Saturday morning we left by 8:15 and headed to St Louis for a morning flight to Nashville. By 1:10 we had landed 10 minutes ahead of schedule. It was a quick 10 minute cab ride to the Opryland Hotel. Our room was located in the Cascade area on the first floor. We felt lucky to be close to restaurants and shopping, since this Hotel covers 47 acres and has 2881 guest rooms!
After unpacking we went to the Cascade Terrace Lounge, just out from our room for a drink. There we were able to take in the sights and sounds of the waterfalls as the lounge revolved making a complete circle every hour. About 4:00 we walked to the Opryland Mall just ¾ of a mile away. We ate at Johnny Rocket's. Just as we were walking out of the mall and across the street to The Grand Ole Opry it was starting to sprinkle. I hopped into the ticket office to claim our tickets that were on hold. As I came out it was pouring so hard you couldn't see across the street.
Our seats weren't bad and they were very comfortable pews with padding on the top and bottom. (our guess was the padding was for all the gray hairs). The show was just AWESOME. Vince Gill, Kellie Pickler, Bill Anderson, Charlie Daniels, Jean Shepard and Little Jimmie Dickens. The 2nd hour of the show was broadcast live on television. The last hour was just great music. We really enjoyed our show and would do it again if we had the chance. We walked back to our hotel room and crashed about 10.
Sunday we decided to find breakfast so we walked the hotel. One restaurant advertised “Brunch”, when we finally found it, the “brunch” was $32.95 per person, not including tax or tip. Needless to say we passed on that one. We found a little coffee shop and had egg muffins and coffee and Cappuccino! *(About $50 saved right there)
Later we were taking a stroll through the Garden Conservatory and ran into Cheryl and Steve, whom we meet 2 years ago at the same conference in Miami Beach. Cheryl and I hugged, then looked at each other and hugged again, as if we couldn't believe we seeing each other in person.
At 3:30 the opening session was being held for the IT conference (aka Common). With nearly 2000 people in the room, we never found Cheryl and Steve. Close to the end of the 2 hour meeting BT got a call from Jeff and Kayle Winters who had just arrived. I texted Jeff on where we were, they were outside the room waiting for us when the meeting was over. We all went down to the trade booth section and took advantage of the free food and free alcohol. We decided to walk to the mall and eat at Dave and Buster's. After more drinks, we ordered and had a great time sitting and visiting.
When we got back to our room, my pedometer registered 4.05 miles walked for the day.
Monday the guest program started at 8:00, there I introduced Kayle to Cheryl. This would be our meeting place for the next 4 days. We enjoyed our free breakfast and then walked the Opryland Resort taking many pictures of the beautiful flowers. The last time I was with Cheryl she was a professional Chef, since then she has become a certified Master Gardner. So Kayla and I had our personal horticulturist for a tour of the gardens.
Late in the morning we found the “Di Vine” lady. I can't take credit for this video, but you need to check her out. Unbelievable.
We took the $9.00 boat ride around the inside of the Hotel. Funny thing was, someone had told Cheryl it was a four mile ride. Well the 15 minute ride must have really gone fast, because it seemed like just a quarter mile, which is what we were told then. LOL
Us girls meet our guys at noon in the Expo area for a free lunch. When the guys went back to class we walked to the mall. Cheryl had found great shoes stores and needed another look. We popped into Sax Fifth Ave. There I tried on a pair of heels, the original price on them was $695.00 but wait, they were on sale for $295.00 What a bargain! But it was one I was able to pass up quite easily.
That evening BT, myself, Jeff and Kayla, and Cheryl and Steve were together again in the Revolving bar. This would become a nightly ritual. When we returned to our room late that evening I had walked 5.37 miles!
Tuesday morning, us girls decided not to met at the crack of dawn! So it was 8:30 before we got to breakfast. After that we went to the Java Coast for some hot coffee where I got my mocha cappuccino fix. We shopped until it was time for the free lunch with the guys. Finally they had some good fresh salad, along with that was panini sandwiches. I had a veggie one that was really good. After lunch we walked some more and took more plant pictures. Then we all took some time to ourselves in our rooms. A girl needs to check email and make phone calls!
At 5:15 all three couples meet at the Jack Daniel's Saloon. It is the only official Jack Daniel's Saloon. Jeff, Kayla, Cheryl and Steve needed an early dinner to make the 6:30 Grand Ole Opry show. BT and I went to the I Social where drinks are $1 to $2.00 a piece. A lot different then the $12 martini's or $10 Marguerite's at the moving bar. And after a drink or two you don't know who's moving you or the bar.
Total walking distance today was only 2.69 miles
Wednesday, it was almost 9:00 before the girls made breakfast. Cheryl and Steve got a call that they had won the cute dinosaur from the Expo show. It' is battery operated and can be programed.
Yesterday was the last day for free lunches, so we each met our husbands at noon and went separate ways. BT and I grabbed pizza at Paisano's Pizzaria & Vino, minus the vino for us. We walked to The Grand Ole Opry for a 3:00 taping of the Crook and Chase show. We thought it was just going to be Loretta Lynn and Josh Gracin appearing, but Crystal Gayle and Peggy Sue, both Loretta's sister came and performed too. Our seats were in the nose bleed sections but at least we were centered and could see pretty good.
Steve and Cheryl took the evening off and went downtown Nashville. Unfortunately Wildhorse Saloon was closed. Kayla and Jeff meet us again in the rotating bar before we went to the I Social.
Total of 4.89 miles walked today.
Thursday Kayla, Cheryl and I got to breakfast about 9:10, this would be our last day together. Kayla was leaving by the 11:00 check out time. It had been pouring rain outside most of the night and this morning. We said our goodbyes to Kayle and wished her a safe trip to visit with her sister over night before heading back to Missouri.
BT and I called each other at noon time and met at Stax for lunch, he chose the beef burger and I went for the veggie burger. I then relaxed in my room for a while.
The Conference closing was a party with dinner and free drinks at 5:30. We saved Cheryl and Steve a seat and set out for food and drinks. It was a “Bonkers” night with games being played on stage. The last thing of the evening was when they drew numbers from tickets that were given as we entered the room. My number was called and I was on stage before I knew what I had even won, it was a Wii. We said our goodbyes to our friends and wished them well. They will drive back to Indiana over the next two days taking a little side trip.
We were in our room by 9:00 and had lots of missed calls to return on the cell phone.
Friday, we were up before the 6:30 alarm. We had a 9:15 flight. It was raining as we flew out of Nashville, but just cloudy in St Louis. A quick stop at Ruiz Mexican restaurant in Wright City for lunch and BT filled up with $3.29 a gallon gas. We pulled in at home at 2:00 exactly, 133 miles one way, no I didn't walk it....and Bentley was sure glad to see us. And the same goes for us.