Early one morning after much packing, my family and I headed onto a 7 hour road trip to Gatlinburg, Tennessee. My family consists of five people. First, my parents, who love road trips and insist on traveling no other way, are riding with me. My 21 year old sister who loves to talk just as much as me, a 17 yr old does, and my 11 yr old brother. It’s a ride full of laughs, pictures, music, food stops, random sightseeing, talking battles, and arguments. For some reason we chose not to rent a larger car and rode in our Jeep Cherokee, seating five. There is room to breathe, but definitely not the kind of space for hours of annoyance. Hearing get away from me, I’m tired, I don’t want to hear this song, and I’m bored. The bathroom breaks are endless. Though it’s not a 24 hour long trip, we had two males and a girl, my sister, with no bladder control in the car. At some point in time, everyone in the car is bothering you. We all have to suck it up, just to get to the destination, where we can just enjoy ourselves.
It’s surprisingly unbearable at times, although my family is usually pleasant, when trapped in something that’s in motion forcing you to stay seated, the worst of anyone comes out. Around nine at night we pull off the interstate onto a road where we see the beginning of Dolly wood and its many attractions. It leads us to the Smokey Mountains, our target. It’s dark, storming, bumper to bumper traffic, and pedestrians are everywhere. The whole family is starving, tired, and looking for cell phone service. Our trip turns into a scavenger hunt. The only information we have about our house is that the map is in an office on a road, which we can’t find. We are driving in circles, following my dad’s instincts, getting deeper and deeper into our fiasco. We eventually find the office after getting multiple confusing directions from strangers. We are headed on the right track finally, when we realize that our house is near the very top of the mountain. This ride is at least 20 minutes out of the way from everything we planned on doing during the trip. The turns, rain, cliffs, nonexistent lights and signs contribute to our traveling stress. We eventually, after making many wrong turns and close encounters with oncoming cars, arrive and settle into our house.
The next morning we realize that crazy drive is something we have to do every time we go out, going up and down a mountain is seems so pointless. Then each day we had to venture out to park our car and then walk in the scorching heat to each place. Not to mention we are doing these things in a group of five, making things expensive and challenging. As the days continued we went to the aquarium, our main reason for coming, enjoy amazing foods, go carts, stimulation rides, mirror mazes, mini golf, and a fake subway earthquake breakdown ride.
The comfortable nights in the house made it hard to leave when the trip was over. The hardest part in leaving definitely had to be us knowing the long ride ahead. This trip specifically made me realize how much I appreciate my family and the time we spend together. Though traveling the way we do is challenging, we take memories from it. Gatlinburg definitely is somewhere we would revisit, and somehow was worth all the trouble.
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