Our youth group took a weekend trip down to Knoxville in March 2014 for the Church of God Winterfest, where we spent a great weekend bonding. We ate Steak ‘n Shake at 2 am, stayed in a sketchy hotel, explored Knoxville, saw Planetshakers perform, and went mini golfing & go-carting. All in all, we had a blast!
We left on a Thursday night from Chicago, planning to drive all night and get to Knoxville the next morning. However, our leader, who was driving the van, wasn’t feeling too well, so he decided to stop at a gas station for a pit stop, and take a nap while we used the bathroom and bought snacks. Once inside the gas station, though, we decided we didn’t want snacks, we wanted food (none of us had eaten dinner and we were all hungry).
There was a Steak ‘n Shake across the street from the gas station, so we checked on the driver, and seeing that he was still sleeping, decided to get a very late (2 am) dinner. We left him a text telling him where we were going, and asking if he wanted anything. After we had eaten, we get a call from him asking where we’re at. He had woken up and hadn’t seen any of us in the gas station, so he’d assumed it was just a very big store, and went back to sleep. However, when he woke a second time and still didn’t see us, he got concerned. We packed back on the bus, and drove for another hour or so. By this point though, he was falling asleep, so he decided to pull into a hotel and get us all rooms for the night.
We opened the van door, and a swarm of bats flew by. We walk into the hotel, and notice that it’s under construction. So they can’t offer us rooms close together. There were only three other girls beside me, so we all ended up in a room on one side of the hotel, and the guys got two rooms, but on the other side of the motel. All was well until, all of a sudden, one of us noticed a spatter of blood on the bedding of one of the beds. Gross. But then, what’s that on the carpet? A huge bleach stain? And on the wall too? Wait. Why has the dresser been moved?
By this point we started seriously freaking out. We checked the bathroom, closets, and under the bed, expecting to find a dead body. There was nothing. But we refused to go to sleep, and instead kept vigil the rest of the night, waiting for an ax murderer to burst in at any moment and murder us. Morning could not have arrived any slower.
It did arrive eventually, and we were all still alive. After eating breakfast, we got back on the road, and eventually did make it to Knoxville, where we checked into a much nicer (and less bloody) hotel. Then we headed to the first night of Winterfest.
After the first service Friday night we went to downtown Knoxville for dinner at a small restaurant named Soccer Taco.
The next day, we explored the city a bit more, and went go-karting and mini-golfing at Sir Goony’s Family Fun Center.
That night, we were back at the service, which was amazing.
The next morning, we attended the last service, and then it was time to head home.
All pictures taken by me with a Canon T3.