Oh Toto, we’re not in California anymore


A registration gift for the ages.

Mike and I have been to hundreds of tournaments all over the country and a few in Canada.  Many offer registration gifts–a tote bag, an alarm clock, some wine or cocktail glasses.  Trinkets to remember the event by.  This plastic monstrosity, designed to hold a wine bottle, is the most ghastly we’ve encountered, surpassing even the hideous candy dish of the Pasadena Nationals ages ago. There are 8 of us here for the tournament, and not one of us thinks our wife would allow this thing in the house.

And that pretty well sums up Gatlinburg.  Lots of people like this place for the culture and ambiance.  I saw a sign claiming it is America’s #2 choice for weddings, just behind Vegas.  The number of tourists roaming the streets and cruising the Parkway is huge.  But for a suburban California boy like me, the culture shock is worse here than it is in Paris.  And the language barrier isn’t much easier, either.

I thought I’d take some photos to explain that.


I can’t imagine what cotton candy wine is.  Even with my sweet tooth, I don’t think it’s very appealing.  Hard to imagine this in Napa.


This is a desirable, career job here.  Well over the minimum wage. Babysitters get more than this in Lafayette.


This is in the Walgreen’s drug store.  I don’t think you can buy cigarettes in any drug store in California.


OK, I think you can buy deep-fried Oreos at a county fair in the central valley.

A couple of t-shirts I saw in the store.  Not the only ones of this nature.  Probably can’t find these in Berkeley.

There are good things, too.  Last night Mike and I went to No Way Jose’s for dinner, and for some reason I decided to have a Piña Colada.  I don’t drink much ever, and I’m not hardly the “shot of red eye” kind of drinker. Give me something sweet, with whipped cream on top and preferably a little umbrella.


My kind of drink. Always willing to trade an umbrella for a cherry.


The dinner was pretty basic, just an enchilada, but then the plate, with rice and beans, was $9.45.  This place is cheap.  Really, really cheap.

One more thing I found.  The guys I share a house with are big ice cream lovers.  There are currently 4 half-gallon containers in the freezer.  I saw this and knew it was the ice cream for me–remember that the license plate on my car reads MOOSLEY, because Gail thinks I’m manly as a moose.  I don’t think Hagen-Daas makes this flavor.


The bridge so far is decent, not great.  Mike and I have placed most events, but not won big.  Tomorrow we’ll try once more in the Fast Pairs, play miniature golf in the evening, go to an Aviation museum Saturday on our way to the airport and be home Saturday night.  Life is good.


One thought on “Oh Toto, we’re not in California anymore

  1. Hi Chris,

    I had forgotten that you and Mike are golfers. Remember two things: 1) Keep you head down 2) Drive for show, but putt for dough

    [We’ll leave the lights on for you.]


    Dan Friedman 925.899.6320 dantastic_ca@yahoo.com


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