Sunday, July 27, 2014

US Roa Trip - Nashville

We arrived into Nashville last night and settled into our hotel. We were tired from the driving, so had dinner at Cracker Barrel next to the hotel. By 9 pm Nashville time we were in bed for the night.

Today was our day to see Nashville. After spending the day there, I'm still not sure what I think of it. I don't know what I expected, but it was different. We had breakfast at the hotel, then Derek had found a church in downtown Nashville and we checked it out. Fastest service I have ever attended - 50 minutes tops with everything. It was ok, just bland. Trying too hard to be hip.

From there we headed downtown. It was really hot, over 100 degrees. Broadway was a rash of bars pumping out live music, boot shops offering buy 1, get 2 free, and then your usual cheap souvenir shops. 

Since we have to watch our money, we had decided to do Nashville on the cheap, not paying for attractions, but doing things that were free. Unfortunately, quite a few of the freebie places weren't open. We ended up wandering around the Country Music Hall of Fame building and an historic poster printing company. Derek bought a replica Elvis poster.

All in all, it was a great day. I'm just still not sure what I think of Nashville, would I come back? Probably it would be nice, but not somewhere I will rush back to. It's probably because I'm just not into the historic country music. A lot of the references are most likely lost on me because I've never followed it. As a city, it's fine but I can't say anything particularly stood out for me.

I am enjoying the Tennessee accents :)

One more night at the hotel, then tomorrow it's on to Memphis. I'm expecting to enjoy Memphis more.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

US Road Trip - Dayton Ohio

Day 1

Well, we started off on our great american road trip yesterday. While Derek had the day off, I decided to work a half day and save a bit of vacation time. First thing on our agenda was to pick up the rental car. Derek got the location a bit confused, but no worries! We'll be driving a VW Passat for the next couple of weeks. I left him there doing the inspection and finalizing everything, heading off to work.

Derek had aimed to leave around 1-2, but as usual it was closer to 3 by the time we were pulling out of the driveway. Puppy all secured at the vet, house all tidied, car all packed up, 

And we're off ...

We got to just past Milton - avoiding the Friday traffic - and stopped to grab a bite to eat. 

And we're off again ...

Wow, it's a long drive to Windsor! Border crossing was super easy:

Border agent: (looks at passports) Derek & Wendy? Where are you off to today?
Derek: On vacation, going to Florida
Border agent: Flying or driving?
Derek: Driving
Border agent: Where in Florida?
Derek: Orlando, Disney World
Border agent: (hands back passport) Have a nice day

How easy was that? and there wasn't much of a line up either, maybe 4 cars ahead of us. 

And we're off again...

The drive through the US to Dayton was pretty smooth and uneventful. Fairly straight, all highway, and relatively flat, just lots of construction all along the way. That slowed us down a bit. We pulled off at a small town - I think it was Findlay - to stop and get coffee and donuts at a Tim Hortons. I've made a note that this would be a great place to pull over if we have the truck/trailer combo. Walmart, lots of restaurants, right off the highway and just about the right amount of driving for the day.
I had the hotel in Dayton pre-booked and paid for, so we pressed on. It ended up begin a bit longer of a drive than we really like and the last 90 minutes was in darkness but we did okay, arriving @ around 11:30. GPS was dead accurate on arrival time.

I had us booked into the Comfort Inn. Price was reasonable ($85 with hotel card discount), right off the highway and it had good reviews on TripAdvisor. TripAdvisor is my go to spot for choosing a hotel these days. Once again, it lived up to my expectations. The Comfort Inn is a small place, 2 stories and no elevator. Our room was on the 2nd floor so that meant Derek carrying our suitcases up a flight of stairs. The place has been recently renovated, the rooms are compact but have a fridge, microwave, coffee maker, free wi-fi (that works great - it's what I'm on now to post this), free hot breakfast. It's nice and clean, and the staff are friendly. What more do we need? Well, a larger bed would be nice and it is offered but I wasn't willing to pay the $10 extra. It's a bit hard to go from a King to a Double, but for one night it's fine. Beds were comfortable, lots of pillows, lots of towels, overall a very satisfactory place for a night's layover before moving on...

Comfort Inn, Dayton Ohio