Clark, gas up the wagon!

July 17, 2011

Dear Mom and Dad-

Our first stop is Gatlinburg, Tennessee and since we have made no accommodations ahead of time for this trip, Dave requested an old school type roadside motel. Here is where I point out that we made a decision to throw caution to the wind and let the road take us where it may, reservations be damned! Now we all know that Dave is very much Type A, with a blazing capital A marked with a fine point red pen and I, on the very other hand am...not.

He is the official driver and I am his "copilot", a term I use loosely as most of the time I have been slamming my passenger side brakes in between not so gently reminding him of the speed limit on whatever highway we are currently on. This is where, my dear parents, that the little genius section of Dave's brain kicked in and immediately got me the supplemental job of finding the next lodging set up on his new iPad while he drives. I have been enjoying the little 3-5 hour jaunts as I surf Priceline for the best deal.

The downside of this partnership is that I have no control of the radio station selection. "The DRIVER needs to be concentrating on the open road and enjoy singing out loud while all the passengers tend to their iPods and iPads!!! I don't want to hear about the level you achieved on Angry Birds!!! Can someone PLEASE hand me a Twizzler! Can anyone name the number of albums Keith Urban has released? Hey, look kids, Big Ben!"

While control of the music sounds like no big deal to the average traveler, consider the fact one of us is a big Country Music fan and the other likes Rock'n'Roll. (Yes, Dave is a little bit Marie Osmond, making me a little bit Donny) I would rather sit in the back seat on the cooler in between the boys on Goldfish crumbs and used lollipop sticks than listen to country music.

And the Official Driver has thrown down the gauntlet. While this car is in Tennessee, ONLY Country Music will be played! And I swear to goodness, the minute we crossed the Tennessee line, I was in the realm of old trucks, whiskey, cowboy boots and young love done wrong. I did manage to come up with a favorite: "You and Tequila Make Me Crazy" by who the hell knows.

Gatlinburg, Tennessee

July 18, 2011

Dear Ma and Pa-

Our first accommodation was Jack Huff's Motor Lodge located 2 steps from downtown Gatlinburg. Jack wasn't there but his daughter was kind enough to find us a room with 2 doubles and our own bathroom. This little spot boasts an amenity that you just don't find at any roadside motor lodge: A HOT TUB ROOM. S h u t t h e f r o n t d o o r. (is there one???)

Not one folks but TWO hot tubs in one room with a giant atrium to gaze at the passer-bys who just wish they were lucky enough to stay at Jack Huff's. Even though the boys were dying to hop in and spend a few lazy hours people watching, we had something up our sleeve slightly more exciting, if at all: zip lining the treetops of the Smoky Mountains.

Yep, Pa, I still have that little fear of heights. Wishing I had not taken so many Tylenols due to CMH (Country Music Headache), or I would have kicked back a few shots of tequila to jump into the harness. I was too scared to mix meds and have some sort of reaction on a canopy way the heck up there and require a guide to zip me down at mach speed to save my life....because I just would have had a heart attack right then and there and it would have negated everything. And Dave would have been pissed.

Nashville, Tennessee

Pedestrian Bridge
Nic on stage at the legendary Ryman playing Smoke on the Water for the crowd.
Making art at the Frist Center after visiting the amazing Andy Warhol exhibit.

Memphis, Tennessee

The Meditation Garden was actually really pretty. It is strange to me that fans leave really random items on the grave.