We moved on from our two nights at the Wilderness Resort to an almost dive hotel on the Pigeon Forge strip. I paid for two nights here and it cost just over $100 including fees and taxes! The place has an indoor and an outdoor pool as well as free breakfast. We were just looking for "indoor pool" when we made our decision, so the cheap price was a major bonus. The fact the outdoor pool was open (It was almost 90F yesterday) was an even bigger bonus.
The whole area is jam-packed with tourists. Driving the main drags takes forever. Everywhere is busy, busy, busy. Between the crowds and my cast, I'm not having the Best Vacation Ever. I knew it would be busy, I just didn't realize each traffic light would take 5 full minutes, making it take 20 minutes to drive a few blocks. Ugh. At least you can watch people being slingshotted into the air on a huge bungee cord or check out the amazing mini-golf courses while you're waiting.
Fortunately, I think the kids are loving every second. They spent several hours yesterday morning swimming at the Wilderness water park. I suited up long enough to go on one slide with Logan. It was the crazy slide that had a two person minimum as well as a minimum weight limit. Even if Kaylin would have agreed to go, they would have been way too light to make it on. I then spent some time in the wave pool, but it was really hard on my foot. Stupid foot. I decided that even though my foot is making me feel like a whiny, party pooping baby, NOTHING is worth messing up the progress I've made wearing that cast five weeks at work! There will be other water parks and though Logan probably would have liked to go on the big slide a few more times, he still had a blast doing all the other stuff.
After swimming we went to lunch (at Gene's favorite Fuddrucker's) and then used up our final Ripley's attraction at their Old McDonald's Farm mini golf course. It was fun. Logan got three holes in one, but it was miserably hot. There was a Walmart right across the way so we FINALLY stopped and got the Lego set Logan earned by getting two 100s on consecutive spelling tests :) It's a roller coasterish Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom mine car set he's been eyeing for months and months. I'm hoping to avoid opening it until we get home but I doubt that'll happen. Anyway, after Walmart we found our hotel and moved in. Gene watched the first few innings of the White Sox opener and then I took Kaylin to MagiQuest while Gene watched Logan swim at both hotel pools. I had been worried about MQ because the one in Wisconsin Dells was on 5 separate floors and nearly destroyed my foot back in August. This one was all on one floor! Lots of walking back and forth and running from place to place, but no stairs! Kaylin was crazy about it and I may take her back today or tomorrow if there's time.
We've all been sleeping in ridiculously late. Ok, well I've been getting up at 3 or 4 for a few hours and then going back to sleep for a couple of hours. It's totally against my usual commando vacation routine of everyone getting up at the crack of dawn to beat the crowds. I'm going to try to get everyone up a little earlier this morning and (finally) drive up into the national park. Gene found a good scenic driving route and is excited because it dips into North Carolina where he's never been and I think I've only been on this exact route through the Smokies. The only other touristy thing I really want to do is the alpine slide at Ober Gatlinburg. Kaylin wants to go back to MagiQuest and Logan wants to ride more go karts. Otherwise, I'm sure the kids will do plenty of swimming and Gene and I will relax by the pool. We'll probably start heading home on Wednesday sometime and may possibly stop at Cincinnati Zoo on Thursday. Or else we'll do something else :)
It hasn't been my usual uber-busy, planned to the last detail, energy-sapping trip. The cast really depletes my energy- both physically and mentally, which is driving me nuts! However, we're away from home, away from work, away from the neighbor kids, away from the stresses of everyday life. The kids are having a great time and I'm getting some forced relaxation. This will not go down as one of MY best family vacations ever, but it's alright. It certainly isn't bad!