This year we broke tradition. Rather than making our usual trip to Clear Lake, Iowa, to celebrate the 4th of July, we loaded up and headed south. Every year, a group of girls from Sammie’s gymnastics team travel to Crossville, Tennessee, to attend Flip Fest, a summer gymnastics camp owned by Olympians, John Macready and John Roethlisberger. Sammie was not going to miss out this year, so at 5:00 a.m. on July 1, Dave, Toby, Trey, Sammie, Maddie Roth and Allie Zimmerman (Sammie’s friends), and I packed the car (and I mean packed) and kicked off Summer Vacation 2012.
Seven hours later, we arrived at Lake Frances in Crossville and checked the girls in at Dogwood cabin for a week of back handsprings, flyaways, layouts, yurchenkos, dancing, tubing, tug-of-warring, tightrope walking, and more. The girls, who had been looking forward to the trip for months, were ready to jump in. So we pulled away, leaving them in the 108 degree gymnasium and shouted, “Work hard and have fun!”
Since this was Samantha’s first year away at camp, we wanted to stay relatively close and had decided to turn the week into a trip to the Smoky Mountains. Neither Dave nor I had been to the Smokies before, but we were excited to be spending the week exploring the great outdoors and were ready for a peaceful stay at the Riverstone Resort in the sleepy, little town of Pigeon Forge. Silly us.
Here’s what we were expecting:
And this is a little bit of what we were greeted with as we drove into town:
What??? We had been bamboozeled! This was not at all what we were expecting! Why had our friends (that means you, Karen Grimshaw :) not warned us that Pigeon Forge, the delightful town “nestled in the foothills of the mountains with beautiful scenery for every season,” was not entirely that? Shame on y’all, and shame on me for poor research and overlooking the fact that our resort was located at 212 Dollywood Lane.
In fairness though, the resort was very nice and the mountains were really just a few minutes away. So, we decided that even though a trip to the local Food City was a bit like NASCAR with grocery carts… and you needed to travel 20 miles to a liquor store to buy a bottle of wine that wasn’t Boone’s Farm… and you could roar down the streets with your kids rolling around in the back of your pickup truck…we were going to have fun with it.
Here’s a little video we put together to help us remember the good times we had. We’ve mixed in a little hiking, a little gymnastics, and a little of the local “culture.” Feel free to clap along.
Hillbilly Holiday 2012 from Dave and Robyn Davidson on Vimeo.
The girls absolutely loved Flip Fest, didn’t want to come home, and are already making plans for their return next year. That’s the year we’ll start carpooling like everybody else. Although, there is one thing we will miss, which in my opinion was the crowning jewel of Pigeon Forge…corn fritters.