We love Nashville! Such an upbeat city with music everywhere! Took a bus tour of the city, walked Broadway at night, and did a backstage tour of the Grand Ole Opry. Busy days but so much fun! Recording studios everywhere! They’re doing a great job of updating the city with construction everywhere. Last stop on our trek!
September 16—Lynchburg, TN
Started the day on a Memphis City Tour. First stop was St. Jude’s Hospital at the Danny Thomas Pavillion on the hospital grounds. Under the dome is a chronicle of the accomplishments of Danny Thomas and the success of the hospital. When he started the hospital, the cure rate for leukemia was 4% and today it’s 96%! Incredible! Next we watched the ducks who live on the rooftop of the Peabody Hotel, get in the elevator, come to the lo lobby and march onto the red carpet into the fountain. Big doings! There were 500 people in the lobby/mezzanine area waiting for this to happen., Next, we went to the Bass Pro Shop which looks like a giant glass pyramid. In addition to all the water, and fish displays, it has a glass elevator, a hotel, an outdoor observation deck near the top of the pyramid and a restaurant called “Uncle Buck’s”. Pops was definitely impressed. The Lorraine Hotel where Dr. King was shot, is now the National Civil Rights Museum. A wreath marks the spot on the balcony where he was killed and across the street , a glass enclosure marks where James E.Ray stood to shoot. A very moving scene. Lunch on Beale St. was fun at BB Kings. Beale Street itself needs a makeover! Not impressed at all! Couldn’t wait to leave! Ended the day at Graceland. Much more understated than I expected. Elvis’ own wife and daughter as well as his mom, dad and grandmother all lived in the house. Beautiful grounds! Elvis, his, parents, and grandmother are all buried in the back of the house next to the Meditation Garden as well as a memorial stone to Elvis’ twin brother who was stillborn. People still leave things on his grave. Must say I was very impressed with Graceland! Onto Lynchburg,TN tomorrow!
September 14—Driving Day!
September 12 &13–Santa Fe
Santa Fe is a much larger city than Sedona! I expected a similar environment but surprised at how much bigger and busier it is.
September 11–Grand Canyon
Started the day remembering the victims of 9/11 & feeling a bit guilty. But I said a few more prayers and we left for our Grand Canyon Tour. We started at the East rim which gives the best view of the Colorado River and worked our way around to the South Rim. Breathtaking! One mile deep, 10 miles wide and 277 miles long! It was hazy due to a nearby fire sending smoke into canyon, but still gorgeous! I was quite surprised at the lack of railings! In fact, very few places have a railing and the railings that do exist are old and decrepit! There are walls in a few spots but they’re not very high. Saw MANY people trying to take crazy pictures—dangling their feet over the edge, standing right on the edge leaning over! Our guide told us the park has stopped putting up railings because so many people jump over the rail! I thought we got some pretty good pictures without endangering our lives! Tony was disappointed we weren’t going to the bottom of the canyon. Told him we could come back next year and take the 8 hour burro ride to the bottom, spend the night in the canyon and do the 8 hour burro ride back!
Drove through Coconino National Forest today—a winding high elevation drive through the mountains. Beautiful, but not for the faint of heart! Spent the day touring Sedona—an adorable town surrounded by the Red Rock Forest. Gorgeous rock formations! The rocks are red because over 300million years ago Sedona was at the bottom of a sea and seashells formed a limestone layer and eventually the iron in thee water oxidized the limestone giving it the rusty red color. Went to the Chapel of the Holy Cross, a stunning chapel built by a student of Frank L. Wright—simple yet powerful! The crucifix is 30 feet tall and no matter where you sit or kneel, Jesus’ eyes are focused on you. At sunset, we drove up to the Airport Overlook—another steep, winding road —where the view was spectacular albeit a bit hazy from a California forest fire. Lots of retired folks, artists and healing centers here! No matter where you look, the view is terrific!
September 10–Las Vegas!
Drove to Zion early this morning and did the scenic tour of Zion. Temperature was 93 degrees, so very little hiking for us! The Canyon was spectacular in formation and color. I felt a little out of place as everyone was into big time hikes with their heavy duty hiking boots., hiking sticks and 50 pound backpacks!
These are sacred grounds to the Paiute and the Park Service has done a great job of preserving their holy grounds! Vegas is only 2 hours away, so we checked into the Mandolay Bay Resort tonight for a little R&R ( temperature was
98 ) before we head to Sedona and the Grand Canyon!
Drove through Grand Teton National Park stopping at all the overlooks yesterday. They lie on a fault line so they are huge with jagged peaks! Walked around downtown Jackson last night. Sweet Western town filled with shops, wooden sidewalks, and antler arches. The National Elk Refuge is here so there are elk arches downtown! Elk lose their antlers every year and only the local Boy Scout troops have the right to go through the refuge and pick them up. They sell most of the antlers and make an average of $65K ! Most lucrative troop in the USA! Took a 7AM Safari in an open truck to see the wildlife in the park. Guide was a wildlife biologist with a fountain of knowledge! We came up close & personal with a moose, saw a black bear, elk, & pronghorn antelopes. Watched the pronghorns stop and look both ways before crossing the road! As we hiked through some of the thick backwoods, I stayed close to the guide with his bear spray! Drove from Jackson to Provo, Utah this afternoon, passing through huge cattle ranches and farms in Idaho. Agribusiness at its peak. Fascinating to drive along the backside (Idaho side) of the Tetons which are much smaller and rounded than their Wyoming siblings! Onto Zion tomorrow morning!