Monthly Archives: August 2007

Gatlinburg Tennessee

We have made our way back from Gatlinburg Tennessee and had a great time. Even though I love my in-laws five nights was long enough (I’m sure you understand). For you that have never heard of Gatlinburg or Pigeon Forge it is roughly 50 minutes southeast of Knoxville and is a tourist trap from hell. Gatlinburg has a ton of shops a sky lift and all the Ripley’s attractions, Pigeon Forge has all the Go Karts you can handle along with some great eats, mini golf and the daredevil rides to see if it is your time to check out.

Since all the kids are back in school and like many other vacation destinations it is out of season for them. That would have been good for us if we would have stayed in any of the many hotels they have on the strips. We seen rooms as low as $24 a night and around $39 for the nicer hotels. We stayed in a cabin between the two towns but more toward Gatlinburg (8-10 minutes from Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge). These are a little cheaper but still run around $150-$200 a night for a two bedroom. Between the pinball, arcade, foosball, pool table and hot tub this is the way to go if you have the money. You can get from a one bedroom to a cabin that sleeps 20. One point to make here is to do your research, we have stayed at a dump before because we didn’t research first. But we have also stayed at some huge places that overlooked the Smokies for the same price. A google search will give you many choices.

The food can be good, a place I recommend is The Old Mill. You will not be disappointed, if you order the meatloaf you will get a pound or more, and then corn chowder, mash potatoes, green beans, salad, fritters and desert. I think the cost was $18. I have heard The Alamo Steakhouse is great but I have never been, it is over my cheap ass budget. Bennett’s Bar-B-Que is good but you don’t get much. On the way in to Pigeon Forge you pass Flap Jack’s and this place is a must stop for breakfast on the way back home. OK so I like to eat but one more stop you have to make is on the strip in Gatlinburg, it is at the video arcade and the have huge corn dogs and sausages with peppers and onions, this is a must lunch stop.

There is many attractions you can visit but plan to bring some money. Nothing is cheap, for Go Karts the NASCAR Speedpark has a deal of I believe $30 all you can ride or most places charge between $5.00-$8.00 per ride. If you are looking for rides Ober Gatlinburg is a good choice, you can either take the tram up the mountain for $10 adults kids under 7 free or make the drive. Once you get to the top it is $20 all you can ride. They have many rides, water slides but our favorite was the Alpine Slide. You also have Dolly Wood that we have never been to. I could go on forever on the attractions but I’m already sick of typing and I think you get the point.

Cigars do not have much presence here but there are two places I visited. The first is The Gatlin-Burlier has a shop at the mall in Gatlinburg. They have a small walk in humidor but do not have a huge selection of smokes but they do carry sGatlinburg_2007_3.jpgome good smokes. I found the prices to be high on most but being a tourist trap I would expect nothing less. They did have some Opus X but I held myself back. I pick up a couple house cigars to review when I get the chance. The price on these are way high I think but I will hold off until I smoke them to say. The Gatlin-Burlier is more known for their pipe and chewing tobacco blends. I didn’t pick up either this time around but did pick up a couple pipe tobacco samplers from the other shop in town called Smokezy along with a Punch Champion. This is another small tobacco shop that has a small selection on cigars and their own blends of pipe and chewing tobacco. The prices are also high but again what do you expect for a vacation spot, I had no trouble paying the higher price knowing that this shop was a privately owned shop. If you want to have a smoke they have a place for you on the front porch.

I also had one of the most expensive smoking weeks I have ever had.

  • Friday on the trip down (I drove with my father in-law) was a CAO Brazilia, CAO Gold and a Camacho.
  • Saturday was a Ashton VSG and then a connie that I dropped in the hot tub, yea I was lit
  • Sunday was a RyJ Habana No.2
  • Monday was a connie and a Old World Reserve
  • Tuesday I had the Punch Champion
  • Wednesday on the way home I had a Camacho
  • I remember smoking a couple more connies but can’t remember what days.

So now it is back to reality and work after a busy Labor Day weekend. So get that grill out and have one hell of a summer send off!


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Smoke Notes: Excalibur 1066 Dark Knight III

These showed up on my door step one afternoon along with another sampler box. June 11th to be exact the day before my thirty first birthday. They came as a surprise from a friend, Hoot is just that kind of guy. I didn’t waste to much time opening the box up and getting one lit up, I have been hooked ever since.

Country: Honduras
Length/Ring: 4 1/2 x 50
Shape: Rothschild
Wrapper: Dark Natural
Strength: Full
Price: $59.95 (Buy Now)

These are a dark and oily smoke that just looks good. It has a nice size cap that is a little rough but cut with no issues. One so far out of the box had a little more of a firm draw than I prefer but it still gave me ample amounts of smoke. But it did require more attention on the puffing front and the one went out on me once.

The burn is what I call good all the way down. I would give the burn a 9 out of 10 on the first half and a 7.5 of 10 the rest of the way down with the burn going off a little. The ash was thick and stiff holding on for a good while. The first half of the cigar was more on the medium side and smooth. No bitter aftertaste to my surprise. I thought it would have a more lingering effect on me. It starts to pick up more to the full side of things around the half way mark and you get a little bitterness toward the end. I tasted a little dark chocolate and salty peanuts (I think).

Overall this is a good smoke. I have enjoyed everyone I have had and thank Hoot for this birthday gift. I don’t know if I would have ever tried this one if the the famous brown truck didn’t show up at my house that day. If you see them in your local humi it is worth the $3-$4 to give these a try.

Tinder Box: save 10% on the Dark Knight III by using coupon code LS0710.

Other reviews on the Dark Knight line:

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