Leaving was quite easy this morning. Basically, all we had to do was pull in the slides and we were ready to go however we still went through our check list and of course had prayer before we took off for the next leg of our journey. Travel to Sevierville, Tennessee was fairly easy. We had gassed up the night before so our only stop was brief at the Tennessee Welcome Center. We did run into some rain on the way but hopefully it washed the coach off some. It really needs a bath!
We arrived at The Ridge Outdoor RV Park at noon and very quickly set up and headed out for lunch at the Apple Barn Restaurant. Before we had even ordered we had our drinks, their signature apple julip (made with apple juice, pineapple juice, orange juice and lemon) plus apple fritters laced with powdered sugar. Who needed lunch at that point? We had a delicious lunch with some soup leftover to take home.
Robyn had texted and invited me to play cards with some other AIM members so Jerry dropped me off at the Event Center. We ended up playing Farkle. I had never played so I enjoyed learning.
Everyone met up at the Event Center for pizza for dinner. Several of us shared out meal out on the porch and we met a lot of new people. The heat finally urged us inside so we took a brief tour of the room where we will be meeting once the rally officially begins. Interestingly, the building used to be a church but was sold to new owners. The church still uses the facility for services.
After dinner we sat around visiting until Robyn and I headed off for the hot tub. Wow, that felt good. We stayed until they closed it up at 10:00. All in all, a very nice day.
Jerry discovered that with a $10 permit from the campground he could wash the RV and man, it needed it so he spent the morning doing just that. Registration began at 1:00 so we headed up there after lunch. We spent the afternoon visiting and then at 5:00 headed to the Event Center for Happy Hour. We had a delicious dinner and then entertainment provided by Kenny Evans. He was quite good and not only played and sang my kind of music but he also gave his moving testimony. Praise the Lord!
Tuesday morning started off with an absolutely delicious breakfast followed by a tech talk for an hour. We were free then until lunch where we ate again! No one should go hungry at an AIM rally! Knowing that the cornhole tournament was that afternoon we went up to the pavilion to scope things out. The boards were already set up so we practiced a bit. Jerry just shook his head and admitted that he’d have to carry me! What a team we’d make. The tournament started after lunch and lo and behold we made it to the third round. I was amazingly much better than usual until we got to the third round. I was on the wrong side for me and was little help to Jerry so we lost in that round. Oh well, I did better than I thought I would.
After another Happy Hour and delicious dinner, we were entertained by songwriter Victoria Shaw. She has written for numerous well known singers such as Garth Brooks and others whose name I had heard before but was not familiar with their music. Two of her songs were especially meaningful. After seeing a PSA about the Susan G. Komen Foundation, she wrote the song “When Pink is Just a Color” about a day when breast cancer no longer exists. After writing the song she contacted the Foundation and they formed a partnership. Soon after that the song was recorded by five women including Dolly Parten, Rita Wilson, Jordan Sparks, Sara Evans and Monica. Google it! It is an amazing song. She closed with the song “Never Alone” which has been recorded by several artists including Lady A. The lyrics could bring one to tears.
After breakfast on Sunday, we attended church at the Event Center. Connect Church is a contemporary church service with praise and worship music and wonderful witness for the Lord. We shared communion, knelt in prayer and listened to an incredible message from the pastor.
For our next excursion we loaded a bus and headed to Dollywood. Would you believe that our bus driver got lost? We ended up on a narrow one lane road where he had to turn around. Although a poor navigator he was an excellent driver and turned that big bus around on a dime! When we got to Dollywood Jerry and I wandered around a bit trying to get our bearings. We eventually ended up at an outdoor show performed by the Hall Sisters from Garner, NC, a little bit of home. They were very good with beautiful four part harmony plus some instrumental music. I would have liked to talk with them but the line to see them was too long for me.
We continued to wander around and ran into Madeline, Mallory, Gary and Sandra who were on their way to ride the roller coaster. What in the world was I thinking? Sandra wisely sat that one out but the rest of us trudged on in the heat to the Wild Eagle. After we were very securely locked in our seat Jerry looked at me and told me to take off my sunglasses. Why I asked? Because you are going to up upside down! What????? Oh my. I survived but I may not be riding another roller coaster for a while!
We had a catered dinner at the Blue Ribbon Pavilion and then headed to the buses for the ride back to the campground. It was a fun afternoon but we were a bit tired however we rustled up the energy to go over to Robyn and Jim’s for a visit.
Monday was another day of good breakfast, visiting, tech talk, lunch, a little free time and then we were off to the Hatfield’s and McCoy’s Dinner Feud. Dinner was so-so but the show was very entertaining, a must see for anyone in the Sevierville, Pigeon Forge area. From the cloggers to the divers – yes, they had an apparently very deep pool for the outstanding divers.
Alas, Tuesday morning dawned with breakfast and goodbyes to our new friends. We actually sat around and visited with Thomas and Theresa until everyone else had left and I think they were ready to kick up out of the dining room.
As we were walking back to the coach, we saw a very empty campground as most of the folks had left headed either to home or further down the road. We decided to go to Cade’s Cove along with a million other people. Traffic was horrible from the time we left the campground until we returned, back to back cars in Cade’s Cove. Right off we saw a bear but that was our only wildlife sighting and really, we have a lot of bears at home so no big excitement for us. And then the heavy rain came. Oh well, Jerry drove and I read!
We had earlier decided to go back to the Apple Barn for dinner but Tommy, president of AIM came by and said they were having pizza at the Event Center for the folks coming in for Tennessee II and asked us to join them. We ran into a couple we had met in Auburndale, Suzy and Gary and shared our dinner with them. They told us about the terrible slowdown on I40 so deciding we needed to leave early Wednesday morning we didn’t stay long at dinner. We came back to the coach and got things readied for Wednesday departure.
We left a little after 8:00, later than I had hoped but we had no issues. Getting gas was easy – thank you Lord, another answer to prayer – and we had no traffic stops. Jerry even said that going down Black Mountain was the easiest it had ever been. We arrived at Salem Breeze Campground a little after 1:00 and quickly settled in. After a good nap for Jerry, we went over to visit with Carolina Guroo friends, Debra and Larry. We all went out to eat at Oh West where we had scrumptious prime rib and then enjoyed solving all of the world’s problems on their patio.
Thursday morning was slow and easy knowing that we had quite the busy days ahead. The last few weeks have been quite busy and just a bit hectic with two out of state trips, Memorial Day and guests for the long weekend and just nine days between trips. Sadly, we don’t have another trip scheduled for some time, possibly August but maybe September. We’ll enjoy the week-end with our kids and grands, go to baseball games, pre-school graduation, and a dance recital for the girls and then we’re off for home.