So, last Wednesday I left the house in Mt. Vernon, headed to the house in Arkansas, to spend the night with Russ before we left for Nashville for a mini-vacation and for him to attend the “Southern Fried Pipe Show”. I got to Flippin a few minutes before he got home from work (I would have been there HOURS before, but it POURED down rain for several hours, which delayed a lot of my errands… I sat in the car, waiting for rain storms to slack up enough that I could get out at each stop. Only my luck!).
We went to Mountain Home and had dinner at Chili’s. It just happened that the manager on duty that night was a server (and now manager) that we had befriended at the Springfield, MO Chili’s. We had a question, that our server couldn’t answer… so he went and got her, and she was thrilled to see us (the feeling was mutual!). We told her about what had been going on in our world (we hadn’t seen her in a while) and spent a while chatting. Needless to say, it was late when we got home… and we went to bed not long after getting back to the house (I had to love on our cats, Maggie and Bart, since it had been well over a year since I had last seen them).
We crawled out of bed at 6am and hit the road. The trip to Nashville was definitely uneventful, and we got there earlier than we expected, so we decided to visit the Parthenon. All I can say is, “WOW!”. It was definitely worth the trip there to see it!
So, after leaving the Parthenon, we headed downtown to “check it out”. We parked the car and decided to wander around a bit… any time we travel, we always buy magnets and/or shotglasses to commemorate our trip. SO, the first stop was Hard Rock Cafe to get a shot glass. We then wandered up the street to The Wildhorse Saloon for a late lunch/early dinner, then wandered through a few stores before we went to our hotel.
Now the hotel part of the trip, that was the uber irritating part. I had made reservations at Extended Stay, and I actually called earlier this last week to VERIFY that it was a handicapped accessible room (we’ve encountered issues along these lines before, so I ALWAYS call). When Russ went to check in, our room was on the 2nd floor (and there are no elevators). He said, “Uh, no go” and then the struggle was on between him, the girl working behind the desk and the manager of the location. No handicapped accessible rooms could be located in their multiple properties, so they ended up sending us down the street to the Holiday Inn Express (which, btw, was another hotel that had a “discounted rate” for a huge group of people from the Pipe show – we just found a better rate at the Extended Stay). When we checked in, I spoke to the agent about getting that discounted rate… she told me that she couldn’t do it, but to talk to the manager in the morning. So we headed off to our room. When we got into the room, Russ said, “Uh, this isn’t an accessible room”, so I went up to the front desk… they sent us to a different room. Got into that room… it wouldn’t work, either. Finally, on the 3rd try, we got an accessible room. There were several of the pipe folks that met up at a location away from the hotel; at that point I was mad and upset about the whole room thing (it took about 3 hours to get it all sorted out), so I decided to stay at the hotel and veg. Russ went to meet up with everyone, then they came back to the hotel and congregated in the parking lot chatting for a few hours (and Russ stayed outside for that). The next morning I went to chat with the manager… and he graciously gave us the discounted rate (which saved us a huge chunk of cash over the “walk in off the street rate” we were facing) that had been arranged for the pipe group staying there. YAY!
On Friday morning we headed off to Long Hollow Winery, and had a GREAT experience there… the owner was delightful, the wines were wonderful and the foods (cheeses and jellies) we tried were delicious. We left there with a bottle of Honey-Pecan jelly, a bottle of Riesling wine and 2 huge wine glasses with their logo on them. Our next stop was “Loveless Cafe”, upon the suggestion of our friend Kelley (her son lives in Nashville, so she was giving us “you gotta do this!” suggestions). The wait to get to a table was pretty lengthy, but we finally got to our table and enjoyed our meal (I got the peach glazed pork chops with caramel sweet potatoes and fried okra – which were FANTASTIC. Russ got “Steak Biscuits” – essentially steak sliders. He said they were “okay”, but he was disappointed in the fact that he didn’t get the “Sampler plate”, which had chicken, meatloaf, etc. on it). After leaving there, we headed off to Marathon Village and we stopped at the Corsair Distillery and Antique Archaeology. By the time we left there (closing time for the shops and such), it was time for us to head downtown, again, to see the John Seigenthaler Pedestrian Bridge by night. On our way to the bridge, we stopped at the Goo Goo Cluster store (you know, they’re made there in Nashville!) and got some with peanuts, some with pecans and a magnet to go on the fridge in the game room. After we wandered around, we headed to a local pipe shop where there was a huge “meet-up” of all of the folks attending the pipe show (when we pulled into the parking lot, it was a sea of folding chairs and groups of people chatting). I sat in the car for a while, then Boontar Jones came up to the car and said, “Uh, time to get out” and proceeded to start unloading my wheelchair (Russ stepped in to finish up the job). I got to meet tons of great people, and it was super late when we got back to the hotel.
Saturday morning we headed off to the pipe show, where Russ bought a new pipe and got to chat with more of the YouTube pipe folks he’s wanted to meet. BUT, there wasn’t much to do there… so we were done in about an hour or so. In the process of him chatting, I started to sunburn (even though I was under a tent; I sunburn fast and furious, and start blistering pretty quick. And when the blisters start, it becomes painful fairly quickly. And that is what I was dealing with) – so I sent him a text and headed to the car. We had tickets to see Steep Canyon Rangers, Ricky Skaggs and Ry Cooder at the Grand Ole Opry Saturday evening, so after hanging out at our hotel for a while, we decided to go to dinner at “The Family Wash” (another suggestion of Kelley’s! We had the gorgonzola kettle chips with bacon- YUM!) and then headed to the Opry. The Opry was another “WOW” experience for me. The show was great (we were on the fourth row, left-center of the stage), and we got to see Little Jimmy Dickens, Ricky Skaggs and Ry Cooder and Steep Canyon Rangers. After the Opry show, there was another meetup of pipe folks at a pipe shop that wasn’t too terribly far from the Opry, so we stopped there for a bit before heading back to the hotel. Once we were back at the hotel, we discovered a huge group of pipe folks had taken over the back parking lot of the hotel, so we headed out to join them for a few hours (it was close to 4am before we were in bed).
Since it was so late when we went to bed Sunday morning, we slept until about 10, packed up our stuff and checked out, and headed home. The drive home was quiet… I was exhausted, and still had to drive another 3 hours once we were back in Flippin, so Russ let me nap coming home. But it’s always nice to “be home”, whether it’s near the AR house or the Missouri house… I snapped a picture at sunset of Lake Norfolk (which is 20 minutes from our Flippin house)
Now I am dealing with the mess that always happens when you return home from a trip – the suitcase is unpacked and put away, the clothes have been washed, most of our trinkets have been put in the game room (since they will all be living there) and life is getting closer to being “normal” again. While I LOVE going on “vacation”, it’s nice to get back home and see the kids and sleep in your own bed. 🙂
And while there were some unpleasant situations (the hotel issue) we faced while we were gone, I am glad that Russ forced me into going on the trip. I had a lot of fun and met a lot of great people in the process. 🙂