I didn't care too much for the observation tower, being a bit scared of heights, but it was neat to be able to say that I've been there.
The walk down was much easier on the knees, and we arrived back at the car without mishap. By now, we were all ready for lunch, so Chris drove us down into Gatlinburg, where we ate at a Texas Roadhouse. The food was good, but either the waitress was very new or...well, I don't know what. She barely spoke to us, as though we had suddenly appeared in, say, her personal dining room rather than having sat down in a reasonable manner in a restaurant. Among her other oddities, she was also laboring under the misapprehension that brown sugar and cinnamon are the same substance.
Anyway, we ate our lunch and also our fill of peanuts and then departed for Ober Gatlinburg. I had been there once many years ago to go ice skating with a church group--it was much grubbier than I remembered it. We took the tram up, of course, and were surprised to see that they are brand new, just installed this year. The trip up was fine, but the very moment we stepped out to buy tickets for the outside rides, the heavens opened and poured rain on us. It wasn't a sprinkle--this was a drencher! We took cover outside the lockers for several minutes, but when it showed no signs of letting up, we dashed for the inside again.