“Leave the Luggage to Us” Would Have Been a Good Idea

Collection of Elvis Wines Who knew there was a collection of Elvis wines?

There really aren’t that many people whom I would stand in line to have my picture taken with.  Elvis would be one of them. I know Elvis hasn’t been with us here on earth for a while, but his memory lingers on, right smack in the middle of Cecilia’s and my first stop on the way to the Gaylord Opryland last week.

If you’re looking for Harry Connick, Jr. photos from the Blissdom conference, you’ve come to the wrong place. Don’t get me wrong, I would love to have had my picture taken with Harry. How cool is it that Harry Connick, Jr., makes an appearrance at your conference? I just detest the idea of standing in a long line to end up with a picture of myself with tall dishy Harry, and be faced with the fact that I didn’t look nearly as cute as I thought I did. I treasure my delusions. And I don’t want to think what this means for the vlogging ambitions that I walked away from the conference with.

likkastore Hope Cecilia Doesn’t Sue Me, but this Was our First Stop in Nashville

Does this zippy little Volvo look like an economy car to you? The nice man at the Alamo desk asked me if I wanted an upgrade for only $38 dollars. Even the way he said it, I could tell he didn’t think $38 was nothing. I politely declined. Alamo gave me this stylin’ ride anyway. It sure beats my ancient minivan as a mom getaway car.

I liked my wheels so much I came close to not turning it back in on Sunday – at least in my mind. I considering driving, instead of flying back to Myrtle Beach, stopping by Asheville on the way with Cecilia.  Turns out I’m not that much of an Ann Tyler novel cliche yet.  Have any of you read any of her novels? In at least two of them the main character, a straight-laced but somewhat loopy mother of teenagers, hops in the car and leaves. I imagine this woman would drink lots of Elvis wine.

teapartiers Tea Party Hardy!

You may have heard that the National Tea Party Convention was in Nashville at the same time and place as Blissdom.  I fully expected to run smack into Sarah Palin or at least Sean Hannity, if only for storytelling value. I didn’t see any famous tea partyers unless the couple pictured above is renowned in tea party circles. I did meet some attendees on the elevator. They were very friendly and I thought pretty easy to differentiate from the Blissdom attendees, but they kept asking if we were here for the Tea Party.

I got a few, “So what exactly is a blog, anyway?”

“Ask Sarah and Todd Palin,” did NOT fly out of my mouth.

We did notice lots of security “detail” (isn’t that what they say?),  but I don’t think the tea partyers had anything to worry about. Anyone looking to make trouble for them would have to successfully navigate The Gaylord Opryland jungle/rainforest. In case you haven’t heard, this is no small feat (see map to the left of the above couple).  Not only is the Gaylord Opryland huge, nothing is situated at right angles. The entire complex is under-roof so there isn’t any hope of triangulating oneself by the sun. To top it off seemingly haphazard escalators and stairways present themselves just as you sense yourself coming into range of your room while lugging a 100 pound suitcase.

My suggestion to the Opryland would be to think about providing overconfident visitors like me and Cecilia, a special Garmin-type nav system made especially for the Gaylord Bio-dome. It could even speak to you in the voice of George Jones, Vince Gill or Kellie Pickler. I’m fairly certain we’re not the first two customers to get  in over our heads finding our room. At one point I wanted to jump in the “river” and hold my suitcase over my head, as a soldier would  hold a rifle while wading through the jungles of Vietnam.

In the meantime when Opryland front desk personnel observe two women carrying full bottles of vodka and wine in flimsy plastic bags that aren’t long for this world, headed off brazenly to their room: Stop them and insist that they should probably USE A BELLMAN.

gaylordluggage Get a Free Suitcase with any $250 purchase!

Remember how obscenely proud of myself I was when I packed everything in one suitcase? It didn’t take me long to remember what it was that I was forgetting in my post: A fold-flat tote bag for anything I might accumulate during the trip.

On our last night, as I set out on my search of  such a tote bag at one of the Gaylord Opryland’s many shops, I saw the above sign. Not exactly what I had in mind, but I found it promising for my prospects.

Oh how wrong one can be! And I had been so optimistic in finding the right thing to pack my water bottle, two travel mugs and Hershey’s chocolate Bliss. I found a $79 Oprah’s Favorite gym bag, which definitely wasn’t what I was looking for, or even cute. In typical form, it took me 20 minutes of staring at it to realize this.  Yes, I ended up at the local Target on my way to the airport the next day.

(I know this isn’t your average conference round-up piece. But then again maybe it is. Like I say, I treasure my delusions. Seriously – I met so many wonderful women bloggers this weekend – and I can’t believe how much I learned in such a short period of time. I look forward to keeping in touch!)


  1. says

    I can’t read Ann Tyler novels and want to stay married and eventually have kids all at the same time.

    “Get a free suitcase with any $250.00 purchase” cracked me up.

  2. says

    You went! You went! You went! Isn’t it amazing how wherever we go, there we are? :)

    I’m glad you found your vodka and Oprah’s favorite suitcase. I tried to look up Cecilia’s blog Sasstown, but it led me to an odd “coming soon” type of page. Her books sound fabulous!

    Hey, when we finally get our novels written maybe we can go to a writing conference someday. Vodka and Oprah suitcase in tow, naturally.

  3. says

    Uhm…next time I go some where great with you I’m going to have to introduce you to the “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas” philosophy. And have you sign a confidentiality agreement but that would be blogger blasphemy.

    Just kidding, we really were quite tame and on good behavior, don’t you think?

  4. says

    I can’t see the pictures in this post.

    You know it’s funny because when I read your packing post I thought, I hope she’s bringing an extra bad for her accumulations/

  5. Margo says

    I massaged the flickr powers that be with my html skilz. In other words, cut and paste the exact same code on top of what was already there. The photos are back! – for me anyway – Thanks Jen and UM for letting me know! This post is lame enough without the photos showing up!

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