We brought the RV home on Monday February 6th, 2006 and it had only sat in the driveway for 3 days when Gary got itchy feet.  The first thing Thursday morning he announced, “We need to go some where, how about Nashville”. I still hadn’t had my first coffee and he's bugging me about a trip in the RV!  You just have to understand that I don’t like to engage in heavy conversation (or any sort of conversation) until about an hour after I have had my first cup of coffee in the morning.  I bit my tongue and asked, “Is it warm down there?”

I started checking out the Internet for weather reports and soon found out that no, it isn’t warm down there. How about Myrtle Beach? Not very warm there either so maybe Nashville wouldn’t be too bad since there is plenty to do there. The next step was to find a campground that was open since it was the middle of winter. Trust me, there are not a lot of places open this time of year, but I did find one in Indiana that would be our half way stop and the KOA in Nashville stays open year round. The next thing was to get ready to leave early the next morning! What a rush but the pieces fell together easily enough, trip to the vet to get the dogs shots up to date and paper work ready for customs, groceries, laundry, clothes  . . . yikes. Well at least with an RV if you can’t decide what you need to take to wear you can take everything, just empty the closet . . . hangers and all.

Saturday February 11th (my dad’s birthday) we were heading down highway 401 toward Sarnia.  We crossed the border and headed down I69 to Auburn, Indiana for our first night in the RV. It was snowing, it was cold, it did not stop snowing, the windows in the RV were covered with ice, it was cold, the campground was right beside the highway and it was noisy, the dogs didn’t like it – I wasn't all that thrilled either. Morning came early!

On the road early . . . heading towards Nashville, down I69 to Indianapolis then I65 straight through to Nashville. We pulled into the KOA in good time and other than the fact that it is still snowing the campground was very nice. At least we were not the only people crazy enough to be camping in the winter.

One of the atriums in the Opryland Hotel

Monday morning we woke up to see the ground covered with a light blanket of snow but the temperatures were rising and it didn’t stay long. We took a shuttle over to the Gaylord Opryland Resort and wow was it amazing! I have never seen anything like it in my life, I want to live there! We toured around all the different sections, rode the boat along the river and just took in the beauty of the flowers and trees. It was spectacular. We then walked over to the Opry Mills mall and checked it out before returning to the RV. That night we had dinner at a neat little place within walking distance of the campground called Cock of the Walk, the specialty of the house was fried catfish.

Pickin' and grinnin' at the Opryland Hotel

Another atrium in the Opryland Hotel

Tuesday morning Gary went off to rent a car so we were able to tour around the city. We went downtown and checked out the area, walked by the Honky Tonk bars and listened to a few guitar pickers trying to make it to the big time. We walked up to the Ryman Auditorium and did a tour there . . . what a great place, you could just feel the history. The Grand Ole Opry was there from 1943 to 1974, it was then moved to the Opry House in Opryland, but for a couple of months this winter it was back in the Ryman, we decided to come back for the Opry show on Friday.

Since it was Valentines day, Gary treated me to lunch at saloon called Coyote Ugly, I’m not sure if there was a message there or not, but I do know that I prefer the more traditional Valentine’s gift of previous years.

Our next stop was the Belle Meade Plantation, a thriving Thoroughbred stud farm in the 1800’s. Now a museum, it displays an interesting look into the lives of the rich and privileged of that era.

Ready for a romantic Valentine lunch at Coyote Ugly

The Country Music Museum and Hall of Fame

Wednesday morning we went back downtown so that we could tour the Country Music Hall of  Fame and Museum. An amazing building that depicts the evolution of country music and houses the names and accomplishments of all the greats: Patsy Cline, Minnie Pearl, Kitty Wells, Roy Rogers, Flatt & Scruggs, Porter Wagoner, Tammy Wynette, Willy Nelson to name a few. 

Hall of Fame

That evening we went back to the Opryland Resort to have dinner at Volare, a wonderful Italian restaurant.

Dinner at Volare

Thursday we did a tour around the city and then spent most of the day back at the campground, we had tickets that night for a show at the Gaylord Entertainment Center – the Blue Collar Comedy Tour was in town. It was great, the guys were in fine form and their new tour "One for the Road" was just starting so the story’s and jokes were all new. The arena holds 20,000 people and it was a sell out! They mentioned that it was the largest audience that they had ever played to. Gosh they were funny.

Friday Gary returned the car and we spent the day in  the campground, the dogs liked that. We had tickets for the Grand Ole Opry that night and a bus was picking us up. We arrived at the Ryman just a few minutes before show time, the place was packed, and it was a sell out. I think the main draw was that Elvis Costello was appearing for the first time on the Opry stage, singing with Emmylou Harris. The show is divided into half hour sessions and, as always, was aired live on 650 WSM, so there are commercials between every act. The list of entertainers that night included:

1st set - Little Jimmy Dickens, John Conlee & Tracy Byrd

2nd set – Bill Anderson, Jeannie Seely, Riders in The Sky & The Whites

3rd set – Emmylou Harris, Elvis Costello, Gillian Welch & David Rawlings

4th set – Jim Ed Brown, Bobby Osborne & the Rocky Top X-Press and Dierks Bentley


Elvis Costello and Emmylou Harris at the Grand Ole Opry

The hottest act at the Ryman Auditorium in years!

It was an amazing show and sitting there in the Ryman, listening to the music was a very memorable experience. It was the highlight of the trip for me.

Time to head home and guess what . . . it is snowing and blowing and icy and cold. We started up the road thinking if it was too bad we would just pull over in a rest area or Wal-Mart and wait it out, but we didn’t have to.  As we drove into Kentucky the skies cleared and the sun shone and the roads were bare. Our destination was the same RV park in Indiana for the night, we arrived just before 7 p.m. and it was cold. We had already winterized the unit so we had no running water, this part of camping I don’t like . . .but it was only one night and we were parked right next door to the camp's comfort station (showers, toilets, laundry, etc.)  Sunday morning we were ready to complete the final leg of the trip.  It was early and we had a nice sunny day to do it. We arrived back in Burlington late in the afternoon, safe and sound with our first trip under our belts and still speaking to each other, so I have to say it was a success.

Our next RV trip will begin April 23rd, when we head out for the Fort Wilderness Campground at Walt Disney World in Florida.  It will be warm there!  Yahoo!