The Smokey Mountains, A Baseball Game, & So Much More! (NC- TN) “DAY 275” – 4/5/11

April 7, 2011 - 10:45 am - (NC-TN) “DAY 275” - Week 41 - State 37

I woke this morning earlier than I have all year long because I passed out around 10 pm last night after the power went out in the Hotel I was in. (There was a massive rain storm which lasted until about 3 am.)

Anyway, as soon as I got up I started writing and uploading pictures from the day before (as I always do).  After that, I walked outside my room to see what the weather was like before I started my journey to Tennessee somewhere (I’m still not sure where I’m headed).

Meeting Jill

While I standing out front of my room, I was approached by the maid (Jill) who asked me what’s Where’s Rooster about.  After explaining it to her briefly, she walked over to her car and came back with a BK breakfast sandwich her grandson didn’t eat earlier.

She said, “Have some breakfast, my grandson couldn’t finish it as I was driving him to school.” (It wasn’t half eaten, she bought him 2 sandwiches.)  Even though I wasn’t that hungry, I accepted her gift and thanked her.  People are so thoughtful! 🙂

Finishing My Daily Post
Once I was done writing in my room, I had to bounce so I could upload it. (The Wi-Fi in my room didn’t work.)  So instead of leaving the property, I just moved to the office area where the Wi-Fi connection was stronger.

While I sitting there uploading my post, the owner’s dog (Little Bit) walked over to me and stood up on his back legs for at least 20 minutes.  It was so funny, he was just standing there with one paw on the ottoman while I was working. 🙂

Talking With The Owner (Lambert Wilson)
While me and Little Bit were hanging out, the owner walked over to see what was going on.  He was surprised Little Bit stayed next to me as she usually doesn’t hang out around people without him there.

Anyway, during this time we got to talking about what I was doing and where I was going next.  I told him I maybe going to Knoxville or Nashville, I wasn’t sure yet.

The charity work part of my trip must have resonated with him because he told me there was a  place in Knoxville called Love’s Kitchen that he saw on TV recently.  Intrigued, I checked the internet and then called the number to see if I could help out today (nobody answered so I left a message.)

Leaving For Knoxville Anyway
Even though I didn’t get in touch with anybody, I still decided I would head there to see if I could just walk in and help out.  Also, the University Of Tennessee’s baseball team has a game tonight at 6 pm, so either way I’ll have something to do. Nice!

The ride to Knoxville isn’t that far as it’s only 2 hours away.  The cool thing is... is that I have to drive through the Smokey Mountains in order to get there.  I’ve never seen the Smokey Mountains before or even been in Tennessee, so this should be fun.

Traveling To Tennessee
The first part of my trip started as soon I left the hotel because I had to drive through a small town type area where there were a lot touristy stuff to do.  One such thing was a store where you could pan for own gold or gems.

Panning Fer’ Gold
Although I had only been on the road for less than 5 minutes, I had to stop to see what was going here.  Well... the sign didn’t lie as it’s just like the show I saw on TV about people who moved to Alaska to pan for gold (“Gold Rush”).

Interested, I walked around the set-up and asked the older man who worked there to explain it to me further.  He then showed me how to pan for gold and told me the prices for a bucket of dirt ($40 a bucket).

I wish I had extra money because it looked real fun and interesting.  But... I don’t, so I got back on the road and continued my treck toward the Smokey Mountains which was still a few miles away.

Getting Gas Before The Smokies & Rat Cheese?
Before I reached the Smokey Mountains, I stopped to get $40 of gas. (Hey, I don’t want to run out in the mountains somewhere.)  Anyway, while my car was filing up, I looked across the street and saw a sign for a store that was selling Rat Cheese.

Now, I don’t know what Rat Cheese is... but if it’s what’s it’s telling me it is (that’s a mouthful) than I don’t think I want anyway. (As I was looking at the sign all I could think about was the Simpson’s episode where Fat Tony used rats to make the school’s kids milk.) LOL 🙂

Driving Through The Smokey Mountains
I wish I had more to write about the Smokey Mountains because I took over 50 pictures as I drove through and each was cooler than the next.  I didn’t know it until now, but the Smokey Mountains are one of the most beautiful areas of the country. (At least the route I traveled.)

F.Y.I. - The only area of the USA (that I saw) that might have had nicer scenery was when I drove down the west coast of Northern California.  That drive was incredible as the Pacific Ocean would crash right into the huge mountain I was carefully driving on the side of.  The Utah/Nevada/New Mexico desert would be a close 3rd.  (Left Above: Northen Cali - Right: Utah desert.)

Waterfalls, A River, & More
What made the Smokies so amazing was a bunch of things. First, there were mini-waterfalls than ran down the mountain right under the road you drove you on.  It was so cool I had to stop my car on the side of the road and get a few pictures. (There were many of these I saw on my 35 mile ride though the mountain range.)

Since there were waterfalls running down the mountain everywhere, they had to lead to somewhere and that somewhere was a river with crazy rapids. (The storm from last night must be why the rapids looked so rough or it’s always like this and it’s just amped up from the storm.)

The truth is, I could have stopped almost every second of the ride to take an amazing picture of something these mountains had to offer.  There were just sick views on every turn and around every corner.  So cool! 🙂

It Snowed Up Here Last Night?
For the first 15 miles or so up the mountain, the scenery looked like a perfect fall day.  But then as I reached the highest part of the drive, the trees went from spring back to winter as they were all covered in snow.

Wow!  This is even cooler, I feel like I’m in Denver in this regard. (How it can snow in the mountains and not in the cities around.)  So, since there was snow on the ground, I had to get out again and toss a snowball off the mountain side.  What can I say... I’m still a big kid at heart! 😉

Leaving The Smokey Mountains

After playing in the snow with a bunch of other kids, I hopped back in my car and drove the remaining miles out of the Smokey Mountains. (Somewhere back down the mountain, the snow left as spring took hold again.)

Entering Pigeon Forge
When you leave the Smokies on the Tennessee side, you drive right into the town of Pigeon Forge (I think it’s the town’s name or it’s just a family vacation center, I’m not sure).

Anyway, this town had a lot to do as at some point it definitely must have been a popular vacation destination. (It still might be now, but no travelers seemed to be in town as hotel rooms were going for as low $19.99.)

A Cool Car - The Lil’ General
As I was driving through town, I pulled up next to the Lil General.  It was a mini General Lee from “The Dukes Of Hazard”.  So cool!  The funny thing was, me and the driver of that car shared a laugh as a heavy women walking across the street in front of us had a massive plumbers crack showing.  We both looked at each other and laughed! LOL

Arriving In Knoxville At The Love Kitchen
My initial destination when I arrived in town was the Love Kitchen.  I wanted to stop here first to see if I could get in some charity work before the UT baseball game which started at 6 pm. (It was around 3 pm right now.)

The problem... the Love Kitchen was closed as it was only open on Wednesday and Thursday. (Since today is Tuesday, I’ll have to stay the night in Knoxville to have even a have a chance to help out here.)

The University Of Tennessee In Knoxville
With nothing to do and nowhere to go, I hit the Volunteer campus to check out all it had to offer. (I had time to kill before the baseball game started.)  Being a huge sports fan, I had to see Neyland Stadium where the football team plays. (One of the biggest stadiums in the country. It can hold over 100,000 fans.)

Neyland Stadium

It was nice day out (70+ degrees), so I got out of my car and walked around the stadium  in order to get as many cool pictures as possible.  The first thing I came upon though was right on the front of the building.  They had 6 huge pictures of former great players hanging on the stadium.

Then, as I got closer, I saw a huge statue of General Robert Neyland who coached UT for 21 years starting in 1926 and ending in 1952 compiling a 173-31-12 record . (He had 3 different tenures.)

After getting a few pictures of the massive figure, I kept walking around the stadium until I saw an opening that looked like it would lead to the field.  This was surprising to me because the all the other areas of the stadium were locked.

Entering Neyland Stadium
Just like any good running back would, I saw the hole and ran though it. 😉  But this time, reaching the secondary meant making to the open part of the stadium which I did. (I don’t think it was a big as a spring football practice was about to begin and it could have been open to the public.)  I don’t know.

None-the-less, I didn’t ask any question as I entered Neyland Field and started to take pictures of everything.  Since I was almost the only person in the whole stadium, I had no resistance as I got great shots from every angle this place had to offer.

Players Start To Enter The Field

Without knowing it, my timing was almost perfect as a Vols football practice was about to begin.  Nice!  I get some big-time college football in April even if it's only a practice. 🙂

The first players onto the field (other than some skilled players) was the entire offensive line.  I guess they had some stuff to work on before the actual practice started.  Since that was the only thing going on, I sat in the stands and watching the O-line work on blocking schemes.

Taking More Stadium Pictures
As I kept one eye on the practice on the field, I kept walking around the stands taking pictures of the all the stuff they had inside worth seeing.  The highlights were the years of their National Championships and the members of the Volunteer Hall of Fame (or ring of honer or whatever they call it.)

I probably stayed inside the football stadium for about 30 minutes before I left to find the baseball stadium which was on the other side of campus.  As I was leaving, I saw most of the rest of the team heading over to the playing field to start practice.  I miss those miserable mid-week football practices. 🙁

Finding The Baseball Stadium
It was about 4 pm when I headed over to the baseball field was. (I asked somebody where it was.)  Basically, the baseball stadium was on Frat row.  What I mean is, all the fraternities (or a bunch of them) surrounded the area where the stadium was.

While I walking by the Frats and maybe Sororities in order to get to the stadium, I noticed a party going on at one of them.  Even though these type of parties can be really exclusive to just the houses involved, I still walked up and checked it out for a few minutes.  Nobody cared, they even offered me a beer.

Leaving The Party For The Game
The stadium was almost directly behind the party, so I walked behind the building and there was the Lindsey Nelson Stadium.  Now, as usual I didn’t have a ticket but I saw a path to the stadium, so I took it.

I’m Near The Batting Cages
It was about a hour and half before game time, so all the Vol players were warming on the field getting ready to play Presbyterian U.  During this time though, some of the players walked over to where I was, which was by their batting cages.

As a few players were warming up their bats, I stood there and took some pictures.  Now, I had no idea who the starters were, the bench warmers were, or anything.  But after watching one player hit in the cage, I just knew he had to be good.

Meeting Matt Duffy
When number #13 walked out the cages and was heading back to the field, I stopped him and asked if he would take a picture with me.  This kid was way cool even though he’s from Boston and Red Sox fan. 😉

Anyway, we spoke for a minute or two before headed back off to the field.  I could tell he was cool because he was iffy about the picture he took with me after he realized I had my Yankee sweatshirt on.  Good luck Matt and thanks for pic!  Go Yanks!

Getting A Press Pass For The Game
After speaking with Matt, I left the inside of the stadium and walked to the outside to get myself a ticket for the game or as it turned out... a press pass. (A security guard approached me and was real cool but I could tell he wanted me to have ticket, so that’s why I left.)

Getting my pass was easy as all I had to do was ask for it.  Well, I did explain myself about how I’m writing a daily bog as well as book.  I didn’t say much more before somebody from behind the ticket counter walked me right into the stadium.  Nice!  Thank you guys! 🙂

Checking Out The Stadium
As soon as you enter the stadium, the first thing you see is a banner of all the accomplishments the team had over the years.  Then, to the right of that on a different wall was a area where they had plaques of the all players they had in the Hall Of Fame.

Oh yeah, in front of the stadium was a statue of somebody or something.  I say something because I just googled it and I read that it represents a book or poem about a fictional team I think, I didn’t read that far in.  Either way, it was cool statue. 🙂

The last thing I’ll mention is that as I was walking around the hallways of the stadium, I saw the today’s line-up card on the wall complete with the team leaders etc. It was then that I realized that I had gotten a picture with their best player before (Matt Duffy.)  He leads the team in homers, rbi’s, and has .380+ batting average.  Sweet!

Tennessee vs. Presbyterian
Tonight's game was against Presbyterian from Clinton, S.C. (the Blue Hose, that’s their nickname).  I don’t know much about either team except that the Blue Hose beat Clemson this year, so can’t be that bad. (I heard that from a Presby. fan.)

I could write right now about everything that happened in this game but this post is already so long and really... who cares about this mid-season game except the players, coaches, and die-hard fans.  That’s baseball for ya.

So, all I”ll say it that Presbyterian was a pretty good team with a few quality players as they jumped out on Tennessee early and never looked back. (They wound up winning 10-6.)

Anyway, I didn’t stay until the end of the game because although it was a very nice day out, day was turning to the night and tonight it was cold (high 40’s I’d say.) (I got the final score from the internet.) 😉

Leaving The Game
I left the stadium sometime around 8 pm, so I headed to one of the local bars to eat some food and watch the Yankee game.  I didn’t have a place to stay yet, so that was on my mind because I was already feeling exhausted from a long day of non-stop activities and traveling.

BW3

Although I stopped in a few bars to look around, I stayed at BW3 because they had the Yankee game on as well as .45 cent wings.  Nice!  I didn’t stay there long as I left after I finished my wings. (The Yanks were winning 4-0 in the 8th when I bounced although they blew the game losing 5-4 in 10.)

Finding A Cheap Hotel Room
Getting a room tonight was a real tough decision for me because it was already after 10 pm and I hate spending money on a room I will only be in for a half day.  But, I was tired and still wanted to see if I could do charity at the Love Kitchen, so I searched around.

I wound up getting a room at total shit-hole that had man juice stains on the sheets as well as all over the bed.  If I had a black light... I probably would still be puking! 😉

Needless-to-say, I immediately went back to the front desk, got my money back, and left  to search another hotel room nearby.  So I checked my GPS and saw a Motel 6 was just around the corner.

Nice!  A place I’m used to staying at. Did I just call a Motel 6 nice?  Oh what has happened to me this year! 😉

My Motel 6 Room
By the time I was all settled in my Motel 6 room is was almost midnight. (I had to change rooms when I was there as well because the remote for the TV wasn’t working in my first room.)  Hey, at least the room was clean or clean enough. 😉

Even though I was tired, I was kept up for a few hours by a young girl who was being dragged out of the room next to mine by her mother.  I wound up speaking with the girls Mom because it was just so loud ,for so long, that I had to see what was going on.

The girls Mom told me she was trying to take her daughter to re-hab tonight.  Ahhh... Motel 6... home sweet home! LOL  It was a scene, but by 3 am, the girl had finally stopped screaming.  I don’t know what else happened.

Now that the soap opera which plays at every Motel 6 was over, I finally fell asleep for the night.  I’ll tell ya... in life... you never know what will happen next! 🙂

Thanks for reading!

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Comments (2)

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  1. Dad says:

    This was a busy day from hangin out with Little Bit,
    to Rat Cheese, Paning for Gold, college baseball and the Love Kitchen and more.We could have done better without the more, if you know what part I’m talkin about, filthy hotel sheets.

  2. dave says:

    Sorry Dad… but that’s part of the journey.. And it bothered me, so… I had to post it.

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