July 5, 2008 – Smoky Mountain Knife Works then on to Hilton Head

We woke with the anticipation of officially heading towards the thrust of our vacation this year: Hilton Head Island. We woke to showers in hopes they would taper off by the time our started down the road. Now, no trip to Sevierville, TN is complete without stopping by the Mecca of all knife stores Smoky Mountain Knife Works 2320 Winfield Dunn Parkway Sevierville, TN 37876 Tel. 865-453-5871.

We initially made a trip there and spent roughly 2 hours, but we had to make one more pilgrimage there. Nathan wanted a knife with an “assist-open” feature. Typically, there is a spring in the mechanism that enables the user to “flick” the knife with your finger to open it. This is similar to a push-button feature found on switch blades, but is legal in most states. He settled on a Buck knife (about $70.00) and I too got a a couple of new knives. I’m fond of Gerber, SOG, Leatherman, Kershaw, Columbia River, and Buck knives.

  • Nate’s New “Buck Tempest” – See Pic HERE
  • My New “Buck X-Tract” – See Pic HERE
  • Plus several others

On our way out, we were stopped by a camera crew, it looked like a local Channel 10 News (WBIR) crew. They wanted to know if the high gas prices effected our travel plans. Of course, it did impact our trip, but only in that we had to budget extra money to offset the fuel prices. They also asked us how we liked Tennessee and what kind of plans we had. I’m not sure if they’ll air the footage or not, but it was sort of cool being interviewed.

From there we spent about 8 hours getting to Hilton Head Island to check into our villa. I drove all the way with a few stops for lunch, gas, and bathroom breaks. We ran into some weather on the way. We had some difficulty getting into the actual resort area since it wasn’t on the GPS, but all in all it was a good trip. We’re getting about 24 MPG, travelling at about 70 MPH.

Gas prices throughout where we were travelling were from $3.87 up to $4.05. Still beats Michigan’s $4.20.

July 4, 2008 – Mangold Family Vacation

We started our morning with an excellent breakfast at Cracker Barrel (1 of 2 right in Pigeon Forge). From there we went to the outlets yet again for a couple of last minute things. Nathan and I found a place called “Lids” that sells hats. They had this huge contraption right in the middle of the store that was an embroidering machine. This machine for about $10 would add details to just about any hat in the place. We had a blast picking out our hats and customizing them.

We then took the kids to the NASCAR go-carts for the remainder of the day. The price wasn’t too bad, it cost about $25.00 for both of them to ride a couple of times. The wait time was a bit excessive with the holiday crowds, but they walked off the ride with a smile on their face.

We had lunch at Huck Finns. This, to me, is the only place to get catfish in all of Pigeon Forge, Gatlinburg, or Sevierville. The bill was a bit steep, but the meal was well worth it. We each got an entree which includes hush puppies, a sliced onion, pickles, and white beans with ham. I of course ordered catfish. Shannon and Katelyn ordered calabash shrimp. Nathan ordered fried clams. This restaurant serves their drinks in “Mason” jars. This is an old southern tradition that I often even did as a child visiting Mangold’s Grove. While I’ve been down here, I’ve ordered nothing but sweet tea. I even got Nathan hooked!

Thankfully, the weather cooperated. In fact so much so, we enjoyed the fireworks from our hotel lawn. They were about 5 miles away at Patriot Park, but we had an excellent view from where we were.

We surely could have covered more ground in Pigeon Forge had it not been for the miserable traffic AND my bum ankle. I’m good for about 3 hours and then I have to get it elevated. This is the first week I have been able to put weight on the left foot with the help of a cane. So much of this vacation is going to involve taking pain pills, going to the extreme with my foot, taking more pain pills, keeping it iced and elevated.