coat and stretch. These seats aren't very comfortable. This old building across the street interested me. I like old buildings that have been added on to...they've served multiple purposes and probably have lots of stories to tell.

On May 6, 1999, my ambulance partner Susie and I went to a concert in Louisville. On the way back I had a headache so we stopped at this convenience store at the SR60/111 intersection and got some aspirin.

Crossing the Ohio River at Louisville on I-65. I like going south across this bridge. It means a vacation is starting.

Near Midway, KY, I pulled over at a rest stop for a pitstop and stretch. The Jeep hasn't been this clean for a year. Sarah and I stopped here in 2006.

Cruising down I-75 south of Lexington.

A small annoyance on this trip is that I don't have cruise control. For the past year my ABS system has been on the blink...despite replacing every sensor. For some reason known only to God and Chrysler engineering the ABS system not working also takes out the cruise control. After a couple hundred miles my leg gets a little crampy.

I stopped at the Dog Patch Trading Post in London, KY, for another pitstop. Too much Coke. Sarah and I always stopped here. She loved to browse all the junk and trinkets they have.

From here my next stop is Wynn Fire Equipment. Their website has a map and I entered their location into the GPS. It's on US25 east of Corbin, KY. We've driven by it on our trips to Asheville in 2005 and 2007. Only one problem. Today I couldn't find it. I even drove several miles passed where it was supposed to be. I would have called them for directions, but they don't have a phone number listed on their website. It was after 3:30 pm by now so I decided to abort the mission.

On the way back to the interstate I stopped at Burger King for a burger and a stretch. I ordered a hamburger but they gave me a double cheeseburger. Oh well. While I was here I called and the got the entry code for the cabin.

South of the Tennessee border is an adult bookstore next door to a huge cross. I've passed this place many times over the last 5 years. It always seemed strange.

My next stop was Walmart south of Knoxville for supplies...some pop, snacks, windex. My sister bought me a pair of fleece lounge pants for Christmas. I really like them. I've tried to find more where I live but they seem to be sold out. I found another pair here. We stopped here in 2008.

I like taking the 'back way' to Pigeon Forge via US441. You miss the horrible Pigeon Forge traffic, and the drive is scenic.

I arrived at the cabin at 6:08 pm. Too dark already for a good picture. In the background you can see the lights of Pigeon Forge a couple miles away.

I unpacked my stuff and checked out the cabin. It was as I remembered. I don't know whether it was on purpose or not, but the radio upstairs was on and playing a country music station. It was nice as opposed to dead silence. I like country and rock both, but I've been listening to mostly rock for awhile. Given my mood the country music sounded good. I let the radio play all weekend. I stood on the porch and looked out at the twinkling lights of the city and the hundreds of cabins and houses spread among the hills...and did some reflecting.

Not wanting to wait too late for supper I headed into town. I'm not sure how much is open during the winter season and how late things will be open. The first thing I noticed was the gas station in Walden Creek I normally stop at was closed...forever it appears. That sucks. We've used that station for years. Pigeon Forge wasn't crowded at all, but not dead. They had Christmas and seasonal lights up everywhere which looked nice. I got some fuel and decided to eat at the Shoneys on the south end of town. I've eaten here a few times before and, with the exception of salty mashed potatoes one time, the food has always been good. After a couple trips to the buffet I was feeling decadent, so I pondered strawberry pie with whipped cream or apple pie with ice cream. Apple pie won. It would be better warmed up.

Back at the cabin I unpacked the laptop and hoped to find a wireless connection. Nope. That hasn't changed either. I had a nerdy idea so I had brought my old laptop, too. I would connect the old laptop to dialup and share the connection wirelessly with my new laptop. I got it all to work except the new laptop wouldn't communicate with the old one. Oh well, plan B...connect the new laptop to the dialup. Have I mentioned that dialup sucks? Can you see the phone cable strung along the beams? I keep thinking I'll try the internet via cellular since they have 3G down there, but I can't see paying a monthly charge for such a short use.

I checked my email, ate my apple pie, then decided it was time for some hottubing. This is one of my favorite things at the cabin. Laying in the hottub looking at the twinkling lights throughout the valley and beyond. So peaceful and relaxing. The hottub was a nice 99*.

After probably an hour in the hottub I went inside, turned on the fireplace, and watched TV. They have DirecTV which I'm not used to. I found it a little irritating the guide shows channels that aren't subscribed to. After a while I found myself nodding off so I went to bed. It was nice to be on my weekend vacation. No fire pagers or scanners going off. Time to think...ponder...reflect.

390 miles.

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