A few weeks ago, Anna and I were enjoying some Vinho Verde and Alex Trebek when we realized it was high time we had some kind of roommate vacation. After all, Anna’s about to start grad school, and I like vacation just as much as the next girl. As I’d been itching to go back to Nashville and we both wanted to visit Asheville, North Carolina, a plan was born. I’d like to tell you we thought it through a bit further, but that’s pretty much it. I mean, look at Alex’s face. He obviously approved, and what more do you need?
Last Saturday, we set off. We were lucky enough to grab a free nonstop from Austin to Nashville (thanks to Rapid Rewards) and a discounted car rental (via USAA), so we were feeling fairly triumphant. That lasted until about 90 minutes after we landed, when our first trainwreck moment struck. What, you thought we’d make it longer than that? Amateur.
When I last visited the Grand Ole Opry, it was held at the Ryman in downtown Nashville. As I’d apparently left my thinking cap at home, I assumed that’s still where the shows were located. Lies! After taking a bumper-to-bumper tour of downtown and paying $10 for parking, we arrived at the Ryman to learn that the Opry actually takes place at Opryland, a Disneyland-esque metropolis some twenty minutes away. Scheissebombs. It’s a good thing we have that southern charm thing going on, because we managed to sweet talk the parking attendant into giving us back our ten-spot and made it to Opryland in what I assume to be a record 17 minutes. And y’all, it was totally worth it. The Oak Ridge Boys were being inducted into the Opry family that night, and we were treated to some epic renditions of Elvira and Amazing Grace. Fantastic, obviously.
The next day, we headed to Asheville. In true roomie fashion, the trip wasn’t without a few hilarious speedbumps. To wit: we encountered a very stoic Tennessean gas-station attendant, who remained solidly (and quite vertically) asleep outside his shop throughout our visit (he’d apparently remembered to lock the door before drifting off, so we didn’t stay for long). We also managed to find our way to a gas station with no gas and a Lowe’s parking lot that did NOT lead back to the highway. Whoops. Once in Asheville, we fell in love. The embroidered orange cat on our bed was hysterical (and sadly reminiscent of a certain Coo-a-Loo back home), and the city itself was gorgeous. We also decided to tour the Blue Ridge Parkway, which had some seriously amazing views and prompted Anna into taking more than a few humorous pictures, on which I’m not even going to attempt to comment. This girl is awesome.
The trip was a great antidote to the hot Texas summer and an ideal way to reboot our engines before fall kicks into high gear. We even managed to run into a semi-toothless, banjo-wielding gentleman at a mountaintop overview. Perfection.