What a week! I’m sorry I have been awol from posting but much fun, learning, and enlightenment were had while I was in the States. Last I posted I my case had decided to travel on to Knoxville without me.
The first thing that struck me about America is the scale: @Rhondak had kindly offered to pick me up from Washington Dulles, but little did I realize that it was a seven-hour drive each way back to Gatlinburg, where we were staying. Back in the UK, I could easily travel the length of England in that time, and this was just one of fifty states!
Once I acclimatized to driving on the wrong side of the road – seriously guys, get with the program – I dozed off several times. I had already been awake for over twenty-four hours by this point. Finally, we reach the Super 8 motel we were booked in to. A quick shower before bed, as soon as my head hit the pillow, I was out like a light.
The next morning I saw Gatlinburg proper on the way to the Air BnB cabin that we had rented. Having seen America on film and TV for so long, it was all very surreal. Along the way, I had my first experience of American service and dining as we stopped off at Krispy Kreme for breakfast.
Once our hunger was satisfied we continued on our way to the cabin.
It was quaint and quite spacious, with the ability to easily sleep a dozen people.
I christened this fella Dave and had visions of him waking up in the night and talking to me, as in a scene reminiscent of Evil Dead 2. My worries intensified as I found a picture on the wall.
I dubbed these the murder family and pictured them buried underneath the cabin. Yeah, I really should be a writer…
Once I had unpacked, we set off to Knoxville to meet @jayna at the airport and to retrieve my lost case – see, I didn’t forget. Along the way, we made a rendezvous with @sk43, Rhonda’s husband Scott. Ever since Rhonda and I have been chatting on Discord, I have often jokingly referred to him as my nemesis. In real life, he is a very nice fella, despite what Rhonda says. He made me feel welcome and became my unofficial tourist guide, instructing me in the finer points of American life.
The journey was several hours and every view I took out of the car windows seemed like a photo opportunity and I became embarrassingly ‘touristy’.
Eventually, we arrived at the airport and drove straight past Jayna, before making another circuit and meeting up with her. @Rhondak had issues with the rental car – something I am in no doubt she will post about – so she and @catherine813 went off to exchange it. Meanwhile, I tracked down my lost case at the airport and Jayna and I made our way to the Hilton to get to know each other over drinks.
Yes, her glass is bigger than her head. Boy, can she drink… 😛
Rhonda returned with a new bigger vehicle and we met up outside and had a chat. Ten minutes in I realized that I had left my freshly acquired case at the bar in the Hilton. Doh! I retrieved it and we traveled back to Gatlinburg where we would meet up with @Instructor2121, @anarcho-andrei and @ladymaharet for dinner at Cracker Barrel.
It was here that I experienced another American peculiarity: a store you walk through on the way to the restaurant. Americans are indeed silly.
I was assured that this was as close to proper ‘country’ food and chose a country fried steak. Yes, it was delicious.
From left to right: @sk43, @rhondak, @instructor2121, @anarcho-andrei, @ladymaharet, @jayna, me and @catherine813. Once the meal was over we left and saw a firework show from Dollywood, over the other side of a mountain. It seemed a fitting end to my first day Stateside.
All photos were taken with a Samsung Galaxy Note 8.