Coming down the home stretch

Danny, Jack, Bruce and Bob pretending they are hiking.

Not much time left here in G’Burg.  Just 4 more sessions to enjoy.

Yesterday we won the finals of the morning KO’s, then started a new event at 1:00.  Winning both matches there, we go into the semi-finals this afternoon.

Because there was no morning event, the four athletic outdoorsy types in the house went on a drive this morning to Cherokee, North Carolina, through the Great Smoky Mountain National Park, the most visited national park in the US, and the only one without an entry fee.  I slept in, having been up late playing Bridge Base with Gail.  We won 0.90 masterpoints, to put me ahead of the rest of the guys for the week.

The Appalachian Trail runs through the park, on its way from Georgia to Maine.  While some people take a year, or 2, or 20, and hike th entire length either at once or in stages, our boys just made the hike from the parking lot to the sign so they could say that they had been there.

Once in Cherokee, the proper thing is apparently to go out for pancakes.  Jack picked up a paper and noticed an ad for “tribal services”.  He wondered what tribe that meant, forgetting that he was in CHEROKEE.  Fortunately, Bruce gently pointed that out to him.

The changeability of the weather here is astounding.  Last night we had a huge storm with rain and thunder.  Our power went off during the night, causing all the smoke detectors to screech and beep and otherwise make themselves known.  This morning is bright and clear, although the forecast is for more rain and quite cold tonight.

Tomorrow we play the final Swiss teams.  Many/most of the people will have already left–this tournament is biggest during the week, then empties out on Saturday as the players start what is often  a long drive home.  Mike and I will play our share early, then head for Knoxville, where he is convinced we will find interesting tourist attractions–as if Dollywood, which is only 12 miles from here in Pigeon Forge, isn’t exciting enough.  But he won’t go to Dollywood, and doesn’t realize that here in the Bible Belt most everything in Knoxville will be closed.  So we’ll go out to dinner and watch movies in our room and prepare to head home Monday morning.

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