Smoky Mountains Part 2

Continuing from where I left off in Part 1, Oakley and I were having a blast down in the Smoky Mountains, but Oakley especially – having never ventured this far from his home, was finding the exotic humidity and heat to be a little overwhelming at times.

Which is why the first thing we did when we started on our next walk was jump into the stream!

treading through water

But what was special about this walk was that we were doing it with our new friend Taylor, who won my contest to spend an afternoon with me!

So she got to hold my leash and everything as we explored through the Smoky Mountain forests! How special is that! 😉

walking smoky mountain park dogs

And she got to take all the selfies she wanted with me along the way!

crusoe dachshund contest winner win an afternoon with crusoe

After the walk through the park, we headed over to the little village of Gatlinburg, where we meandered through the cute cobblestone walkways, posed on the steps of water fountains, and gandered at all the shops.

That is, until Oakley spotted one shop in particular.

“Ohh!” he exclaimed sharply. “Is that… is that a donut store?!

Indeed it was. A renowned little spot, too, by the name of The Donat Friar. Taylor, being the kind and thoughtful lady she is, offered to go buy Oakley a donut. I tried to insist that Oakley really did not need a donut and that if any snack were in order at all he should have a banana or something, but alas, it was too late. Before I could finish my spiel she was already inside, and Oakley was eagerly waiting outside the door.

oakley outside donut shop2

Oakley was overjoyed when Taylor handed him the donut.

“Since Crusoe wouldn’t let you pack any donuts for the trip…” she began. “Now you have one. Enjoy!”

And boy did he enjoy it!

oakley donut2

Oakley’s mom said he could only have a few bites though, since a whole donut is too much. So of course he decided to take as big bites as possible...

Seeing my brother gobble a donut kind of made me crave a treat though, so, when Taylor came back with a cup of ice cream, we gratuitously offered to share it with her.

sharing ice cream with contest winner2

I say “gratuitously” because most people would consider it an honor to share their ice cream with us.

After that, we said our goodbyes and wished Taylor a nice time at her Smoky Mountain cabin for the weekend.

Oakley and I were off to our next shoot, this one being at Wild Gal’s Old Time Photo. The people there were amazingly receptive to having us visit; they even custom-made these saloon doors just for us! Wow!


“Alright, Oakley, here’s the plan…” I said. “You’ll be the sheepish bartender and I’ll be the rootin’ tootin’ cowboy who slow-walks into the bar, all tough-lookin’, You tell me hot dogs aren’t allowed, then I get upset and shoot up the bar!”

“Sounds dangerous…” Oakley replied. “And why do I have to be the sheep? I want to be the cowboy!”

“No, I said you’re the sheepish bartender. Bartenders are cool! I’ve been one before! And don’t worry, these guns are props.”

Oakley’s two little almond eyebrows bobbled in skepticism. “Okay…”

oakley bartender

“So, ready for Take One?” I asked. “Remember, once I walk through those saloon doors, you tell me hot dogs are not allowed in the bar, got it?”

“Got it”, Oakley said confidently, composing himself for his line.

Lights, camera, action!

That was the cue for Oakley’s line.

“Hot dogs are not allowed here”, he said, but then a thought visibly overcame him and he continued, “unless you bring buns and mustard, then hot dogs are definitely allowed!

No, no, no!” I blurted, shaking my head.

“But Crusoe, why wouldn’t we want hot dogs? Hot dogs are delicious!”

“Yes, I know… we can get some hot dogs later, but for now, let’s just say the line for the video, okay?”

Okay, okay…

oakley bartender take two

After the costume assistant adjusted Oakley’s bartender suit, we were ready for Take Two.

Oakley straightened his neck and cleared his throat. I performed the same walk into the bar, then he said his line:

“Hey stranger! There’s no hot dogs with buns and mustard allowed in this here bar!”


“Oakley, let’s just say, ‘no wiener dogs allowed’, okay? That might be… less distracting for you.

Take Three.

Nailed it!

“Great job Oakley! Now I pretend to shoot up the bar and you duck behind it, okay?”

crusoe the cowboy

“Got it”, Oakley replied enthusiastically, obviously happy with his performance so far.

And so I started shootin’.

As bottles shattered and glass rained down behind the bar, Oakley ducked for cover.

When the shooting stopped, he crawled out, flustered and shocked. “What the heck man? I thought those were prop guns?!

“They are!” I exclaimed. “They were only firing blanks. But we rigged up little explosives in all the bar bottles so it would look like I was shooting them. You know, just regular Hollywood tactics…”

Oakley was incredulous. “That was terrifying! You gotta warn me about that kinda stuff!” He muttered, clearly disheartened. “I dunno if I can do this acting stuff like you can…”

“Nonsense! You did awesome. Remember how unsure you were about the river rafting? Then you loved it!” But I could feel he was discouraged. “Hey, how would you like to be a cowboy with me?”

His little eyebrow spots perked and his eyes widened. “Yes!”

So, we played poker like a couple real cowboys. I decided I’d cheer him up by letting him win the hand, but his reaction was not what I expected when the cards were turned.

“Dang it! I was hoping I’d lose so I could shoot up the place!”

crusoe and oakley the cowboys

Well, maybe it was best he did win then!

Thanks to Wild Gals Old Time Photo for the amazing set and help with our video!

Back at the cabin, being our last night, we relaxed and enjoyed the view while Dad worked on putting together the first edit of the video.

crusoe oakley cabin enjoying view

When it was finally ready, Dad called us over to come watch the video together.

Oakley was ecstatic to see the final production, and I think him seeing how it came together made him realize he wasn’t all that bad!

“Wow, did you see me?” he remarked excitedly. “My performance was top notch, impeccable, flawless! See how well I pretended to be afraid when you started shooting?!”

“I totally agree, Oakley”, I replied. “You did amazing! Award-worthy perhaps!”

Oakley continued mumbling to himself about his performance as we re-watched the video several times, wherein he came to a concluding statement.

“You know, Crusoe, I think my ability to get into character really shines when I have no idea what’s going on. So scratch what I said earlier; just don’t warn me about anything.”

“Uh, okay…” I replied, unsure. “I’ll keep that in mind. Just don’t say I didn’t warn you!” 😉

The next day, it was time to fly home. We’ll miss the Smokies and all there is to do here. We definitely enjoyed some fun adventures and new experiences. However, I think Oakley might need a vacation-from-his-vacation because he was as quiet as a mouse the whole flight back – to the point I became a bit worried. That is, until I noticed that he was just pooped!

cute dog sleeping airplane carrier

I think he really enjoyed his first real trip away from home!

Hope you all enjoyed following along too! But guess what? There’s a couple more adventures from our trip to the Smokies that I’m saving as exclusive content for my next book!

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Thanks fans! 🙂

Keep rootin’ and tootin’,

~ Crusoe

Keep ballin’,