Grand Ole Opry house outside Nashville Branson Memphis Music Cities

Nashville, Branson & Memphis – October 14, 2019

Tour originated in Edmonton, sister city to Nashville, Tennessee
Nashville was named permanent capital of Tennessee, in 1843
Tour was country music themed, including Nashville and Branson
Passengers signed on to kick up their heels and have some fun

Lunched in Calgary, hot turkey sandwiches for Thanksgiving Day
Onward, to Lethbridge, passing many communities along the way
Lethbridge is home to the unique Nikko Yuko Japanese Garden
Travelled Highway #3 to Medicine Hat, known as ‘Gas City’ often

Journeyed into Saskatchewan, only province without natural borders
Overnighted in Swift Current at Coast Hotel, cookies with our quarters
Lunched next day in Moosomin, at Red Barn, chicken at its best
After lunch entered Manitoba, last of Prairie Provinces of the West

Had a break in Brandon, largest city in Manitoba, by population
Overnighted in Winnipeg, due to flooding, our roost was a relocation
Crossed Canada/US border and entered state of North Dakota
Lunched and shopped in Fargo, largest city in state, named for tribe ‘Lakota’

Journeying forward entered Minnesota state, 12th in size ranking
Afternoon break in Alexandria, home of Big Ole, the Viking
Overnighted at Mystic Lake Casino in Prior Lake, an elegant inn
Passengers dined, wined, played in casino, no mention of a BIG WIN!

Entered Wisconsin, ‘Dairy State’, stopped at LaCrosse for a snack order
Situated on Mississippi River, LaCrosse is largest city on western border
In Madison, state capital, at a Cracker Barrel, tour enjoyed lunch
Entered Illinois, bypassed Metropolitan Chicago, still a traffic crunch

Capital city is Springfield, home of Lincoln Tomb, Abe Lincoln’s burial site
Overnighted at Fairfield Inn, Merrillville, Illinois, day 4 was over tonight
Merrillville is home of Albanese Confectionery, makers of the gummy bear
Indiana is called ‘Hoosier State’, 38th largest state in area, 94,321 km square

Passed through Indianapolis, Indiana, home of the Indy 500 Raceway
Lunched in Seymour, site of the first train robbery in the USA
Entered Kentucky, ‘Bluegrass State’, home state of boxer, Cassius Clay
Bypassed Louisville, home of Kentucky Derby, held 1st Saturday in May

Entered Tennessee, ‘Volunteer State’, last Confederate state to leave Union
Arrived in Nashville to spend 3 nights at Gaylord Opryland, for some fun
Enjoyed the atmosphere at the Gaylord, with garden/river under glass
Visited Country Music Hall of Fame, museum dedicated to country class

Had a guided tour of Grand Ole Opry, saw Roy Acuff’s dressing room
Also Green Room, stood ‘In The Circle’, on stage for a photo zoom
Attended Grand Ole Opry, saw Connie Smith, John Conlee, Bill Anderson
On a guided tour of Nashville we saw Batman Tower and Ryman Auditorium

Ryman Auditorium is original home of Grand Ole Opry, which has left a mark
Also saw City Hall, The Parthenon, Visitor’s Centre and Centennial Park
Attended Dinner Theatre, delicious meal, entertainment with the Janson Family
All too soon the time in Nashville was over and we departed unhappily

Journeyed to Hurricane Mills, tour stopped at the Country Shop
Drove by Loretta Lynn’s home, did not see inside, no time to stop
Lunched at Casey Jones Village, in Jackson, site of memorial terrain
Casey Jones was a RR Engineer who died trying to stop a runaway train

Onward to Memphis, for a self-guided tour of Elvis’s Graceland
Toured main house, trophy room, racquetball court and burial land
Overnighted at Guest House, Graceland, grandiose, made to order
Passed through Arkansas state, Mississippi River forms western border

Entered Missouri, nicknamed ‘Show Me State’, enroute to Branson
Overnighted at Grand Victorian Hotel, for 3 nights seeking out fun
Enjoyed The Presleys, 1st musical show to open on 76 Country Blvd
Explored Silver Dollar Park, saw pumpkin tree, used visiting card

Attended Clay Cooper Show for evening entertainment, music not slow
Morning show was Yakov, thrilling to see him live, instead of on video
Dined on Showboat Branson Belle, couldn’t sail, because of weather
Ended day with Country Vault Show, last show in Branson, together

Sadly tour left Branson, on way to Springfield and Fantastic Caverns
Toured Caverns in a jeep-drawn tram, thrilling with twisty turns
Onward to Osceola, where tour made a stop at Osceola Cheese Store
Overnighted at Drury Inn, Kansas City, enjoyed drinks, food and more

Tour bypassed St. Joseph, originating point of Pony Express
Left Missouri, entered Iowa nicknamed ‘Hawkeye State’ making progress
Entered South Dakota nicknamed ‘Mt. Rushmore State’, capital city Pierre
Bypassed Sioux Falls, largest city, named for falls on Big Sioux River near

Overnighted in Watertown, at Country Inn, where tour had a pizza party
Journeyed into North Dakota, ‘Peace Garden State’, state fruit is chokecherry
Saw big buffalo in Jamestown, lunched at Chieftan Lodge, Carrington
Louis L’Amour was born in North Dakota, as was Angie Dickson

Overnighted in Minot, at Clarion Hotel, they hosted the Farewell Dinner, with wine
Crossed US/Canada border, entered Saskatchewan, our homeland, so devine
Lunched in Weyburn, at Captains Table, delicious fare, good value for your dine
Overnighted in Swift Current, at Coast Hotel, tour has made full circle in time

We saw antelope, elk, deer, mountains and fall coloured trees
Crossed rivers, passed lakes and communities, also caught some ZZZ’s
We encountered Mr. Detour and his pal Road Work several times
Also gushes of rain, much snow, time changes, and scenic climbs

Home going day, tour travelled reverse route, Edmonton to Swift Current
Sixteen days away, having fun, had passenger’s patience lower than 100%
Country music still reverberating in the ears and the mind
Memories to cherish, of a musical tour, one of a kind

Composed by:  Vickie Murphy, Airdrie, Alberta