Back to Gatlinburg

Two thirds of a lifetime ago, my college roomie Carl A. Oeser, AKA The Big O, and I had 10 days to spare before the fall quarter began, so we went out to run some errands.

I wanted a Denver Omelet, so we headed to Denver.  There was a girl I wanted to see in St. Louis.  We needed smokes, and they were cheapest in North Carolina.  I wanted to have a legal drink, but was only 20.  The drinking age in New Orleans was 18.  We wanted to see Vegas.

So we gassed up his ‘Stang and headed out on the idiots version of On the Road, minus any semblance of hipitude.

We got snowed out of Denver, saw the girl in St. Louis and managed to drive all the way through North Carolina without stopping to buy a single carton of Marlboros at the fantastic price of $1.75 for 10 packs.  I did get my first legal drink in Pete Fountains on Bourbon Street.  We lost all our money in Vegas, and had to charge cokes and smokes to get home.

I thought of that today as I changed planes in Charleston, NC on the way to the annual boys trip to Gatlinburg for the nations largest regional.  The airport is huge, exceedingly busy early on a Monday morning (because I got stuck on a red-eye from San Francisco), very modern and nice looking.  I landed at the far end of terminal B and had to walk to the far end of terminal E, which is about as far apart as you can get.

On a whim, I looked for a place to buy cigarettes.  Even though North Carolina is the big tobacco growing state, you can’t smoke in the airport, but I did manage to find a store which had a small stash of smokes for sale.

Not a high traffic item anymore.

Not a high traffic item anymore.

Not quite 17¢ a pack anymore, either.  $7.80, plus tax.  If I didn’t already have plenty of good reasons not to smoke, that would seal the deal right there.

I spent more time walking to the gate, getting on board and then taxiing than the flight to Knoxville itself took.  Mike was waiting, getting the car was quick and we were off to the big game.

There are only 2 of us here yet–the other guys kept winning in an event at home, so they will arrive late Monday night.  Mike and i played pairs today, and had a great first session:

Nothing is better than winning.

Nothing is better than winning.

I think it’s a little scary to get 66.66% here in the middle of the Bible belt.  Hope we don’t get burned at the stake.

The second session was a bit softer, but we held on to win the event, so our buddies will start the week 33 masterpoints behind us.  Darn.

Having gotten virtually no sleep on the way here, I napped rather than ate between sessions, then had a hot dog during the game.  The good thing about G’burg is that the food is lousy everywhere, so it doesn’t much matter.


Now it’s 12:30 at night, and the guys just stopped at WalMart in Pigeon Forge (home of Dollywood), to stock the house for the week.  They flew across the country to Nashville, then drove 185 miles across the state to get here.  It’s cheaper that way, if your time is worth less than $7 an hour.

More tomorrow.


5 thoughts on “Back to Gatlinburg

  1. Good to hear of success of my Danville area friends anytime and Gatlinburg is supposed to be the fun tournament. Mike, I also enjoyed your European travel jaunts. Continued good bridge. Love hearing the daily results. Myrna Camp mai

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