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Trip to Nashville

June 10-12, 2021

by Jenny and Charlie Plesums


Intro

With the international travel virtually closed down, we are going to some of the domestic sites that we expected to save for when we get old. Nashville and the Grand ole Opry were highly recommended. .

Getting there June 10

Travel was easy - Leave Austin early Thursday morning for DFW, then a 2 hour flight to Nashville, landing just after mid-day. Since almost everything (except the new Opryland) is downtown, we did not rent a car.

Probably the most popular activity is to find a unique way of riding through town while consuming alcohol.

Sometimes the patrons have to pedal to provide the motion. The staff includes a driver and bartender.

Off the Wagon is the name of this trailer... definitely off the wagon.

Nashville Party Barge does not include any water other than what they provide to go with your BYOB. Just nautical decorations.

Longhorns as decorations are not limited to Texas

Could this have had an earlier life as a school bus?

This party bike has at least 12 people pedaling.

Across the Cumberland river is the Nissan Stadium primarily home of the Tennessee Titans of the National Football league.

The country music Hall of Fame is an essential stop. Webb Pierce's Nudie Mobile (designed by Nudie Cohn) has hand tooled leather interior, miniature saddle between bucket seats, and lots of chrome plated horses and guns.

In addition to chrome horses and guns, one more place where Texas Longhorns decorate a car.

Elvis Presley's gold plated Cadillac was also on display

Countless gold and platinum records were on display

Even a two story wall full of them

We love Austin resident Willie Nelson but they like him there too. Perhaps 40% of the hall of fame was devoted to him (most of one floor). He sure looks different in these 1963 and 1972 pictures.

Willie's plaque erected in 1993 as a 60 year old is much closer to how he looks now almost 30 years later.

The Grand ole Opry has moved from the Ryman Auditorium downtown to a fancy new facility well outside town. It is the traditional radio-TV home of country music, but they are very proud of that role - tickets were $340 for the two of us, and Lyft to/from the concert were $75 (not expensive TO but a long wait and high price FROM.

Mandatory picture in front of the giant guitar.

The live broadcast was introduced and run on TV schedule, with performers changing during apparent commercial breaks. Look closely and you will see one of several TV cameramen in black with a shoulder camera, in front of the performers.

A smaller group performing - the lighting change makes it look much different.

The Ryman Auditorium in downtown Nashville was originally built as a church in 1892. It's design included a balcony, but it was not built due to lack of funds until 1897 when it was completed in time for the gathering of United Confederate Veterans and funded by them. Over the years it also served as an entertainment venue to pay it's debts. in 1904 a Stenographer Lula C Naff began to book attractions; in 1914 she took over full time management until her retirement 51 years later in 1955.

A country music radio program eventually known as Grand ole Opry debuted in 1925 and from 1943 to 1974 was housed at the Ryman - with every performance sold out. The new Grand Old Opry house outside of town was part of the Opryland USA theme park and hotel. The new auditorium maintained the pew-style seating of the Ryman. After being dormant for many years and facing demolition, the Ryman began upgrading in 1993 to include air conditioning, dressing rooms, lobby, and reinforced construction.

    

"Minnie Pearl" (Sarah Cannon) with the flowered straw hat and $1.98 price tag and the thrift store cotton print dress joined the Grand ole Opry show in 1940 and starred for 50 years. She broke character and cried on the last performance in the Ryman Auditorium.

Downtown is unashamed of Whiskey Row and Saloons. There were four police managing the pedestrian and mobile traffic at this intersection.

There is a strong suggestion that you should mispronounce the last name of this boot store.

Lots of bars with bands, including this four story bar

And this 6 story diner. (We didn't eat there - but it seemed busy.

It is not just country music - there is a large symphony hall as well.

Ernest Tubbs is a famous musician as well as a music store.

Most artists are represented by just a few CDs, but Willie Nelson has two full rows.

Johnny Cash was the only artist we found with more music that Willie Nelson - 2½ rows.

The most common groups that we saw seemed to be bridal parties - this is a common destination for batchelor and batchelorette parties.

Return to Austin - Saturday evening June 12

It was a quick trip, but as tourists (looking rather than savoring many performers) it was long enough. We left Nashville at about 5:30, through Dallas to Austin by about 10:15.


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