Friday, May 20, 2011

Family Vacation

It had been since 2007 that we'd taken a family vacation together. Jonathan will be a senior next year, so I hoped to have one more try at a vacation together. I was able to line up the week after the boys got out of school in the Smokys (right before they started their internships at USEC).

We got a 3 Bedroom suite at our Wyndham Resort. It had lot of room (1500 square feet) and four TVs. The trip down was uneventful. We got there about 6 and went out and got pizza and we simply decided to unwind from the trip.

The next day, Donna and I walked and we just rested in the morning mixing in a trip to Wal-Mart for supplies. In the afternoon, Josh and I went to the park to play tennis. It'd been over a year since we played. I managed to hang in OK, but still lost 8-5, 8-2. We had a enjoyable dinner that night at Longhorn Steakhouse.

The next day, we decided to try something on my Bucket List. The boys and I went ziplining. Several ziplining places have sprung up all over the Smoky Mountain area. By far, the most recommended one was Smoky Mountain Zip Lines in Pigeon Forge. I got us each 15.00 off coupons to drive the cost per person to 69.95 each. When we got there, we got geared up with a harness, helmet and gloves and settled down to wait. Once our party got together (7 of us plus two guides), we got on benches in the back of a truck and headed up the mountain. You are unloaded at the first platform where you do two lines that are easy and close to the ground to get the hang of things.

We got to do 16 zip lines total of varying length and height. About midway through, you take a break for water and photos. It was very safe. You have a guide on each end as you zip from platform to platform. You are constantly tethered to the zip line and they check things carefully as you go along. Everybody was very personable. I met a Reds fan (who was civil) and we talked baseball. At the end, you arrive back at the main building are given the opportunity to ride two more long (one almost a quarter mile that gets up to 40 mph) for an extra 20.00 (it's normally more than that). So we did those too. We had a blast and spent most of the morning there. There was a Krispy Kreme on the way back, so we had to stop there. We rested in the afternoon and had supper at FuddRuckers. We went to Wednesday night services at Sevierville church of Christ and enjoyed that as well.

Thursday, we got up and just relaxed more. In the afternoon, we went to play 36 holes of miniature golf at Fantasy Golf. It was warm, but we had fun. I managed to win both times. We went to the Kinkaku Japanese Hibachi for dinner. Our chef was excellent and the food was great as well.

Friday, we decided to go to Clingman's Dome. This is the highest point in the mountains there. It has an observation area. You park and and have to go a little more than half a mile on a very steep path. Josh and I got the bright idea to try and run - Jonathan thought we were crazy. I made it about .1 mile and Josh about .25 miles. We got to the top and waited for Donna and Jonathan. I talked to a lady who had hiked there from North Carolina. We then met a young lady who was hiking to Maine! We observed for a while then went back to the parking lot.

We had lunch and the boys and I decided to go Magiquest. If you've never head of this, it's like an interactive Dungeons and Dragons game. You get a wand to use and you go on quests. We had our wands from Myrtle Beach and they actually worked still. We bought an hour of time and headed in. It was OK but not nearly as big as Myrtle Beach. It did have a couple of secret doors and I did manage to beat the Goblin King. We then did the rest of the things there. First, we played Black Light Pirate Golf. It's all inside and very neat. Jonathan nailed a couple of hole in ones and won. Next, we did the Mirror Maze. It was very challenging. We had trouble in the second part of the maze. We saw Josh reach the Forest part of the maze. He waved at us and vanished. Jonathan and I did find our way out though. Finally, they have a room with Laser Lines in it. Your object is to through as fast as you can without touching any of the lines (you get a penalty for each one you touch). Josh won that. We went back to the room. I got chicken and Marble Slab Creamery Ice Cream for us.

Saturday, we packed up and reluctantly headed for home. The ride home went without event. We'd had a lot of fun and relaxation. It's a bid sad knowing that this was probably our last family vacation until we have grandchildren to take. I don't if I'll be up for ziplining by then though :-).