The next day we moved on to The smokey Mountains. This was one of our longest and most eventful road trip. Dave had been bitten by something the night before and was nursing a very swollen left hand. As it had been 24 hours and his hand had got worse rather than better, Graeme decided it was best to stop of at a hospital to get it checked out. American hospitals are far better than our own NHS, but i guess that’s to be expected as they’re private over there. He was seen to rather quickly and we only had to wait for a little over an hour. We played with a football and frisbee most of the time whilst taking regular breaks for drinks, the weather had slowly got hotter and hotter each day of the trip. The smokey mountains KOA (Kamp of America camp site) was lovely, it was set it the woods with a beautiful river running by. The only fault we had were the religious nuts that were camping there also. We received noise complaints and were told no to drink outside of our tents, this got us all worked up as we weren’t the ones singing bible and religious songs over microphones all hours of the day. We were sheltered and keeping our selves to ourselves. WE got our own back by watching the lords squirrels and birds rip apart their food stock that they had left out on a table while going out for the day. We could have scared the animals away… but we thought God wouldn’t have appreciated it!
We didn’t let them get to us, besides we were only there for two days and had some amazing experiences ahead of us. That night, after dinner, Jemma and I thought we could smell a faint weird smell. We asked Graeme and he said it was a skunk in the distance somewhere. I had to see a skunk while in the states! I immediately grabbed my torch (as the sun was setting and little light was penetrating the canopy of trees as it was) and went a searching for the so-called skunk. Jemma decided to come with me. I’m sure that what happened next was no accident, we walked down by the river where it was a little darker, Jemma pretended to get scared and grabbed my hand. It was nice to feel someone else’s hand even though it did leave me very confused. We walked in silence hand in hand for a little while. Everyone had added each other on Facebook a few days ago as one of the camp sites had WI-FI. She must have known that I had a girlfriend, then again she must have known that my relationship with K wasn’t going well and that we had broken up a few times in the short time that we had been dating. I’m very against cheating, I’ve been cheated on before and know what it feels like when your totally in love with someone and you find out something like that. I didn’t want to be the bad guy, I didn’t want to be the cause of someone else feeling like that. I eventually let go of her hand after a while, we didn’t say anything, both probably guessing what the other was thinking. We carried on talking as if nothing had happened. I couldn’t make up my mind on how i felt about it, she was very attractive and was clearly interested in me, I got on really well with her and there was an instant pull between us, it was how it was ment to be between two people. No awkward moments, no arguments ( I know it was early days) we just seemed to fit, I don’t know how i would have felt if things between me and K were going well but I reminded myself that there’s no point in going over what if’s.
All that night we talked and shared a few drinks with each other, I was the happiest I had been in a long time, I felt so at home, so stress free and wanted as well… PERFECT. I knew it shouldn’t last though, thoughts of going home at the end of the trip crept into my mind and I had to ban myself from thinking about it, I knew it I didn’t want to go home. Jemma grabbed my hand under the picnic table while everyone was sitting around. We both knew that we should keep this a secret, it felt exciting and childish to be acting and feeling like this, so refreshing, I didn’t over think anything I had no worries, just did what I wanted to do and was happy.
The next day Myself, Jemma, Kerry and Monika decided to go horse riding while everyone who didn’t want to do it went on a trek. This was definitely a good choice, riding through the woods and around a waterfall in the mountain – forest environment was amazing, I felt like a real cowboy, throughly enjoyed it. Rocky was a pleasure to ride, he was tall but very calm and well-trained to deal with nervous passengers. I felt comfortable enough to take a few pics…
Later that evening we went rubber ring rafting in the river. This too was great fun, you can’t imagine grabbing a rubber ring and jumping into your local river in the UK. They had a company that would lend you a rubber ring, drive you 4 miles up the river and pick you up once you’d floated down for $8. they’d do this as many times as you like. We decided to get a small rubber dinghy to carry our drinks cooler down stream with us. The women who drove us up the river told us that we’d get in trouble for drinking on the river, she wouldn’t let us go down on our rings with her company’s name on if we drank. Graeme decided to give up his ring, he explained to her that the alcohol was his responsibility alone and that he’d swim with it down river and the rest of us would not be associated with it at all, she agreed and let us go with the rings. The river was awesome. It was a baking hot day so dipping in every now and again felt good. We all grabbed a drink and lazily floated down the river chatting and splashing. We all had a little fun when the small rapids came, a few of the girls got some small scratched on their bums from not lifting it up out of the centre of the ring while going down the rapids but the majority of it was just fun. I didn’t think something as simple as that could be so enjoyable.We got to the off loading point and dragged the all important bear boat and our rings out the water, got into a couple of vans and went for up-stream for another go. As we were getting out of the van, the women was clearly agitated and pissed off that we managed to succeed in drinking the anti-christ drink down her river (everyone seemed to be over religious in West Virginia). The boat and Graeme were the last to get into the water, just as he was about to, he got told to stop by a police man that had appeared out of nowhere, it became apparent that the women had called the police on us. Everyone stopped to stare at him being questioned. The rest of us got evil looks and snide remarks from other religious nuts on the river as we waited to see what was happening. Graeme had to leave the river with the alcohol while we were allowed to float back down stream to our camp, we were all then banned from using the river for a week. Even though we didn’t have a drink the second time down, we had a good laugh messing around taking our time to get back.
I don’t have any photos of the river or the rings… Camera’s + water = bad.
That night Jemma kissed me. It seemed like a perfect end to a perfect day. I’ve always considered kissing to be cheating, it can be just as intimate as sex. I felt bad that I was technically cheating on K and very confused that i liked it and wanted more. I explained to Jemma that I had a girlfriend, she joked, “what happens on trek, stays on trek”. I only wish that I had broken up with K before I came. It didn’t help either that Jemma is from Australia, I knew it couldn’t go anywhere even if things did go further between us. I wasn’t about to move to Australia and she had spent a year in the UK and wasn’t allowed to work over here without becoming a citizen, and she wasn’t about to do that after meeting someone and only knowing them two weeks.
We chatted in my tent for a while, it was nice. It had been a while since I’d just sat and had a long conversation with someone. Natalie came and heard Jemma in my tent and instantly thought something was going on. We found this funny as it was perfectly innocent.
Things were about to get more complicated…