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Old 20th July 2008, 09:47   #1
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Default 2000 miles on a 3-day weekend amongst serenity amusement and music in silence

Okay, this is a little stale, but I need tomake reference to it with respect to something that might be coming up soon.

It was the memorial day weekend (24th to 26th May 2008). Usually long weekends always pose a challenge in terms of making prior reservations and that too at mostly hefty prices. Moreover, the crowds at the major attractions swell to alarming proportions, which makes me avoid utilising them altogether.

But this time the provocation came from a few colleagues, to visit the Smoky Mountain at Gatlinburg Tennesse. The major attraction for them there, apart from the Clingmans dome (which we had to give a miss because of traffic), was the presence of log huts. There was one nice offer tempting them, which made them book a 4 bedroom complete loghut equipped with 3 bathrooms, a huge dining and living area, a jacuzzi (hold it, its not over yet!) a pool table,all rooms complete with TV sets and the living one with a huge LCD and three balconies, one overlooking the cliff and another housing a swing. The rate for 2 nights was $ 478.13.

One picture of it!

The only two problems
1> Flight tickets were sky high
2> Their my current location being Dallas, Gatlinburg was a whopping 900 or so miles away. Only one among them who could drive was none.
So they decide to pull me in.

So what do we decide? As usual for any vacation, the trick is to bunk office early on the day before, and get on the road, cover some distance (say 450 miles) and get into the feeling of being into the vacation right from the day before it starts.

So here is the plan
Day 0 - May 23 - Dallas to Memphis
Day 1 - May 24 - Pay respect to one Elvis Presley and admire numerous look alikes and drive to Gatlinburg
Day 2 - May 25 - Plan on visiting Clingman's Dome but looking at the traffic go to Sugarlands visitor Center to find an easy hike, add to that some plans of visiting the "Ober Gatlinburg" amusement park that has the lovely cable car, which is called "aerial tram" for some reasons.
Day 3 - May 26 - Start early cover 900 miles in that day and go to sleep in Dallas

Since obviously the driving stretches were long, and in US fast cars being pointless, we decided to rent a FORD E-350 12 passenger van. How many passengers did we have? 6, including a pint sized one which occupied, owing to the child seat factor, space for one and a half full grown but undernourished homo sapien.

The logic was, we needed the passengers to have "space" to stretch out, go to sleep, or whatever. I had earlier used such a van earlier to transport 11 people from Dallas to Houston/Galveston and back and within the legal constraints of US roads,the vehicle rocked.

Continued as I am typing it through...
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2000 miles on a 3-day weekend amongst serenity amusement and music in silence-picture92.jpg  

2000 miles on a 3-day weekend amongst serenity amusement and music in silence-picture2.jpg  


Last edited by Rudra Sen : 20th July 2008 at 10:44. Reason: Removed duplicate picture
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Old 20th July 2008, 09:54   #2
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Pics are not showing boss. Load them again please.
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Old 20th July 2008, 10:37   #3
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But as Murphys were to have it, we had work constraints on Day 0, so we started later than planned. In turn roads leading out from Dallas were all choked with campers, boats trailers and whatnots. It took us 1.5 hours to cover 50 miles. But thankfully after that things cleared. We did a single stop journey to Elvis' City (Memphis)
Memphis exuded quite an old world charm for a City and after paying a customary visit to Graceland, Elvis Presley's home, we were on our way to Gatlinburg on the Bear Foot Cabins.

Here are a few pics in Graceland






Wonder if it still has the ability to belt out a melody.




A few pics of the road leading up to Smokies











People also drive like this in US (Actually even I was overtaking from the wrong side, but was helpless)



On reaching there, we were surprised to see no reception. Then suddenly we turned to our reservation receipt. Oh God, there were "passwords" and operation sequences to let us in. Not a single human in sight. It took us a few anxious moments to correctly execute the entry sequence to our Log hut. Once in, this was better than we thought. Apart from the fact that Cell phones dont work there. Caused a lot of inconvenience as we could not actually coordinate meeting a fellow Kolkata Team BHPian Sourabh_M (Not only that, we could not even co-ordinate another friend of mine recommended to the same Cabin facility)

A pic of a time we were unsure if we had come to the right place!


At this point I would like to acknowledge that most of the pictures seen here are contributions from my friends, as I was busy driving or baby sitting most of the time!

cntd..

Last edited by 1100D : 20th July 2008 at 10:40.
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Old 20th July 2008, 11:26   #4
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A few pics of our log hut.


In front of it
2000 miles on a 3-day weekend amongst serenity amusement and music in silence-picture7.jpg

Named "Catch of the day", fishing being the theme of this particular hut
2000 miles on a 3-day weekend amongst serenity amusement and music in silence-picture81.jpg


The main living area,
2000 miles on a 3-day weekend amongst serenity amusement and music in silence-picture12.jpg

2000 miles on a 3-day weekend amongst serenity amusement and music in silence-picture13.jpg

2000 miles on a 3-day weekend amongst serenity amusement and music in silence-picture39.jpg

2000 miles on a 3-day weekend amongst serenity amusement and music in silence-picture40.jpg

2000 miles on a 3-day weekend amongst serenity amusement and music in silence-picture42.jpg

2000 miles on a 3-day weekend amongst serenity amusement and music in silence-picture19.jpg
2000 miles on a 3-day weekend amongst serenity amusement and music in silence-picture21.jpg
The Balconies
2000 miles on a 3-day weekend amongst serenity amusement and music in silence-picture91.jpg

Early morning tea
2000 miles on a 3-day weekend amongst serenity amusement and music in silence-picture64.jpg

The path leading to the hut
2000 miles on a 3-day weekend amongst serenity amusement and music in silence-picture94.jpg
2000 miles on a 3-day weekend amongst serenity amusement and music in silence-picture90.jpg

Last edited by 1100D : 20th July 2008 at 11:44.
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Old 20th July 2008, 11:58   #5
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Isn't it possible to keep the camera straight while shooting??
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Old 20th July 2008, 12:40   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rudra Sen View Post
Isn't it possible to keep the camera straight while shooting??
The last picture is in line with your expectations RS. Lovely location. What else transpired while there?
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Old 20th July 2008, 22:58   #7
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Had to do an emergency bail out from typing this yesterday (Rudra sir must be aware!) Right now am caught up with doing damage control for someone having unnecessarily introduced the color "Turquoise" in the color vocabulary of a 2 yr old who, till 3 weeks back, could not tell blue from green.

One pic of the equipment I used to shoot my part of the pictures!

2000 miles on a 3-day weekend amongst serenity amusement and music in silence-img_6261.jpg

Next day, we set up for the Clingmans dome, but to our horror the entry point was clogged with traffic. Had we stuck to the queue, we would miss out doing other things up on our plans, so we decide to give it a miss and decide to hit straight to Sugarlands visitor center. From there, we picked up the map for the Hiking trail that was the easiest (but when you have a (26lb petite on your shoulder accompanying you, the difficulty factor is multiplied manyfold).
We hike to a nearby waterfalls, name forgotten, dont wish to hunt for it now.

A swarm of thrumpers on the way to the visitor point. Their collective exhaust notes isn't for the faint hearted.




Start of the hike


This is actually a very easy trail, hence decided to play it with a difficulty level attached!


Well thats just half the job done!









Harley Davidson and Marlboro and Man and his fat belly.



cntd
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Old 20th July 2008, 23:25   #8
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Next up We decide to drive to the Gatlinburg downtown. The traffic jam that we experienced there was huge. It was quite hot outside, but contrary to us who were boiling there were hoardes of convertibles with their top down. Difference in racial constituency I must say. Gatlinburg was a nice town that wouldn't look too out of place in Europe.

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We took the aerial tramway to the "Ober Gatlinburg" amusement park that had chair-lifts to to take us to the top of the mountains. This amusement park had go-karting facilities and other attractions. The amazing thing about the so called "aerial tramway" was that it was actually a cable car! Makes me wonder whats the true definition of the word Tram in this country. A few weeks back we went visiting NASA at Houston, there normall trolley busses were actually attached with the connotation of being a tram. Coming back to this cable car, it was quite fast for a cable car. At the crossing of every suspending tower it would go into a big swing, adding to the amusement. The best part was on a single ride, it would actually climb up for the first part of the journey and then descend (for me this was a first).

Picture was taken by colleague, (although I couldn't have done better considering the complex harmonic motion the cable car was going through) as I was busy holding onto my daughter whose low C.G gave her the bast stability to hold on to!
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Reaching this amusement park, "Ober Gatlinburg" we were faced with numerous joyrides, but the one most interesting us was the "scenic chairlift" to the top of the hill. The descend from which gives you the option to choose between two options of taking the same chairlift or sliding down the slopes in a bobsled.

2000 miles on a 3-day weekend amongst serenity amusement and music in silence-picture1.jpg

Note the Bobsled tracks on the bottom right
2000 miles on a 3-day weekend amongst serenity amusement and music in silence-picture3.jpg
2000 miles on a 3-day weekend amongst serenity amusement and music in silence-picture8.jpg
2000 miles on a 3-day weekend amongst serenity amusement and music in silence-picture21.jpg
2000 miles on a 3-day weekend amongst serenity amusement and music in silence-picture222.jpg
2000 miles on a 3-day weekend amongst serenity amusement and music in silence-picture35.jpg
2000 miles on a 3-day weekend amongst serenity amusement and music in silence-picture39.jpg

In the back ground, there is this slope which allows for wonderful wintersport opportunities.
2000 miles on a 3-day weekend amongst serenity amusement and music in silence-picture48.jpg

At the end of the day it was time to hit this sumptuous bed in our cozy Log-hut
2000 miles on a 3-day weekend amongst serenity amusement and music in silence-picture22.jpg

Last edited by 1100D : 20th July 2008 at 23:40.
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Old 21st July 2008, 00:12   #9
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However instead of hitting that bed as mentioned in the previous post, we decided to do a little bit of this.



As a result of that and a few more photosessions such as this in the morning








We could not make it out of this log hut at the planned 8am. Instead it was 9 am. We drive into a McDonalds for breakfast and the line there saw us spending 45 mins before we were out again, by that time the road leading out from Gatlinburg to the interstate highway I-40 (11 miles away) was chock-a-block. 11 miles took us 1 full hour to cover, by 11am we had almost 890 miles to cover. But now the traffic was moving.

To my dismay a whole train of vehicles were merrily moving around 5mph below the speed limit. With the E-350 truck, making my way through wasn't being easy. two hours later we stopped to refill. To make matters worse, we saw dark clouds making an appearance. Everyone was apprehensive that this is going to be one long drive. But the moment it started raining, we saw fewer vehicles on the road. The rain worsened, to such a level that on a lower car, it would have been impossible to proceed. But perched high up on the truck, we were above the spray from tyres of vehicles running ahead of us. It must have rained for around 150 miles or so. We drove non stop on one tank of Fuel,from a little after Nashville (Tennesse) to Little Rock (Arkansas), around 330 miles in around 5 hours at about 6:30pm. Dallas being 4 hours from there, we were now in good shape. So we decide to now take it easy, drive another two hours and have dinner somewhere before driving another 2 hours and reaching home.
This was a day all previous personal records tumbled, longest driven in a day, longest driven non stop, for me this was the longest distance over which the rains lasted (150 miles) and that too full blast.
A few pics of the drive





At Memphis

Crossing over to Arkansas




Pics of driving in the rain was pointless but in the last pic the black sky in the horizon is a good indicator of what we drove underneath.

The last two hours were spent in complete silence, almost everyone was asleep, and for me staying awake was a challenge, I wished that those two hours really fly past but on the other hand a the heart was heavy in the knowledge that such a lovely drive would come to an end.

In the end, a total of around 2000 miles driven over a 3-day weekend. Although might not have been possible had I not been blessed with a daughter who does not want to get down from a vehicle even after travelling 900 miles in it in one day! We also got an eerie experience of checking in and checking out of a hospitality facility without interacting with a single human being (on top of that cell phones did not work, but wireless internet did!)

Last edited by 1100D : 21st July 2008 at 00:16.
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Old 21st July 2008, 00:26   #10
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I can't see most of the photos, is it only me or are others also experiencing the same problem?
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Old 21st July 2008, 00:43   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iraghava View Post
I can't see most of the photos, is it only me or are others also experiencing the same problem?
I dont know. I just reconnected to this with fresh cookies and it shows me all the pics. Although few pics took time to appear.
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Old 21st July 2008, 01:14   #12
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This is a duplicate of post#3
http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/909603-post3.html (2000 miles on a 3-day weekend amongst serenity amusement and music in silence)




But as Murphys were to have it, we had work constraints on Day 0, so we started later than planned. In turn roads leading out from Dallas were all choked with campers, boats trailers and whatnots. It took us 1.5 hours to cover 50 miles. But thankfully after that things cleared. We did a single stop journey to Elvis' City (Memphis)
Memphis exuded quite an old world charm for a City and after paying a customary visit to Graceland, Elvis Presley's home, we were on our way to Gatlinburg on the Bear Foot Cabins.

Here are a few pics in Graceland
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Wonder if it still has the ability to belt out a melody.
Name:  Ficture1.jpg
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A few pics of the road leading up to Smokies
2000 miles on a 3-day weekend amongst serenity amusement and music in silence-ficture6.jpg
2000 miles on a 3-day weekend amongst serenity amusement and music in silence-ficture7.jpg
2000 miles on a 3-day weekend amongst serenity amusement and music in silence-ficture8.jpg
2000 miles on a 3-day weekend amongst serenity amusement and music in silence-ficture9.jpg
2000 miles on a 3-day weekend amongst serenity amusement and music in silence-ficture15.jpg
People also drive like this in US (Actually even I was overtaking from the wrong side, but was helpless)
2000 miles on a 3-day weekend amongst serenity amusement and music in silence-ficture16.jpg

On reaching there, we were surprised to see no reception. Then suddenly we turned to our reservation receipt. Oh God, there were "passwords" and operation sequences to let us in. Not a single human in sight. It took us a few anxious moments to correctly execute the entry sequence to our Log hut. Once in, this was better than we thought. Apart from the fact that Cell phones dont work there. Caused a lot of inconvenience as we could not actually coordinate meeting a fellow Kolkata Team BHPian Sourabh_M (Not only that, we could not even co-ordinate another friend of mine recommended to the same Cabin facility)

A pic of a time we were unsure if we had come to the right place!

Name:  Ficture17.jpg
Views: 670
Size:  109.3 KB
At this point I would like to acknowledge that most of the pictures seen here are contributions from my friends, as I was busy driving or baby sitting most of the time!

cntd..

Last edited by 1100D : 21st July 2008 at 01:17.
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Old 21st July 2008, 01:20   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1100D View Post
I dont know. I just reconnected to this with fresh cookies and it shows me all the pics. Although few pics took time to appear.
Well I can see all pics in post # 1,4,8,12. But none in post # 3,7 & 9. Funny!
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Old 21st July 2008, 01:30   #14
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Duplicate of post number 7
http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/910016-post7.html (2000 miles on a 3-day weekend amongst serenity amusement and music in silence)

Had to do an emergency bail out from typing this yesterday (Rudra sir must be aware!) Right now am caught up with doing damage control for someone having unnecessarily introduced the color "Turquoise" in the color vocabulary of a 2 yr old who, till 3 weeks back, could not tell blue from green.

One pic of the equipment I used to shoot my part of the pictures!



Next day, we set up for the Clingmans dome, but to our horror the entry point was clogged with traffic. Had we stuck to the queue, we would miss out doing other things up on our plans, so we decide to give it a miss and decide to hit straight to Sugarlands visitor center. From there, we picked up the map for the Hiking trail that was the easiest (but when you have a (26lb petite on your shoulder accompanying you, the difficulty factor is multiplied manyfold).
We hike to a nearby waterfalls, name forgotten, dont wish to hunt for it now.

A swarm of thrumpers on the way to the visitor point. Their collective exhaust notes isn't for the faint hearted.
2000 miles on a 3-day weekend amongst serenity amusement and music in silence-micture1.jpg
2000 miles on a 3-day weekend amongst serenity amusement and music in silence-micture2.jpg

Start of the hike
2000 miles on a 3-day weekend amongst serenity amusement and music in silence-micture3.jpg

This is actually a very easy trail, hence decided to play it with a difficulty level attached!
2000 miles on a 3-day weekend amongst serenity amusement and music in silence-micture6.jpg
Well thats just half the job done!
2000 miles on a 3-day weekend amongst serenity amusement and music in silence-micture20.jpg
2000 miles on a 3-day weekend amongst serenity amusement and music in silence-micture24.jpg
2000 miles on a 3-day weekend amongst serenity amusement and music in silence-micture38.jpg
2000 miles on a 3-day weekend amongst serenity amusement and music in silence-micture39.jpg

Harley Davidson and Marlboro and Man and his fat belly.

2000 miles on a 3-day weekend amongst serenity amusement and music in silence-micture40.jpg
cntd

Last edited by 1100D : 21st July 2008 at 01:32.
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Old 21st July 2008, 01:38   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iraghava View Post
Well I can see all pics in post # 1,4,8,12. But none in post # 3,7 & 9. Funny!
I think I figured out what caused this. I was using duplicate filenames for the pictures and hence the pics in the previous posts vanished. I have put in two new posts (12 and 14) for posts 3 and 7, have requested the moderators if it is possible to replace the posts 3&7 with them.

But post number 9. Can you please check if you cant still see the pictures?
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