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Published: June 25th 2017
Geo: 35.7886, -83.5559
Before she hooked up with the life of fantasy and leisure that I offered her, the Princess was actually quite the hard worker, particularly in her teens, often holding down multiple jobs at the same time. Granted, these job blitzes were usually intended to fund booze-fueled escapades in sunnier southern climates but there was no denying the effort. One of these employment experiences involved some sort of sprinkling of 11 herbs and spices at a Kentucky Fried Chicken location. This was also the only job she was ever unceremoniously fired from- she's a little unclear as to the exact reasons but apparently it involved some sort of evil combination of attendance (lack of), disreputable boyfriends, and herbs (of the non-KFC variety).
So when she found out we were going to visit the original KFC in Corbin, Kentucky, she was hoping to hook up with one of the tall foreheads of KFC in order to explain herself and have her earlier record of shame expunged with a full chicken pardon. Unfortunately the head office of KFC is no longer here and the site is simply a combination museum & restaurant but it was an interesting walk through the birth of
KFC as well as the life of Harland Sanders who was remarkably unsuccessful until his late 60's. We also didn't know that when he sold the corporation in 1964, he retained the Canadian operations and moved to Mississauga, Ontario (which is our version of Kentucky). He never wore anything other than a white suit in public during the last 20 years of his life, so living in Canada required a heavy wool version (did you know that he bleached his mustache and goatee to match his white hair?).
Again for the sake of history we ordered some chicken- it has to be one of those very unique food groups that are very tasty initially but seem to backfire 20 minutes later. Fueled up, it's time to head to the Smokey Mountains.
For a reason she was completely unable to articulate, DH (where the 'D' stands for Dolly) really wanted to visit Dollywood. I was far less enthusiastic but I think it was the feminist in me coming out strongly against the exploitation of a wonderful country singer simply because of a couple of attention-demanding feminine assets. Speaking of large, Dollywood is the biggest "ticketed" tourist attraction in Tennessee. In 1986 Dolly Parton
bought into a park that had already grown from small to massive, and it was renamed ‘Dollywood'. She said she became involved with the operation because she "always thought that if I made it big or got successful at what I had started out to do, that I wanted to come back to my part of the country and do something huge, something that would bring a lot of jobs into this area (Dollywood has 3,000 people on its payroll, making it the largest employer in that community).
Dollywood is the central draw for the Smokey Mountain community of Pigeon Forge, which seems to be a hillbilly version of Las Vegas (hard to envision the Vegas crew of DH, Kim H, & Christine L lounging around the blow up pool, picking Pulled Pork out of their teeth). I could see the appeal for parents trying to wear out their pint-sized devil children but even DH had to concede that there wasn't much here for us (especially after finding out that the Salt & Pepper Shaker Museum in neighbouring Gatlinburg was closed for our time here).
This was about as far east as we were going to venture on this leg
of the journey so it's time to spin around and start heading west.
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