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  • Day71

    Day 71 - Walking to Memphis

    July 1, 2019 in the United States ⋅ 🌙 25 °C

    Got up at 8:30am for breakfast, then retired back to our room for a couple of hours. The plan was to walk to downtown Memphis, just 1.9 miles away, for some sightseeing, have a drink in Beale Street at dusk & then return to the hotel.

    At 11.00am we left our hotel & marched down Madison Avenue until we saw an Enterprise Car Rental Office, so we decided to call in to seek advice about the damage to Doodle. It was too busy & after 5 minutes we gave up & carried on.

    Our 1st planned stop was ‘The Legendary Sun Studios’, which is without doubt the Birthplace of Rock ‘n’ Roll. The recording studio was set up by a Mr Sam Phillips in 1950 & is where he discovered and first recorded such influential musicians as Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley, Carl Perkin, Roy Orbison and Jerry Lee Lewis. "Rocket 88" by Jackie Brenston and his Delta Cats, who were actually Ike Turner and his Kings of Rhythm was the first record to be recorded & released by Sun Studios.

    Sun Studios were open to go inside, where it consisted of a cafe & a record shop, both crammed full of memorabilia on the walls. You could pay to visit the actual recording studio on a tour, but we declined. After the obligatory photos, we continued.

    Next stop was downtown to the National Civil Rights Museum. On the way we passed AutoZone Park, home of the Memphis Redbirds baseball team & The Peabody Hotel, home of some ducks.

    The National Civil Rights Museum is situated in two locations, half in the Lorraine Motel & half in the Legacy Building across the Street. The significance of these locations is that Martin Luther King Jr was shot dead on the balcony of Room 306 of the Lorraine Motel & James Earl Ray (or did he?) shot him from a room in a rooming house on S. Main Street, now the Legacy Building.

    Security was tight at the Museum, but after being scanned & searched we went to the ticket desk. The ticket girl asked if we qualified for a discount by being Military or senior citizen’s 55 or over. I told her I was 55 & quite rudely she accepted my word for it without asking for proof & gave me a $2 discount. Bloody cheek. This was the very 1st time in my life that I have got a discount for being so old, luckily Jackie didn’t mention it!

    The Museum was exceptionally good, providing us with a visual & audio history of the black Civil Rights struggle from slavery up to the current day. It presented the history in a very dynamic way with lots of video footage & sound recordings. There were mock ups of the Rosa Parks bus incident & the Selma to Montgomery March amongst others.

    The ultimate highlight was that we were able to view the exact location where MLK was shot & the exact location from where he was shot. The Legacy Building contained a lot of exhibits, items left by Ray when he fled the scene, including the actual gun. There were also displays setting out the conspiracy theories & the evidence for & against. I was intrigued to discover that Ray was actually arrested at London’s Heathrow Airport.

    For us, the National Civil Rights Museum was extremely poignant having only recently visited a lot of the scenes of the significant events described, including at Topeka, Selma, Montgomery, Birmingham & now Memphis.

    When we exited, we were amazed to realise that it was gone 3.00pm, so we walked along the Mississippi River Bank to the moored American Queen Paddle Steamboat, then headed up Beale Street in search of refreshment. We stopped at King’s Palace Cafe Patio on Beale Street, where we ordered one can of beer each, which came to the extortionate price of over $15. We supped (very slowly) our beer, whilst enjoying the blues band that were playing.

    About 45 minutes later, we couldn’t make our beer last any longer, so we headed out in search of food. It was not looking good, then it started to rain, so we made a dash for Hooters & ‘Happy Hour’. We ordered a pitcher (5 pints) of Dos Equis XX beer & a large plate of sliders & curly chips, which came to the grand sum of $14.

    About 5:00pm, we dragged ourselves away & headed for the Memphis Rock n Soul Museum. Again the ticket girl asked if we qualified for a discount & I immediately piped up “OAPs?” to which without question she gave us BOTH $1 off the entrance fee. The Museum started off with a 15 minute film in the theatre, providing a visual history of music in Memphis. We then were given an audio headset to listen to the story of Memphis Music as we made our way around the exhibits. Again it was superb & we exited just before 7.00pm unable to stop foot tapping!

    I was keen to see Beale Street in the dark, but it was still light, so we hotfooted it back to Hooters for another Pitcher of our favourite Mexican beer. We sat outside & watched the world go by. Eventually we left & made for Beale Street for a final drink before going back to the hotel.

    We walked up & down & selected the Blues Hall, which had a decent band playing. We ordered our drinks, Jackie a Long Island Tea cocktail & me a Big Ass beer, which we paid for as well as a $5 cover charge. I then went to the loo, which was in the adjoining building, the Rum Boogie Cafe & was blown away by the sound of the blues band playing.

    Jackie & I then relocated to the Rum Boogie Cafe & sat down at a table with a couple from Canada, Nick & Lisa. Nick was a massive Blues fan & went crazy when I told him about our visit to Buddy Guy’s Legends & Buddy actually sang.

    Anyway, the music by the band was utterly fantastic. The lead singer played the harmonica like I couldn’t believe possible & the young drummer was incredible. We ended up staying for another 2 drinks each & possibly getting a bit tipsy. During a break, I approached the lead singer Vince to enquire about their name, Vince Johnson & the Plantation Allstars & we got a group selfie with him, Nick & Lisa.

    It was just before midnight that we finally left Beale Street & got an Uber home. Luckily we were still in reception, when our Uber driver came running in with my iPhone that I had left in the back of his car. Maybe I was a bit tipsy!

    I’ve said it before several times, but This was the best day of the trip so far.

    Song of the Day - Walking in Memphis by Marc Cohen.

    Bonus Songs of the Day :-

    Rocket 88 by Jackie Brenston & His Delta Cats
    Beale Street by The JT Blues Band
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    Craig Boswell

    Just watched Vince and his team on YouTube very good great find.

    Simon and Jackie Annals

    Well done Craig, I looked for them on Spotify but couldn’t find them.

  • Day75

    Day 75 - War on the Battlefield

    July 5, 2019 in the United States ⋅ ⛅ 32 °C

    The Time Zones are causing chaos with our sleep patterns. I was awake until 3.00am, then Jackie woke up & stayed awake for the rest of the night. We failed to make breakfast again & it was minutes to 11.00am that we finally struggled out of the motel.

    Our 1st port of call was the Passage Waterwalk, also known as the Weeping Stairway on Chattanooga’s Riverfront Parkway. Jackie jumped in for a photo. We also skirted round the Bluff View Art District?

    It was a another transition day today & we didn’t want to do too much, so I planned a visit to Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park that spans the States of both Georgia & Tennessee. It is possibly not that familiar to most people including myself, but Chickamauga Battlefield was the potentially the Death Knell of the Confederacy.

    President Abraham Lincoln believed that taking Confederate controlled Chattanooga was vitality important, because it would cripple the supply lines of the Confederates. Chattanooga lay on the banks of the Tennessee River, where it cut through the Appalachian Mountains, allowing four major railroads to converge. In the summer of 1863, Union soldiers took control of Chattanooga, but the Confederates weren’t giving up without a fight, resulting in an almighty battle at Chickamauga. Little went to plan (nothing’s changed since!) & thousands of men lost their lives. It was in November 1863 that the City’s fate was finally decided & perhaps that of the Confederacy.

    We went to the Visitors Center & I obtained a National Parks Map to add to my collection. The park included a self drive tour through the Battlefield which would take an hour, ideal. Jackie declared that she wasn’t that interested, so we agreed that she would drive & I could get out to look & read the available information.

    This is where it all went wrong! Jackie drove out of the car park totally ignoring the Stop 🛑 sign. We had only gone about a 100 metres down the road, when our car was precariously close to a deep drop in the verge, that had ‘wheel wrecker’ written all over it.

    I calmly shouted at Jackie “Get over” & she did, but to the other carriageway & towards the oncoming traffic. I, not so calmly, shouted “Get back” & we swerved back again. That was it, apparently Jackie had been nowhere near the verge & everything was all my fault. A short distance later we clunked down into the verge & our damaged bumper let it’s undercarriage drop.

    At our next stop, we managed to push the prolapsed undercarriage back up & after lots of shouting at each other, we continued our Battlefield tour in silence. I’m not sure who endured the severest of hostilities, the Confederates or us!

    Despite all this, the Battlefield was a fascinating place, full of memorials, information plaques & hundreds & hundreds of cannons to honour the dead & the event. The wooded Battlefield had been preserved as a memorial since the end of the 1800s, which made it easy to visualise the events that we read about.

    At the conclusion of the tour, we swapped drivers & I drove through Fort Oglethorpe & picked up Interstate 75. The plan was to get to Knoxville some 120 miles away, but a few miles short, we stopped at Cedar Bluff.

    We checked into a decent looking Baymont Inn & Suites & by 4.00pm we were out by the pool enjoying the sunshine. We managed to sneak a few cold beers out in a laundry bag of ice & put some of my freshly washed boxers on the sun bed to dry. Nothing ‘pikey’ in that!

    That evening we treated ourselves to a ribeye steak & salad at an ‘Outback Streakhouse’. We both ordered the ribeye steak, baked potato & salad with a large Stella beer. It was nice, but both our steaks were over salty. We have noticed that a lot of the fast food we have been eating recently has been saltier than suits our taste buds.

    We were in bed before 9.00pm, hopefully getting a good night sleep before heading on to Pigeon Forge early tomorrow for another bucket list entry to be ticked off.

    Song of the Day - Love is a Battlefield by Pat Benatar.
    Read more

    Jonathan Annals

    Y'all going to Dollywood?!

  • Day25

    Ugga! Ugga! Chattanooga

    April 28 in the United States ⋅ ⛅ 22 °C

    Chattanooga hieß uns mit neuen Radwegen durch ehemaliges Industriegebiet, einer
    hübschen AirBnB-Unterkunft im antiken Stil und zahlreichen Brauerein willkommen, sodass wir die Anstrengungen der zweiten Etappe schnell vergaßen.
    Aber auch abseits flüssiger Gaumenfreuden hat Chattanooga einiges zu bieten. So besichtigten wir am nächsten Tag Ruby Falls, ein unterirdischer Wasserfall und der Touristenmagnet Chattanoogas.
    Durch Corona sind allerdings nur ein Bruchteil der Besucher da, sodass es erträglich blieb und wir den Besuch genießen konnten. Wir entschieden uns dennoch, auf weitere Top-Sightseeing-Highlights zu verzichten, unter anderem da auch die Eintrittspreise auf Spitzenniveau rangieren. Stattdessen konzentrierten wir uns auf etwas sehr unamerikanisches: das Zufußgehen. Eine Wanderung auf den "Lockout Mountain" hielt tolle Aussichten bereit, die Stadt punktete mit einer der längsten Fußgängerbrücken weltweit und zwischendurch stärken uns Buffalo Wings. Abends luden erneut die Kneipen zur Verkostigung des regionalen Brauspeziatäten ein. Auf dem - natürlich zu Fuß angetretenden - Heimweg lernte Katha zudem, das US-Güterzüge seeeeehr lang sind. So lang, dass man (bzw. Katha) irgendwann unter Ermutigung von wartenden Autofahrern über den langsam vorbeifahrenden Zug kletterte (um zu Adrian zu kommen, der noch schnell über die Schienen gehuscht war). Ganz im Stadmotto: Chattanooga Choo Choo!
    Read more

  • Day72

    Day 72 - I'm Going to Graceland

    July 2, 2019 in the United States ⋅ 🌙 25 °C

    Woke up at 8.30am feeling special. We couldn’t face breakfast, let alone be bothered getting out of bed for it.

    For the next 2 hours, I tried to recollect the events of the previous fantastic day & put them into some semblance of order in my blog. We checked out of the hotel at 10.59am.

    About 15 minutes later we pulled into the car park of Graceland, Memphis & outrageously we had to pay $10 for the privilege!

    We walked to the Ticket Office & purchased our tickets for the Graceland & Elvis’ Aircraft Tours at $46 + tax each. We allocated the 12.30pm Graceland Tour, which gave us an hour to kill. We were starving having not eaten for about 20 hours, so we headed to Gladys’ Diner. Jackie had a hotdog & I had Gladys’ World Famous Grilled Peanut Butter & Banana Sandwich (Grilled with Bacon Grease)! The perfect hangover cure, but probably best to avoid sitting on any toilets in & around Graceland.

    After, we went to the Exhibition Hall where there were 3 separate random exhibitions. The 1st was an excellent exhibition relating to Muhammad Ali, which had decent exhibits, posters & video footage. The 2nd exhibition related to techniques used by National Geographic to photograph wildlife, but seemed more suited for children. The last exhibition related to a Century of American Motorcycles & was just a room of 30 odd old or unusual motorcycles. If nothing else it passed away an hour.

    At 12.30pm, we were ushered into a theatre to watch a short video about Elvis’ career & Graceland. We then boarded a bus & were allocated headphones & an interactive tablet. The bus took us across Elvis Presley Boulevard to the front of the Graceland Mansion. We were admitted access in groups of about 20 & our interactive tablets guided us through from room to room. At first it was a bit chaotic, with 20 people all jockeying for position, but after a short while we had thinned out into an orderly procession.

    We started with the ‘blingy’ living room, then Elvis’ paternal grandmother, Minnie Mae’s bedroom. (She lived at Graceland & sadly outlived her son, Vernon & grandson, Elvis). Next was the dining room, where Lisa Marie allegedly still eats when she visits, followed by the kitchen. We then went downstairs to the yellow & black tv room, followed by the games room decked out in a busy patterned cloth.

    Back upstairs we saw the famous Jungle Room, covered in thick green carpet, where Elvis actually recorded the LP ‘Way Down in the Jungle Room’. We then headed out to the rear garden & to his car port & office. There were horses in the grounds, Elvis was a keen rider. We then headed into a gallery which had artefacts & information relating to his family & Graceland.

    Next were exhibits highlighting some of Elvis’ more eccentric tastes & it identified Elvis 🕺 as being keen on law & order & is quoted as saying that if he wasn’t a singer, he would have liked to have been a Police Officer. He was a regular visitor to the Memphis Police & Shelby County Sheriff’s Departments. I’m not sure how this works, but Elvis held the rank of Captain with the Memphis Police Department & Denver Police Force!

    We went to his Racquetball Court & Games Room, complete with the piano that Elvis played on in that room shortly before his death on Tuesday 16th August 1977. He was due to fly out of Memphis later that day to begin another tour.

    The Graceland Mansion tour then took us to the Meditation Garden with it’s fountain, statues & the graves of Elvis Aaron Presley, his parents, Vernon & Gladys & his grandmother, Minnie Mae. There is also a cenotaph for Elvis’ still-born twin, Jesse Garon Presley, who remains buried in an unmarked grave in Tupelo, Mississippi.

    This leg of the tour ended by passing his swimming pool & getting the bus back to the Graceland complex where we then visited Elvis’ Planes. Elvis had owned several planes & two were at Graceland, a 1958 Corvair 880, named Lisa Marie & a Lockheed Jet Star, named Hound Dog II, which was primarily used by his manager, Colonel Tom Parker. We were able to go in both aircraft which I’m sure were considered hi-tech in their day.

    Graceland, particularly the Mansion, had more to see than I had expected. It was a very enjoyable visit & well organised considering the crowds.

    With Graceland now complete we headed a couple of miles down the road to the Full Gospel Tabernacle Church in Memphis, where the Rev. Al Green is the founder & still the pastor. If only it had been Sunday!

    After a few photos, we headed east on Interstate 40 to Brownsville arriving just over an hour later. The main purpose to stop was behind McDonald’s & was the Tina Turner Museum, which is housed in her old school, that had been moved from Nutbush. It contained mainly costumes from her shows, some framed discs & the actual tables & chairs.

    Next to it was the Home of Legendary Blues Pioneer Sleepy John Estes, which was pretty much just a run-down shed with a bed, funnily enough.

    In the visitors centre, there were a couple of other tiny one roomed Museums & we were asked to sign the Visitors Register. It was all free so we left a small donation.

    Next we drove into Brownsville town centre & located Billy Tripps MindField which is described as a dismantled, tangled, beautiful metal mess. It is the creation & life’s work of Brownsville resident & artist, Billy Tripp. It was all a bit strange.

    We had planned to stay the night in Brownsville, but Jackie wasn’t getting a good feeling about the town, so we moved on. First we drove north about 10 miles to the rural unincorporated community of Nutbush, which by it’s very description doesn’t have ‘City Limits’. We found a Nutbush sign & Jackie insisted on doing a little routine, which I videoed.

    It was a bit hazardous, but we got it in the can, but only after a tatty old pick-up pulled up & the young couple asked if we were ok. They loved our accent & were amazed that English people were in their little rural unincorporated community. Just before driving off, the lad said, “Before you leave, you should look at the duck pond, it’s real preddy”.

    Jackie was now fearful we were going to get shot, so we wrapped it up quickly & drove to the next town along Interstate 40, Jackson. It was now 7.00pm, so we quickly decided on the Belmont Inn & booked it on Booking.com. We then located a busy Asia Garden Chinese restaurant & ordered just two dishes. When it arrived the portions were enormous, but they got Jackie’s wrong, giving her chicken instead of beef. She sent it back & we started on my honey chicken. We were both pretty full before we finished mine & only then did Jackie’s new dinner arrive. We picked at it, but it wasn’t the best meal we have had. More quantity over quality.

    Song of the Day - That’s All Right by Elvis Presley

    Bonus Songs of the Day :-

    Jailhouse Rock by Elvis Presley
    Trouble by Elvis Presley
    Always on my Mind by Elvis Presley
    Way Down by Elvis Presley
    Are You Lonesome Tonight? by Elvis Presley
    In The Ghetto by Elvis Presley
    Suspicious Minds by Elvis Presley
    Let’s Stay Together by Al Green
    Nutbush City Limits by Ike & Tina Turner
    Graceland by Paul Simon.
    Read more

    Angela Bambridge

    Love it!! Xx

    Simon and Jackie Annals

    It didn't take TOO much persuasion!! Xx

    Gavin Farley

    Just spit coffee on my keyboard;; my blog highlight so far🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣

    3 more comments
  • Day74

    Day 74 - Stormy 4th of July

    July 4, 2019 in the United States ⋅ ⛅ 33 °C

    Happy 4th of July.

    We decided to miss paying $15 each for breakfast & checked out of the hotel just after 10.00am. We put the luggage in the car & walked back down to down town Nashville. We stopped at McDonalds, but weirdly they didn’t do the normal breakfast, just the all day versions with egg & cheese. We didn’t bother.

    We continued down Broadway, where Police & Security Officers were everywhere. The road behind the stage was closed so we cut down through a car park on to Demonbreun St, then passing the Music City Center & the Country Music Hall of Fame. We turned onto 3rd Avenue South & to our destination, The Johnny Cash Museum. It was busy, but we queued up & paid our $19 admission, then got lucky because we & a couple of others were ushered through a side entrance to reduce the queue.

    The Museum was a bit on the small side, but it was good, particularly if you are a fan of Johnny Cash as we are. There was lots of memorabilia & film footage, including a version of him performing Ragged Old Flag, which seemed appropriate on this day.

    We did however feel that we had seen a lot of it before, either at Folsom Prison, Sun Studios or at the Memphis Rock n Soul Museum. The Museum had lots of interesting facts though about Mr Cash, including the fact that he sold over 100 million records & recorded over 1500 songs during his career.

    As we approached the exit there was a chair that he was sat on when he made the video recording in 2003 of ‘Hurt’, just seven months before he died. A screen above the chair played the haunting video. (It is on YouTube). It was a very moving & solemn end to our Museum visit which had taken about 90 minutes.

    We walked back out into the searing heat & up Broadway, without being stopped. The bars on Broadway were already full of revellers & bands were entertaining them. We managed to blag a souvenir fan & we walked up to the big stage where people were already gathered & settled for the day & evening.

    We decided to head back to our car and were amused to see that security were searching & frisking everyone entering Broadway from one entrance, but apparently not at other entrances. Doh!

    We walked against a tide of of red, white & blue clad slightly overexcited individuals. The only people that were heading the same way as us were the homeless & the nutters that presumably had been evicted from their normal haunts.

    We stopped for sustenance in McDonalds, it was now lunchtime. We had a burger, but didn’t hang about because the nutters were taking over. We walked via the ‘Musica’ Statue to our car & set off. As we pulled out of the car park it started to spit with rain. We hit Interstate 40 by which time it was a deluge. Many vehicles pulled over, but we ploughed on amongst the chaos of next to no visibility. Our thoughts went out to all those people on Broadway, hee hee hee!

    We arrived at Grand Ole Opry House, which is a Country Music venue that hosts all the major stars & award ceremonies & is dubbed the ‘Country’s most famous stage’. Since 1974 it has been the home of Grand Ole Opry, a weekly live Country Music concert on radio & is "The Show That Made Country Music Famous." With thunder & lightning crashing around we made a dash from the car, took a few photos, visited the shop, used the loo, then dashed back to the car.

    We could have taken a Back Stage Tour, but it was $29. We don’t like Country Music that much!

    As we drove away from Nashville on Interstate 24, the weather changed for the better, so much so that we pulled over & put the top down. It was now back in the 90s.

    120 miles later, we crossed into the State of Georgia for just 1.7 miles, less than 2 minutes, before Interstate 24 took us back into Tennessee. We stopped at Lookout Valley to assess it as a possible place to stay for the night....it would do as a last resort.

    We then headed into Chattanooga & cruised around looking at our options. There didn’t seem to be a central down town area apart from a few bars near the Chattanooga Choo Choo Hotel, which didn’t have any vacancies. Parking was an issue & we had to parked some way away. We walked back to the Chattanooga Choo Choo Hotel & wandered around a side street, that was having a street party, complete with band due to play later. We decided to have a token drink until we realised that Jackie had left the purse in the car. That was that then!

    We entered the Chattanooga Choo Choo Hotel, which is a converted Railway Station. Behind were some of the old trains & gardens. A few photos later we were done & it was around this time that we realised that we were in a different time zone & it was now 7.50pm!

    We rushed back to our car, had an argument about where to stay & finally returned to Lookout Valley. We checked into the Super 8, then rushed out to the Cracker Barrel, looking forward to bite to eat & more importantly a nice beer. They didn’t sell alcohol, so we settled on limitless Lemonade & Jackie order Southern fried chicken, while I ordered a grilled chicken salad, honestly!

    My salad was lovely, but Jackie’s was so enormous it was off putting. She appeared to have a whole chicken, hacked into 5 hunks, then thickly battered, as well as a whole corn on the cob, mash potato, a muffin & a scone. Jackie couldn’t face it, so I very chivalrously swapped with her.

    Now about 9.00pm, we drove to Walmart for beer, wine & a bit of chocolate. Upon returning to our motel, a firework display had started just the other side of the fence, so we sat in the car park & drank a beer. We know how to celebrate!!

    Song of the Day - Independence Day by The Comsat Angels.

    Bonus Song of the Day :-

    Ragged Old Flag by Johnny Cash
    Hurt by Johnny Cash (preferably the video version)
    Chattanooga Choo Choo by Glen Miller
    Read more

  • Day76

    Day 76 - Heart Attacks at Dollywood

    July 6, 2019 in the United States ⋅ ⛅ 30 °C

    The alarm went off at 7.30am, way too early for us retirees. At 8.30, we made it down to breakfast & stuffed ourselves (well I did).

    Shortly after 9.00am we checked out of the hotel & dashed east along Interstate 40 past Knoxville, then down the 66 to Sevierville & 441 to Dollywood Theme Park.

    Around 10.20am, we parked up in Cotton Candy car park & took the tram to the entrance to Dollywood. The tickets were $74 each, a bit steep, we would need to get our money’s worth! The park didn’t seem to be unduly busy, possibly because thunderstorms were forecast.

    Dollywood is split up into several different areas. Our first port of call was Timber Canyon & we decided to blood ourselves with a wooden rollercoaster, Thunderhead. There might have been a clue in the title!

    There was literally no queue & we were allocated the back 2 seats, apparently the best. We set off.............FFF^?~§^!}^{%%#@&£*&£**^¥~ CCKKK.

    I screamed like a little girl & Jackie went white & quiet! The rickety old scary ride went on for ever & ever. I hated every second of it & I think Jackie liked it less. We got off with legs of jelly, hearts pounding & swearing we would not do another one. It was just as well we failed to notice the restrictions, because heart problems & high blood pressure were just 2 reasons why we shouldn’t of been on it.

    There were a couple of other big rides in Timber Canyon; the Drop Line, chairs that takes you up to a ridiculous height then drop like a stone & another rickety old rollercoaster called Mystery Mine. There was no chance of doing either of these so we headed to Wildwood Grove, predominantly aimed at kids.

    Our next ride was Treetop Tower, where you got into an Acorn shaped capsule that went round a pole up to about 20’ in the air & then back down again. Jackie was embarrassed as we were the only adults not accompanying children. We had to get our money’s worth somehow!

    We then did the Great Tree Swing & luckily we were in the middle because I always feel I’m going to fall out. People of all ages had their arms aloft, but we both clung on for dear life.

    Next was Frogs & Fireflies, a merry-go-round of frog capsules that hopped up & down as it spun round. Even I was embarrassed, when we were told we had to sit in a frog 🐸 capsule each, because the 2 of us would be over the weight limit. We bounced round a few times.

    Next looked perfect, Black Bear Trail, a little track where you sat upon a bear like you would a horse. Whilst queuing for this, the anticipated storm struck & the heavens opened. Over the tannoy came a message that due to lightning less than 10 miles away, all rollercoasters🎢 & aerial rides would be suspended. The Bear ride was fine, but Jackie was ‘too cool for school’ & refused to do the ride on the grounds of the weather. I braved it & after chivalrously gave Jackie my raincoat to wear. Apparently, Jackie didn’t need one for this trip!

    We then took shelter & got chatting to an American family. His ambition was to visit Europe for some proper history, including Germany where he served in the Military. He said he was concerned about the immigration problem in UK & the no-go areas in London. Good old Trump & his fake news. We put him straight!

    It was during this chat that Jackie realised she had left her phone in the toilet about 15 minutes ago. She went rushing back & as one might expect it had gone. I rang it & luckily the employee at Face Painting, had had someone hand it in to her. We got it back.

    After about an hour in total, the tannoy announced that all the rides were about to commence again. I can’t explain why, but we queued up for the Firechaser Express. It didn’t seem too scary, but looks can be deceiving. It was another rickety bugger that raced around a track & ended up in a fireworks factory. What could go wrong! Everything started exploding & we were at the back again, when suddenly the ride catapulted us backwards, leaving our stomachs back in the fireworks factory. It was horrible & yet again it resulted in me screaming like a Banshee.

    Gluttons for punishment (& keen to get our money’s worth) we queued up for Mystery Mine. We convinced ourselves it seemed alright, just a couple of upside down bits at the end. Unfortunately we hadn’t taken into consideration the word ‘Mystery’, which involved vertical ups & free falling downs in semi darkness. I actually didn’t mind it so much because I couldn’t see the drops, but Jackie was dishevelled & looked petrified. The photos to buy at the end were interesting, Jackie looked like an inflated rubber doll, complete with ‘something about Mary’ hair. She will of course deny it! I just looked wide eyed & mouthed & absolutely terrified.

    That was too much so we headed back to children’s area of Wildwood Grove for some less strenuous activities. Jackie bought an E number crammed ice cream, then we were buzzing. Next ride was the Mad Mockingbird, which was a swing that could be controlled from within our capsule. I stupidly let Jackie drive & we were all over the place!

    Our final ride we allowed ourselves was the Dragonflier. It was a longest queue wait, about 20 minutes, but it was a nice gentle finish for us. It zoomed round at breakneck speed with our legs dangling down, but had no nasty drops or surprises.

    There were several rides that we refused to go on, that were just way too high or too fast or too wet. We instead saw the informative Bird of Prey display in the Wings of America Theatre & generally bimbled around.

    It was 5.30pm, 7 hours later, that we finally exited Dollywood. We drove to the nearest Walmart for some much needed provisions, the drove south to Gatlinburg where we were staying the night. Gatlinburg was heaving, absolutely heaving, & it took us ages to drive through the main high street to our Chalet on the other side of town.

    We are staying in a skiing chalet with a balcony looking out on to the Great Smoky Mountains. At 8.00pm it was still in the high 90s & as humid as you like. We went down the road to Big Daddy’s Pizzeria. We had a 14” classic pizza & a pitcher of local beer. It was perfect & we both agreed the best pizza we had had on this trip.

    Over dinner we both agreed that we really enjoyed Dollywood, but primarily it is a rollercoaster theme park at the end of the day & everything else is a bit Dolly & a bit ‘cutesy’. I think I have just made that word up, but everything is Applejack, Butterfly, Cotton Candy etc etc & country music plays all over, but with bird tweeting in the background.

    We are still very glad we went, but never again will we visit a theme park!

    Song of the Day - 9 to 5 by Dolly Parton.

    Bonus Song of the Day :-

    Rollercoaster by Black Mountain
    Sheer Heart Attack by Queen
    Read more

    Angela Bambridge

    Hilarious!! Did you hold on tight or did you go round with your arms aloft!!! xx

    Simon and Jackie Annals

    I held on tight obviously. Health & safety should always be the priority xx

  • Day74

    Day 73 - Nashville Without You

    July 4, 2019 in the United States ⋅ ⛅ 22 °C

    Woke up at 8.30am & again decided to give breakfast a miss again.

    Jackie had the bright idea for us to call in at AutoZone Auto Parts to seek advice on the damage to Doodle. It wasn’t great news, the damage of scratches & bits snapped off on the lower bumper were irreparable. Worst still, the guy who came out to look at our car noticed that the offside of the bumper was also cracked. Worse even still, we discovered that some c*#t had scratched an ‘M’ into the same bumper. We think it must have happened in Memphis & the motive for the mindless damage was that the car plates are from California. The verdict was that a new bumper would be required by the hire car company. Brilliant!

    We drove on to the Casey Jones Museum & lots of other things. I always thought that Casey Jones was a fictional character, but no, he was John Luther Jones who died on his train ‘Old 382’ on the 30th April 1900. Our minds were more still thinking about the damage to our car & how best to deal with it, so we didn’t take too much in. I can say that the Museum included his house he lived in when he died, his train, a carriage on a pole, a motel & several shops & odds & sods.

    Trying to put the damage to the back of our minds, we found our way to Ridgeway Cemetery still in Jackson, where the Mausoleum of Carl Perkins was situated. After a quick photo & a blast of Blue Suede Shoes on the car stereo, we were off & back on Interstate 40, Music 🎶 Highway.

    We stopped for fuel & a MaccyD, then cruised on to Hurricane Mills, the Ranch belonging to that Coal Miner’s Daughter, Loretta Lynn. Her Ranch is enormous, it contains her family home, a Museum, a Chapel, a Shop & Cafe, a graveyard, a championship motorcycle cross course, an RV park & chalets. The grounds were very scenic, particularly with the river running through it.

    We continued towards Nashville, with our soft top roof being put up & down several times due to the irrational weather. Our next stop was the Loveless Cafe & Motel & Shop etc that sold overpriced Jams & Hams & other gifts. We browsed, but didn’t buy.

    Next on the trip, was the Natchez Trace Parkway Bridge. It was slightly underwhelming, probably because we only passed below it. We continued to a little town called Franklin, then joined the masses on Interstate 65 heading into Nashville.

    At 4:30pm, we pulled up outside our hotel for the night, the Hilton Garden Inn on Broadway in Music Row, but so had seemed had everyone else. It was chaos, cars everywhere blocking the entrance to the car park. Jackie went in to reception, whilst I queued with the car. Eventually I got to the barrier only to discover I needed a bloody passcode, so I reversed back & abandoned the car & went in search of Jackie.

    Half an hour later we were finally in our room & after uploading Jackie’s little Nutbush dance on Instagram, we went down to reception to catch the shuttle bus down town. This was also chaotic, so we set off down town on foot. It was possibly not the best time to visit Nashville, being the eve of the 4th of July!

    We weren’t the only ones walking, there were streams of people, but soon we had arrived at the other end of Broadway. At the junction with 5th Avenue S, there was a huge stage set up & a band going through a sound & lights check. There were tv cameras everywhere getting set to record the concert. After enquires with both security guards & ticket touts (ELO were playing that night in the Bridgestone Arena), I only established that all the activity on & around the stage were preparations for tomorrow night. Surely a well-known band or artist were playing, but no-one seemed to know who. I have since googled it & it is Brett Eldredge, Mac McAnally, Jessy Wilson, Dylan Scott, Nashville Symphony & many others.

    Broadway in Nashville is like, Beale Street in Memphis, bar after bar of neon lights & excellent live music. Better still, the Broadway bars didn’t require a cover charge!

    Our first stop of the evening was Kid Rock’s Big Honky Tonk & Rock ‘n’ Roll Steakhouse. We went to the downstairs bar & purchased a beer & watched an excellent band playing at one end on an elevated stage. The band were playing cover versions of classic songs such as Mr. Jones, Piece of my Heart & Sweet Child O’ Mine. The music took a stranglehold on me & I could’ve stayed all night, but Jackie dragged me away for food.

    We walked down toward the Cumberland River & found the quieter Rock Bottom Restaurant & Brewery. We had a pint each & a large portion of spicy wings to share. Apparently that was enough! From our seats, we could see across the river to the Nissan Stadium, which was open, I think to screen the Jamaica v USA football match.

    After a ‘substantial’ meal, we wandered back & stopped at Nudie’s Honky Tonk, where another excellent band were playing under a Cadillac attached to the wall. As we approached the bar, a woman accosted me & asked if I was from the Bronx. “No, why?” “Because it’s on your T-shirt”. She was from the Bronx & wanted to know all about our trip, fortunately after a while her husband ushered her away.

    We sat at the bar & listened to the band, but Jackie was getting itchy feet 🦶 & wanted to get nearer the band. Before I knew it Jackie was dancing with all the other tipsy women to foot-tappers such as Billie-Jean, Faith & 9 to 5. I might have accidentally recorded a small bit of it.

    I extracted Jackie from the dance floor & headed further up Broadway. My final intended stop was Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge, but the ‘Gary Glitter Lookalike Jobsworth’ doorman wouldn’t let Jackie in with her rucksack. We had seen signs saying that people may be refused entry to bars if they had anything other than small handbags. Now we appreciate the need for security & caution at such events, but Jackie’s rucksack is foldable & only contained her lipstick, perfume & cardigan!

    We couldn’t be bothered to argue & as the venue was between swapping over bands we decided to call time on another great night. We had a very pleasant walk back to our hotel.

    Song of the Day - Nashville Without You by Tim McGraw

    Bonus Songs of the Day -

    Casey Jones by Johnny Cash
    Blue Suede Shoes by Carl Perkins
    Coal Miner’s Daughter by Loretta Lynn
    Loveless Cafe by 20 Minutes To Park
    American Rock ‘n Roll by Kid Rock
    Read more

  • Day110


    October 13, 2019 in the United States ⋅ ☀️ 19 °C

    Die Villa von Elvis Presley (Graceland), die Beale Street und der Mississippi

    Am Nachmittag zuvor:

    15:00 Motel in Memphis:
    Leider ist ihr Zimmer noch nicht verfügbar… Kein Problem, eine Stunde später konnten wir es dann beziehen! Auf uns warteten leider überall tote Kakerlaken und wir stornierten die Buchung und machten uns auf die Suche nach einer neuen Unterkunft…Read more

    Madeleine Gersbach

    Macheder no ä typischi Raddampfer-Fahrt?

    Kristin Biewald

    Unterkunft gefunden?

    Andrea B.

    War leider nicht möglich

    2 more comments
  • Day6

    Nashville nach Memphis

    September 19, 2019 in the United States ⋅ ☀️ 30 °C

    350 km liegen zwischen den beiden Städten und ne ganz andere Musikrichtung. Gestern noch Country in den Honky Tonk Bars in den Ohren gehabt ertönt heute in Memphis in der Baele Street Blues aus jeder Ecke.

    In Memphis war unser erstes Ziel das Peabody Hotel. Kennt Ihr nicht? Das ist ein Fehler. Dort gibt es die Weltberühmten Enten. Nein nicht als Hauptspeise sondern als absolute Attraktion. Hunderte von Menschen drängen sich in der Lobby des Hotels und warten bis es 17 Uhr wird.
    Dann marschieren die 4Enten aus dem Brunnen in der Lobby schnurstracks in den Aufzug und fahren auf das Dach des Hotels. Am nächsten Tag Punkt 11 Uhr fahren Sie wieder runter und verbringen den Tag im Brunnen. Absolut empfehlenswert
    Read more

    Andrea Dietrich


    Harley Didi

    Ihr seid sooo süß 😀😀👍

    Silvi Griesi

    Das ist ja echt der Knaller mit den Enten. 😂 Eure Filme können wir heute leider nicht anschauen 🤷‍♀️ unsere Internetverbindung ist heute nicht der Brüller

    Markus Weber

    Ja soooo lustig. 2-3 Hundert Leute stehen in der Lobby und warten bis die rauswatscheln. 😍😍

  • Day5

    Nashville City Tour

    September 18, 2019 in the United States ⋅ ☀️ 33 °C

    Mit einem Hop on Hop off Bus erkundeten wir heute Nashville. Wer dachte es handelt sich um ne verschlafene Country Western Stadt der täuscht sich gewaltig. Riesige Wolkenkratzer, die Stadt boomt. Allein in diesem Jahr werden 25 neue Hotels eröffnet.
    Die Altstadt mit ihren Honky Tonk Bars ist Klasse.
    Aus jeder Bar schallt Live Musik, und das bereits morgens um 11 Uhr.
    Jonny Cash, Dolly Parton und Elvis um nur einige zu nennen nahmen hier ihre Platten auf und starteten ihre Karriere. Deshalb hat Nashville auch den Zusatz: Music City.
    Bei dem einen Bild denkt ihr vermutlich gleich an Athen und die Akropolis und da liegt ihr gar nicht so falsch. Nashville wird aufgrund dieses Pantheon auch little Athen genannt.
    Morgen geht's zu Elvis nach Memphis
    Read more

    Harley Didi

    Cooles Städtchen, bin schon auf Euren nächsten Bericht gespannt 😎🙋‍♂️

    Erwin Schaible

    Geil Hardrock Café das kennt auch jeder


You might also know this place by the following names:

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