There’s just no way to keep them down at the home….
The Granny Gang Rides Again!
A Fun Stuff report – by Suzanne Hill FitchOn April 26th… much to the delight of American Express, Visa and Master Card… Syble Horn, Elayne Stewart, Winona Jones Dutton, Judy Reiler Cochran, Hallie Schilling Shoemaker, Joan Litherland Ford and myself all piled into a rented Suburban and took off on one of our most ambitious adventures yet.
With Winona once again our capable driver, Elayne our trusty navigator and Syble, as expert car packer, we made it all the way to the Louisiana border without stopping to eat. Continuing on we had dinner in Meridian, Mississippi, and a night in Hattiesburg. Our first major stop was Chattanooga, Tennessee. We loved Chattanooga and were quite the tourists as we visited Rock City, Ruby Falls, Lookout Mountain, Incline Railroad, downtown, the beautiful river-front where we had a calliope serenade from 2 paddlewheelers, and lunch at the Chattanooga Choo-Choo. After exhausting ourselves in Chattanooga, we piled back in the car and headed to the Smoky Mountains through some of the most beautiful country we had ever seen.
Our home for the next 5 days was a spectacular 3-story log cabin, high on a mountain, overlooking the little town of Gatlinburg. Hats off to Joan for finding it on the Internet for us. We spent our days exploring the National Park, shopping in Pigeon Forge and cruising the scenic areas around Gatlinburg. Nighttime found us either back at the cabin, in the hot tub, or playing one of our all-night card games. One of our side trips was to Asheville, North Carolina for a day-long visit to the Biltmoore Estate. Our trip to Asheville was
an adventure as we took a short cut that Triple-A assured us would save about 15 miles. However, we ended up on an unpaved mountain road that twisted and turned and took us so deep into the woods we were wondering if we would ever see daylight again. We actually crossed the Appalachian Trail, and I’m sure startled any hikers in the area. We did get to see bear and had to stop the car to wait for several wild turkeys to finish strutting right down the middle of the road. On top of everything else, our shortcut added an hour and 20 minutes to the trip. We chose to return a different way.
After Gatlinburg, it was back in the car again & off to Kentucky where we took in the Daniel Boone National Forest and had a wonderful picnic in the rain at Cumberland Falls. Dropping back down to Tennessee, our next major stop was Nashville. We toured the Country Music Hall of Fame, Ryman Auditorium, Opryland Hotel and had terrific 4th-row seats for the Grand Ole Opry. Then it was time to head to Memphis.
On the way, we called classmate David Dean and had a good long conversation. David, who lives in Memphis, has recently retired from FedEx and hopes to make it to our 50th reunion, if he can juggle the schedule for knee replacement surgery.
Memphis stops included a visit to the Peabody Hotel to see the famous Peabody Ducks make their daily march to the fountain; a stroll down Beale Street and lunch at B.B. King’s and a quick look at Graceland. From there it was time to go home, since we were so tired of climbing in and out of the car… plus the car was so full of packages that we looked like the Beverly Hillbillies moving to California. After spending the night in Texarkana and our final late-night card game, we arrived back in Houston about 3 P.M.
We had such a terrific time… Lots of love and laughs, beautiful weather, awesome scenery, delicious food, friendship bonds that grew deeper and stronger, great shopping and true Southern Hospitality at every stop we made.
Lastly, as no trip of ours could be complete without police involvement, we would like to say a special thanks to Officer C.J. Ball of the Cocke County Sheriff’s Department who helped us out (and managed to keep a straight face) while taking down the details of our involvement in a very minor accident on the way home from one of our many trips to WalMart and the unnamed Texas Highway Patrolman who let Winona talk her way out of a speeding ticket.
We are already looking forward to and planning for next year’s trip to California. However, this time I think we will fly.