Summer Road Trip: Day 8

Very low key day today. Not much to report. It is the first day of our trip that I didn’t take a single picture. We spent most of the day driving the 421 miles from Memphis back to Gatlinburg. Other exciting activities for the day included doing laundry and packing the car in the middle of a torrential downpour.

We are headed to the Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park Camp Resort at Golden Valley, North Carolina. The plan is to camp there from Monday through Thursday. Then, we will head to Savannah to pick up Jenny for a week at Tybee Island.

We decided to return to Gatlinburg because we had so much fun there earlier in the week and I wanted to reward the boys for being so good today. It also leaves us only a short (2 hour) drive to the Jellystone camp for tomorrow.

As frustrating as the boys were yesterday evening, they were sweet and wonderful and kind today. They listened when asked to do something. They didn’t whine. They voluntarily shared snacks and toys. They passed time in the car quizzing each other on basic addition and subtraction and telling scary and funny stories. They laughed and played and made up their own games.

We pulled into the Graystone Lodge in Gatlinburg at 7:30. The boys raced up to the room after we registered so they could change for the pool. After a couple of hours swimming, we walked down to Arcadia to use our remaining game tokens. We had enough tokens for each to play 5 games. They played a couple driving games, a couple shooting games, and a bowling game. We walked back to the room afterwards. Will described in meticulous detail the physical characteristics of the zombies he was blasting away at in one of the games as we walked home. Lucas almost fell asleep while riding on my shoulders.

They went to sleep without too much fuss. A nice, easy, relaxing day. Our road trip equilibrium restored.

I am keeping my fingers crossed that tomorrow we can finally squeeze in a short hike in the Smokies before heading off to North Carolina. The plan once again is to go to Laurel Falls. It is only 2.3 miles, round trip. We are going to leave early in the morning so hopefully we can beat the heat and humidity.

I am trying to be cautiously optimistic that I will actually set foot on a trail at Great Smoky National Park before we leave Tennessee. So far the hiking portion of this trip has been snake bitten. Hopefully, that changes tomorrow.

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