My 2003 Ford Explorer is that one person everyone knows: happy on the outside, but miserable inside. And for good reasons, too. Three out of four windows don't work and some asthmatic entity under the hood operates the air conditioning. It sounds powerful when it’s on full blast, but don’t let that roaring fan fool you. It doesn’t cool shit when temperatures surpass 85 degrees.
So I told my friends, Andres and Candra, we’re definitely driving it to the cabin we rented near the Smoky Mountains in Tennessee. “Are you sure?” Candra said. “'Cause I don’t want it to break down again or anything.” She was referring to the fact that it broke down twice in little over a month. First the alternator, then the car started smoking.
But we made it to the Smokies. We didn’t need a helicopter to airlift us out of the mountains. The biggest issue we faced was the lack of music. We resorted to rationing CDs from our angsty past.
When we arrived at the cabin, my friend Andres attempted to fire up the grill but the ignitor switch came off in his hand as he was turning the thing. Hot dogs in a frying pan are unconventional but delicious!
I tried to shoot a few long exposures of our vacation spot around 1 a.m., but the lights from the other cabins cast some ugly shadows that are visible in most photographs. If it weren’t for the light pollution (and the clouds didn't help either), it would be a great spot to photograph the night sky.
Pigeon Forge is a strange place that has a fascination with go-karts. I must have driven past a dozen tracks to the cabin. But the most surreal attraction I visited is Parrot Mountain. It’s exactly what it sounds like. A mountain with parrots.
Most of the birds aren’t bound by cages. They stand on their posts and bombard people with ca caws, though they might say hello. Some of the other birds fly around, albeit underneath a net, while visitors walk below them. “Don’t look up with your mouth open,” Andres said. No shit.