This trip was something out of my dreams. A little voice of wanderlust kept talking to me and encouraging me to plan this trip. I imagined it all – from the journey across the country, the open road and changing scenery, to the places we visited along the way, to the carefully selected adventures that filled our days. It just so happened that I had a milestone birthday on the horizon and this adventure checked all the boxes to be able to celebrate that in a big way. A new adventure for a new decade… and a new beginning of sorts!
The plan was ambitious: MD > TN > TX > AZ > CA > CO. Plus all the states in between with 3 straight days on the road to make it home from Colorado. It took a lot of planning and excessive packing (for 3 seasons of weather) but when the time finally arrived to pack the truck and hit the road – we were so ready for what this journey had in store for us!
101 hours of driving
2 happy (and tired) faces
One EPIC adventure!
I’ll be sharing a series of blog posts with photos and details from our cross-country adventures, starting today with highlights from Tennessee and Texas. You’ll see some cell phone photos mixed in, so please excuse the quality of those! If you’re interested in coming on this journey with us…here we go!
Y’all, I’ve been to Nashville a bunch of times. Mostly to attend the Country Music Festival and once to visit a sweet friend that lived in the city at the time. I knew that Nashville scene and wanted to experience something different this time around. #1 on my list was getting to experience an evening at the Bluebird Café. Tickets went on sale the Monday before we left and the whole weekend sold out in 3 minutes! Yes – MINUTES! Luckily, Frank was at the ready and got us seats for the Friday night evening event. Ahh, that was a great sign of the good luck we would find all throughout this trip!
We left our home at 4:30am on a Friday morning and got to Nashville late that afternoon. We dropped our bags, changed our clothes and were on the dance floor at the Wild Horse Saloon in time for dinner. We danced (well, mostly me), we ate and then made our way to the Bluebird Café. The Bluebird’s cozy, intimate setting is something you have to experience firsthand. The talented songwriters shared music, stories and interactions with those in attendance. To add to the experience, Nashville was having a fluke snowstorm that night. Sitting in the Blue Bird Café, listening to the music while watching the snow fall outside is something I’ll never forget. If you ever get a chance to see Dave Berg, Tolan Shaw or Georgia Middleman perform, you won’t regret it!
The next day we made plans to volunteer at The Store. Click the link to find out more! I had remembered reading a few articles about it when they first opened and wanted to contribute to the mission. Our co-volunteers were the sweetest and we enjoyed spending the day with them. Later that evening, we went to the Opry. I was in awe of the whole experience – the size of the venue and the way it feels like you’ve stepped back in time listening to the radio commentary and commercials in between performances. We got to see some favorites – Sam Palladio and Clint Black – and got to experience Keb’Mo and Maggie Rose (among others) who quickly became new favorites as well!
We spent our final day in Nashville doing a self-guided tour of the murals, shopping on Broadway and stalking an old Elvis statue. If you don’t know this about me, I’m a huge Elvis fan. I took a photo with this statue 12 years ago during one of my CMA Fest visits and decided I needed to recreate it on this trip. Elvis was found, souvenirs were acquired and that was the end of our time in Music City.
Waco and Austin, TX
We spent the majority of the next day driving to Texas. Our main reason for going to Texas was to visit friends of ours that moved out of Frederick a few years back. We had made multiple plans to visit, but then COVID happened….and kept happening. But this time we made it! They met us up in Waco so that we could spend a day at Magnolia. I don’t know about you, but I’m a big Chip and Jo fan – and I love their home décor style. I’ve wanted to see the whole Magnolia empire up close and personal and let me tell you….it is definitely an empire! We spent the day walking around the Magnolia compound, shopping and eating all the things! It was a Tuesday and the place was packed with a line around the block for the bakery alone.
From there we ventured down to Austin and spent a day walking around the shopping district. Turns out Austin likes their murals almost as much as Nashville! I don’t have too many photos from this part of our trip. The main event was sharing time and laughs with good friends. My girlfriend is an amazing cook and she taught me how to make her famous pastelillos (how did I do on that spelling!?!). We learned a new party game and I laughed so hard my stomach hurt. The visit was not nearly long enough. It made my soul happy to be back in their company!
Thanks for joining us for part one of this blog series. Join me again next week to see photos from our time in Arizona and California. Until then… xo