Posts Tagged ‘nashville’

Looking up at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel rooms from one of the complex's atriums. -- Photo by Pat Bean

Looking up at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel rooms from one of the complex’s atriums. — Photo by Pat Bean

 “Do not disturb signs should be written in the language of the hotel maids.” –Tim Bedore           

Adventures with Pepper: Day 52 continued   

One of numerous waterfalls that help create the illusion of bringing the outdoors inside. -- Photo by Pat Bean

One of numerous waterfalls that help create the illusion of bringing the outdoors inside. — Photo by Pat Bean

          What started out in 1877 as the 600-room Opryland Hotel   is today the largest non-casino hotel in this country. Numerous expansions and the big renovation after the hotel was flooded in May of 2010, along with the next door Grand Ole Opry, have inspired the Gaylord Opryland Hotel and Convention Center ad men  to use the words, “You won’t believe what’s under our roof,” in their promotional copy.

A tour of the hotel was the second part of this Gray Line tour, which earlier had me standing on the “Unbroken Circle” of the Grand Ole Opry stage.

Wow, I think was my surprised response as I wandered through the complex and then took the quarter-mile boat ride around the glass-roofed, landscaped-to-perfection complex.


I wondered what Opryland charges these colorful wood ducks for their space in one of the complex's atriums. I shot this photo of the ducks during the boat ride.

I wondered what Opryland charges these colorful wood ducks for their space in one of the complex’s atriums. I shot this photo of the ducks during the boat ride.

Normal room rates to stay at the hotel range from $169 to $244 per night. I was curious and checked it out to see how it compared with the $34 per night cost of my stay at the Nashville Country RV Park.                        While it would have been fun to stay in the hotel during my Nashville stay, it wasn’t within my travel budget, nor, I suspected, would my canine traveling companion, Pepper, have been allowed to stay with me.

Book Report: Still dinking along while some of my writing colleagues are making amazing amounts of progress on their projects. But I got most of my Christmas shopping done yesterday.

The Wondering Wanderer's blog pick of the day.

The Wondering Wanderer’s blog pick of the day.

Bean’s Pat: What I See is What I Shoot http://tinyurl.com/c9kgaqx Far away in the Wonderland. A quirky blog that usually fascinates me. Today you can learn how to say bicycle in Russian

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Me doing the tourist thing and getting my photo taken at the Grand Old Opry. This gave my kids a big laugh because I’m tone deaf and couldn’t sing on key if my life depended on it.

“Show business is made up of disappointments, and it’s through life’s disappointments that you grow.” – Minnie Pearl

Adventures with Pepper: Day 52

This was the day I did what every visitor to Nashville should do: Visit the Grand Ole Opry. And indeed it was GRAND in capital letters.

The Ryman Auditorium seats 2,362 people. -- Photo by Pat Bean

The Ryman Auditorium seats 2,362 people. — Photo by Pat Bean

I was glad, however, that yesterday’s tour included a brief one of the less impressive Ryman Auditorium, which was home to the Opry for many years and which is still its winter home.

When I had entered the Ryman, the building immediately had me thinking of its similarity to the Mormon Tabernacle in Salt Lake City, where a pin dropped can be heard by everyone. Our guide followed my thoughts by noting that its acoustics were second only to the Mormon Tabernacle.

Both buildings have about them an air of history that makes one wonder what their walls would say if walls could talk.

The new home for the Grand Ole Opry seats 4,400. Photo by Pat Bean

The new home for the Grand Ole Opry seats 4,400. Photo by Pat Bean

The much larger, grander home of the Opry these days spoke to me of how this country and the Opry have changed over the years. It was like going from a log cabin to a mansion.

I couldn’t help but appreciate the conveniences, however. Change is not all bad.

And I was pleased to note – and stand on – the  Opry’s “unbroken circle,” a  six-foot oak circle cut from the Ryman’s stage.

“That circle is the most magical thing when you’re a performer,” said Brad Paisley, “to stand there and get to sing on those same boards that probably still contain dust from Hank Williams’ boots.”

Paisley, via the magic of video, joined us for the tour.

Book Report: I’m happy to say that while I didn’t get as much editing done of Travels with Maggie as I wanted – of course I never do – I got back to the task after a week of family festivities.

The Wondering Wanderer's blog pick of the day.

The Wondering Wanderer’s blog pick of the day.

Bean’s Pat: Colline’s Blog http://tinyurl.com/c2mceal This is exactly how I recharge. Mother Nature always kisses my wounds and makes everything better. How do you recharge?

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The day I visited the Country Western Music Hall of Fame was the anniversary of Minnie Pearl’s 100th birthday. What a treasure she was, but it was all an act. She was a sophisticated lady with a huge Nashville mansion. — Photo by Pat Bean

            “You are the music while the music lasts.” – T.S. Eliot

Adventures with Pepper: Day 51 Continued

Can you picture Buck Owens wearing this … — Photo by Pat Bean

            When I listen to music — which is not too often because it demands all of my focus — it’s usually country western, to the bemoaned ears of some of my more musically elite friends.

And when I have a choice, I’ll always choose to listen to Willie Nelson.

So it was that when this day’s Gray Line tour ended the day at the Country Western Music Hall of Fame, I was particularly interested in seeing if I could find evidence of his life here. I did, high on the wall of the Hall of Fame inductees.

The first country western singer who had grabbed my attention, along with a childhood crush, was Roy Rogers, and so I looked and found him up there on the wall, too.

… and Buck standing next to Taylor Swift. Can you picture it. — Photo by Pat Bean

What a contrast their gray-toned plaques made with the huge colorful display of Taylor Swift that was currently on exhibit at the Western Music Hall of Fame. Since male country western singer inductees outnumber women by almost ten to one, it was interesting to see the new face of country music.

Our tour guide let us have about an hour to wander through the country western museum. Among the highlights that attracted my attention were the flashy clothing worn by country western singers.

The stage costumes made me wonder what a picture Buck Owens and Taylor Swift would have made sharing the stage.

Book Report:I hang my head in shame. But I’ve cleared the decks today for some serious work on Travels with Maggie.

The Wondering Wanderer’s blog pick of the day.

Bean’s Pat: The Literary Man http://tinyurl.com/cxeqtvd Still painting. An inspiration for all of us young-at-heart oldsters.

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“The one thing that all great cities have in common is that they are all different.” Cate Blanchard

Nashville cityscape. I snapped this picture out the window of the bus, as I did the others shown here. — Photo by Pat Bean

            “I love cities.” Danny Boyle

Adventures with Pepper: Days 51

It’s called “Ghost Ballet” and sits by the Tennessee River. One interpretation is that it is two ends of a bridge. our tour guide wasn’t impressed. I saw roller coaster rails. What do you see? — Photo by Pat Bean

The Gray Lines bus driver-guide was full of facts but lacked the twitch of humor I’ve experienced on other tours. The city of Nashville, however, made up for the oversight.

I loved the jumble of color down this narrow street. — Photo by Pat Bean

From the red disjointed bridge “Ghost Ballet” sculpture to the Parthenon replica and the shiny city scape to the vivid colors of Fleet Street, the city fascinated me.

Besides music, Nashville is also a mecca for the publishing industry. Along with all my sight-seeing, my visit was an opportunity for me to personally meet my American Profile magazine editor. I blog for the magazine’s Discovering America online presence every Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday at http://blogs.americanprofile.com/

I don’t do big cities often, preferring to base my travels around the wonders of Mother Nature, but they’re the perfect contrast to keep my travels interesting.

The Wondering Wanderer’s blog pick of the day.

Book Report: Thanksgiving and lots of family visiting from Florida, including an 11-month old great-grandson and other visiting children and grandchildren. Need I say more.

Bean’s Pat: Ummmm, really http://tinyurl.com/cm498pd Retirement, the New Freedom or Rock and Roll and Geritol? This one’s for those of us who have more days behind us than ahead of us. It made me laugh.

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“Take a music bath once or twice a week for a few seasons. You will find it is to the soul what a water bath is to the body.” Oliver Wendell Holmes

Adventures with Pepper: Day 49-50

I finally maneuvered through Nashville’s big-city traffic, which I hit at rush hour, and made my way to the Nashville Country RV Park in the outskirt city of Millersville.

Reminders that Nashville was a musical city abounded. — Photo by Pat Bean

I had just enough energy to hook up and take Pepper for a walk around the dog-friendly park before fixing myself some comfort food — a can of Campbell’s chicken noodle soup, a can of Ro-Tel tomatoes and diced green chilies and a generous portion of sour cream – before collapsing with an audible Travis McGee book, “Nightmare in Pink.”

I had decided to reread these John D. MacDonald books that began in 1964 with “The Deep Blue Goodbye,” but this time listening to them in the audible.com unabridged versions that had only recently been released.

I was enjoying them as much this second-time around, and despite how tired I had been, I stayed awake until 2 a.m. and the end of the book. Pepper, as usual, woke me at 6 a.m. with chin kisses begging for her morning walk.

Afterwards, I gave her a pork-twist bone and crawled back in bed until eight o’clock. A little later, I strolled down to the office to see if there were any tours of Nashville that I could take.

While pumpkin and mum displays reminded everyone that it was fall. — Photo by Pat Bean

There were, and even better was the fact that a Gray Line’s shuttle would pick me up at the park for them. I signed up for a half-day tour the next day, and another half-day tour the day after.

There were full-day options, but I hadn’t wanted to leave Pepper alone that long.

I spent the rest of the day relaxing and taking frequent short walks with Pepper, who found several canine companions along the way who would play with her. As I said, it was a dog friendly park.

That night, I attended the park’s dinner and music outdoor program. It was Nashville after all.

Book Report: On the road today so as to have Thanksgiving with my son, D.C. Hopefully I’ll get in my hour of writing later this afternoon. I had to do my blog for American Profile Magazine earlier this morning. It’s on Wall Drug. You can check it out at: http://blogs.americanprofile.com/

The Wondering Wanderer’s blog pick of the day.

Bean’s Pat: Retiree Diary http://tinyurl.com/boy3dru Take an armchair tour of China’s mystical mountains. I loved these photos.

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“People who make no mistakes lack boldness and the spirit of adventure. They are the brakes on the wheels of progress.” – Dale Turner   

Just how many pictures of colorful leaves are you going to take, I finally started asking myself. — Photo by Pat Bean

 Adventures with Pepper: Day 49

After the Appalachian foothills of West Virginia, Skyline Trail in Shenandoah National Park, the Blue Ridge Parkway in Virginia and North Carolina and Smoky Mountain National Park into Tennessee, where my RV was lucky to be able to get up to the 35 mph travel limit, Gypsy Lee needed to stretch her wheels.

The Hermitage, home of President Andrew Jackson in Nashville. — Wikipedia photo

So, because I planned a journey of about 210 miles this day, I reluctantly took to Interstate 40.  to Nashville.            The roadsides were autumn colorful, and the drive not too stressful, until the last fourth of the journey when I hit Nashville Traffic. All lackadaisical sight-seeing and journal notes went out the window at this point.

It got even worse when I got onto Highway 45, also known as Old Hickory Boulevard and which passed by the Hermitage, President Andrew Jackson’s former plantation. This home became a public museum honoring both Jackson and the antebellum South way back in 1869. It was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1860 and is the fourth most visited presidential home in the country today.

The structure escaped a near-disaster during a 1998 Nashville tornado outbreak. While the house escaped, many old trees, some of which might have been planted by Jackson himself, were blown down. Wood from these fallen trees was used by the Gibson guitar company to make 200 limited edition “Old Hickory” guitars.

A fitting use in a city that’s known for music, I thought.

Book Report: Spent an hour working on Travels with Maggie this morning. No word-count report because I’m doing what I probably shouldn’t be doing. The book is about 85 percent complete but I was suffering from a need to go back and reread everything up to this point. I felt I needed a refresher read before I tie everything up. I also wanted to make a few changes that I decided on a couple of week’s ago in the book’s structure.

Bean’s Pat: Palestine Rose http://tinyurl.com/bmptucc I avidly believe this is oh so true. How about you?

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And we should consider every day lost on which we have not danced at least once. And we should call every truth false which was not accompanied by at least one laugh. – Friedrich Nietzsche

It was true. You can’t get there from here. — Photo by Pat Bean

Adventures with Pepper: Day: Day 20-21

I literally couldn’t get there from here after I left Illinois and drove into Indiana.  I misread a warning sign, thinking it was the other direction in which the bridge was out.

It wasn’t.

Time to back-track and follow the detour signs.

They led me to Clay City, Indiana, which calls itself the Mayberry of the Midwest, and then onto Highway 246, a narrow, winding backroad on which the colors of fall had already arrived. While I regretted my error, I was sure glad I got to drive the detour.

I wasn’t that happy, however, about getting lost in Bloomington, where I wandered around for an hour. I stopped for directions and twice people gave me wrong ones. I finally found a place to park, somewhere on the University of Indiana campus, where the last direction giver had sent me, and got onto my computer to seek out my own way out of town.

The trail Pepper and I walked daily — Photo by Pat Bean

Thankfully, I was just two blocks from Highway 45, which I had been following until I got side-tracked by Bloomington construction. Once back on the right road, I stayed on it to Nashville – Indiana not Tennessee.

My campground for the next two days would be the Last Resort Campground, where it rained most of the time. There was a nice trail behind the park, which Pepper and I walked several times a day, usually starting out during a lull in the dripping sky, which usually didn’t last until we got back to the RV.

All part of travel – and since no whining is allowed in Gypsy Lee, I didn’t

Book Report: Travels with Maggie now at 55,432 words

            Bean Pat: Wildflowers http://tinyurl.com/9r3lg27 A reminder that beauty can be found anywhere. Almost makes me want to hurry back to Texas. I love this blog because it’s helping me learn the names of wildflowers. As a writer, I need to know these things, because a flower is not a flower, it’s a poppy or a penstemon or a bluebonnet – or as it was today, a blazing star or a gayfeather, or for the scientific-minded, which I am not, a liatris mucronate.

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