Day 107 September 24, 2014
Pigeon Forge, Tennessee to Gadsden, Alabama
On our way out of Pigeon Forge, we went to see if we could get a peek at Dollywood. I mean, a peek from the outside, without paying to go inside. All we could find was the entry to a parking lot. I guess the likes of cheapskates like us weren’t welcome there, so we left.
Our actual first stop would be in downtown Knoxville, where we lucked into the most perfect parking space. Well, it wasn’t perfectly perfect, as it was in a 30 minute zone, but that had never stopped us before. I’m not condoning breaking the law or anything, but, when you have 27’ of vehicle to park, you often just take what you find, and take your chances. And hey, in almost four months, we’d only gotten busted once, so, whatever. We could afford another $45 parking ticket, so we took our chances.
So, the risk of getting a parking ticket was well worth the goodies that we found in Knoxville. We were parked right by the pedestrian mall, right out front of an amazing coffee and chocolate shop, right down the block from some really cool boutique shops.
First we hit the coffee and chocolate shop, appropriately named, “Coffee & Chocolate. ” Among other chocolatey things, we had a dark chocolate truffle that was to die for! The bacon truffle, uh, not as great, but still pretty darn good!
After checking out a few of the small artistic boutiques, we took a walk through the pedestrian mall, where we discovered the mid-day farmer’s market. And within the farmer’s market, we discovered the Good Golly Tamale food cart.
We bought a few tamales to share…the “Classic,” the “Calabacitas,” and the “Vegan Soul.’ OMG! OMG! Best tamales we’ve ever had, and believe me, living in Southern California for so many years, we’ve eaten a lot of tamales. But no tamale I’ve ever devoured, could hold a candle to the tamales from Good Golly Tamale!!
How did tamales this divine end up in Knoxville, Tennessee??!! No offense to Knoxville. Knoxville seemed like a really great city. It’s just not the city, state, or region of the US of A that one would expect to find spectacular tamales!
Now the trifecta of our little downtown visit, was finding the coolest t-shirt shop, “Nothing Too Fancy.” Mark and I both love and adore, and live in, t-shirts, so this place was a bonanza discovery for us. Their t-shirts were all super soft, with awesome graphics by local graphic designers. It took a lot of self-control, but we walked out of there with only two t’s for Mark, and one for me. Seriously, I could have bought about 10 t-shirts, but I knew I didn’t really “need” them. Damn. I’m way too practical.
Having overstayed our 30 minute parking by at least an hour, we got back in the Space Shuttle and went on our way. No parking ticket, by the way. (smiley face emoticon!)
We stopped in Chattanooga to have a quick look around. Sucked in by the billboard advertisements, we purchased tickets to ride the Incline Railway to the top of Lookout Mountain. Glad we did! It was pretty cool riding up (and down) the 72.7% grade in this open-air rail car of sorts.
On our way out of town, we took Rt 59 south, to Gadsden, Alabama, where we spent the night at the River Country Campground. All in all, we’d had another great day…coffee, chocolate, tamales, t-shirts, railway rides…pretty much a perfect day!