Only in Tennessee do you walk into a Camping World store for RV-friendly toilet paper to find a band playing!
We spent the last four weeks “doing Tennessee” and the best part was, we didn’t do it alone! Colleen (aka Aunt
Funness) flew out to Pigeon Forge and rode in the Wave with us to Nashville. During her stay we celebrated
Zoe’s Birthday, her Birthday and Easter. Thankfully, the Easter Bunny found us this year. He may
want to reconsider hiding eggs outside as snails seem to adhere themselves and all their slime onto the plastic
egg, which in-turn caused a certain 9-year-old to freak-out! Our next guess or victim was Celeste, a dear friend
of 20+ years who now lives in Kentucky. Thank you for making the commute to spend time with us and go to The
Bluebird Cafe! Finally, Kelly Vittum, a close friend of ours from home who just happened to be walking into the
Johnny Cash Museum as we were leaving. My jaw is still on the ground!
Pigeon Forge is as touristy as a town gets! Thankfully, we could escape to the Great Smokey Mountains before
suffocating! The heavy layer of fog does indeed resemble smoke. I can’t wait to hike them-there hills again in
ten years! The Appalachian Trail Hiking party departs in Georgia, March 2028! Please RSVP by March of 2028. Here,
we met a super cute family, Team Auxier. Zoe played with Calleigh and Brayden every minute that she could.
Thank you for all the great recommendations on hikes, restaurants and bars. We had a fabulous time!
Quick side note – the REASON we went to Pigeon Forge was to go to the Extreme Outdoor Gravity Park. Zoe desperately
wanted to do for her 9th birthday. We celebrated by rolling down a massive hill in a blow-up ball full
of water. Seemed safe. That is still being determined, but it was a blast! I have never laughed so hard in my life.
This includes the time I went down the mountain alone. It was an odd feeling to laugh so hard all alone. It was the
perfect way to celebrate our Zoe, loud and crazy! Speaking of crazy, the week started out with Dollywood. Surprisingly,
it didn’t suck! The amusement park had fun rides (I don’t know why I am still surprised by this) and decent food
including the much-anticipated cinnamon bread that we heard so much about. The bread line was as long as the
roller-coaster lines and worth every calorie! Well done, Dolly!
Nashville was my “most-anticipated” stop. I wanted to feel the energy and be surrounded by live music (it was just a
bonus that most of it was country music – sorry Bri!) I checked off half of my bucket-list here, starting with
The Bluebird Cafe. We got in. We got a front row table. BAM! Another highlight included a family night at the Sounds
baseball game which also provided us our first taste of “hot chicken”. Dang my love of fried food! We also explored
the Country Music Hall of Fame, Grand Ole Opry as Charlie Daniels played the “Devil Went Down to Georgia”,
Andrew Jackson’s (and his awesome pipe-smokin’ wife’s) Hermitage, The Ryman Auditorium, and several bars including
the Flying Saucer, Tootsies, Nudies and the Bearded Iris! Thank you, Team Jensen, for many perfect recommendations!
Memphis was a quick two-nighter to see Beale Street, eat at Gus’s (yes, more fried food) and most importantly, pay
our respect to the great Martin Luther King, Jr. We took the girls to The Lorraine Motel, where he was assassinated.
The visual makes everything more real and helps us all to wrap our head around what happened. Before heading out,
we stopped at Graceland, the home of the King of Rock-n-roll, Elvis Presley. A humble house from the outside,
yet each room had more character than I could ever imagine. A must-do if you are in the area.
Thank you, thank you very much!
Boondocks and Bliss