Thursday, January 11, 2007



What a great city. We easily found the Gaylord Centre in the downtown area of the city. We weren't attending the practice so we decided to park and explore the downtown. We parked in a city lot and paid for two spaces!!! A quick walk found us on Music Row. We were going to try and find a fancier restaurant to celebrate our anniversary that day, but settled on the Wildhorse Saloon. It's a very large well known local establishment. It has a very large stage in front of a huge dance floor area. If there isn't a live band playing, they show country and western videos on the huge screen over the stage. It was pretty empty when we were there, but can get pretty full in the evening, especially on the weekends. After having one of their sampler plates (that had three kinds of barbequed meat), we walked on further to check out some of the local honky tonks but they were pretty quiet too. We found a RV campsite out near Opryland. We did check out their shuttle service and purchased tickets for The Grand Ole Opry show for the next night. Graham was happy, his favourite female entertainer Emmy Lou Harris was going to be performing. The line up was impressive. Other performers that would be appearing were: Vince Gill, The Charlie Daniels Band, Mike Snider and friends, Diamond Rio, Little Jimmy Dickens and many more. The Opry performances for the winter are also held at the Ryman Theatre right near the arena, so that was going to be a bonus to see "The Mother Church" of country music. I wouldn't say we are avid country music fans, but we do enjoy all music. The chance to see an Opry performance at the Ryman Auditorium is too good to miss.
Graham was attending the team practice this morning and since I wasn't that keen on attending, he took a taxi to the arena and I stayed at the camp and did some much needed catching up. Laundry, paperwork, cleaning. Some of my favourite things to do. NOT. But, they gotta get done. I got a lot accomplished and Graham returned by mid afternoon with Darcy Hordichuk in tow. Darcy was kind enough to give Graham a ride back to the RV park. It was nice to see him again. We had a brief visit with Darcy at the beginning of our tour, but he had to get going to catch the bus after the game in Minnesota. I was over talking to our very interesting neighbours when Graham returned. We met some fellow sports travellers. Jay and Karen and their boys. They are travelling to all the NFL cities. They are on a Tailgating Tour. It is their business. They travel to each NFL city and set up for the tailgating before the game. They quickly organize a cooking contest for the best grilled food in the parking lot. Entries are judged and the winner gets a Big gas grill and is included in their tailgating cookbook. They covered half the NFL last season and are finishing up this year. They gave us a copy of last years cookbook with the winning entries from each city they visited. Their three boys are home schooled along the way and are a big help setting up and getting organized at each parking lot. They will be finished at the end of this year's NFL schedule and will publish another cookbook from this season's travels. They donate all funds raised to the Arthritis Society. They are a fun family and it was really neat to meet them. They also have a motorized cooler that was fun to drive around. Darcy seemed to enjoy it too. After a great barbequed supper we took the shuttle bus into the Ryman Auditorium for the Grand Ole Opry performance. It was a great show and it was fun to see the performance at the historical Ryman. It was an early night to get ready for a long day tomorrow.
We headed back into the rink this morning and Graham attended the game day skate. The team arranged for us to park nearby and we went back to Music Row to do some exploring. It was nap time in the afternoon. We walked across the street early for the game and Graham was part of a live pre-game radio show. Nashville won the game in a shoot out. After the game, it was a thrill for me to meet Paul Kariya. Darcy introduced us and asked me to tell Paul my story about our little dog Spike and his favourite toy which just happened to be a Paul Kariya beanie bear. He thought it was pretty funny. He also graciously signed a t-shirt with his name and number on the back for me. It will be a treasured souvenir of our trip for me. After the game, we went back out to the music district and saw it in full swing. The hockey crowd had overflowed into the streets and the bars and honky tonks were full. There was lots of good live music, lots of refreshments, and lots and lots of people. We made our way over to Printer's Alley which is a small alley way with more live music bars. We went into a blues bar and thoroughly enjoyed the live performers. After a fun (and late) night we made our way back to the arena where we stayed in the underground loading dock area. So many of the arenas around the league have had us stay right at their facility after a game and Nashville was kind enough to have us stay with them too. We have certainly had some interesting spots to sleep for the night. I should have kept a journal of each place where we have stayed for the night. That alone would make for interesting reading. We are off to Atlanta in the morning for our last stop before we go home for Christmas. It is hard to believe we have been on the road for two and a half months. I am definitely looking forward to going home even if it is for a short time.

Graham's Game Report

Dec 16, 2006
Gaylord Entertainment Center
St. Louis Blues vs Nashville Predators

We saw the Blues for the second time in five days and after a few practices with their new coach. They were much more disciplined this time and probably deserved better than the point they earned in the 3-2 shootout loss but the Preds are a strong team coming off a 6-0 spanking of the Ottawa Senators two nights earlier. The Blues jumped out to the lead only 30 seconds into the game and began trapping almost immediately. They added a second goal on a two man advantage later in the period as Elmira native Dennis Wideman set up Doug Weight for a one timer from the point that found the back of the net. The home side battled back with a rocket from the stick of Paul Kariya midway through the second and a late solo effort from Scott Nichol with only seventeen seconds left in the second period to knot the score at two. Both teams had chances to win it in the third and overtime periods but Mason and Legace were solid between the pipes to send the game to a shootout. Kariya scored the only goal of the shootout to give the homeside the extra point.
We had a chance to catch up with Dan’s former Orlando teammate Darcy Hordichuk who is enjoying his role with this strong Nashville team. The assistant coach for the Predators is Peter Horacek who coached the Orlando team to a Turner Cup in the last year of the IHL. It was nice to remember that very special time in Dan’s career. Nashville will definitely be a team to watch in a strong Western Conference in this year’s playoffs.

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