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Map of Route

Saturday July 12, Temple to West Memphis (600 miles, should take 8 hours 46 minutes)
Depart at 8:00am
Lunch at IHOP 2502 W Ferguson Road, Suite 200, Mount Pleasant, Texas 75455
Break in Little Rock
It seemed i-40 was a construction site through Arkansas; as we neared Memphis, the freeway was one lane each way;
we crawled for ages, and we were stopped dead for more than half an hour
Arrived at the Rodeway, 5119 American Way, East Memphis, about 7:45pm, almost 12 hours for what should have been about 9 hours, due to construction.
Dinner at Three little pigs BBQ, not as good as we would have hoped.
Grabbed some dessert at Perkins, then back to hotel.

Sunday July 13, West Memphis to Nashville (206 miles, should take 3 hours 2 minutes)
Left about 8 and arrived Nashville around noon; we knew we couldn't check into the hotel so we went through town and
stopped at a Steak and Shake for lunch, near the Hermitage. They kind of botched the order, but the manager picked up the ticket.

We then toured the home of a very controversial President, Andrew Jackson's the Hermitage .
The 'museum' was just a room or two off the welcome center with furniture, clippings, etc. So we walked to the main house.
The Hermitage The Hermitage
The Hermitage The Hermitage
The house was rebuilt several times, once due to fire while Jackson was in the White House. The last rebuild was to Greek Revival, at least for the front.
The Hermitage The Hermitage
The Hermitage The Hermitage
The interior was period, with some interesting wall paper, and a whale oil lamp that would cost as much to fuel as buying 5 acres of land.
The rear was red brick. The Hermitage
However, the grounds were our favorite part of the walk.
The Hermitage The Hermitage
The tomb of Andrew and Rachel Jackson The Hermitage
The Hermitage The Hermitage
The Hermitage
We cooled off and watched a PBS video on Jackson before leaving for the Hotel in Downtown Nashville.

4:30 We arrived at the Omni on the east side of 5th in Nashville, and found out the self parking was a long block away,
under the Music City Center on the west side of 6th.
(The Omni shares the block with the Country Music Hall of Fame.)
Checked into room 503, which looked to the east side toward the river...
we had a 'great' view of the greenery growing on the roof, and that was about it.
Room at the Omni
After unpacking we stopped at a Kroger's and bought a dozen big cookies for $1.49 on sale,
and then started looking for dinner. After a few misses, we ate at a great German place near
the Titan's football stadium, Gerst Haus. Perhaps the best Jaeger Schnitzel and Spaetzle ever.
Gerst Haus Gerst Haus

We went back to the hotel, and took a walk past the Honky Tonks, past the Ryman Auditorium, then wound our way around to old Fort Nashville,
Ryman Auditorium
and back down by the Symphony, and up to the pedestrian bridge on the Cumberland, for a great view of the city.
It was hot and muggy, so back past the Honky tonks to the hotel, and some cookies.
Broadway, Nashville

Monday July 14
Exercise in the room and gym, then Craig headed across the street to Music City Center, and registered for the conference;
toured the Music City Center facilities, met with our D2L rep Shelly Constant, and got a great view of the skyline and Country Music hall of fame.
Omni hotel
Susann took the time to explore the city on foot.

Noon, the conference opening and lunch began, as did the rain.
The speaker was Chris Hadfield the astronaut, who really worked the crowd with his travels, and work to engage students.
Chris Hadfield

There was a mixer on the product floor, and after that we headed in search of dinner. Bolton's Spicy Chicken & Fish got high marks...
and from the outside the little hole in the wall looked like out kind of place... but the veggies were tired and the spicy was just for heat, not for flavor.
About dusk, we headed to Centennial Park, and walked in the drizzle around the recreation of the Parthenon.
Parthenon, Nashville
Parthenon, Nashville Parthenon, Nashville
Then back to the hotel for some cookies.

Tuesday July 15
After exercising, Craig had breakfast in the Conference facility, and set up for his presentation.
Fusion presentation

Susann again explored the city of foot.
After a long day (the presentation time was 2 1/2 hours), we walked to Luigi's on Third for some pizza.

We then headed back to by the Walk of fame toward the Music City Center...
Music City Center

and back across the street for the social event in the Country Music Hall of Fame... note the Omni hotel looming behind.
Country Music Hall of Fame

There were Ashley and Wynonna Judd look alikes, Johnny Cash and June Carter sort of look alikes, and other live music, plus snacks.
Social Event

We spent a lot of time on the deck, which had some great views of the Union Pacific and Customs House Gothic towers, as the sun set.
Craig and Susann at the Country Music Hall of Fame Nashville at dusk
Then back to the hotel for some cookies.

Wednesday July 16
Exercise, breakfast, workshops, then we attended the closing keynote with Levar Burton. Great talk on reading, and reaching kids where they are.
Levar Burton

After the closing, Criag was invited to a small gathering where LeVar answered questions...
Levar Burton gif Levar Burton
Had a brief chat with LeVar, then headed back to the Hotel.

We decided to explore Centennial park, and took several of the long hiking paths.
Centennial Park

Centennial Park Centennial Park
Centennial Park Centennial Park
Centennial Park Centennial Park
Centennial Park Centennial Park
Centennial Park Centennial Park
Centennial Park Centennial Park
Centennial Park Centennial Park
Centennial Park Centennial Park
Centennial Park Note the chickensCentennial Park

Centennial Park Centennial Park

Then we headed up to Capitol Hill to wander around, and later strolled down to the river and back.
TN Capitol Hill area TN Capitol Hill area
TN Capitol Hill area TN Capitol Hill area
TN Capitol Hill area The Capitol is like a fortress on a high bluff, but a really great view out away from town.
We then walked toward town, passing the Library and Archives, and State buildings.
TN Capitol Hill area TN Capitol Hill area
TN Capitol Hill area
TN Capitol Hill area TN Capitol Hill area
TN Capitol Hill area TN Capitol Hill area

Looking down toward the Cumberland River and park, where we headed next.
TN Capitol Hill area
Nashville Nashville

I stitched together some pics to form a panorama of what we could see from the park...
the stadium across the river on the left, the skyline, then the park on the right. Not a great stitch job, but you get the idea...

We grabbed the car and explored the Vanderbilt area looking for dinner, and grabbed gyros at Taziki's .
After a little more driving, we grabbed dessert at a nearby Dunkin Donuts, and headed back to the hotel to pack, and of course have some cookies.

Thursday July 17, Nashville to Mt. Pleasant, TX (550 miles, should take 8 hours)
8:00am, Loaded up the car and checked out, and passed by the Union Pacific Station Hotel and the Customs House that we marveled at before...
pics from Wikipedia Commons.
Union Pacific Station Hotel Customs House, Nashville

Not too long after leaving Nashville, we started hitting rain, and of course construction areas.
Lots of construction approaching Memphis, so we were less selective than we could have been for lunch. El Mezcal was easy to get to, but pedestrian at best.
Don't eat Mexican food in Tennessee...

Both sides of Memphis were a mess, and again we parked for more than half an hour at the same spot as when we came in, plus a mess nearing Arkansas... parked and crawled quite a bit.

Decided to get dinner in Texarkana... bad choice. Not a lot of options outside of stock fast food and breakfast chains... we ate at a Denny's in serious need of maintenance.
8:30 pm, Made it to wet Mt. Pleasant 12 1/2 hours after leaving... checked into the Days Inn, 2501 W Ferguson Rd, and as there were no good dessert options, had cookies in the room..

Friday July 18, Mt. Pleasant to Temple (250 miles, should take 3 hours 42 minutes)
8:00am Fairly quick drive home, until we got to Waco and saw sign after sign about an incident near Temple; so we took the back road through McGregor to by-pass the spot in the Interstate that had been closed since 3:00am due to multiple semi tractor accidents.

12:15 made it home,... and after some unpacking, we finally finished off that box of $1.49 cookies.