Our family is large, so staying in hotels can be expensive, which led Mom and Dad to purchase a hybrid camper trailer in 2008. Closed up, it's 23 feet, but opens to 30 feet. Luckily, we have a 2 door truck that we manage to squeeze into! So, with my two brothers, Mark 16, Kenny 15, and dog Rosie we headed for Gatlinburg from Atlanta June 20-25 2011, for what Mom promises to be the real American family vacation! We each get to choose one fun event to do. Mark chooses horseback riding, Kenny chooses Dollywood and I want to go down in the Zorb ball.
â–º QUARTER FINALIST 2012 TEEN TRAVEL WRITING SCHOLARSHIP
What should have been a 7 hour drive, took 9, due to gasoline and doggie potty stops along the way. We arrive at Outdoor Resorts as the sun was going down. Pulling into our lot, the work begins. Dad unhooks the camper, Mark helps level it, Kenny walks Rosie, Mom readies the beds inside, and I open the sides of this behemotgh. Everyone is working! Finally, when the camper is operational, hunger takes over. The sun is gone from the sky while Dad grills burgers. Being a vegetarian, I eat an empty bun and side of coleslaw. After dinner clean-up, we start a campfire. it wasn't long before we had our marshmallows on sticks when a ranger came by enforcing a 'no fire' rule due to dry season. My brothers ate their marshmallows anyway and I headed off to my table/bed for the night.
Morning comes quickly in a campground so we were up at dawn. The camper is littered with blankets, clothing, towels and food supplies which left little room for moving around. I reconvert my little bed back to a table so we can enjoy a quick breakfast and begin our American adventure.
The hoseback riding was fabulous at Smoky Mountain Riding Stbles; however, I don't think the horses were too enthused about us! My horse decided to lag behind the line, eating and pooping along the way. "Isn't this fun, Honey?" asked Mom.
Next is Dollywood! Hooray! Theme parks are always fun! Good choice, Kenny. First, we have to stop by the camper and pick up Rosie. While there, we eat lunch. I wonder when our vacation will begin. We kennel Rosie at the Dollywood animal daycare and wander into the park. We rode the thrill rides like Dare Devil Falls, Barnstormer and Mystery Mine. it was a fun day most most of it waiting on lines.
The next day, Zorb! it's a seated inflated ball filled that's pushed down a hill. I'm strapped in and towed to the top of a hill, which is higher than I thought. Suddenly down I flew, round and round inside my cocoon. Just when I was feeling nauseous, the ball came to a slow stop. Elated and dizzy, I emerged from the hatch. What a rush! I wanted to go again when Mom informed us that we were off to Clingman's Dome. Her choice. Did you know it is 6643 feet high and the Smoky's Highest Point? But, it's higher when carrying a dog and forgetting drinking water!
This was my favorite American family vacation even though we had to reassemble the camper, hook it up for towing, and compress into Dad's tiny truck, dog on lap. When we arrived home, first thing we did was build a fire and roast our marshmallows!
Dear Reader: This page may contain affiliate links which may earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. Our independent journalism is not influenced by any advertiser or commercial initiative unless it is clearly marked as sponsored content. As travel products change, please be sure to reconfirm all details and stay up to date with current events to ensure a safe and successful trip.