On the Road: Looking at America Through a Layer of Filth, Grime and Bug Guts

Gatlinburg, TN
My acceptance of commercialism didn't come a minute too soon. It seems that Maggie Valley/Cherokee wasn't the last tourist hole I would have to endure on my trip. It wasn't even the last one of the day. A few hours later my car took me to Gatlinburg, Tennessee. Gatlinburg and its Siamese twin sister city, Pigeon Forge is everything I hated about Maggie Valley/Cherokee but without the charm. Did I mention Maggie Valley's charm? That's because I didn't notice until I saw what these Tennessee towns had to offer. If the North Carolina tourist traps were liver, at least they were of the chicken variety compared to the beef liver towns that I found in the mountains of Tennessee.

Rabbit Headed Van The best way to describe Gatlinburg is to say, imagine any amusement park you visited as a child. Pick one that had cool dangerous rides, not a bunch of monorails, boats, trains and dolls swaying to the jamming beats of "It's a Small World". Now that you have an amusement park in mind, add in a mayor, a city council, a zip code, and the ability to drive yourself from ride to ride. Have you got that? Now picture not enjoying it very much. You've got it! Every store and shopping mall had some sort of petting zoo, amusement park ride, arcade, Go-Kart track, Goofy Golf course, or gigantic plastic animal in its parking lot. Instead of paying one ticket price for all the amusement park, you had to pay for each thing you tried. This worked out well for me, because I was keeping my money where it belonged, snuggled safely next to the right cheek of my rear end. The restaurant's were all out of an amusement park nightmare. Everyone of them had some sort of theme.

One was a Comedy Barn, where you could eat and laugh at the same time. But be careful, as a kid milk may feel good coming through your nose during a laugh fit, but carbonated drinks can hurt and coffee burns.

The Comedy Barn

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