Pigeon Forge, TN : Josh’s Breakdown of the Road Trip

Mountain Harbor Inn was a very nice place, ideal for honeymooners, or romantic get aways, not so much for 3 guys. Although the Condo of the Rich and Famous had 3 bedrooms so we didn’t get too many weird looks. Real relaxing atmosphere, right on the lake, pontoon boat rentals also available, away from everything but close enough to everything, plus Mountain Harbor Inn had a pretty killer breakfast.

Dollywood, I myself was not to impressed with it, they needs more rides. The rides they do have were pretty fun like Thunderhead and Barnstormer. We have a good pov video we put together using the GoPro Hero camera from the Barnstormer ride.(Jerry was with me on the ride and you can hear his excitement over the rest of the people)

I did not go on the River Rampage but Shawn and Jerry decided to jump on the ride. I discovered the water guns along the fence line used to spray unsuspecting people as they passed on the raft. I think I spent probably 3 or 4 dollars messing with people including Shawn, good times!

We went to eat at Mama’s Farm House, the drive there was interesting I was driving and about got us in  2 or 3 wrecks, but as far as the restaurant goes it was excellent, the servers brought it out in small portions and it was family style. The mac n cheese and chicken was good. I recommend you  check out if you are ever in Pigeon Forge.
After we were done eating needless to say I wasn’t allow to drive back to the inn.

Forbidden Caverns was a really cool place, it used to be an old moonshiner’s hide away. The Forbidden Caverns tour guide was pretty funny real theatrical woman and friendly and knowledgeable, pretty interesting stories behind the caves from indians to moonshiners. On the way back to the Harbor Mountain Inn  we also found where Bush’s baked beans was made.

Josh waiting to get inside Forbidden Caverns

As far as the whole town of Pigeon Forge, it was great. Pigeon Forge has a lot of shops, museums,and eateries along the main stretch of road. We were wanting to go on the cable car up into the mountain but for some reason Ober Gatlinburg Ski Resort was shut down. The road trip was a pretty good time.

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Dollywood, Best Senior Park in the Nation

Back in May, Jerry, Josh and I decided to do a road trip to Pigeon Forge and one of the stops while at Pigeon Forge was Dollywood. For people who never heard of Dollywood, it’s an amusement park that created by the country singer icon, Dolly Parton. Dollywood is known to have the best amusement park food and live shows around. But for us, we like one thing about amusement parks and that is the rides . The one thing I want to mention before writing about the rides and the park itself, the parking at Dollywood is awful. It’s not their fault because they have limited space to work around due to the landscape. The parking spaces are compress together closely making backing out and pulling into a space a little bit tougher.

Dollywood design their park on a mountain, the layout is one big circle. When you enter the park you start at the base of the mountain and best direction to head toward is right(counter-clockwise). Dollywood has a ton of shops and food stops. They have all different kinds of food ranging from bbq to burgers and pizza. We didn’t sample the fine food while we were there. I did get a souvenir bottle filled with a cherry slurpee concoction that cost me about $15 dollars unexpected. I didn’t complain it is what it is. They also have a ton of live show, mostly musical acts with a high appeal to an older crowd. This is probable the reason that Dollywood draws in a high senior crowd, where I saw more electric scooters than baby strollers. Now to the rides:

Barnstormer: It was the new Dollywood ride for 2011, the ride is a new version of the swing pirate ship minus the ship but faster. That was the simplest way of describing the ride. I’m not a huge fan of swinging arm rides so I stayed grounded while Josh and Jerry took to the air. We made a video of the ride:

Smokey Mountain River Rampage: Jerry and I went on this white water rapid ride and was a very decent ride. It’s almost a guarantee that everyone will get soaked on this ride. On the outside fence of the ride,  water guns are positioned  so people can drop in a quarters and spray the riders. Josh found those evil devices and sprayed me pretty good in the face. He recorded that on video and will be in his blog.

Blazing Fury: It is a dark ride but not a very good one. The ride was kinda boring and seemed dated with the special effects. If you miss this ride don’t go into depression it’s not worth it.

Tennessee Tornado: A very good looping steel coaster. The best part was after the first incline where the trees and hillside played a crucial role in fun.

River Battle: This ride is design for children so we didn’t jump aboard the raft. Basically River Battle is a slow-moving raft ride where each person has a water gun in their control where they can spray other rafts or people who are watching from the fence line. Fairplay, the people outside also have the ability to man free water cannons and fire back at the raft riders. So we had some fun nailing kids with h20 and they were having fun too. Great ride for the young ones.

Mystery Mine: This is one of best rides at Dollywood. I did not get on the ride because I decided to have a seat and rest for a moment. I was the driver for the road trip so we drove from Myrtle Beach directly to the park because we could not check in at the inn till 3pm. So I was a little bit tired at this point. The ride looked amazing from my point of view. Jerry was the only person to jump on the ride. In the update for this blog entry I’ll get his view-point and post it here in the next day or two.

Thunderhead: I have to say that Thunderhead was the best wooden coaster I’ve been on and I had been to several quality parks. Thunderhead will break you down, throw you around, and leave your butt off the ground. It was the only ride where we went on a couple of times because it was that good. Words can not really describe it, you can not leave the park without getting on Thunderhead to get the best wooden coaster experience. We shot a short video of Thunderhead.

Overall: Dollywood had nice relaxing environment. The people in general were having a great time and the staff were very helpful. But I think that the park surroundings makes the park that much better. I recommend this park to anyone that is not in a rush with life, enjoys live entertainment, and wants an enjoyable day.

Shawn enjoying day at Dollywood

Jerry