Fall in the Smokies

Well we’re over in the Pigeon Forge area of TN this week, for a little editorial research; and I have to say, the weather is wonderful. Very mild – don’t even need a sweater. And this time of year in the Smokies is absolutely beautiful. We don’t get the change of seasons so much in CA, so I do love the fall colors. And the changing leaves are beautiful here. It’s nice to hit things in prime time every now and again.

It was a pretty uneventful flight yesterday; although I have to say I was a bit disappointed at the UAL ground crew in DEN, as they seemed to not pay too much attention to pre-boarding disabled passengers; especially one lady who used a walker. The gate agent told this passenger to come and pre-board, but the pre-boards were called with the elite passengers and by the time the lady got up to the gate (she walked as fast as she could) it was time to call group 2. The gate agent did very little (OK nothing ) to assist this passenger, and told her to just go down the jet bridge.

When she got to the aircraft she was confused about what to do with her walker, and there just wasn’t anyone to assist her. This nice man (another passenger) was trying to help her, (and he ended up taking her walker back to be gate checked and offered to assist her in boarding the aircraft) but there just simply wasn’t any assistance from the UAL staff. Fortunately, the ground crew in Knoxville was better, and there was a wheelchair waiting for the passenger at the door. Still, when I went to retrieve my gate-checked bag, her walker was nowhere in sight. I had a really bad feeling about that one, and I hope the passenger got everything back in one piece.

After we arrived yesterday, we went to see Dolly Parton’s Dixie Stampede. It’s a fun family show, much like the one in Branson. Access is excellent at the theater, and I was impressed with the staff’s attention to their disabled guests. It’s so obvious when some extra time is put into staff training in regards to disability issues. The accessible seating allows for unlimited companions, and the line of sight is excellent. I saw a good number of wheelers and slow walkers there and they all seemed to be having a good time. Of course they fee you well there too, which was very welcome after a day of flying of no food.

This morning I’m off to interview an innkeeper who just added an accessible cottage to her farm stay B&B. I’m looking very forward to a fun morning on the farm.

We have a full schedule this week, including time in the Great Smokey Mountain National Park and a visit to Oak Ride (the secret city in days of yore).

It looks like it’s going to be a beautiful trip. Again, the weather gods have smile on up!!