Sunday, August 14, 2011

Day Twenty-Three

We got our first real look at the Great Smokey Mountains today.  We had breakfast and cleaned up camp then took a drive through the park.  I read somewhere that it is the most visited National Park in the US, but we were there on a Saturday, and I just don’t see how it could even come close to Yellowstone.  I think I need to look into that fact more carefully.  I don’t believe it.  It is beautiful for sure, and at the summit (the border between Tennessee and North Carolina), there are fabulous views on all sides.  As a bonus surprise to me, we got to drive through Dolleywood on the way out. Talk about tacky!  I thought I was going to need one of our barf bags just from looking around.  Of course, the kids thought it looked fun.  Luckily we had another destination in mind.  Fall Creek Falls State Park was recommended to us by a student who is from the area, so we were headed there for a picnic and a swim.  Sadly, the creeks were mostly dried up, but we found a swimming hole and everyone except me enjoyed a refreshing dip.  We were immersed in thick southern drawl conversation, so much that the girls had a hard time understanding it most of the time.  I read the statistics about the states with the highest percentage of obesity a while ago, and most of the highest were the southern states.  If Fall Creek Falls was a normal sampling, I have to say it’s true.  Also there were a lot of tattoos and mustaches.  After everyone was sufficiently cooled off, we got back on the road toward Nashville.
In Nashville, we wanted to have “southern food”.  We parked near a street with loud music and lots of people.  We found a lot of interesting things there, but not southern food.  So we asked a local and she told us to go to Monell’s.  We found it in an old house on the other side of town.  You eat family style, so we were seated at a table with two other families.  You don’t order your food, but rather a full dinner is prepared and you eat what is served.  Among our choices were, corn pudding, turnip green salad, meatloaf, fried chicken, biscuits and gravy, peach compote, fried green tomatoes, coleslaw, pulled pork, breaded catfish, and strawberry shortcake for dessert.  It was the perfect southern dinner.  I’m trying to not think about what was in it.  If you’re ever in Nashville, it’s definitely the place to eat.
Interesting gas facts:  the highest price we have paid so far is $3.83 in New York State; the lowest we have paid is $3.29 in Tennessee.  Our average price is $3.64.
Tip of the day:  If you are looking to get a tattoo, Tennessee is the place for you.  There is a parlor on every corner.

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