National Lampoon’s Ipe Family Vacation – Day 7 (Friday)


On Friday morning, we had one last delicious home cooked breakfast, loaded up the car, and took a walk to see nearby Hickory Lake. We took one last photo together, said our goodbyes, and then we were on our way East. First stop? Pigeon Forge!

You may be asking why. Three reasons –

1. It’s a good four hours away, and a decent place for a pit stop to rest and have lunch.
2. Josh wanted one last chance to finish off some of his MagiQuest challenges and become a “full Magi.”
3. Lily originally also wanted to play at MagiQuest, but changed her mind (as she is wont to do) and instead wanted to drive a go-kart.


The four hour ride to Pigeon Forge was uneventful and still scenic. We only found one TN state police with a speed trap, but no worries here. We pulled into Pigeon Forge around 1 pm, and hit a lot of local traffic. We decided to make a unplanned stop at Smoky Mountain Knife Works, supposedly the largest knife showroom in the world. Not sure what to expect, I was absolutely amazed. If you can imagine anything with a sharp edge, they had it. Everything from kitchen cutlery, every Swiss army knife imaginable, samurai swords, famous swords from movies and games, hunting knives, etc. It even had an animatronic singing bear jamboree. Yes we had to purchase a few items there and take a picture. How could we resist?

We grabbed lunch at Mellow Mushroom, a gourmet (?) pizza restaurant that was highly rated. Nums took Josh to play MagiQuest (they also bought him a wand), and I took Lily for go-karting and bumper boats. Lily and I finished up earlier than they did, so we also went to MagiQuest to help Josh complete his quest. 🙂

It was getting late, so we got back on the road to drive home. Our next stop was the Holiday Inn Espress in Salem, Virginia, just outside of Roanoke. It wasn’t until 9pm that we reached the Salem / Roanoke area. While driving, Nums found a nice Chinese restaurant called Salem Szechuan that would still be open for a very late dinner. We found it in a strip mall, and we were the only patrons, as they were shutting it down. We kept it simple, and for around $20, the four of us had some really good Chinese food. If the drive time wasn’t so long, I’d come back for a second helping.

Not long after dinner, we arrived at our hotel for the evening. Very nice again — I gotta say that we’ve been pretty happy with the Holiday Inn and Hampton Inn hotels that we have stayed at this trip. Very inexpensive but still nice quality. Ok, the WiFi at this hotel was excruciatingly slow, but you can’t get everything.

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