Unlike CC, I haven't been posting my vacation blog along the way. I could have. It wasn't like she was keeping me away from her machine or anything like that. I just figured that since I was on vacation, I'd stay on vacation pretty much all the way. I did manage to record my thoughts on my PDA though so I have a blog entry all ready for posting more or less. I didn't stick in pictures and video like CC did. Just head on over to her blog for a more visual approach to our vacation :-)
Arrived in Nashville with no major problems. The drive was uneventful and I managed the entire thing myself. Usually when we go on vacation I have CC drive the first leg while I catch up on my sleep but because of the early work schedule I've been on, that wasn't a problem.
It was also interesting to see the familiar stretch of road all GREEN. All of our past trips have been in the fall so everything is fall-colored. Not this time. All green and bright sun. I did notice that along several stretches of highway, the smaller towns have been building up quite a bit. That was most evident in Jackson, TN.
We arrived at about 1 pm and checked into our hotel room. It's a nice place. We're just two doors down from the little gym (complete with whirlpool thank you!). We also were able to park the truck right outside the window. It's almost like it's watching us.
We had lunch at a mini-mall that's right next door then we went out looking at apartments. Remember, we're moving up here in a year or so and CC wanted to check out a few places. We found one that's very promising and were also able to cross a few off our list. It's all helpful for when the time comes to make the big move.
One funny little note. Among the other guests at this particular hotel is the Christian Brothers High School baseball team. They must be here for a tournament or perhaps they've made the playoffs. Either way, you can imagine my surprise when I saw all of those purple baseball jerseys. Talk about weird. This is a high school that's right up the road from our Memphis apartment. Small world.
We've also decided pretty much what we're going to do while we're here. Friday we're going to the zoo. Saturday we're going go Historic Franklin. Sunday we're going to the big Renaissance fair which looks WAY cool. We're going to have SUCH a good time on this vacation AND we'll see jousting! That's right, they're jousting this weekend. Those guys are NUTS! Can't wait to see it!
Time for bed.
Slight change of plans. We actually went to Historic Franklin today instead of Saturday. We had so much time left after the zoo, we needed something to fill the gap.
But let's back things up a bit. Woke up this morning and had beakfast. It's almost exactly the same as the one at the La Quina in Gatlinburg. They even had the same waffel maker.
After that, off to the zoo! First interesting thing I noticed was the neighborhood that the zoo is located in. The whole area is like a little version of San Antonio. Seriously, same types of stores and everything. For example, on one corner you've got an old gas station that's gone out of business and now sells tacos. Then down the street there's a Pizza Hut that's been sold and turned into a Mexican restaurant. Of course, the shape of the building is clearly Pizza Hut but they've tried really hard to make it look more Mexican. Even the bilboards were in Spanish.
We got to the zoo at around 9:30 and there were already quite a few people there. The zoo itself isn't all that big. In fact, in terms of the number of animals on display it's much smaller than The Memphis Zoo. However, it's on a HUGE plot of land and everything is spread out. According to their map, they're building quite a few new enclosures which will double or triple the size. A few years from now it'll be a pretty nice place.
What came as a surprise was an historic farm house that was on the property. CC and I went on the tour. It wasn't particularlly big but it was certainly old. It dates back to around 1810. Nice place really. CC has pictures of all of this on her blog of course.
We spent three and a half hours at the zoo in all and can you believe it, I kept getting reminded of work. We fed birds, I got sprayed with water and we watched a llama get shaved. They have an enclosure for lorikeets and the most popular place for them to congregate was near a sprinkler. Given what I do for a living, a little water spray wasn't going to stop me from playing with the birds :-)
The llama was a total surprise though. Apparently today was shave the llamas day because when we got to the petting zoo part, two of them had already been shaved and they were working on the third. It was pretty cool seeing the same sorts of equipment I use at work only industrial size.
After the zoo, it was still early so CC wanted to go check out a few more floorplans for apartments in the area that we liked. Well, I can tell you this, we've pretty much decided on which apartment complex we went to live in when we move. The question now is whether or not we can afford the two bedroom which would give us a little more space to spread out. Both layouts are great though so we'll be happy with either of them.
It was still pretty early when we finished up there so we drove over to Historic Franklin. For those of you who have been to the Texas Hill Country, it was a lot like Boerne or Fredricksburg. If you haven't, well, think of a small town in the US. Think older though, like back to the 40's and 50's. Lots of little shops. Lots of antique shops too.
Now, after all of that, we were finally feeling a bit tired so we headed back to the hotel. We stopped at Shoney's for dinner then had a quick soak in the whirlpool tub again. And that was our day two.
Tomorrow our main plan is to ckeck out the showboat tour. It starts at 11 am and runs for three hours. After that we don't really have anthing planned so we'll just sort of play it by ear.
One of the things CC and I have wanted to do ever since she moved to the US was go to a Renaissance Fair. Obviously they don't have things like that in Manila and she really likes all of knights and ladies thing. As for me, I took an entire semister in college of JUST Arthurian Literature. That doesn't count all the other classes along the way that featured a little bit here and there.
As luck would have it, the Tennessee Renaissance Fair is going on right now not too far away from where we're staying. Even better, they're holding their jousting tournament this weekend and that's one of the things CC really wanted to see. We were going to save it for tomorrow but we were in more of a Renaissance mood this morning so off we went.
I will confess that along the way we had one slight misadventure. CC has already documented that in her blog, complete with pictures, so I'm not going to go into that at all. I'll just skip right over that and get to the fair.
After the show we had just enough time to walk through the fair over to the jousting field and get a good seat. It was a bit warm out this afternoon so we also picked up some drinks too.
At that point we were both really dragging from the heat. We decided to cool things off with a tour of the castle. It's not actually a castle of course. In fact, it's not even finished yet. The guy who owns it is a photographer and he's slowly been building this castle for years and years. It's his house you see, and he opens it up for tours during the fair.
After that, let's see, well we walked around a bit more. CC was hungry so she had a bite to eat and then we walked around the fair a little more. I was trying to find something that would make a good souvenir. I've already got a kabillion t-shirts from all sorts of places so I've kinda been avoiding getting more on this trip. So instead I got a gladius. That's a Roman sword. It's not REAL mind you, it just looks pretty cool. I was thinking of getting a rapier but they were a little too expensive.
Back to the hotel and a shower for us both. The grounds at the fair were VERY dusty. You should see my shoes. They're gray. Even the blue parts are gray now from all the dust.
Fabulous time today. No idea what we're going to do tomorrow but we'll probably go check out downtown or maybe visit the Grand Ole Opry. Whatever we do, I'm going to push for something indoors because I've got the weirdest sunburn pattern on my neck. There's a very clear white stripe where the strap from the camera bag rested most of the day. Plus, I've got several patches on my arms and neck that are REALLY close to being burned and I don't want to risk it. But you know, if we find something cool tomorrow that's outside I doubt that will stop me.
CC decided we'd take the cruise today and maybe hit the mall. It was actually kinda funny, she was going back and forth about whether or not to take the cruise right up until she got the tickets. We were walking around the waiting area on the docks and she still wasn't sure what she wanted to do.
Fortunately, she decided she wanted to go on the boat. I say fortunately because we had a GREAT time, way better than I expected. CC made a joke right before the boat pulled away from the shore that they were going to be playing country music and I was stuck with it. No chance to escape. Turns out I actually knew more of the songs they played than SHE did. Oh yes, I'm serious. They played country but most of what they played was OLD country. In fact, the only songs I didn't know were the more recent ones and CC knew most of those.
We spent the entire trip on the hurricane deck, that's upstairs by the bar. They had a four man band playing and every so often one of them would take a break. This changed the sound and mood of the band the whole way through because when certain members were there, they knew more of the old stuff. Other guys knew the newer stuff or non-country stuff.
The tour was pretty funny too. There was one moment that still makes me chuckle. The lead singer in the band at one point turns and talks about this big scrap metal yard on one side of the river. Then he turns and points up on a bluff where they'll be building a huge condo place with a view of . . . the scrap metal yard. Oh, and the other one was when we were passing the stadium where the Tennessee Titans play. He says, "You know that LP Stadium, the LP doesn't stand for Last Place. We were second to last."
In all it was a REALLY relaxing trip. We followed that up with a walk around the mall then came back to the hotel. CC fell asleep early and pretty much stayed that way until morning. I went out and grabbed some Jack in the Box.
And that was pretty much it for our vacation. The rest was us packing and driving back here to Memphis. We picked up the dogs, who were VERY happy to see us of course. Katya hasn't really left my side since I got back. She even spent the whole night sleeping at the foot of the bed too. Usually she'll move off into the bathroom or get up with CC and follow her around for a bit but not today. No, today she just wasn't going to leave me :-)
Now remember, pictures are available over at CC's blog so go and vist that, ccslish.blogspot.com ok? She's even got video of the jousting :-)