Airstream Travels

There’s just so much out there…..

The Heat Is On

Glenn Fry was referring to a certain Beverly Hills Cop when he sang it.  We’re talking the more literal sense.  We’re burning as many fossil fuels as we can get our hands on.  Granted, LuLu’s dead dinosaur consumption is small compared to the average house but when the mercury hits the 20s it’s time to crank up the thermostat and even our carbon footprint grows a size or two.  Nashville is experiencing some “arctic air” as the weatherman calls it and it’s downright COLD!!!!  Tomorrow we may get sleet and snow, though it isn’t expected to stick anywhere.

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Flo and Mingo sporting their winter gear

Yes I said Nashville.  We arrived back last Thursday evening.  No nighttime back in by flashlight this time though.  We left Bessemer City early and pulled into the Nashville Country RV Park with plenty of daylight to spare.  It’s a far cry from the gorgeous spot we had on the lake in North Carolina but as far as RV parks go it’s okay.  It has all we need in the form of places to plug things into, laundry, WiFi, etc. It’s about 15 miles north of Nashville. We were on the east side before so we have some new little towns to check out now.  The surrounding area here actually is rural but not far from the suburban sprawl. I guess we got spoiled the past few weeks in North Carolina where it was so “country” you rarely saw anything except pick-up trucks and cows.

Nashville Country RV Park

Nashville Country RV Park

There’s nothing like being at home for Thanksgiving – spending time with family, friends, and great food.  We’re somewhat comforted by the fact that we bring our “home” with us wherever we go but must rely on our thoughts for the rest.  Those thoughts are with you and yours. We wish all of our family, friends and those we’ve met on our journey so far a happy Thanksgiving.DSCN1578 DSCN1579

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November 24, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | 4 Comments

Carolina In My Mind

Hello everyone, Margo here.

“In my mind I’m goin’ to Carolina.  Can’t you just see the sunshine.  Can’t you just feel the moonshine.  Ain’t it just like a friend of mine….”

Wait a minute…. I AM in Carolina – small towns – country roads –  Bessemer City to be exact.  Proud home of the Bessemer City High School Yellow Jackets and the Bessemer City Primary School Honey Bees.

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City truck displaying their pride.

City truck displaying their pride.

Downtown Bessemer City

Downtown Bessemer City

Central Drug  - since 1927

Central Drug – since 1927

On this job Kevin has a guide provided by the utilities department who takes him out on an ATV Gator to check the gas lines.  Since Kevin does not need Hank (the truck) for this job he has been all mine and we go exploring.

Fall colors ablaze

Fall colors ablaze

This is Fall in North Carolina

This is Fall in North Carolina

Fall colors are spectacular here.  I take it all in as I drive these North Carolina foothills with no particular place to be and not sure where I will end up.  I usually follow the signs to “historic uptown” and look for a Mom and Pop coffee shop.

Lily Beam, another coffee haunt in Shelby.

Lily Beam, another coffee shop haunt in Shelby.

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Inside the Copper Rock in Shelby.  Next door to the laundromat - lucky me.

Inside the Copper Rock in Shelby. Next door to the laundromat – lucky me.

After a day of enjoyable wandering it’s time to pick up Kevin and we often stop by Angel’s – our go-to coffee shop in Bessemer City where as was walk in Angel says, “Welcome back.  I just put on a fresh pot for you guys.”

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Our home from across the lake

Our home from across the lake

We’ve also really loved our campsite.  Moss Lake is a beautiful place to stay as the pictures show.  It’s like we’re on vacation but we still have the mundane every day things to take care of like laundry at the laundromat and washing the dogs.  It was too cold for Kevin to do that outside but we lucked upon a self-service dog wash in Bessemer City.  It’s just like a coin operated car wash except inside a little building.  Shiloh and Pepper were very surprised to see this place.

Inside "Shakers"

Inside “Shakers”

What a great business idea.

What a great business idea

Whether it’s Cherryville, Shelby or Bessemer City everyone is so genuine and friendly – makes me think small town living may be the best way to live life.

Kings Mountain mural

Kings Mountain mural

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Time well spent at the laundromat.  Still working on the afghan.  Half way through.

Time well spent at the laundromat. Still working on the afghan. Half way through.

Country road

Country road

On the road again

On the road again

I have truly enjoyed and embraced our time here in North Carolina and am surely not wanting to leave just yet but duty calls and we are headed back to Nashville at the end of this week.  Kevin  is needed there and will be training a new hire.  I expect we’ll be there through Thanksgiving then onto the next assignment. We’re not sure where that will be but I’m pretty sure our time here in Carolina will be on our minds.

In-Joy!

Margo

November 17, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Train Kept A Rollin’

Hey Folks,

Remember the Aerosmith song with the above title?  We were reminded of it this week but not because we saw the “Bad Boys From Boston” in concert.  Let me explain.   As you know we were assigned to Bessemer City, NC and left Nashville last week for said little town just west of Charlotte.  As soon as I heard we were going I started my research on RV parks and things to see and do.  I’ve mentioned this in other posts.  I check the area for the best RV park especially paying attention to the surrounding area on Goggle Maps.  I want to know about that neighboring nuclear plant, old earthen dam or the always feared nearby clown college.  The problem in this case was the fact that there was only one RV park near Bessemer City and it was so new it wasn’t on Google Maps, or anyone’s map for that matter. We thought okay, we’ll just go for it.  I mean you really can’t have an adventure like this without a little livin’ on the fly.  It couldn’t be that bad could it?

We had an uneventful trip over the mountains, through Asheville and arrived at the campground after dark.  We checked in and paid for the week.  No problem finding the site, well okay a little problem backing in by flashlight but once we were in all was well.  I tended to my chores outside with unhooking things and connecting wires and hoses and such and Margo tended to hers with getting the inside back to living condition.  By now it was close to bedtime and we relaxed.  Then we heard it.  A far off rumble getting closer.  The dog water bowl started vibrating just a little bit (remember Jurassic Park). The rumble got louder and the screeching sounds began.  We looked at each other just as the whistle went off.  TRAIN!

My first thought was who would build an RV park right next to an active train track? Margo’s first thought was how many more would come through during the night? During the following week my question was never really answered.  Margo’s question was answered as the week went on. About 4 to 6 depending on the night.

This is the view from our front door at daybreak.

This was the view from our front door at daybreak.

We have a happy ending here though.  It always pays off to check with the locals so that’s what I did when I went to work on Monday with the Bessemer City Gas Department.  I hit the jackpot again ending up in this little town.  Everyone is down home country nice and willing to help especially the guy they have guiding me around.  He knows all the local spots and told me to check out the campground at nearby Moss Lake.  As I write this on Friday night, after a week of listening to trains, we are now listening to the sound of water over the Moss Lake spillway and the occasional Mallard duck.

Moss Lake from the front door.... much better.

Moss Lake from the front door…. much better.

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Fall is here and the colors are spectacular.  Next time we’ll show you around these parts; the little towns of Kings Mountain, Shelby as well as Bessemer City.  This area deserves a post all it’s own and I’ll leave that one to Margo.  Stay tuned and look for it down the line.

November 1, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Hit The Road Jack

…but you may just be coming back. Here’s the deal folks. We’ll be hitting the road at the end of the week. The company is sending us to Bessemer City, North Carolina. It’s a little bitty place about 25 miles west of Charlotte, population 5,300. It’ll be a small job, just 2 to 3 weeks, then the plan is for us to come back to Nashville and winter over here. There’s plenty of work left here in the Music City but Bessemer City needs a little attention too. We’re going to miss it here but at the same time we’re looking forward to a little small town atmosphere and change of scenery.

As I mentioned in the last post we planned to take in Oktoberfest and in fact did go last Saturday, along with half of Nashville and then some it seemed. The polka band was jammin’ and the beer was flowing but I have a beef with Mr. Samual Adams. Sam – $15.00 for a mug of beer! Really? We actually drew the line there and didn’t drink, just wandered around. Margo found the cat adoption tent and almost brought a little Tabby home but was informed that it was the shelter mascot and she could not have that particular kitty.

The streets were packed.

The streets were packed.

More cowbell!!!!

More cowbell!!!!

"Precious" certainly fit her name.

“Precious” certainly fit her name.

As you can see it was a shorts and flip flops kind of day last Saturday but as I write this a week later old man winter is knocking. He blew in a few days ago so we’ve transitioned to unpacking the winter clothes and sitting around the fire. Margo started a new craft project just in time for the season. She got turned onto making a Monk’s cloth afghan, aka Swedish weaving, from my brother’s wife Teresa back when we were together in late July at Mom’s. It’s in the early stages but I asked her to get going on it – brrrrr!DSCN1484

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All in all we’ve enjoyed our stay here at Countryside RV Resort. It really is very quiet and peaceful as well as convenient to the big city. The Boys really enjoyed the meadows but are itchin’ to put on their road hound badges and get moving. It’s all about new sights and smells for them. Us too, although we’ll leave the sniffing to them.  We leave you with some scenes from the trailer park.

Each row has a theme.  We were sheep.

Each row has a theme. We were sheep.

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Margo and "The Boys" in the meadow.

Margo and “The Boys” in the meadow.

October 20, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Rock the Boat

Things have been pretty mundane at work of late.  Get up, clock in and walk the gas line.  Get up, clock in and walk the gas line.  Get up, clock in, launch the boat and cruise all morning up and down the Cumberland River. WAIT A MINUTE!!!!  WHAT!!!!  Launch the boat?

The Cumberland River snakes it’s way through Nashville quite majestically.  The gas lines do as well, although I can’t say they’re as majestic.  When the two cross each other we have a dilemma, although a good dilemma for me. So yeah, last Thursday I got paid to do some motorboatin’ on the river most of the morning.

A large gas line crosses the river at a place called Clarksville Pike.  It came due to be inspected so the company gave me and one of my co-workers, Warren, the task of surveying it.  Warren has a bass boat so the company made arrangements to rent his boat for the survey.  Keeping it all in the family is always the best way.

Early Thursday was a bit chilly at about 50 degrees but the sun was coming up and warming things up quite well.  The nearest boat ramp to the site of our target gas line was a couple of miles upriver so a cruise was in order.  The water was like glass when Warren pushed the throttle forward and we planed out.  It’s times like this when you have to ask yourself, “ I get paid to do this?”

After a while we arrived at the crossing.  Warren used the trolling motor to make a few passes and I held out the detection instrument we use to find leaks normally; the theory being if it was leaking, since it was a gas, it would rise to the surface and be detected just as any other leak is detected.  Yes, I know, it’s complicated but we had figured it out before launching with complicated mathematical calculations and physics and stuff.

All was well and that’s good since I have no idea how they would fix it if it weren’t.  By lunch time we were back on terra firma and I was walking the line as usual but not a bad day.

The SS. Minnow

The SS. Minnow

The scene of the crime

The scene of the crime

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Railroad Bridge

Railroad Bridge

Full throttle!

Full throttle!

Nashville's skyline from the Cumberland River.

Nashville’s skyline from the Cumberland River.

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The weekend is here and we’re headed out to the Nashville Oktoberfest.  It’s a big deal here with an attendance of about 30,000 beer loving Nashvillians and this year, two thirsty Floridians. Chances are good we’ll find a beer vendor somewhere.  No guarantees on pics that aren’t a bit blurry – jus’ sayin’.

Till then keep it between the buoys and Auf Wiedersehen!

October 11, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Everybody’s Working For The Weekend…….

Hey folks,

Lots to fill you in on.  First off, to fulfill one of the purposes of the blog, to let family, friends and enemies know where we are and where we’ll be.  We’re in….. ready…. drum roll…. Nashville.  Yeah, still here but that’s not a bad thing because there’s still lots to see and do.  The company decided to keep me here for another month to help the permanent crew catch things up.  We’re not complaining and oh, this will give me more time to get my recording contract all sewn up….

So what have we been up to?  Well, as the group Loverboy said back in ‘81, we’re “working for the weekend.”  After working through the week we make it a point to explore the area each Saturday or Sunday.  Last weekend we went to the Cheekwood Botanical Garden and Museum of Art in South Nashville, the 55 acre estate of the Maxwell House Coffee fortune.  It’s a sight in itself in the daytime with the immaculate gardens but starting back in May and running through November they commissioned an artist by the name of Bruce Munro to do his magic with light.  Using hundreds of miles of fiber optic cable and over 20,000 lighted spheres he’s transformed the gardens into (using his words) an “iridescent landscape”.  My pictures here by no means capture it but at least give you an idea.  Their web site does a better job here.  We took it in with a few hundred other like minded art aficionados on an absolutely perfectly crisp and cool evening.

The white bulbs in the background are actually lights, turned off in the daytime.

The white bulbs in the background are actually lights, turned off in the daytime.

The whole landscape changes color.  Quite a sight.

The whole landscape changes color. Quite a sight.

The loggia "light shower".  Note the size of the doors compared to Margo.

The loggia “light shower”. Note the size of the doors compared to Margo.

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This weekend we took a ride to Franklin.  A sleepy little town south of Nashville that seems to be well liked by a few celebs who have made it home including Carrie Underwood, Brad Paisley, Keith Urban and Nicole Kidman as well as NASCAR’s Darryl Waltrip to name a few.  They were all busy so we instead just checked out the downtown area.  Margo was in heaven with all the quaint shops and of course we found a cool local coffee shop, The Frothy Monkey.  I people watched and took pictures, my idea of heaven.  This was mainly a trip to get the lay of the land as we’ll be going back to check out the memorials and old southern mansions associated with the Battle of Franklin, a major civil war battle that occurred here in November 1864, also called the “five bloodiest hours” of the war.  We’ll report on that in a future post.

Until then we know you’ll be working for your weekend and hope you are enjoy them as much as we do ours.

The Frothy Monkey.  Great coffee.

The Frothy Monkey. Great coffee.

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I HAD to take a shot of this little shop.  Nice choice of names. It also turned out to be Margo's favorite.

I HAD to take a shot of this little shop. Nice choice of names. It also turned out to be Margo’s favorite.

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Downtown Franklin

Downtown Franklin

September 29, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Bicycle, Bicycle……

…..I want to ride my bicycle.  I want to ride my bike. I want to ride my bicycle.  I want to ride it where I like…..

Remember the rock group Queen?  Freddie Mercury.  What a voice.  They had a playful song called “Bicycle Race.”  It was on their “Jazz” album which did not contain any jazz per se but did contain a good collection of 70’s rock.  If you’re my age I’m sure you’ve heard the song.  For you whippersnappers here’s a link to YouTube, “Bicycle Race.”

This Saturday morning the sun hadn’t quite made it above the horizon and I was wide awake because our two dogs have no concept of what a weekend is.  I was listening to the I-Pod on scramble or snafu or shuffle, whatever it’s called, and the song came up.  I thought, yeah.  That’s a great idea.  So I did.IMGP6058 IMGP6059

Nashville has a fantastic Greenway with over 190 miles of bike trails in Davidson County, 50 of it paved.  You can get on your bike near the Grand Ole Opry and ride all the way into downtown if you want to, most of it along the Cumberland River.  I decided to start my ride near the J. Percy Priest Dam (the same one LuLu drove over in the last post) and rode toward town.  It was actually quite busy.  Everyone was taking advantage of the cool morning, in the 60s.  I had a sweatshirt on to keep comfortable.  Margo had opted out and until I warmed up I thought that she probably had the right idea but after a while it was perfect.

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The pictures don’t do it justice but there are plenty of hills, some quite steep, so it was a good workout.  Oh, and to a certain blog-reading, mountain bike riding Dalton Georgia gas company supervisor; I didn’t wimp out and stay on the pavement.  I rode plenty of gravel –  and stayed upright.  How’s that arm healin’ there sport…..

So everybody, get out there and ride your bike and ride it where you like.

September 14, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | 4 Comments

Won’t you stay just a little bit longer

Hey folks,

In our last episode you were wondering where we were headed off to.  Remember there was talk of South Carolina.  Well, in preparation we checked out of the KOA and on Monday, Labor Day, we headed over to the Corps of Engineers campground at J. Percy Priest Recreation Area.  Talk about getting back to nature.  It’s right on the lake which is actually a reservoir created when they built the J. Percy Priest dam in 1968.  It’s set up like a state park, sites with electric and water but no sewer hook-up.  They have a 2 week limit so it isn’t really conducive to full-timing.  However it’s ideal for a few days of recreation.

The Corps of Engineers can build 'em right.

The Corps of Engineers can build ’em right.

Overlooking the J. Percy Priest Lake

Overlooking the J. Percy Priest Lake

Our friends Ron and Carol arrived shortly after we did and before long we were planning meals and activities.  As I said, Ron and Carol are on a cross country adventure to see the sights and made Nashville their first muti-day stop.  First order of business was the grocery store where Ron put the butcher into overtime cutting steaks.  Cows all over Davidson county were in mourning for their cow friends and cow neighbors when Ron served up those perfectly seared 16 ounce Rib eyes.

While they were here we took in The Hermitage, the 1,100 acre estate of Andrew Jackson, our 7th President.  The mansion and surrounding buildings, including slave quarters as well as the tomb, are a history buffs dream.  Many of the furnishings all the way down to the wallpaper are original.  I won’t go into the details of it here but if you’re in the Nashville area you have to visit.

So, as I said, we were pretty much going day to day with our camping since we figured we would be leaving the area soon.  The call came but with instructions to stay put in Nashville for another month.  It was great news since we’ve been enjoying ourselves here and had more we wanted to see but we had to make another moving decision.  We were still at a campground with a 2 week limit and pay by the day rates.  “Hey Honey guess what.  We’re gunna move for the third time this week”.  That statement brought an icy stare but she’s a trooper and started packing up the spice rack.

We thought about going back to the KOA but in the end decided to get out of the hustle and bustle of Nashville proper and head to the country.  Our new home is at the Countryside Campground in the town of Lebanon, about 15 miles east of Nashville.  We could have hopped onto the Interstate to get there but opted to take the scenic route instead which included going over the dam.  Then Margo suggested we get a picture of LuLu crossing over the top.  We decided she should be behind the lens rather than behind the wheel so I dropped her off at the bottom with the fisherman and circled back, turned around at the marina, then drove across again where Margo captured “the shot.”

DAM-M-M!!!!!

DAAAMN!

Heading in to pick up the "photographer"

Heading in to pick up the “photographer”

Lebanon’s claim to fame includes it’s many antique shops and the corporate headquarters of Cracker Barrel, how’s that for country living.  As the weather cools the fall festivals get cranked up so there’ll be much to do and see.  We want to visit Cheekwood, the 55 acre garden estate built by the Maxwell House Coffee fortune.  We also plan to ride the Greenway trail system and the cooler weather will definitely make that a more enjoyable experience.

Country living.

Country living

We can be found here for the rest of the month.

We can be found here for the rest of the month.

So just like Jackson Browne, the boss said, “won’t you stay just a little bit longer…….”

September 8, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | 2 Comments

I’m Alright…….

……“ain’t nobody worried ‘bout me”.  Kenny Loggins’ theme song from “Caddyshack” was playing in my head all afternoon this past Friday.  Ya see, I’d worked hard this week putting in the miles in a never ending northeast Nashville neighborhood.  After consulting my map in the morning I got a great idea.  I’d just go golfing.

Hank, happy in the clubhouse parking lot.

Hank, happy in the clubhouse parking lot.

Actually the Ted Rhodes Golf Course was in the survey area on my map.  A good section of the distribution line runs all over the course.  I figured I’d hit the links after 12:00 when most of the golfers had headed for the clubhouse to get out of the heat.  I didn’t look forward to dodging tee shots.

I checked in at the clubhouse with the pro, just to let him know what I was up to.  He couldn’t have been nicer.  “No problem. Now it’s hot out there. Bring some water.  You want a cart?  I’ll get ya a cart,” he said.  “No thanks”, I replied.  “I sorta have to walk it, that’s the point”.  He shot back, “Well that’s ridiculous but suit yourself.  Watch your noggin out there”.

So off I went to the first tee, a dogleg left with a wicked sand trap.  The map indicated to head toward the cart path and the river.  The Cumberland River runs next to the course so I checked that out.  Next a par 5 that would favor anyone with a slice.  All in all a good afternoon of work.  Yeah, it was hot but if you have to be outside you might as well be on the wide fairways of the Ted Rhodes.DSCN1292

The Cumberland River

The Cumberland River

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Nine in ten people have no idea the yellow lines on the cart path mean a gas line is underground.

Most people have no idea the yellow lines on the cart path mean a gas line is underground.

Labor Day weekend is here.  We’re going to leave a few days early from the KOA, hook up LuLu Monday and head over to a Corps of Engineers campground south of Nashville (Seven Points).  There’s a recreation area there with a dam, reservoir and all kinds of outdoor opportunities.  Joining us for a couple of days will be our good friends from Ocala, Ron and Carol, as they make their way out west for vacation.  Mt. Rushmore is calling their names.

Where will we be going after that?  Who knows.  There’s talk of South Carolina but those details won’t be known until later next week when I get with the boss and get our marching orders.  Till then keep it out of the rough.

August 30, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Crazy Town

Hey Folks,

To quote Wikipedia, “Music Row is an area just to the southwest of downtown Nashville.  It’s home to hundreds of businesses related to the country music, gospel music and contemporary Christian music industries. Centered around 16th and 17th Avenues South (called Music Square East and Music Square West), Music Row is widely considered the heart of Nashville’s entertainment industry. In this area, one will find the offices of numerous record labels, publishing houses and recording studios…”

Some of the superstars you hear on the radio today as well as the session musicians you hear backing up the Brad Paisleys and Carrie Underwoods of the billion dollar music industry walked Music Row with high hopes and made it big.  Most though never found their fortunes through the front doors of those offices on 16th and 17th Avenues.  Well, guess what folks, I walked The Row too.  It took me about two days but all I found were a couple of leaking meters and what I thought was a leak underground but was just a stinky storm water drain.  Now, if I had learned to play the guitar or was born with a good singing voice then maybe things would have worked out differently.  My point here is, I felt a kinship walking those same sidewalks with those seeking their fortune and fame.  I hope they find what they were looking for.  Hey, who knows, the 20 something kid who looked at me strangely when he saw me climbing out of the bushes at Sony Music (to get at the meter) just may end up on the main stage at the Opry one day.  Oh, and Sony, trim the bushes around your place will ya – it took me forever to find that thing.

The capital building.

The capital building.

My overall impression of Nashville isn’t that of the trendy “Music City” persona the visitors bureau describes or the “Hollywood with a twang” that Jason Aldean conveys in his song “Crazy Town”.  There’s a good mix of southern hospitality and class but for the most part, to me, it’s an edgy and gritty working town.  You can tell they were riding the wave for a long time but now with MP-3’s and free downloads the gold has lost a little bit of it’s lustre.  The parking lots on Music Row still contain high end sports cars they’re just a couple of years old and need a good wash.DSCN1252

Don’t get me wrong though.  It is a cool place and on Saturday we went downtown again and toured the area some more.  Culture was on the agenda this trip so we made a beeline for the Tennessee State Museum.  Okay, maybe not a beeline.  We first stopped at the funkiest donut shop this side of Woodstock.  I mean come on, culture is important but this was DONUTS! DSCN1273 “Peace, Love and Little Donuts” is stuck in a little hole in the wall a block or two from the bus station so if you’re ever in Nashville don’t miss it.  May I suggest the double chocolate.  Margo went for the maple.DSCN1272 DSCN1274

We finally made it to the museum after strolling around downtown for a bit.  We were thinking art exhibits.  I was pleased with the admission price of free ‘cause if I was going to have to suffer through a bunch of art it better at least be free. That isn’t the case though.  It’s more a museum of natural history.  The exhibits run from samples of a mastodon found in the state to prehistoric pottery all the way up to pioneer history (think Davy Crockett), the Civil War and World War II.  We barely saw a third of it so I’ll save that for another post.  We plan to go back next Saturday and yeah, maybe I’ll warm up to some art.  Till then, take care and have yourself a donut – it’s cultural.

August 17, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment