I realized that when I try to write a good narrative for a trip, it takes me forever and I never finish it. So this time I'm trying just posting some highlights:
- Plan for leaving: pack up Thursday night, leave work at 3, grab Soba, and get on the road by 4 at the latest. Actual: didn't finish packing despite only getting five hours of sleep and waking up early. End up leaving at 6, and coming back at 6:30 because we thought we forgot fanlain 's phone. Turns out we did have it, but we had left one of the lights on, so I guess it was good we came back.
- Learned a bunch of geography on the way down: we saw some barge traffic on the [[Ohio]] and [[Tennessee]] rivers (the latter of which we, of course, had to cross twice), passed by the [[Land Between the Lakes]] (formerly Land Between the Rivers, until the dams were built), saw the [[Red Mountain]] in Alabama, at the tail end of the [[Appalachians]] (though it was too dark to see the color).
- Didn't stay in Kentucky long enough to experience their famous southern hospitality, crazy accents, fried chicken, or jelly.
- I had trouble getting sleep at the LaQuinta in Nashville because of my feet hurting (and I had left my painkillers in the car), so I was up with Soba at 6 a.m.
- We remembered that Soba doesn't like elevators. She was a little iffy with the stairs, too, because her feet don't have a good grip on painted concrete, but eventually she learned to be OK with it. I had a little trouble taking the stairs back up to the fifth floor, especially on not enough sleep and before breakfast, but I made it, which I think is a very good sign.
- Visited the Grand Ole Opry (on the outside only) and also tried to find the waterfall from my second wedding. The Opryland Hotel has been redecorated and expanded; I found a waterfall, but I'm not sure it's the right one.
- Stopped at REI to buy myself a nice winter coat. I bought a different jacket in Champaign, but it's way too bulky, if really warm, so I'll be returning it. This one is very lightweight, and still feels pretty warm. And it doesn't look too much like you're wearing a sleeping bag, even though you are.
- Left Nashville way to late, so ended up driving really late and arriving at the beach house past 1 a.m. Central, which is past 2 a.m. local time. Still trying to get back to a more regular schedule. (Yes, we're on vacation, but it's annoying to have the sun set a few hours after you get up.)
- Stopped for food in Dothan, AL at one of the three (!) Japanese restaurants there. The sushi was better than what you get in Champaign, probably due to the proximity to the Gulf.