Monday, June 21, 2010

we made a blog!

Day 1 - Tuesday, June 15th 2010
Odometer reads: 718.5 miles

Depart from Virginia Beach and head to Stone Mountain State Park in North Carolina. We stopped at Stamey's BBQ in Greensboro, NC - the first stop of many restaurants from the book "Roadfood"... definitely a sandwich to remember. They had a massive BBQ pit as an entirely seperate building behind the restaurant, with 3 huge piles of firewood ready to die. After checking in, we stopped at the Stone Mountain Country Store just outside our campsite for Coke in bottles and amazing ice cream cones, not to mention a 2 lb. bag of peanuts that Kat is just now getting to the bottom of... the best investment of the trip so far. Our first night in the humidity of America... camping is fun.

Day 2 - Wednesday, June 16th 2010
Odometer reads: 1071.1 miles
Packed up the car and took off from NC early towards Anderson Road Campground in Nashville, TN, the only primitive campground available in Nashville... unless you have an RV, you're unwelcome anywhere else. No reservation, but we got an awesome site on J. Percy Priest Lake anyway :) thanks to the friendly ranger who also doubles as Kenny Chesney's tourbus driver on his days off. Took a couple of showers and felt INCREDIBLE for 2 minutes... until we stepped out and started sweating again. Headed downtown for some grub to Rotier's, another "Roadfood" pick, for some of the best burgers (on french bread) we've ever had. We even ordered a 3rd one to split... which wouldn't surprise any who know us. Walked down the street and found Aladdin's Hookah Bar and stopped for a drink, served up by Tanisha from Boston. Talked to her for a bit and then headed home to fall asleep to the sound of rowdy teenage boys in the nearby campsites.

Day 3 - June 17 2010
Odometer reads: about the same

Woke up at 5 a.m. to this beautiful sunrise reflecting off the lake right outside our tent. Slept on and off again until 7 and finally got up because of the unbearable heat radiating into our tent... which should have gone in the shade. Smalls made a makeshift shade that resembled a flying squirrel, but we soon had to tear it down to shield the tent from the torrential downpour that rolled in while we were at the beach a half-mile away. Lots of rain, lots of loud thunder, lots of wind. After riding that storm out in the tent, moving the tent away from the water, and discovering that our fishing pole didn't cast, we made a trip to Walmart for a new pole and other supplies. Success. Relaxed for awhile then headed back downtown to revisit Tanisha and Aladdin's for happy hour beers and hookah. Fun :)


Meaning later we headed to Broadway and 2nd Avenue, the hotspot of downtown Nashville. Tootsie's, Rippy's, and plenty of other country bars on a wide one-way street dotted with horse buggies and white cowboy hats. Stopped at Rippy's for a quick bite: burgers, beer, and corncakes (much like pancakes, except a little sweeter). While there, we found this and couldn't pass up the photo opportunity:

Walked a few more blocks but the heat got the best of us and sent us home sleepy and stoked for our tent-bed by 12.

Day 4 - June 18 2010

Odometer reads: Same as above

We were supposed to leave this morning, but decided that since the weather so rudely interrupted our attempts at a botanical gardens trip the previous day, we had no choice but to stay another day and make the trip. After relocating our tent to an inland site, we went back to the beach for a couple of hours to swim and found a perfect tree to lay under and fish next to. The weather was awesome all day, hot and sunny and NO rain at all :)

Smalls made me put up that second picture. There were much cuter ones... but this one's funny and it had pretty colors... and I love her, so there it is. We went from the beach with a couple of sandwiches to the botanical gardens for Chihuly at Cheekwood, the coolest art show we could imagine. Dale Chihuly, one of the best glassblowers in America, made over 1000 pieces of hand-blown glass for the Cheekwood Botanical Garden and Museum of Art summer show. We probably took 150 pictures, but here are a few of the coolest ones...

The figure in the bottom left corner was a piece called "The Sun," it was 16' x 14' x 14'. We hung around the gardens in our shabby attire (I say shabby because we were the only ones not wearing sun dresses, it is Nashville after all) for a total of 3 hours because we had to do another walk through at night. When we left we got a couple of Big Mac's and agreed it was worth staying an extra night in Tennessee.

Overall we said Nashville was clean (even the downtown), lush with many trees and mountains, which likely contributed to the freshness of the air. There were few cookie cutter neighborhoods, and the houses had real lawns, very Christian and family-oriented.

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