090713 + Up & Over

090713 + Rained like crazy all night... Everyone up in the am and had bfast and wandering around the room wondering what we would do today. So since it was a bit overcast and not real warm we didn't want to go swimming... we got everyone loaded up in the car and head to the national park. We stopped by the park visitor office to get some directions. The ranger said we may want to wait a day as it was overcast and we might not be able to see anything... Then I asked him what we really needed to see? He was impressed and said 'man you didn't do any research before coming here did you'. I calmly and quickly replied 'Why no. I thought it was part of the O'bama stimulus plan: if I did all the research myself, then what would you be doing?'. He gave me a look, nearly fell over laughing, and gave me the best park tips anyone has gotten in the last 3 years ;-P
we headed into the park and made first stop at a picnic area right next to a creek that was unbelievable! The boys went nuts, climbing Nd digging and throwing and laughing! Headed back up the mountain with a couple of bear watch stops. One stop at the very top where we stood in both TN & NC at the same tame! Then down the NC side where we went into Cherokee NC. INDIANS!!!
So not having a clue what to do here I stopped at a motel where there was unsuspecting clerk waiting for me. I spent a good 15 minutes with her, and then I had a plan! We headed into the reservation looking for the recommended lunch spot, but it was closed Monday's! Argh! But we found a buffet where the boys and I pigged out am L was MORTIFIED! After lunch we saw BEARS!!! How frigging cool is that!?!? Then we spent HOURS SHOPPING. Each person had to find something 'special' (oh how painful!). G got a cowboy outfit complete with hat and guns; the Indians around town really appreciated this little white kid screaming when they want him to get his picture taken with them and then draw his guns and blast them... J seems to be into quantity and got jewelry and beaded emblems and a wooden snake... D for the love of the Lord couldn't find a thing in the tourist stores, so we found him a place off the main drag, a place that has things made one the local reservation. He found a real bow and arrow and was SO happy! L got a very ornate leather belt and one of those 'As Seen On TV' wonder purses. Me, I got a cane sword! The coolest thing of the day!
Back in the car and heading back to the resort. We started up the mountains and then right there, a HUGE ELK, standing right there just eating watching the cars go by... Amazing! Good very scenic trip all the back while gifts and rest were enjoyed. Had a fast dinner and to a different pool. Of course we had a blast and poor Jacky was freezing. Back to the room for Cheetos, ice cream and beef jerky! Relaxing by the fire preparing for tomorrow.