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Buckeye Jones

Summer Vacation 2006

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So M:I:III kicks off the summer 06 movie season today. But it doesn't get me thinking about Tom Cruise killing off Phil Hoffmann; instead it reminds me that we're entering into the summer vacation season too!!!

So I'm counting down to next Friday, when we'll pack up the boy and the in-laws and head south for a few hours to introduce them to the kitschy glory of Gatlinburg, TN. More to the point, my wife and I love the Smokey Mtns Natl Park, and can't wait to do a little hiking, sight seeing, and relaxing there. We hope, like every other visitor to see a bear or two. Last time we were there, in 2001, we saw five in Cade's Cove.

How about you? Are you going anywhere cool this summer? Half this board seems to be expecting newborns soon. Will you still strap them in the automobile and go touring?

Edited by Buckeye Jones

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Finger Lakes region, NY. Lovely cottage on Keuka lake. Wine country. Cutsie towns.

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My mother, brother and I are going to South Carolina in mid-June to visit some relatives. We are going through Tennessee on the way there, but Georgia on the way back. Mom wants to go to Savannah and see the Juliet Low (founder of Girl Scouts) birthplace and home.

This will be the first family trip without my father. He's decided to stay home and keep track of union issues where he works, even though he's retiring in a little over a year. He is still trying to plan our trip for us, though. Mom and I smile, say "yes dear/Dad", and give each other knowing looks. Brian just sits back and goes along for the ride.

I am also making it a goal to go hiking frequently this summer. I love it, but haven't done it in a long time and I really want to.

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Gatlinburg, eh? I was there for the first time, just a couple of weeks ago. My kids loved the aquarium; I hated the traffic. Take the 'back roads' route if you can - the traffic through Pigeon Forge is sheer agony.

Anywho, my wife, our 3 kids, and me will be heading to the Chattanooga area for a week in June. We'll be renting a riverside vacation home.

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I'm driving to Santa Fe, NM in June to see some friends from another message board, to see the sights, visit some ruins, look at some artsy stuff, and eat some authentic Brown Chile. From there I'll drive through Arizona and Utah and see the scenery and some National Parks.

And in July I'm going to Cornerstone! ::headbang::

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The wife and I are thinking of taking a weekend off during the August stat holiday, or thereabouts, which will just happen to be around the time the twins turn 6 months old. We're thinking of checking out the islands like we did on our honeymoon, but we'll see how that pans out.

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A week in Santa Cruz visiting friends in June. A week in August that will include a trip to Vegas for a wedding. (Look for me in the sports book watching games)

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We're taking the three older boys to Disney World and Universal/Islands in a week and a half (our daughter will be staying with the grandparents). This will be the three year olds first visit to the parks. He wakes up every morning asking "how many more days". Cant wait to see his face when we get there.

Sometime in late summer/ early fall, the wife and I hope to get away for a few days. We've been looking at St. Lucia and making tentative plans for about six months. This place has us hooked.

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So I'm counting down to next Friday, when we'll pack up the boy and the in-laws and head south for a few hours to introduce them to the kitschy glory of Gatlinburg, TN. More to the point, my wife and I love the Smokey Mtns Natl Park, and can't wait to do a little hiking, sight seeing, and relaxing there. We hope, like every other visitor to see a bear or two. Last time we were there, in 2001, we saw five in Cade's Cove.

Kitschey glory? I thought that was Pigeon Forge. Be sure to have at least one dinner at The Smokey Mountain Trout House next to Zoder's Inn on the main drag. Best meal for the money in G'burg. We make it a point to eat there even if we are only passing through. The Bullfish in Pigeon Forge is great as well.

No "summer vacation" technically this year. The week before Memorial Day we will spend four days with my brother in Charlevoix in the northern lower peninsula. It's about an hour from Michigan's wine country on the Leelenau Peninsula and Old Mission Peninsula. The former is home to Laurence Mawby's champagne operation (Redd is just about the only dark sparkling wine I can find by traditional method) and Shady Lane's wonderful viognier. The latter, Grand Traverse Riesling, arguably the best North American Riesling.

Early October, we head to Western N.C. again to see the folks and Fall colors in the Smokeys.

Edited by Rich Kennedy

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Kitschey glory? I thought that was Pigeon Forge. Be sure to have at least one dinner at The Smokey Mountain Trout House next to Zoder's Inn on the main drag. Best meal for the money in G'burg. We make it a point to eat there even if we are only passing through. The Bullfish in Pigeon Forge is great as well.

I may be getting the two confused in my mind; last time we were there we spent the week in Pigeon Forge, which is surely a kitsch-magnet.

Andrew said:

Gatlinburg, eh? I was there for the first time, just a couple of weeks ago. My kids loved the aquarium; I hated the traffic. Take the 'back roads' route if you can - the traffic through Pigeon Forge is sheer agony.

Back roads route? Do tell!

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Last year was my summer of vacations. My wife's parents took us to Mexico and my parents took us to Washington DC.

This summer? As one of those expecting a newborn (our first) we have no vacation plans. My vacation time will be spent: A) taking one-week off so I can complete an intensive New Testament Theology class in July and B) taking as much time as I can in early August to be with my wife and Rory ? Anderson, the newest (and only) addition to our family.

Sometime before Lindsay gives birth we'd like to go camping for the weekend though.

PS (edit). I'm not sure how I got a smiley in my message. It just appeared out of nowhere. Spooky.

Edited by Kyle

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PS (edit). I'm not sure how I got a smiley in my message. It just appeared out of nowhere. Spooky.

That's because B) is recognized as a smilie. To lose it you have to uncheck the Enable emoticons? button below the typing field, as I have done so that B) looks like B)

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Aha. That makes sense. Thanks for the pointer, although I admit, I liked the idea of a smiley magically appearing. ::sorcerer::

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::Back roads route? Do tell!

Gladly...on my own road trip, heading north to south, I ran into horrible traffic between Sevierville and Pigeon Forge on the way down that showed no signs of letting up, so after an hour I turned around and used the back road route. The northward traffic hadn't looked too bad when we'd been heading south, so I thought we'd try the standard route going home, but it quickly got awful between Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge - once again, after an hour we took the back roads. And once again, traffic was much, much lighter on the alternate route (and the roadside scenery is much, much prettier).

Anywho, this is taken from p. 126 of the Moon travel guide to Tennessee (some of the mileage measurements seemed a tad off to me, by the way): "If you are already on Highway 66 heading south, turn left onto US 411 when you get into Sevierville. Less than 2 miles east of Sevierville, Middle Creek Road goes off to the right. Go 2.2 miles past this road and turn right on Highway 416, Pittman Center Road. Drive 5.7 miles to the intersection with Birds Creek Road, which forks off to the right, and drive 4.7 miles. Birds Creek Road eventually becomes Buckhorn Road, and less than 2 miles later you come to US 321. Go right to Gatlinburg and the park. Note: this is a narrow, two-lane road not at all suited for RV's. (Me again: I would concur with that last sentence - stretches of this alternate route are quite narrow and twisty.)

Hope this helps!

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So Andrew, do you take I-81 to the I-40 junction? If so, what exit off the freeway for these back roads? There seem to be about five or six that'll take you there. My folks like the Foothills Parkway route (way east of anything you would want).

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::So Andrew, do you take I-81 to the I-40 junction?

Yes, that's right. If I remember correctly, I followed the Mapquest route, which had me exiting I-40 at Exit 407, which put me on Rt 66 South, heading into Sevierville. I'm not familiar with the Foothills Parkway...

Edited by Andrew

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Yes, that's right. If I remember correctly, I followed the Mapquest route, which had me exiting I-40 at Exit 407, which put me on Rt 66 South, heading into Sevierville. I'm not familiar with the Foothills Parkway...

Really? Wow, that's the exit we take coming from the other direction. With all of those exits between the junction and 407, if I remember correctly, Mapquest prefers that one. Huh. No wonder it's always so backed up.

Oh yes. The Foothills. Way out of your way. The exit is about 20 miles at the most inside the border. I can never find my way through efficiently, but Dad can drive it blindfolded.

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Anywho, this is taken from p. 126 of the Moon travel guide to Tennessee (some of the mileage measurements seemed a tad off to me, by the way): "If you are already on Highway 66 heading south, turn left onto US 411 when you get into Sevierville. Less than 2 miles east of Sevierville, Middle Creek Road goes off to the right. Go 2.2 miles past this road and turn right on Highway 416, Pittman Center Road. Drive 5.7 miles to the intersection with Birds Creek Road, which forks off to the right, and drive 4.7 miles. Birds Creek Road eventually becomes Buckhorn Road, and less than 2 miles later you come to US 321. Go right to Gatlinburg and the park. Note: this is a narrow, two-lane road not at all suited for RV's. (Me again: I would concur with that last sentence - stretches of this alternate route are quite narrow and twisty.)

Hope this helps!

Thanks--I'll be giving it a try later today. And with that, y'all have a great week! I'm sure I'll be desperately behind the times on all the threads by next Saturday, but that just means each forum will be like the film forum for me!

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Vacation? What vacation? As soon as graduation ends, I'm writing two papers for conferences the final two weekends in May, then I'm going to Costa Rica for a two-week reunion of my father's side of the family. I should think of this as a vacation, but I suspect there will be too much hiking in rainforests and up the slopes of volcanoes, and not enough lying about on tropical beaches--the whole thing has been organized by my uncle the biology professor. The rest of the summer should be devoted to preparing for fall and putting together my application-for-tenure file.

Just once, I would like a summer in which I do nothing but read and watch movies. Ha!

::mf_bookread:: ::mf_popcorn::

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Hope your papers work out well Beth! I have one on June 8 and one on July 2, and I am already feeling the burn.

We are going to Stuttgart for a while, with a lengthy side trip to Garmusch, a small southern German town nestled in the Alps. We are also planning to take the train from Stuttgart up to Copenhagen, and then back down through Amsterdam, or just to Amsterdam. Either way, it should be an okay time.

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IPB Image

Well, we made it! Even saw some bears. And Lost. Now I'm tired, and need a vacation from my vacation.

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Buckeye: how did the directions I passed along work out?

Andrew--thanks for those directions! By the time we got to Sevierville, my father-in-law was very interested in seeing Pigeon Forge (first time in Tennessee and first time on an American style vacation, and was very curious), so we actually just drove straight through. Fortunately for us, the Sevierville/Pigeon Forge traffic was non-existent by the time we got there, around 7:30 pm.

Our real traffic adventure happened at mile marker 129 on I-75 just north of Lexington. A major wreck had closed southbound 75. After crawling along for 30 minutes or so, during which we progressed about a quarter mile, we did a U-turn on the highway and drove back up to exit 136, and drove around the backwoods of Lexington for 45 minutes until we found an exit south of the wreck. Yecchh. What a way to start a road trip.

The week was fun. It sure is a big change traveling with a baby. We fiddled around a bit in the park, took a day trip to Asheville to see the Biltmore, went out to Gatlinburg to shop around (buying nothing), and took it easy. Cool and somewhat rainy, but not too bad. We did get to see a bunch of wildlife in Cade's Cove, including a few bears. I took a couple of pictures, but they look like little shadows, so there's no point in posting them.

And Rich, we couldn't find the trout place on the main drag in Gatlinburg. I did eat a "Smoky Mtn Trout" at the Apple Farm Restaurant at the end of the Parkway, but I seriously doubt it was a real wild-caught trout.

I'll be slowly posting pix from trip on my Flickr account. Since there's nothing more interesting than looking at other people's vacation pictures! ;)

Looking forward to hearing about y'all's trips. (Proof of Tennessee experience right there.)

Edited by Buckeye Jones

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Our anniversary is in August, so we might venture up into the Black Hills of South Dakota. We'd also like to venture out to Denver to visit some friends for the weekend.

And in September, we're hoping to go to the Toronto International Film Festival for a week or so. :D

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