Thursday, June 25, 2015

A Road Trip to Smoky Mountains - Part 2 and the final one.

For the interesting flashback fun, the Part 1 of the series.... Read here.

As I hit the bed in a hope to dissolve in some sound sleep, I heard some weird noises quite frequently. All my friends had already slept by then. I jumped from the bed to check if the doors were latched properly. Fear of bears had crept in me already:-P. The terrified part of me browsed for safety tips for avoiding bear attacks. As though I completely mastered the art of bear attack just by surfing net, I closed my eyes, hell damn tired. No bear or no dream. Just, Sound  sleep.

 Fun Adventures of Day 2:

1) Scenic Helicopter Tour

We were up and ready by 8 in the morning. After  heartily eating our home made breakfast (it was more like home in a day), we set ourselves for  the first activity for the day .The  booking for the Helicopter tour, Gatlinburg was made on the way as we drove downhill. Under thirty minutes, after journeying in the Crissy-cross and hair-pin-bend roads we reached the spot for some aerial fun.

We went in 2  batches of 3 each for the sight seeing. At my turn I chose to sit next to the handsome pilot.*wink*. The scenic helicopter tour put us above  Great Smoky Mountain National Park. We chose for a short tour to fit our time, budget and desire. The longer tours extend further into the national park with views of such places as Cades Cove, The Chimneys, Clingmans Dome, The Sawteeth and Mt LeConte. 

Watching the vast expanse of the mountain valleys, pristine estuaries and the adjacent foothills of the national park from the unmatched vantage point was awe-inspiring and a memorable experience. I went on to capture the grandeur and the glory of the view from the seat of a black and yellow Scenic helicopter. This is a once in a lifetime experience that cannot be missed. The prices does not pinch too hard in your pockets too.

2)Oh some shopping please!- At the Yard sales.

Though I am technically not supposed to put this one under the main topic of fun adventure. I bet it was sure so much adventure for the guys to come along with us for the  shopping endeavours  in the burning summer heat. And for the 2 ladies of the troop we are best at shopping, irrespective of weather. We bought a bag, a fedora , a tennis racket and some home decors. Oh Yay! I shopped for some dog  toys and cute photo frames to gift my dogs at India. They won’t spare me otherwise you see. I got the best offers from an American in his 80’s ,who had patched a brilliant smile in his face. How I could resist then?

3)Zorbing and ziplines

The ziplines are definitely fun but since we did not find them very exciting we opted to zorb instead. Gravity National Park offered a good deal to us for a water Zorb. 3 among 6 settled for this event. I along with the other two sat on the bench to relax on the delicately laid green patch of land. It was fun watching our friends tumble down the zig-zag paths-splish and splash along the bottom of the OGO (The OGO is like a spaceship, except its made out of plastic and flies down a hill instead of outer space.-pun intended). Watching their videos taken in the waterproof go-pro-cam was hilarious. A decent deal was made grab the videos.

Zorb! Zorb

sharing some Clicks here - they are great for indoor amusements. But we were completely outdooor this time and also fell short of time to cover these.

Hollwood Wax Museum

For some Hi-tech Fantasy games..
I dont want to miss this next this :(

The Titanic Museum

4) At the winery.Wine–tasting

Smokeys is a land of wineries. It comprises of 5 wineries which are open the whole year except for the Christmas day. We walked into one of them, where friendly faces  helped us to understand the world of wine .We got free samples to taste and understand what went into our body. A wide and unique range of wines were displayed and sold. On the whole, chilled wine after a extreme sunny day tasted a lot better than usual.We picked a couple of interesting flavors with less alcohol percentage.

As the night fell, our cooking and party started. We had picked up the ingredients for cooking from a near by Walmart. I offered to cook some Italian prawns with Indian touch and the hungry souls were happy. My friend, the Master chef as we call him, moved his expert hands to get the main dish ready. Rice, rasam and egg curry ( My mouth waters as I type). Our last night in Tenesses was spent in the best way  possible– lavish dinner, dancing, drinking, games, sky watch and stories.

Day 3 –Final and the Best event

We decided to visit ‘The Virginia Safari Park’ on the way back home. It is about 6 hours drive from Smokeys. A perfect break in a long drive too.

The Safari Experience

I have been to several zoos in India. It is  always exciting to watch animal play in their own ways. But it was better this time as we felt there was a need and desire for people to be able to see wild animals in their own natural habitat. Animal Interaction was the focus of this experience.
We were  able to see animals run and frolic with abandon on a 180-acre landscape. The animals are free to roam—no pacing back and forth in front of a barred exhibit. In about 3 miles of drive from the main gate we could feed the animals with the speciality grain that needs to be purchased and can be fed through our car windows.

Llamas, ostrich, deers, zebras, camel and other animals run to you as you drive-in. But don't be in a hurry, the animals often block your path or lay flat-out in the sun.The choice is theirs! Not only are the animals were free to roam, but they follow their instincts.

Initially, though I was little hesitant and scared; after feeding couple of them it all turned into a tremendous joy. The Safari had a vast variety of species, well maintained in the Blue Ridge Mountains in the Shenandoah Valley.

The experience of having a huge bull elk or camel only inches away, feeding from your bucket, is virtually impossible to describe. This unique animal encounter park appeals to all ages.

Take A Hop With Kangaroos!
 Watching the  kangaroos jump, leap, or enjoy a lazy nap in the sun. Be on the look out for mother kangaroos with joeys (baby kangaroos) in their pouches. That’s absolute fun. Such friendly animals they are!

 Highly co-operative to pictures as well. :)

Giraffe Feeding Station-

There are vending machines at the station to get a handful of feed at just 50 cents. So less to such make big friends.Isn’t it?

 The Tiger Territory 

 The Orange and white Bengal tigers walked and lounged in their territory in a magnificent way. So much style and aggression they showed even in their tiny moves. We stood just a thick glass away from them. It was my first time I watched tigers that close. No wonder, It gave me goosebumps.

Petting Area 

One can also Feed the goats & kids, potbellied pigs & piglets, chickens, baby llamas, and other little ones. They are harmless and hell damn friendly

Pot Bellied Pig

Budgie Adventure Aviary
I have saved the best for the last. The cute and  colourful little ones made our day. We had bought a budgie snack stick to feed them from the store. As we entered their zone, they perched on my hand. Clicking pictures with budgies was the best time of the day.

 One can also see-

Cheetahs,Reptile House, Monkeys of all shapes and sizes, Giant tortoises, Warthogs
Flamingo and many more.

The Pretty peacocks at the Parking lot

This unique animal encounter park appeals to all ages.
After half a dozen more hours of jolly drive, we reached our respective places treasuring a bunch of memories.

My Two cents: No matter what time of year you visit Gatlinburg, you’ll be impressed with the variety of attractions the place offers. If you love the outdoors, check out our white water rafting trips, zip lines, Mountain walking tours and so on. If you’re more the indoors type, be sure to visit the amazing Ripley’s Aquarium along with all the other Ripley’s attractions.

So much to explore in this place, a  short trip can never fit in. 

The Icecream virtually shared.

P.S : Photo Courtesy:Ram, Karthik and myself
       Plan Co-ordinator :Gawri shankar and Sheeba ( The kind and awesome couple).
       Long drive-special thanks: Tirupathi.

1 comment:

A word with me! Thanks for dropping by:)