The Times Journal & Russell County News
Wednesday, Jul. 23, 2014 — RUSSELL SPRINGS & JAMESTOWN, KENTUCKY —
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Thoughts from the Lower 40: Ummersay Acationvay
In Aug. 7 Issue
Russell County News
By Wade Daffron, Columnist

Oh yeah, we know how to party. (Or should I say, "par-TAY!"?)

Always ones to plan ahead, we decided to take a very brief, "summer vacation" less than a week before school started.

Being the high rollers we are, we went on-line and looked at all the popular beach resorts…and quickly decided we were way out of our league.

And besides, with kids aged two, four and six, I have a "driving-time rule" which basically is how far I'm willing to drive while listening to a screaming/crying/questioning child.

(FYI-My limit is three hours).

Which led us to the Smokies.

The last time we went to Gatlinburg was on our whirlwind, 24-hour honeymoon seven years ago which culminated in us leaving the tourist mecca in the middle of the night because we were homesick.

(Actually, we needed to stop at Walmart, in Somerset, because we were out of toilet paper.)

One obstacle to our recent adventure was we had no way to get there.

Well, that's not entirely correct-we have a mini-van of which the transmission went out after having it less than a year (all good, cheap mechanics feel free to contact me), a large SUV with no working air, and a small, economy car with no working air.

Having no working AC in triple-digit temperatures would certainly adversely affect the "driving-time rule," so my mother-in-law came to the rescue by not only letting us borrow her car (which is really nice and DOES have working air), but also cleaning our car, having mechanical work done on it AND feeding us when we got home. (THANKS!!!)

But I'm getting ahead of myself.

On our recent escapade, we left out last Friday morning.

Our first stop?

Mighty Dollar-where we spent over an hour arguing/debating over sunglasses-which were lost during our three hour tour, three hour tour. (Get it?)

Now, I'm kinda strange (DUH!) about driving someone else's vehicle, so even though we had working AC, I refused to use it for fear of making the car overheat.

Bad move.

Not only was in unbearably hot (HA! "Unbearably"…Smokey Mountains...bears), but I had the driver's side window down and my arm hanging out the entire trip down-which caused me to have one, flaming red, hot-to-the-touch left arm, and a pasty-white right arm.

I noticed (and certainly felt) the odd skin tone when we arrived at our room, which was decorated as what I would describe as a cross between someone's grandmother's house, and a 70's porno set.

Ah, whatever.

It had a little kitchen area, and a couple of TVs, so it was fine by me.

And better than that, it was CHEAP.

I walked out on the balcony to look at the pool below, when I noticed someone standing directly across from me, on their balcony, also looking at the pool.

I'd look down, and my neighboring doppelganger would look down.

I'd look up, and he'd look up.

I'd step to the side, he'd step to the side.

I was wearing a scrub shirt and shorts, he was wearing a scrub shirt and short.

Hey…wait a minute.

Oh, I get it!

I was actually looking into a large mirror in the room directly across from us.

It was like the famous Marx Bros. scene from "Duck Soup."

OK, so enough about me, what did we do on our vacation?

We walked.

A lot.

In the heat.

Hard on our feet.

I was beat.

But it was pretty neat.

There was the unfortunate incident when we was going to the aforementioned pool, and was informed by my wife that I "had a tail on me."

I kinda proudly smirked to myself, then realized it was NOT a compliment.

My "tail" was a string hanging out of the rear of  my trunks…which were on backwards.

I don't get out much.

We visited what attractions we could afford to view- fake mermaids, things made out of gum wrappers, animatronic dinosaurs, etc.

I was the object of scowls and stares as I fondled statues at the wax museum. (I sure hope those photos don't end up on Facebook.)

We decided to "splurge" on a fancy meal out at…(wait for it)…IHOP.

Yeah, baby, that's how we roll.

With the typical Daffron Luck, it POURED the rain on Saturday, and we swam in the outdoor pool anyway.

(I mean, you're going to get wet either way, right?)

The meal on our last evening of vacation was enhanced by our four year daughter stopping without warning on the way out of the restaurant to literally shake her booty in front of a table surrounded by perplexed, teenage boys.

By the way-we DID use the air conditioner on the drive home.

Two days away, and a lifetime worth of memories.

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