Thursday, July 23, 2009

Asheville, NC

After a fun evening spent with Boss and Tim and Kendra, we were expecting to move on to Cave City, Kentucky to see some mammoth caves and stay the night in a concrete wigwam (!). But it turns out that Hilary’s Fiesta wouldn’t be ready until the following day in Knoxville, Tennessee.

So we changed plans and decided to go to Asheville, NC…Hilary had heard good things and it wasn’t too far away, so off we went…

It was a beautiful drive through the Great Smoky Mountains National Park…winding, tree-lined roads…


Ford found a nice old bed and breakfast for us (Hill House Inn). Waiting for us in our room was champagne and strawberries! The proprietors offered lots of sweets and something called the ‘bottomless cookie jar”.

Hill House Inn Iced tea & sweets

After checking in, we went into town and had cocktails and a late lunch at The Laughing Seed — a great vegetarian restaurant that Kendra had suggested. Hilary had a Wasabi Bloody Mary and I had some mead. Yum. The food was good, too! :)

We wandered around town for a bit as the sun set…it’s a quaint little place with some interesting art galleries.

We considered going out for the evening, but decided instead to stay in, relax and enjoy the champagne. It was a fun night!

Champagne 1 Champagne 2 Champagne 3 Champagne 4

In the morning, we had breakfast on the porch with the other couple that was staying there. They were a curious pair—an older couple from the western part of the state, on their way to their summer home in Connecticut. The husband regaled us with tales of his days “attached to the Nicaraguan embassy” and gave us a CD of interpretations of romantic standards…

Rick & Hilary

From there, we headed toward Lance Cunningham Ford in Knoxville to pick up Hilary’s newly-detailed and re-tired Fiesta!

Dollywood: An odd combination of things!

Dollywood is an odd combination of things: a celebration of “Appalachian culture”, a collection of kitschy gift shops, an amusement park with some pretty good rides, a bald eagle sanctuary and a sort of shrine to Dolly Parton…who is apparently a mythic personality in Eastern Tennessee.

Dolly's glad we're here!

We started the day after our wedding (July 15th) by driving to Tim and Kendra’s place in Sevierville, TN—which is just spittin’ distance from Dollywood. They are Hilary’s cousins and were kind enough to buy us two tickets to the famous amusement park as a wedding present! We dropped off some stuff at their place, met their awesome cat Boss and made plans to meet later for dinner.


Both Hilary and I are fans of rollercoasters and we weren’t disappointed.

“Thunderhead” is one of those old-fashioned wooden rollercoasters. Those are the best! The rumbling and rattling and clanking sounds—as you get banged back and forth—give you the feeling that you MIGHT just run off the track…which, for reasons I can’t explain, is very fun.


“Tennessee Tornado” is a more modern type with several swirling loops. The signs said it goes 70 miles per hour and that seemed about right!

Here is video of us on both of these rollercoasters:

We also decided to pay extra to do the “Sky Zip”. The official description says it’s “an hour-long adventure soaring through the treetops over Wilderness Pass and catch a never-before-seen view of the Park!”


It included five long steel cable lines (the longest was 800 feet) that you would zip along, suspended by a metal pulley. They strap you into a nylon harness and send you swinging along, station to station. It was pretty great.

The rest of our visit consisted mainly of wandering through the dizzying array of gift shops, each with a different theme: patriotic, Christian, Irish (?), etc…I was tempted to buy an American flag/bald eagle/Dolly t-shirt…but it was so strange and sincere it transcended irony…almost scary…

Dolly for President! Dollywood!

Dollywood Gift Shop

In fact, a lot of Dollywood was, well, almost scary.

The day ended with an unexpected warm drizzle, sending the tired hordes scrambling for the exit—which was accessible only by going through one last MEGA gift shop—stacks of Dolly cups, Dolly spoons, Dolly snow globes…


Dolly Dolly Dolly!

Rick & Dolly

A tram brought us back to our car and we returned to Tim and Kendra and Boss’s place for the night. Read about it here!

Visit with the Boss

So our wedding day was chock full - getting married at Lover's Leap, checking out Rock City Gardens, and hang gliding! Then, the next day, we drove to Pigeon Forge and went on roller coasters and ziplines at Dollywood! (Thanks to T&K&B for the tickets - a great wedding gift! Rick's write-up on our day at Dollywood coming soon!)

We were...well...exhausted!

It was the perfect night to relax. And our visit with Boss was just what we needed!

Boss was the perfect host. He welcomed Rick and me into his home - just as long as we didn't sit in his favorite spot - smack dab in the middle of the living room.

And he had these humans there, Tim & Kendra, who waited on us hand and foot. Boy, what a life Boss has!

Dinner was prepared for us - veggie & turkey burgers and salads, with ice cream with fresh berries and fruit for dessert. Yum! And we had the opportunity to do a load of laundry! (We'd only been on the road for a few days, but had managed to go through a lot of stuff in a short period of time!)

Boss even provided entertainment, which he let his humans in on too - we watched My Kid Could Paint That, a documentary about a 4-year-old whose artwork got lots of attention a few years back. It had been on my "to watch" list for a while now!

Here we all are hangin' out in the living room - Rick, Hilary, Boss, Kendra, Tim:
Rick, Hilary, Boss, Kendra, Tim

Before going to sleep (oh, man, was sleep ever nice that night!), Boss had the humans entertain us by making funny faces.
Fauxtobooth: Kendra, Tim, Boss

The next morning, we had coffee and breakfast before heading off to Asheville, North Carolina.

Thanks to Boss for hosting us and providing us with a much needed evening of rest & relaxation! :D

Wedding Day Hang Gliding!

As if getting married at Lover's Leap wasn't enough for one day...we took the afternoon to go hang gliding!

We did it through Lookout Mountain Flight Park in Rising Fawn, Georgia. They have several packages to choose from and I'm sure that Rick and I would love a longer and more in-depth experience in the future, but because of limited time we decided to first try the Tandem option. Basically, if you're under 250 pounds and willing, you're good to go.

Our flight time was scheduled for 4pm. When we arrived, we discovered that they were a bit behind and we'd have to wait a while for our turn. It was neat watching people take off and land before us!

Waiting for our turn:

While we waited, I took the opportunity to drive the Fiesta onto the field and photograph it with a couple of gliders!
Just Married!

Then, when they were close to ready for us, we suited up in harnesses and helmets. Don't we look hot?!
Ready to go! Rick getting suited up!

For the introductory tandem flight, we took off from a field - our gliders were attached to a small plane, which took off and towed us 2000 feet into the air!

Here I am with Rex just before take-off:
Hilary getting ready for take-off

And Rick, ready to go:

Here is the plane that towed us into the air!

Take-off was really fun - it gave me that sort of rollercoaster-y feeling right away. Soon after take-off, though, it was just calm and beautiful - floating through the air.

Here is Rick being towed by plane into the air:
Hang gliding - Lookout Mountain, GA

It took longer than I expected to get up to 2000 feet. There was a device on the hang glider so that we could watch the elevation. When we got close, the instructor, Rex, told me that there would be an initial drop when we first let go of the plane. There was indeed a drop, but it was fun - not scary at all.

Then we flew. Lookout Mountain was such a beautiful location - so much green! Quiet and peaceful. I looked down below, where Rick was waiting for his turn to fly. I knew that he was going to love it.

Typical wedding day, right?

On the side of the mountain (up from the field where we took off) was the office for the flight school. Rex said "Let's go say hello!" He pulled back the bar on the hang glider, steered us around, and down we dove. The people waved to us as we flew over them and then back out over the field!

Then it was my turn to take over the hang glider. First, Rex demonstrated that if we did absolutely nothing, we'd be okay. We both took our hands off the bar and the hang glider floated along with no problems.

Look, Ma! No hands!
Look, Ma - no hands!

Then he had me speed up (by pulling the bar towards me), "stall" or slow down (by pushing the bar away from my body) and steer left and right by pushing my hips and body one direction or the other. Yup, I was pretty sure I'd want to do this again! Maybe even on my own someday...

Here is Rick speeding up his hang glider and seeing what that thing can do. ;)
Hang gliding - Lookout Mountain, GA

Our time in the air was coming to an end - it was time to land. Rex brought us down effortlessly, it seemed. It was a strange feeling landing with only a foot of space between my belly and the grassy field! I felt myself holding my legs up, just in case, but they were suspended in a way that I didn't really have to think about it. We rolled along the field and stopped just a short distance from where Rick was waiting.

"How was it?" Rick asked. I grinned. He was about to find out for himself!

Thanks to Rex and everyone at Lookout Mountain Flight School for making our wedding day even more exciting and memorable! :D

Rick, Rex, and Hilary:
Rick, Rex, Hilary

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Video of our wedding!

Thank you to Adam Crisp & Tim Barber of Chattanooga Times Free Press for providing us with video of our wedding ceremony! :D

Rick & Hilary waiting in line for shuttle at Graceland! #fiestamovement

Posts to look forward to!

We've fallen behind on our updates, but we figure being on our honeymoon is a pretty good excuse! Things you have to look forward to reading about include:

- Hang gliding (waiting for some pics to be developed of us in the air!)
- Dollywood
- visiting Boss & Tim & Kendra
- Asheville, NC
- The return of thr Fiesta in Knoxville, TN
- Nasville, TN
- The Memphis Flea Market
- The National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis
- Graceland

What a great honeymoon this has been! <3