Well I drove through Clarksville on the way.
Went down to Nashville to the HEUG/Alliance conference. They held it at the Gaylord Opryland hotel/resort/convention center, right next to the New Grand Ole Opry. Listened to a lot of the Lovin' Spoonful on the way down. Yup. Nashville Cats. Clean as Country Water.
I was expecting a largish hotel with garish, over the top country music themes. Boy, was I surprised. It has very clean, southern plantation architecture, and there are three garden areas with waterfalls, fountains, even a sort of "gondola" boat ride. The place is kept meticulously clean -- the surroundings were quite pleasant. A bit expensive, but pleasant.
This is not a work blog -- I don't really talk much about work - so I won't start now. Suffice it to say that I went to a lot of sessions and listened to people talk about stuff that was sometimes periferally related to what I do, and a couple that were closer and a little more interesting.
I took Tuesday afternoon to go to downtown Nashville -- though I didn't get there until about 3:00 and I needed to be back at the hotel by 6:30 or so for the Charlie Daniels/Jo Dee Messina concert that the conference put on for us at 7:00.
I went to the the Ernest Tubb record store to pick up a few guitar pics for myself and for Sam, who had given me his and said "just pick me up another when you go". I went into a few touristy shops, and then decided to hit a honky tonk bar. I walked by four of them and listened for the honki-tonkiest sound, and went into Tootsie's Orchid Lounge. The young bartender looked like she was about 15, but I'm getting older, so she probably wasn't. Another pretty young blonde her age got up and sang with the band of otherwise 50 and 60 something men. I had a $4.00 Miller Lite and got Vicki a shirt while I was there -- but I had to go eat.
I'd walked by a BBQ place called Rippey's, but upon closer inspection I decided it was too upscale for my grittier Nashville experience. Over by Tootsies was Jack's BBQ, with an old flashing neon sign with three pink pigs taking turns lighting up, and I said "yup, that's where I'm goin'". I had a BBQ sandwich and some slaw, and a $3.29 beer -- and I still got out of there for $8.69. And it was good stuff. Nothin' fancy in there. Three young black men behind the counter, workin' hard. The place was clean but worn and tired... oilcloth style tablecloths. Just the way you'd expect an honest BBQ place to look and feel. Autographed picture of Dolly Parton at my table basically saying "Jack, you're the best .... Dolly Parton 1999". Well Dolly has good taste in BBQ.
Got back for the Charlie Daniels concert, which was very entertaining. Charlie tells it like he sees it. He didn't play "This Ain't No Rag" for the Higher Ed crowd, I noticed... but he did play "In America" and the band gave their heartfelt gratitude to our boys and girls in Iraq & Afghanistan, including Brian :-)
I put cruise control on my car last week, and it worked great. I also got about an extra 3-4 miles per gallon using it, in addition to the benefit of resting my throttle leg. Had to make one adjustment when I got to Nashville (it was idling fast) and that was it.
We have Cassie & Q this weekend to give the adult Groves a kid break. We'll be sure and get 'em real wound up on Snoopy Waffles, Chuck-E-Cheese, and movies before we send 'em back ;-)
I actually may spend quite a bit of the weekend helping Ryan with more siding.
Anyway, that's it for now.