Miles Hiked: 0
Miles Left: Still 1978.5
Ending Location: Newfound Gap, US 441, and staying at the Bearskin Lodge on Gatlinburg TN
Remember when I said earlier that newfound gap road can be closed due to inclement weather? Well guess what…
Most of the morning was spent refreshing the Twitter feed of the Smokey Mountain ranger staton to see if the road conditions had changed. Finally around 11 Owl and I decided we might as well spend another day in Gatlinberg. We had to change rooms though so Wiki graciously let us store our bags in his room until ours was ready. While there we ran into the rest of the crew and caught up on everything that happened the night before. Apparently one of the group, (name withheld), may have had a bit to much to drink so he went into the hallway to grab a soda from the machine. Only, he couldn’t pay for it because he left his wallet in his room … along with his shirt, pants, and boxers! Since he was locked out he then had to go down to the front desk, bare naked, and ask them to let him into his room. The fact that the hotel staff took this in stride should tell you what sort of town Gatlinberg is.
When getting our room we found out that free tickets to the different Ripley’s Believe It or Not attractions were included. Since we “technically” had two rooms we were able to obtain two tickets. Both Owl and I agreed that the aquarium sounded like the best bet so we headed down Gatlinberg’s crazy Main Street with that as our destination. Along the way we may have stopped at the local moonshine distillery and tried some free samples.
Let me tell you, for profit aquariums are awesome, and that’s not just the grain alcohol talking! Rather than trying to teach “science”, or playing an “environmental” role, they pretty much just focused on the sharks, penguins, and other crazy looking critters. The best part was they had a moving walkway that took you under the big shark tanks while ominous music was playing in the background. All in all, the whole thing was tons of fun and totally worth the price of free that we paid.
We were getting tired of burgers so that night we decided to take a risk and try Bubba Gump’s Shrimp house. It’s a chain and owned by the same company that does the Rainforest Cafe, but neither of us had gone to it before and it sounded fun. That was a good decision since they had some of the best shrimp I’ve had in years and everything about the place was so cheesy that it turned into a blast. On a side note, Owl saved me as I almost left my credit card there. I can’t even imagine how much of a pain it would have been if that had happened!
The prospect of hiking 10 miles out of Newfound Gap the next morning moderated our desire to go out drinking so we retired back to our hotel room afterwards where I almost got caught up on my blog entries. Gatlinberg has been a fun place to visit, but I was very glad this was the end our stay. I really want to start making northerly progress again.