for Dollywood! Okay, I got that out of the way. Just had to say it. I
did it, went to the Mecca of Tennessee tourism, the redneck Disney
World, Dollywood, number two tourist attraction in the state in be-u-ti-ful
Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. Why Dollywood? Cause this is Tennessee,
folks, and Ms. Dolly herself owns it Ė Dolly Parton. Yes.. THAT
My partner, bless his heart, never quite grew up and
he still just LOVES these adolescent havens of hedonist thrills. We
were in the area anyhow for other reasons, and being so close to a
theme park was more than he could stand. Actually, Iíve gotten to
where I rather like roller coasters too, so I went along Ö. just in
case they had one.
Now, to the parkís credit, there are plenty of
things that mature adults might enjoy there. They focus a great deal
on musical shows and entertainment. Tennessee is well known for its
talented musical folks and they were there in abundance, singing,
dancing, toe tapping and guitar plunking -Ė normal entertainment
fare in these parts. Even Dollyís family had a show.
Unfortunately, not being normal mature adults, we hit
only a couple of the shows. Yes, we rode the rides Ė like teenagers,
like idiots! Problem is that most of the rides were water rides. I
donít mind getting splashed. Thatís part of the fun. DRENCHED is
another matter. SOAKED is another matter. HALF DROWNED is the reality
of the matter.
The water racing coaster, the Slidewinder, I think
they called it, was fun. Whoopee! Like a bobsled. But, stay out of
that Blazing Fury fire and water ride thing. It seems harmless enough.
But I was sitting in the front seat when we hit the water. A tidal way
hit me right in the face. I didnít even see it coming. As I went
down for the third time, I wondered how Iíd missed the diving board.
Floating out the door, I waved goodbye to the friendly attendants. As
I emptied a small lake out of my tennis shoes and blew my nose, I
wondered if Dolly ever really rode this thing.
Only one thing to do at this point, get on the roller
coaster and blow dry. They had one, a metal triple upside down loop
type, called the Tennessee Tornado. Funny, if I shut my eyes tight
enough, I canít even tell that Iím upside down. Kinda like being
in Australia, I guess.
The souvenirs are slightly above average. The Smoky
Mountain area is famous for crafts and craftsmen. Problem with buying
stuff at a theme park is carrying it around all day, or getting it
wet. I looked, but saved my bucks for elsewhere. Well, I guess you
could count the caricature I bought from the street artist. I looked
so stunning all soaking wet with my big hair plastered down that he
had to use a LOT of imagination!
Personally, I like to go out to the nearby craft
community and try to cut a deal with the craftsmen. Heck, I found a
place in Cosby with fantastic quilts, all homemade, not the imported
kind. They saw me coming with tourist written all over me, of course.
Probably the camera around my neck. I did manage to escape after
buying only one country quilt.
While, Iím on the subject of Dollyís East
Tennessee enterprises, I might as well admit that we also hit her
"Dixie Stampede," a music show with horses. Something about
trying to eat and watch a glitz and glitter horse musical didnít
work for me. The food was good enough, though it was all eaten with
our hands, hillbilly style. I think it was just the horse smell and
food together. Actually, I spent most of the evening trying to figure
out how the horses did all that running around in the dirt without
making any dust. Iíve still not figured it out.
Frankly, I enjoyed the pre-show better than the main
attraction. The bluegrass banjo picker and fiddler were just plain
talented. The county is "dry," i.e. serves no liquor. You
know, family oriented. Ever had a virgin frozen margarita?
SoÖ thatís the scoop on Dollywood. Iíd rather
spend the day hiking. Smoky Mountain National Park is just right over
the hill, but if youíve got kids or a honey like mine, they are
gonna make you go. Hey, at least I didnít do the discount mall. If
ya go, stay away from that fire and water ride or take wetsuit and a