Sunday, November 6, 2016


and the sun rises on day one of our mini vacay in Tennessee. The view from the hotel in Newport, Tennessee ( population about 6,800), the closest to my brother's place in Del Rio. This is going to be a very exciting day, I have not seen my brother and sister-in-law in 26 years!

cruising through Newport on our way to Del Rio.

Well you wont find this in Canada. The local food store had an entire aisle dedicated to beer and wine.

We landed at by brother and sister-in-laws place. Very cool old hood in the driveway.

They live on a beautiful and peaceful 27 acres nestled in the Smokey Mountains.

What's left of the old outhouse.

They are both exceptional artists. One of their projects was etching artwork on these tiles.

I have this picture in my kitchen. It is one they drew of a cabin on their property.
and here I am sitting at the very cabin!
on the road looking in  towards their house, (hard to tell, but they're standing on the front porch)

The old post office in Del Rio

Our rental car for the week sported Georgia license plates

back in Newport
Junior standing by the French Broad river.

Train bridge in Del Rio

Well this might look like a beautiful site in Del Rio, but the very invasive Kudzu vines in the foreground are a huge problem in the southern U.S.

Highway bridge crossing the French Broad river on our way to.........
........North Carolina  for a little day trip

worth a zoom in

ditto on the zoom in

If I had the time, it would have been all of the above

junior is dwarfed by the old red bridge in Hot Springs, North Carolina, population around 600.

Spring Creek. (we never made it to the actual hot springs)

I see North Carolina has the same fracking problem as British Columbia. Click here to learn more.

The main drag

Crossing over the French Broad River again.

When in Greeneville, Tennessee, lunch and Ma and Pa's is a must. (Junior, my sister-in-law Wendy and brother Rick enjoying the front porch)

On the wall was this flag representing the 7 original confederate states

My brother took us to a fire look-out tower that gave us an amazing view of the Cherokee National Forest and the Smoky Mountains.

Looking east

(pics out of order) While we were searching around my brother's property, we came across an old private family cemetery at the top of a hill. There was about 25, and most of them had the surname Willis on them.

one more pic from the look-out.
at my brother's place, he had a great aerial view pic of his property on his computer.

The next day they treated us to an incredible view of the Smoky Mountains.

To a place called Max Patch in North Carolina on the border with Tennessee.
At an elevation of 4629 feet, Max Patch boasts a 360-degree view of the Appalachian Mountains including the Blue Ridge and the Smokies

The perfect day for a hike
watch your step

There was a real peacefulness up at the top of Max Patch

I did not get an endorsement deal from angry orchard cider, but I should!
I tried to take a 360 video, I think it should work.
I see why they are called the Smoky Mountains. There is always a haze over top of them.

This panorama doesn't quite show as well on this blog.

A marker at the top placed by the U.S. government .
Always something to see no matter what direction you look

Hey junior, get out of the way!

Trying my artistic side. I took advantage of this pumpkin someone had lugged all the way to the top.
A butterfly happened to flutter by.

one last look.

stuck behind a logging truck on the way down
No trip to Del Rio would be complete without a lunch stop at the Gourmet Hillbillyz on highway 107.

After a great visit with my brother and sister-in-law, it was time to move on. We wanted to see a bit more of Tennessee before we had to head back to Vancouver. First stop was Sevierville, known for many things, including the hometown of Dolly Parton

the old courthouse in Sevierville, population around 15,000
It soon became apparent that the area was a real tourist mecca, being so close to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The first thing we saw in Pigeon Forge, was a strip of amusements and attractions, including this hot air balloon ride.

I can see young families making this their vacation destination, but it was way too touristy for us. Upside down mansion?

the Titanic? We didn't even try to see Dollywood. It was time to get out of there.
We thought we should try and see a bit of the Great Smoky mountains park, so we decided on Laurel Falls. The pictures online made it look very majestic.

After a 30 minute hike and a lot of tourists to navigate, we finally saw the falls. Except there had been a bit of a drought, and there really wasn't much left of the falls. Oh well.

We finally found a nice little creek to claim as our own for a bit of a break

we drove for awhile then took a break in the town of Cookeville, Tennessee

It sure had that old town feel to it.

I love these kind of places

the sun was setting as we cruised down I-40 towards tonights destination........
Nashville! and it was as cool as we thought it was going to be. The downtown strip of honky-tonks on Broadway was overwhelming.

Part of Bridgestone arena, home of the Nashville Predators hockey team, right beside the Broadway entertainment district

So many cool places, most had live music playing, it was endless.

Across the Cumberland River was Nissan stadium, home of the NFL's Tennessee Titans

The view from the Acme Feed and Seed bar at the end of Broadway

By far my favourite was Robert's Western World. This place was old and authentic, and I felt right at home.

Historical signs were everywhere, this one outside the Ryman theatre, home of the original Grand Ole Opry.

Our hotel was across from this museum dedicated to the original Dukes of Hazzard t.v. show.

We went for a bite to eat at another cool bar, which had an amazing band playing hits from the  1950/s,  it was a lot of fun.

The kids wanted to see Third Man Records, founded by Jack White
It was a recording studio and a store. The monkey band actually worked, much to my delight.

Another cool thing that was actually in working order.

Down the street, another bit of history.

The country music hall of fame in Nashville

Broadway during the daytime.
One more stop into Robert's Western World

I could of spent hours looking at all of the memorabilia!

Across the street, the Ernest Tubb record shop.

The Texas troubadour.

The party on Broadway is all day and night

We went out to the iconic Bluebird Café to for an evening of music called in the row. Tonight we were lucky enough to see 4 songwriters perform, Helen Cronin, Doug Johnson, D. Vincent Williams, and Scott Sean White. Riley Smith, who is one of the stars on the T.V. show Frequency I am working on hooked us up with tickets. He knew the place from when he was on the T.V. show Nashville

A who's who of  musicians have played here.
And not all were country stars.

It was an intimate 90 seat venue that is packed every night for two shows

Last night, a chance to walk around downtown a bit

HIghway 65 records, a fictional set created for the T.V. series Nashville. It is actually at a Hilton hotel.

Printer's Alley, a night club district dating back to the 1940's

The Christian entertainment based Word entertainment

RCA recording studio B, famous for many legends. Apparently, Elvis Presley recorded over 260 songs here.

Nashville has a full scale replica of the Athens Parthenon, currently a museum. This was built in 1897!

The last thing I did in Nashville was visit the Ryman Auditorium. (click the link for the history)  I really wish I saw a live performance there. Oh well, next time! Many, many acts have entertained at the Grand Ole Opry.

I was trying to get the vibe of what it would be like back in the olden days.

the namesake
the history!

dress fro Minnie Pearl

Hank Williams

Porter Wagoner

Loretta Lynn

Hank Snow

Marty Robbins

More Minnie Pearl.

Part of the stairway

more acts to grace the Grand Ole Opry stage

Roy Acuff and Minnie Pearl

Johnny Cash

One last look on Broadway

Good-bye Roberts, I'll be back!

One last beverage on the strip, this time Tootsie's world famous orchid lounge.

It was raining today, good travel day. I think this was Clarksville, Tennessee

Brownsville, Tennessee?
On the side of the road we kept seeing these fields. Nothing like back home.

On closer inspection we realized they were cotton fields.

intersection of Canada road and Memphis-Arlington Road close to Memphis.

I thought is was appropriate to have a little breakfast at at least one Waffle House while we were down south.

You get a bowl of grits whether you ask for them or not.

Really felt like we were down south
The first place I wanted to see in Memphis was the  Lorraine Hotel/Motel, now home of the National Civil Rights museum.

It was surreal to be standing outside of the place where Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated on April 4, 1968

The motel was in a very old part of Memphis

Iconic Beale Street in Memphis, another huge music scene. Unfortunately we ran out of time on this trip to see any of it.

A mini day trip from Memphis, across the Mississippi river into Arkansas

a lot different terrain than when we started out trip in the Smoky Mountains

Random, grasshopper lands on our windshield, shot

noticing a lot of poverty in some of these small farm towns in Tennessee, Arkansas and Mississippi
I think I drove one similar a long, long time ago in my trucking world

gotta keep moving, times running out!

back where I'm from, it's bales of hay you see....down here it's bales of cotton.

Horseshoe Lake, Arkansas
random, building shot, along the way

Another town that has seen better days, Hughes, Arkansas.
(except who ever owns the hummer out front).
It was interesting to me it was mostly African-American people in these towns

Marianna, Arkansas

Helena, Arkansas

back across the Mississippi river, this time into Mississippi

The only town in Mississippi we spent any time in was Clarksdale.

This was a lucky find, we had no idea Clarksdale is known as the home of the blues.

We felt right at home at the Ground Zero Blues Club.

The décor was "anything goes", and peoples signatures were on everything and anything.  This place is partially owned by Morgan Freeman, the actor.

I could of spent the whole afternoon in there.
Well junior, last night for this adventure

If you ever make there, I recommend the deep-fried mushrooms.

one last stroll down the main street of Clarksdale.

28 Celsius in October? I'll take it!

by the time we got back to Memphis, we were out of time, and only had a quick chance to see the outside of Graceland, Elvis Presley's home.

Across the street was one of Elvis's planes, the Lisa Marie

Then it was time to leave Memphis. The moon was still out as we left the hotel at 430 am

good-bye to the rental car that got us across the great state of Tennessee

Just getting light out as we take-off

Our connecting flight to Vancouver was in Los Angeles

No head in the clouds on this trip, we were way, way above the clouds.

1 comment:

  1. Sorry to bother you with this random question, what neighborhood is the Wayward Pines neighborhood in Coquitlam? You have some pictures and I don't think you specified the street names. Thanks