|Photo by Chris Sorokan|
The drive from Manchester to Pigeon Forge wasn't too bad, only a few short hours. We were all tired from Bonnaroo but very excited to be heading to Dollywood. Now I can speak for myself when I say, I wasn't expecting much from Pigeon Forge, but holy crap everything is so big and in your face! Yes, very touristy but so cool nonetheless, I'm talking like go karting everywhere, live sharks and crocodile shops, huge buildings that really make your eyes pop; i.e. the bloody Titanic! It was honestly a wicked thing to drive into, and very unexpected.
Getting to our hotel was simple, it was actually pretty quaint and located next to a pancake house! Being that we got there early we had a bit of a wait for our room to be all set... across the street was a cowboy boot factory so I obviously had to go shopping. You can never have too many cowboy boots! Just that store on it's own was buy 1 get two free, yes, I went home with three pairs of cowboy boots. My collection is now at about 6 pairs, #sorrynotsorry.
All of us had been anticipating getting into our hotel room as we were beyond excited to take an actual shower! Words can't explain how great it felt to be clean, and able to relax on a real bed. We all took advantage of our hotel room before heading out for Dollywood.
We took a cute little trolly from the small town we were staying in, all the way up to Dollywood. Getting there and seeing American flags everywhere was just the beginning of it! The whole amusement park was very picturesque, and very well themed, each section and ride had a whole new decor. Dollywood was not overloaded with roller coasters but the few that they had were definitely on point; I honestly can't get over the speed of some of these rides! Some of the best coasters I have been on. Steph did not take part in our thrill seeking coaster adventures, but we did also do most of the other rides available and they were pretty fun as well. Me, Steph and Scott had done a "kiddy" (this was no child like ride) water ride, where you are each in little boats and can shoot water to the other boats across from you... let me tell you I had never been so drenched from a ride before. I came out of that ride looking like a wet cat, dripping, my romper stuck to me, as if I had taken a second shower - not fun at all, Scott also informed me I called some kid on the other boat a little cunt, so clearly I did not have fun times. Although I can laugh about it now, ha.
The one thing that was missing from Dollywood was somewhere I could take a photo with her, like a huge statue of her or something, I also expected bedazzled boots somewhere at point some point but nada. That evening they also had huge fireworks, very beautiful, I really wish we had been on a roller coaster at the time, they would have been wicked to watch from there.
We wandered around the park as they were closing, eventually got in line to take the trolley back to our car, and called it a night. For one Dollywood was loads of fun, and two it felt so damn good to crawl into a bed!
The next morning we were planning on departing at a decent time to make it to Cleveland, OH!
Today was the day that both Steph & Scott celebrated their birthdays! Unfortunately it was a driving day, but at least they were celebrating it on a road trip.
This was our last overnight destination, and surprisingly a pretty quick drive from Pigeon Forge to Cleveland. The prime reason we wanted to add this city to our road trip was for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, an added bonus was that Green Day was recently put in there!
We arrived later in the evening, and wanted to celebrate some birthdays. Being that we weren't downtown we had limited options, Steph's favourite (Olive Garden) was across the way, so not much thinking was involved, or so we thought... By the time we got there the kitchen had been closed, we drove down the street and found a pub.
We stayed at a Hotel 6 and quite honestly besides our Washington hotel this one was by far the nicest and well kept (thanks Chris!). It had new laminated hard wood floors, granite counter top in the bathroom, fresh bright color wall, new furnishing and flat screen TV, not to mention it had a washer and dryer (this saved us!) - not bad for a motel style. The only downfall was having to pay for WIFI and that wasn't happening, so we stole from the Days Inn next door.
Cleveland is a minimal, semi boring city, I don't know if it was just the time we were there or if the city has hidden gems. Please let me know if you know of cool things happening in Cleveland, I'll always give it another try! The one thing I did discover before heading there was that they had some nifty restaurants, primarily downtown, which was kind of a pain to get to as we were almost half an hour away by car. The only thing we really ended up doing downtown was the museum and a random mall. The mall was L-A-M-E if you ask me.
Other than that before heading to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, we had breakfast at a generic chain restaurant (the name slips my mind), none of us were impressed by the quality, quantity and price of the food. Before heading downtown we stopped at a Tattoo Shop (West Anchor Tattoo) so I could get a little souvenir of our amazing road trip. I ended up getting the outline of Tennessee, for various reason, and I love it!
We didn't do much our last night there, hung out in our hotel room, just relaxed before hitting our final stop and heading home.
Our last and final stop before driving officially back to Canada. None of us had ever been to Niagara Falls from the US side, wasn't anything surreal but it was definitely nice to do. We decided to not cross over through Toronto but backtrack a little so we can enter back the 1000 Islands boarder.
Not too much to say about our last stop, we drove straight from Cleveland to Niagara; it was a little windy when we got there so it was very misty! I hadn't been to Niagara Falls in years, it was nice to see it again. We hung around for a bit, snapped some photos and hung out - then back into the car.
We set off for our last long ish drive back to Ottawa.
That was it, stepping foot back into Ottawa was the first ending of our trip, and officially being home and unpacking the car was the final end to the two week long road trip.
I can't wait for the next one!