* Uploaded 11 photos from our trip to Gatlinburg TN, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and Cumberland Gap National Park over July 4th weekend to my flickr account. Also included are three pics of our garden, one with annotations.
* Gatlinburg was OK. We took the tram up to Ober Gatlinsburg. The trip up was fun, but the place itself was a tourist trap writ large - lots of shops selling crap-crap-crap and kitchy amusement-park rides you'd find at any state fair. We visited our main objective, Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies. That was OK, but not of the caliber of Monterey or Scripps. The highlight was a slow-moving path through a shark tunnel, I've uploaded the best movie I took of that here on YouTube.
We went over the mountains through the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and stopped at Harrah's Cherokees. We did some mild gambling there and ate at their buffet. It was OK, but quite smoky. Definitely didn't compare to a Vegas strip casino or Mohegan Sun/Foxwoods in New England. At Cumberland Gap National Park, we drove to the Pinnacle over some very twisty hairpin curves, but the view from the top was well worth it.
* Avis rentals have XM radio, and it was a big hit. We were able to listen to the Dodgers and Phillies games while we were driving, and they have all-80s and all-70s stations as well. We also found it amusing to be able to hear the real-time traffic for LA/Vegas/Philly while we were driving around.
* I finished staining our back fence before our trip. A big job, finally finished.
* I called in a pothole at the end of our cul-de-sac that was partially filled by the time I got home, and fully repaired by the next day. Very impressed with our county road crews; such a response would have taken at least a couple weeks out in L.A., assuming it was responded to at all.