If I live to be 100 I will never forget the little trip I took to the mountains with my daughter, mother, sister and niece. One eventful day will remain seared into my memory forever.
We had planned to meet up with my nephew and his family (wife and two sons), who were themselves returning from a trip to South Carolina, at Dollywood, the theme park located in the hills of Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, for a fun-filled day. I’ll spare you all the details of my decision to wear denim capris, my nephew’s vehicle breakdown, search for a reputable mechanic so far from home, and how we all arrived so late to the park (as in 1:00 ish) due to the aforementioned car trouble, only to leave it (my sister and I) a little over an hour later to take our mother back to the hotel due to the heat. Okay, so maybe you don’t feel too spared right now, but believe you me, you have been.
Waiting in line for Daredevil Falls.
Anyway, after re-arriving at the park, my sister and I met up with her daughter-n-law and youngest grandson. By this point we were only a couple hours from closing time. Little Dylan had only been able to ride one ride (don’t even ask me how many times attractions had to be closed due to thunder/lightning and/or were closed for temporary repairs). The four of us decided to ride the River Rampage (I’m not certain but I think this may be the same one known as the Grizzly River Rampage from the old Opryland Theme Park, which was closed years ago to make room for the shopping mall Opry Mills, which is now itself still mostly closed due to the big Middle Tennessee flood of 2010).
I knew I would get wet on this ride. I always do. But I didn’t think I would get drenched from head to toe. It would have been an awesome ride had I not decided to wear those dang denim capris. Twice I was slapped in the face with bucketfuls of water, the same water that has probably been in the man-made river for 20 years. I know some got in my mouth. It’s a thousand wonders I have not yet come down with some waterborne illness. Can you get cholera in the United States? Anyway, I was done after that and said I would go wait near the exit until the 8 p.m. closing time. My pants were completely stuck to me. It was not a pretty sight. It felt even uglier.
Dylan is all smiles just after we strapped in on the River Rampage. The little stinker didn't get a drop on him.
Sometime around 8:30 my family makes their way to me. Luckily, I was all air-dried and feeling much better by this time. Before leaving the Emporium (the gift shop through which everyone must exit), we all stopped and bought fudge. Yum!
Finally, it was time to call it a day and board the open air tram which would take us to my sister’s van (we parked in the most remote lot). Again, due to the earlier car trouble, we would all be piling into the one vehicle.
Can you believe before we got to our parking area a thunderstorm developed and unloaded a torrential amount of rain and umpteen bolts of lightning on everyone dumb enough to have stuck around past closing time buying t-shirts, backscratchers, and fudge? Ours was one of a very few automobiles left in the lot - and in the very middle of it to boot. You should have seen everyone taking off, screaming, across the blacktop. My sweet nephew, after getting his youngest into the van, took pity on me and came back to escort me across the tempestouos battlefield.
Our view from the tram on the way back to our car - just before the skies broke loose.
He said it best when he remarked that you would have thought the Russians had turned on the United States and had picked Dollywood as their first attack target. Once again, I was soaked.
Hap Sadly, our little trip came to an end the next day, but I’m glad to be home.