The Next Day:
Time to check out and pick up the rental car from the airport. The airport shuttle once again comes in handy. I pre-booked through Driveaway Holidays so I have no excess and price is all-inclusive. In the USA there are so many taxes and fees it helps to have an all-inclusive price. I went for the cheapest and smallest buzz box through Dollar Rent-a-Car. I am now driving a Nissan Versa.
My recommendation is go for the next size up if you have more than one suitcase!!!
Next stop is the nearest outlet mall. At 10 am in the morning you will have the mall to yourself. I stopped to buy some clothes and shoes as I did not bring much with me. My favourite stores are Eddie Bauer (outdoor store), Old Navy (general clothing), Converse (cheap shoes) and Hot Topic (alternative mix of clothes, accessories and knick-knacks).
Time to drive. It was a beautiful drive through the mountains from North Carolina to Tennessee.
Destination: Bass Pro Shop.
If you ever get the chance to go into a Bass Pro Shop, DO IT! This store is unbelievable. It is so big and with over the top decorations. Every store has a massive fish tank and they sell EVERYTHING for the outdoors. BCF eat your heat out!
Time for another stop at Walmart to pick up those items I forgot the first time. Quick trip before heading to my hotel in Pigeon Forge, home for the next 4 days.
For dinner I have to go to my namesake restaurant, Mel’s Diner. At 9pm at night I opt for the full stack of pancakes with a scoop of ice cream and an Oreo milkshake. My server thought I was strange for ordering pancakes with ice cream, seems the yanks don’t do that kind of thing, they prefer bacon.
After a very long day back at the hotel a big comfortable bed is welcoming me while the other bed is now my portable wardrobe. I may give housekeeping service a miss for a day or so while I sort it all out, they wouldn’t know where to start.
Finally, when planning a holiday or road trip remember not to plan too much for any one day. You will want days to chill and you will need a day or two up your sleeve for those rainy days.