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Roadtreking to Nashville for some Honky Tonkin’

| Updated May 15, 2016

We're now Nashville Cats. And I have a brand new pair of awesome cowboy boots to prove it. An impromptu group of Roadtrekers from across the country came here on short notice to meet Jennifer and me and to take in a Saturday night showing of Nashville's greatest hit – the Grand Ole Opry, the nation's longest running live radio show and a stage show that has featured every major country and western star you can think of for 90 years straight.

We also toured Nashville's history attractions and the honky tonk joints along Broadway. At Big Time Boots, I tried on Stetson's and walked out in a gorgeous 10EE pair of calfskin Black Jack Boots, proudly handcrafted in the U.S. I've always wanted cowboy boots and finally succumbed to the desire here, thanks to peer pressure from fellow Roadtrekers Cindy Larsen and Jeff Martyka. These were not inexpensive boots so it wasn't until Jennifer gave her okay that I walked out in them.

No such okay was forthcoming for the Stetson.

nashville hat
The John Wayne Stetson felt mighty good.

We all stayed at the Nashville KOA on Music Valley Drive, a huge, squeaky clean and friendly campground that has hourly shuttles downtown as well as the Opry on Saturday night.

Broadway in downtown Nashville is worth a visit. The bars and honky tonk all have live country and western music with no cover charge. We strolled up and down the street which, on a Saturday, started partying before noon. We ate pulled pork at a barbeque joint called Rippy's, which had not one but two bands playing in different rooms.

The other side of Broadway
The other side of Broadway
One side of Broadway
One side of Broadway

For Cindy Larsen, a former missionary to Uganda who returned to the U.S. in January and immediately bought a new Roadtrek Roadtrek CS Adventurous XL to embark on a life of fulltime RVing as a solo, the weekend was a birthday present she gave herself. She, by the way, had her own pretty spiffy cowboy boots, which she had just bought in Texas a couple weeks ago.

For Jeff Martyka, one of our regular photography instructors who teaches at our various Roadtreking gatherings across the country, it was a chance to see the Opry, something that he said gave him another excuse to head out in his Roadtrek. He did not have or purchase a pair of cowboy boots, something I'm sure caused him a great deal of regret and embarrassment all weekend.

As we were giving him grief for actually wearing sneakers in Nashville, a gaggle of spunky girls celebrating a bachelorette party walked by. Everyone of them had boots, as you can see below.


These girls all had boots as they celebrated a bachelorette party
These girls all had boots as they celebrated a bachelorette party


There are almost as many boot shops n Broadway as their are bars
There are almost as many boot shops on Broadway as their are bars

The Grand Ole Opry event was a great end to the weekend. It is today as it always has been,  a live radio broadcast for Nashville station WSM. For generations, its big AM signal gathered people around their radios throughout the south. Nowadays, its also broadcast on satellite radio and the Internet. Every major country star has appeared there for nine decades.


The two hour long show we attended featured headline performers from 16 to well in their 70's. There was fiddle music. Old fashioned bluegrass. Modern country. Square dancing and clogging. In fact, one of the dancers announced his retirement tonight after 50 years of dancing on the Opry stage. We saw individual artists Steve Wariner, Holly Williams, Chris Lane, Tristan McIntosh, Sierra Hull, “Whispering Bill” Anderson and Jeannie Seely. Bands included the Rocky Top Xpress, and Riders in the Sky.


The audience cheered, clapped and sang along. We throughly enjoyed it.

It's a mix of country legends and the contemporary chart-toppers who have followed in their footsteps. It's an American icon and Nashville's Number One attraction and been called the “home of American music” and “country’s most famous stage.”

We all throughly enjoyed it.

Most of us set off from Nashville in different directions. One could is headed to Branson. Others to North Carolina. Others towards Colorado. Jennifer and I will meander further south, to Alabama for some two lane highway exploration and probably back down towards our favorite beaches on the Emerald Coast of northwestern Florida.

But it was a perfect weekend, filled with lots of laughter, some fun sightseeing, great entertainment and new friendships. And it shows that low keyed gatherings can indeed be organized with little advance notice. Just sharing where you're headed can gather a group of fellow RVers.

I love this Roadtreking life.


Meantime, if you'd like to see a live report we did from the KOA campground with some of our Roadtreking friends, click below.

Mike Wendland

Published on 2016-05-15

Mike Wendland is a multiple Emmy-award-winning Journalist, Podcaster, YouTuber, and Blogger, who has traveled with his wife, Jennifer, all over North America in an RV, sharing adventures and reviewing RV, Camping, Outdoor, Travel and Tech Gear for the past 12 years. They are leading industry experts in RV living and have written 18 travel books.

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