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Gathering Journal, Part One
My brother and I actually left on time, or at least when we intended to, which was between 9 and 10 AM. We made good time down Route 64, and drove through a lot of counties with funny names: Fluvanna, Louisa, and before that, Goochland. Sadly, after Fluvanna, the county names stopped being funny (that, or I just stopped paying attention). We passed a lot of trucks as we drove through the valley, in the right lane with their emergency blinkers on. I would have been feeling better if we hadn't seen an Audi commercial last night that had to do with car crashes. Ah, well, good thing I don't believe in omens.
We tried to play a game where we count all the roadkill we see. But wouldn't you know it? After two hours on the road, we hadn't seen a single dead animal. Saw a living deer, but that doesn't count. Well, at least it started to pick up when we got closer to the Tennessee State Line.
When we came off the exit for I-40, we followed signs for Pigeon Forge and started to get the feeling that we were crossing into another dimension. How many dinner and show services does one place need? Or helicopter-related things, for that matter. Not to mention the fact that I saw more electronic billboards in the last 20 minutes than I have for my entire life! They probably cause more accidents every year than drunk driving.
We found the hotel more easily than we thought. Checked in, and grabbed a shower. The table I sat at in the room when I was writing this journal had several amusing pamphlets, including the Black Bear Jamboree, and the Dixie Stampede Dinner Attraction. I took the pamphlets with me. The place was so much like Vegas: it's so tacky, it's a joke. But it knows it's a joke and doesn't care. I love it! I also grabbed a complementary newspaper that had an article on the Gathering with a hysterical typo in it.
My brother and I went for a walk after that. We saw a bunch of humorous stores as we took a walk down the sidewalk. We passed this one overly tacky store where a person could feed live bears, and also purchase joke novelties, NASCAR merchandise, and a variety of fried dough. We took some humorous pictures of the tackiness. On our way back to the hotel, we ran into Carl, aka Cuddly Dominion. Had an interesting chat with him about the town, and also about designing costumes. The three of us ran into Greg X outside the hotel. He recognized me by my homemade Demona shirt. Couldn't chat too long, but it was nice to finally meet him in person after talking with him online for almost two years.
My brother and I went back up to the room after that, ordered some pizza, and watched a few episodes of "The Office," which I had never seen before but enjoyed. When it started to get a little dark, we went out to the picnic tables behind the hotel and smoked pipes. Even at nine-thirty, it was still dusk out. God, I love the Solstice!
Went back to the hotel room after smoking, and it was too cold. Had a merry time trying to get the climate controls to work. It was too hot outside, too cold in the room. Went to bed not long after that.
To be continued…
The Office was an acquired taste for me. But now I'm addicted...