Wednesday, July 2, 2008

6.24-25.08 Tennessee

Another beautiful drive to Nashville where we met my mom at her office. She happened to be doing work in Nashville that week, so we got to spend some time with her, and she let us stay in her hotel room at the Millennium Maxwell House Hotel. Yes, they do serve their famous coffee. We thought maybe, just maybe, Maxwell House coffee would be exceptionally good at the Millennium Maxwell House, but don’t be fooled, it tastes just the same. Nonetheless, it was a sweet hotel.

Mom took us to Monell’s for dinner, southern cooking in a historic house in the Germantown district of Nashville. We sat at a large wooden table with two other couples and a single man and passed around the fried chicken, pot roast, mashed potatoes, green beans, corn pudding, turnip greens, spinach lasagna casserole, sweet pickle salad, watermelon corn bread and biscuits in a family-style fashion. Of course we had sweet tea too. Caleb and I agree that our favorite was the corn pudding.

That night we also walked around the Vanderbilt campus where my dad’s cousin Leonard Bradley teaches political science. Our walk was inspired by Diana’s raves about the UC Berkley campus. Vanderbilt had lots of beautiful trees.

Mom wanted to show us the Nashville country music scene, so we went to her favorite place called Tootsies. Little did we know Cher would be there later that evening, but we just missed her! The streets of Nashville are crazy. Live music behind almost every door.

Dad’s cousin Leonard picked us up in the morning and treated us to a tour of the Bryan family roots in Lebanon and Watertown, south of Nashville. Leonard pointed out significant landmarks to our family and told us lots of stories about my Papa and Mama Bryan, great grandpa Bryan, and up to my great, great Grandpa Baker.

There is so much I could write about, but these are just a few of the places that we saw:

Great Papa Bryan’s farm. Great Papa grew up on a subsistence farm. They grew all of their food, spun their own cloth, and even made their own nails.

The Bryan cemetery (I even found a Mary Bryan, just a little wierd).

Watertown. Named after my great great great (great?) grandfather, Sheela Waters, the first resident of Watertown. Caleb is convinced that Chad should move to Watertown and become king.

Monday, June 30, 2008

06.23-24.08 Alabama

AAA is a beautiful resource if you ever want to take a cross-country road trip.

Before we embarked for Alabama, we got turn-by-turn directions or “trip ticks” made into three booklets that have our route back home mapped out for us. The AAA assistant in Atlanta was not very happy to start out her morning mapping out 32 destinations for us. It was kind of a game for me to figure out what she was muttering under her breath as she assembled the booklets. Anyways, we are very thankful for her hard work. It makes navigation a lot easier.

The drive to Florence, Alabama was incredible to say the least. We passed massive rivers that looked like lakes to us. Thick, rich trees packed the hills. It was beautiful. Churches lined the highways, mostly Church of Christ and Baptist. Lots of cemeteries as well, many behind the churches.

Alabama Highlights:

- Our cousins Bryan and J.T. took us down to the creek behind their house. I felt like we were in Narnia. They have a pretty radical backyard. We also played Rock Band on their X Box 360. We discovered that J.T. has a hidden vocal talent (and heard a rumor that he follows in Uncle John’s footsteps). We also got to see a sneak peak of Bryan’s Indiana Jones cinematography (very impressive footage).

- Aunt Susan made delicious BBQ brisket and her blue ribbon winning baked beans for dinner. Audrey and Tom and their two girls (who are on their way to Germany for Tom’s new job with the US Army) and Aunt Susan’s neighbors (the mom toured with the band Alabama) ate with us.

- Playing with cousin Luci was a treat once we got to know each other better. She even let us sleep in her room, but she didn’t want to sleep in the same room as Caleb, so she opted to sleep with Uncle John and Aunt Susan.

- On Tuesday we got to visit the house where Helen Keller was raised in Tuscumbia, Alabama. It was pretty cool to touch the same water pump that Anne Sullivan first taught Helen w-a-t-e-r in sign language.

- That afternoon we got to experience Troubridges, a vintage ice cream parlor where I ate an egg and olive sandwich (mmm) and caleb had tuna. Of course we had sweet tea and an ice cream sundae as well. J.T. had a treat called “Oh My Gosh!” and that about explains the pile of whipped cream, ice cream and brownie, etc. that topped his plate.

We’re still talking about Alabama. We loved it. According to Aunt Susan, it’s all down-hill from here.
More coming soon! Hopefully even a flickr album.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

6.18-23.08 Georgia

hello world! let us catch you up on our trip thus far:

It just so happened that Jeni, Jesse, Kenna and Chade are moving back to Idaho! We (caleb and tori) have the spectacular privilege of driving their mini-van home, so we are going to make some stops between Georgia and Idaho for the next few weeks. We are really thankful that we get to do so.

Jeni and Jesse did an impressive job of packing before we arrived, so we basically hung out in Powder Springs, GA where they have been living for the past few years in their beautiful house that they restored from the poop pit (literally). We played, watched movies, put puzzles together, ate Little Caesar's pizza (Hot and Ready = amazing), attended Jesse's graduation from Chiropractic school (yay!), and also attended an Atlanta Braves game (where we ate a delicious Georgia dog = hotdog + coleslaw + sweet onion relish) and much more. Caleb's mom flew home with Kenna and Chade after the moving truck was packed up, and Jeni and Jesse embarked on the long road home to Idaho. We are pumped to the max for them to be back in Idaho, because we have missed them a lot.