So, Brooke and I went on vacation this past week…if you wanna check out some pictures, by all means do so… In summary, we went to the Great Smoky Mountain National Park for 3 nights of camping, and then checked out Memphis, TN to visit Beale Street and then the Dave Matthews Band concert for Saturday night.
A few highlights:
1). Pigeon Forge is an interesting place. Imagine Branson, MO…but 4x longer and with a pancake shop in every other building on that stretch. It’s rather ridiculous. The worst part is that nearly every one had a full parking lot at most times of the day (especially breakfast, of course). Gatlinburg wasn’t much better, but it at least had that “Alpine Village” vibe going for it…
2). The camping was pretty nice. The first night was a bit warm, but the next two were much cooler. It only rained up on Clingman’s Dome (very foggy up there…you can see in the pictures!), and then it stormed the last night we were there. So yeah, the weather was pretty reasonable for late-July!
3). Brooke didn’t get attacked by any bears. She was rather disappointed.
4). Memphis was pretty fun, for the most part. We spent the first night out on Beale Street, which is about as close to Bourbon Street as you’re gonna get north of New Orleans (i.e. no open container law, smelled terrible, open late, etc.). We saw some excellent music and had excellent food at Rum Boogie, had some good BBQ ribs at Blues City Cafe, and walked around downtown quite a bit.
5). Graceland charges $27 to visit the mansion. Per person. And they charge for parking. It goes up from there to $32 for the “platinum tour,” and something in the $60 range to see everything. We were content with just driving by… 😛
6). We saw Dave Matthews Band at Autozone Park, which is where the Memphis Redbirds (Cardinal’s farm team) play. We got to stand right in front of the stage on the field, so it was the absolute closest we’ve ever been to a concert for Dave (I’ve been to 5 now, I think?). The set list was arguably the best I’ve seen, including many old classics as well as a few new ones – they started at 8:15 and we didn’t make it out of there until 11:00 (long set!). Willie Nelson also opened, which was rather neat! The best part was when Dave and Willie sang “Gravedigger” together, which worked beautifully with Willie’s style of singing. The band also did covers of “Burning Down The House” and “Sledgehammer” (a ‘love song,’ Dave said beforehand). So, overall, the concert was pretty awesome!
7). …except for all the people that were there with us… Since we were on the field, that counted as “general admission,” which meant that we were down there with a lot of crazies. Crazies as in frat boys with their girlfriends (with 2 carat diamonds on their fingers…). Crazies as in “I’m going to spend $65 on a ticket, not pay attention to the band, and instead fling my $8 beer around in the air while I dance poorly, spilling it on my neighbor’s feet.” I mean, I’ve been in general admission sections at amphitheaters many a time where the worst thing around was the distinct smell of marijuana…but at least everyone was a). watching the show, and b). respecting the space of those around them. It was nearly unbearable…but at least the music made up for it (to an extent).
That’s about it! It was a great trip, overall!
Time to get back to work though, I guess…