Trek America Day 2: Gatlinburg, Tennessee

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Having survived Birmingham’s Fright Furnace, it was time to head off to Tennessee! One of our stops was at Fort Loudoun, which was once a British colonial-era fort and had been reconstructed to look just like it…

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All this bumbling around in the Southern heat started to hit us, so we then headed to Gatlinburg. When reading the itinerary, I always imagined Gatlinburg to be a few shops in the middle of nowhere, where I could maybe buy a fridge magnet and get a good nights sleep. I was gladly mistaken.

Gatlinburg turned out to be the highlight of the whole trip, and the night we all really bonded. Like the night before, this bonding was borne of suffering. (aka Crazy Golf).

We arrive on Halloween, and the streets were covered in decorations and pumpkins and nearly everyone was dressed out and handing out candy. Also, everywhere you looked there was someone sat in rocking chair.

I could absolutely write for hours and hours about Gatlinburg, because it’s literally such a kooky yet adorable place where I made some of my best Trek America memories. In light of this, I’m going to break it down into the highlights…

  1. Crazy Golf. 

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Before Gatlinburg, I had absolutely no interest in Crazy Golf.  Jet lag and having to climb up a golf course on a mountain face in the dark made us all increasingly hysterical. For example, Gary completely missing every shot and dramatically announcing “THIS IS MY EVEREST”. Queue scenarios of Gary throwing himself to the ground in slow motion, which would eventually become a key visual in our Trek music video. (Which is completely imaginary)

To add to the chaos, I stuck to my emo aesthetic and chose a black golf ball which immediately got lost in the bushes as it was pitch black. That may have happened twice.

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The desperate search for my golf ball using golf clubs as rudimentary tools

After around 3 hours in the course was closed and the lights were turned off and everyone had left except us. Like true heroes, we persevered. Things got super creepy when the golf course left us into an old wooden school classroom so we decided to wrap the game up quickly after decided we didn’t particularly want to be murdered by evil ghost children.

I should probably mention we all played the entire game while wearing party hats.

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Me with all my friends??

2) Shamrock’s Karaoke Bar

A pivotal moment of the trip was when we bumbled into one of the only bars in Gatlinburg. It was 3/4 empty and it looked like a scene from the Hills Have Eyes or possibly just Jerry Springer. One man dressed up as a zombie was sombrely singing “Nothing Else Matters” by Metallica. So obviously we decided it was the best bar in the world.

Whilst still clad in our party hats, we observed several dramatic falling out. A newlywed couple dancing rather inappropriately, then the lady stormed off out of the bar for a bit. Then she came back and brought her Mum to yell at her husband for quite some time. I am not sure but it was exciting.

Amy (aka Sugar Bear aka Suzanne) decided to crank the party up a gear and treat us all to a rendition of “Country Roads”. It was truly beautiful. We were then joined by Eric and Derek who gave us moonshine and we told them all about how rubbish England was and that all British people are awkward and don’t know how to dance.

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Eric (who is not, in fact, a scarecrow as we suspected) providing backing vocals for Sugar Bear.

We eventually swept out of the bar as it was closing, and decided to take advantage of the photo-op. We then spent the next hour debating the following subjects with Eric and Derek:

  • Mushrooms and why they cannot be trusted.
  • How much Sugar Bear likes cookies.
  • Why the words ‘Instamagram’ and ‘Alcomahol’ are superior.
  • Probably some other controversial topics that I can’t remember right now as everything was pretty fuzzy at this point.
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The weirdest nights out are always the best.

It was then time to stumble home in preparation for our hike through the Great Smoky Mountains, which meant an early start…

Till next time,

Olive

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