We all have a bucket list right? A list of the things you want to do before die. At the top of mine sits the most wholesome of wholesome activities and it has been on my list since I was around six. Behold.............. DOLLYWOOD! Oh gosh, where should I start? I guess I could start by telling you that Dollywood is a theme park in Pigeon Forge, TN that is owned by Dolly Parton. What I imagined of Pigeon Forge is it would be a sleepy little Tennessee town tucked away in the Smokey Mountains and Dollywood would be the biggest attraction. I was so far off, it wasn't even funny. I mean it, I wasn't laughing. Todd and I couldn't figure out why the traffic was so backed up on our way in. We thought it had to be an accident or something, but as we cruised a cool 5mph for forty five minutes we learned it was, in fact, just traffic. Soon, the image in my head that I have been refining since I was the tender age of six was shattered when we turned around the bend and saw Wonder Works. It's a giant upside down house and as we looked down the strip it was one wacky looking building after another. There was a building with King Kong climbing it and also a two story building in the shape of the Titanic, but that was just the tip of the iceberg. Ohhhhhh........ see what I did there? Enough time has passed that Titanic jokes are ok, right? Regardless, Pigeon Forge was less a sleepy little town and more of a Las Vegas strip minus the gambling. It did, however, make me feel better knowing that Dollywood was tucked back in the hills and not out here with the rest of the spectacle.
Dollywood is huge, one hundred thirty acres and I think I got lost four times in the first two acres. My sense of direction usually fails me and it seemed to go into double failure at Dollywood, because I am pretty sure I passed the same candy store a bunch of times. The candy store itself was massive. I went in there with the intent of getting myself a sweet treat and then left empty handed because I was so overwhelmed with all of the choices that I just decided to get nothing. What was I thinking? I wasn't. As we finally made our way into Dollywood we were greeted with her tour bus which, I'm just gonna say it, puts Chrome One to shame. I mean she didn't have a keg tap on the side like we do, but hers was legit. We were waiting in line to go on the tour of the bus so I could compare rides and the skies opened up, soaking us to the bone so the powers that be closed the bus. I was bummed, but I decided to not let it get me down and go to the Chasing Rainbow Museum to wash my sorrow away.
This is where Dolly fans go to read about her past, see pictures, the costumes from Best Little Whorehouse in Texas and 9-5, and her many, many awards. She has written over 5,000 songs so there's gotta be a hit in there somewhere, right? Well, they're in there. That was the part of the park that I liked, the history. What I wasn't a fan of were the rides, which is pretty much what Dollywood is. I can't ride them because I am a barfer. Not only is that not fun for me, feeling pukey and all, but it's not fun for the person I am sitting by who may or may not get some chunks on them. Have you ever been puked on? It sucks, so I avoided the rides all together and held Todd's hat while he enjoyed them.
Like other theme parks Dollywood was filled with small shops you can buy nic-nacs and soft goods, the strange thing was none of the shops had anything to do with Dollywood or Dolly Parton. We would roll up on a store and it was all Christian stuff, or all pottery, or all flags and windsocks. I wanted to buy something Dolly related and was getting more and more discouraged as we passed the many shops. I came to the conclusion there had to be one store at the end where you get all your Dolly accoutrement. I was right. Todd finished going on all of the "thrill rides" and we decided to head back to Chrome One and hit the road. On our way out I picked up a couple of souvenirs and checked Dollywood off of my list. It was a good feeling. The six year old me would be very pleased with the thirty three year old me and now I can move down to my next childhood goal which is to "become Indiana Jones" and I'm kind of already there. Right? I am adventuring and searching for artifacts. I have Palmer, my sidekick and now all I need is a hat, a whip, some evil villains to defeat, and a damsel in distress to save. Halfway there.