DISCLAIMER

"To strive, to seek, to find and not to yield"
- Alfred Lord Tennyson, 1833

"live deep and suck out all the marrow of life"
- Henry David Thoreau, 1845

"Some guys, they just give up living
And start dying little by little, piece by piece
Some guys come home from work and wash up,
And go racin' in the streets."
- Bruce Springsteen, 1977

"...to the heart, there's no time for you to waste.
You won't find your precious answers now
by staying in one place."
- Frank Turner, 2009

"The best things in life aren't things.
They're living and breathing."
- Michael Franti , 2011

"I owned every second that this world could give,
I saw so many places, the things that I did"
- Ryan Tedder of OneRepublic, 2014

All written content and photos by Rob Fulfer unless otherwise indicated.





Monday, November 14, 2016

Novemberings

It was a fun and busy month of November for us...
Tuesday, November 1, 2016 - 85 degrees - might as well get in the pool and clean out the fallen leaves...thanks, global warming!

11/5 -  We had a fun Saturday today starting with brunch at The Nashville Jam Company, a fairly new place over on the lake in Mt. Juliet.  The food was tremendous!
This was my pimento cheese and bacon omelet complete with a fresh biscuit and a hash-brown waffle!

We took a short hike around The Sellars Farm Indian Mounds/State Archelogical Site near our house in Lebanon to walk off our big breakfast and to start to get Ashlee's knee some rehab work:

One of the state protected Indian mounds at Sellars Farm.

We continued southeast for an afternoon visit, tour and tasting at Short Mountain Distillery over in Cannon County near Woodbury.


They are making some good hooch up here on Short Mountain.  We bought a bottle of their smooth Charred Shine (our favorite from the tastings) and even got a Hatch-Print style poster signed by the owner, Billy Kaufman.

Thursday, 11/10 - Tonight we caught a show by Ingrid Michaelson at The Ryman.  Her positive energy and songs were just what we needed after this surreal week of elections.   We had dinner before at the wonderful Jack Brown's Beer and Burger Joint with our friend, Bridgette, and her brother, Eddie, who were also going to the show.
Ingrid and her dynamite band put on a great show at The Ryman.

Friday, 11/11 - We attended an Open Telescope Night at the Dyer Observatory in Nashville tonight with an almost full moon and a cloudless sky.
Dyer's largest telescope, the Seyfert (under the dome in the above pic), was trained on Neptune tonight and although it only appears as a blue glowing dot through the lens, it's not visible to the naked eye and it's kinda cool knowing we saw something 2.8 billion miles away.  The observatory's smaller telescopes were trained on Uranus /(1.8 billion miles away), the surface of the Moon and the Pleiades star cluster.  What a great way to spend a Friday night!

Saturday, 11/12 - It was another weekend of beautiful fall weather, so we took an overnight road trip eastward and then up north into Kentucky to visit Cumberland Falls and the famous moonbow there since it was an almost full moon. We stopped in Cookeville for a tasty lunch at Father Tom's Pub on the way.

We were welcomed into Kentucky with a stinking flat tire just 20 or so miles from the falls.  We managed to get it changed onto the doughnut wheel and make it to the Cumberland Falls Resort Inn and checked into our room before dark.  After a ho-hum dinner at the lodge, we headed down to the falls to see the faint, but visible, moonbow.   The next day. and $70 later at a nearby Wal-Mart, we got our new tire and headed home without further incident.

11/13 - A Sunday morning view of Cumberland Falls.

11/13 - Sunday sunrise at the awesome Cumberland Falls Lodge patio looking down on the Cumberland River.  There was still a surprising amount of fall color despite it being mid-November and some very cool temps recently.
While we weren't able to capture the moonbow on our phone cameras the night before, we did get this rainbow shot in front of the falls the next morning.  This is about where the moonbow appears just a little lower toward the water.

Sunday, 11/13 - We got home from our road trip, rested up a bit, did some work around the house and then headed to Nashville to catch a showing of Jurassic Park at The Schermerhorn with The Nashville Symphony playing the terrific movie score.  We had dinner before at the always-great Suzy Wong's House of Yum with our friends, Wendy and Charlie, who also went with us to the show.

The screen's smaller,but sitting behind the orchestra as they play the movie score is the only way to experience it.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Autumn Activities

We started October 2016 with two separate trips with my guys-trip to Miami getting cancelled thanks to Hurricane Matthew, and Ashlee's to Key West and the Bahamas with her mom and niece almost being cancelled due to the same storm.
10/19 - Soon after her trip, Ashlee had to have knee surgery to repair a meniscus tear that had been bothering her for a while and that, obviously, put a damper on our activities for the next few weeks at least.

10/21 - Our first post-surgery activity was going to see the goofy comedy, Boo! A Madea Halloween, at the Watertown Drive-In.  Such a great place for a bargain movie and pretty darn good concessions at a reasonable price.

10/22 - We early voted today and this was actually our first time we've ever voting together, but it was important as we felt we had to do everything we could to stop a dangerous, unqualified person (not to be named here- trying to stay positive) from being our next president .  (Editor's note:  11/9/16...God help us all.)  

10/27 - It was a beautiful night for some Thursday Night Football in Nashville,  Halloween edition!

There was a pre-game show by one of our favorite local bands, A Thousand Horses.  And then another local up-and-coming band, The Cadillac Three, played at half-time.  All that and a game-that-wasn't-as-close-as-the-final-score thrashing of the Jacksonville Jaguars in prime-time on national television, 36-22.

We have to say as always "thank you" for the invitation and the tickets to the game to our own Pink Nightmare, and our dear, dear friend, Wayne.  It's always an adventure with The Wayniac! 
10/29 -  It was a beautiful day for a car ride today, so we headed over to College Grove, TN, to check out another Southern Living Idea House in the swanky development there known as The Grove.
The Southern Living Idea House in The Grove was stunning inside and out, but the backyard and its multiple decks were our favorite part of it.  Anyone got a million bucks or so just layin' around??

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Do you remembahhh....in 2016 the month of Septembahhh!

After our awesome trip to Nor-Cal to kick the month off, we had a fun little rest of September as we did a few things while reluctantly getting our pool ready to close for the winter...ho-hum...

September 10/11 - As part "Ashlee's Birthday Celebration"/part "We Wanna See Those Dang Bats" we rented a sweet cabin overlooking Nickajack Lake this weekend.  The cabin is technically in Alabama and are known as Grant Summit. They are super-clean and cozy and we will definitely have to come back here again!  
The view from the cabin's balcony is stunning and the perfect weather we had just added to the beauty.
We finally got to see the bats come swarming out of Nickajack Cave at dusk from our kayaks, a sight that got rained out for the most part last summer for us.  
September 12 - On Ashlee's official birthday, we had dinner with our friends Wayne, Danny and Brenda at one our favorite new restaurants in Nashville, the Chauhan Ale and Masala House.  That is some dang-good Indian food!! And much, much thanks to Danny for footing the bill!
September  19 - We got back to The Ryman tonight to check out the SOLD OUT show by Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats.  It was an energetic, excellent performance!
September 23 - It was yet another SOLD OUT show tonight with some of our favorite performers including NeedtoBreathe and Mat Kearney at The Ascend Amphitheater in downtown Nashville.  We were down in the pit very close to the stage and it was a great show that included two pretty good openers as well.  
September 24 - We were happy and proud to attend our good friend, Wayne's college graduation today from West Governors University.  Congrats, Wayniac!!  Afterwards, we had an amazing lunch at Jack Brown's Beer and Burger Joint over in Germantown...best burgers in Nashville!!

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

NorCal and ColdPlay

Friday, September 2 - We flew out to San Jose, California, today for the long holiday weekend, and to celebrate Ashlee's birthday a little early, and most of all to catch one of our favorite bands, Coldplay, who didn't come to our area as had hoped this year with their "Head Full of Dreams" Tour, so we took "Mohammed to the mountain" as they say.  This was our first time in this area for any extended period of time (we did drive up from San Fran a few years back to catch a Linkin Park concert nearby, but only for the evening), and we have to say we are pretty impressed with it.


 After a drink at our first-ever meadery, the Rabbit's Foot, the friendly barkeep recommended dinner at any of three places in nearby Sunnyvale on Historic Murphy Avenue instead of heading into San Jose itself.  We settled on Roberto's Cantina for their famous pollo al xocoqui (H0-C0-KEY), a large chicken breast topped with all kind of Mexican goodness!  We even had a couple of free shots of 40+ year old tequila (very smooth!) from the owner, Roberto, as we were introduced to him by a couple of locals dining next to us that we struck up a conversation with outside on the sidewalk.



It was on to Cocola Bakery in San Jose for some  amazing chocolate pound cake for Ashlee's "12 Days of Cake" leading up to her birthday after that.

Saturday, September 3 -  We headed out to Big Basin Redwoods State Park this morning - the oldest state park in California - (technically, Yosemite is the oldest, but it's no longer a state park now is it?).    We did a great loop trail hike lead by some knowledgeable volunteers through some of the biggest redwoods in the park.
Redwoods are BIG TREES.  Even though the road to Big Basin State Park is winding and narrow at times, the drive was pretty amazing.
No, seriously, redwoods are BIG, BIG trees!  
Then it was on out to the coast to grab some ocean views.  We stopped at Highway 1 Brewing for lunch and a cold one and then made a brief stop at the nearby Pigeon Point Lighthouse which is in a state of much-needed repair, but still a beautiful awe-inspiring spot.
We headed back to the hotel to rest of up and short bit, change clothes and head over to the new Levi's Stadium (home of the 49ers and the last Super Bowl) to see COLDPLAY!!

Man, what an explosion of sight, sound and color.  Easily one of the best stadium shows we have ever seen.  This was the last show in the U.S. leg of Coldplay's Head Full of Dreams Tour and a return for them to the place where they played the half-time show of this year's Super Bowl.
Chris Martin and Coldplay's enthusiasm and positiveness are pooh-poohed by many, but these guys have stayed together for 20+ years and continue to pump out great tunes that are good for the soul.  They are the innovators of the lighted wristbands which pulse along with the music and are a pretty amazing site to see live in a giant stadium.
More color, more sound, more awesomeness!!  This is COLDPLAY!

Sunday, September 4 - We ambled over to the awesome Bill's Cafe for brunch before going COASTing again. Our first stop was Rockaway Beach in Pacifica where Ashlee also found a great Christmas shop for some continued ornament collecting.

At the regionally famous, Bill's Cafe, in Santa Clara, Ashlee chose the Mexicali Benedict (background) and I had the Santa Ana Scramble (foreground).  Both were amazing and worth the 20-minute wait (with free coffee!).
We stopped at Hop Dogma Brewing  in Half Moon Bay out on the coast for a flight of their great craft beers. 
 Look, we are cat people beyond a doubt, but we sort of fell in love with"Elmer"...well, that's what we named him...at the brewery stop.  What a cutie!
We took a walk on nearby Miramar Beach in Half Moon Bay to burn off some of the beer we had  just consumed.  We got our toes in the water and it was pretty nice.
There was heavy traffic up and down the coast on Highway 1 on this holiday weekend, but we had great weather throughout.  We had an early dinner of pizza at Spicoli's Pizza (yeah, the one from the movie, bruh!!). We also had one more beer stop back in San Jose to close out the evening at the small, but excellent, Alpha Acid Brewing.

Monday, September 5 - Happy Labor Day!  We headed south today and back to the coast.  Our first stop was Point Lobos State Natural Area - it was a long hike in since the parking areas were supposedly "all full" but  it was worth the walk.    What a dynamic area!
We then headed north along the amazing 17-mile Drive from Carmel to Monterey including brief stops at the beautiful and historic Pebble Beach Golf Course, Pescado Point, The Lone Cypress, Seal Rock (for some more cake!) and Point Pinos Lighthouse.
Hard to take a bad picture at The Lone Cypress...this most photographed tree in the world!
Our drive ended in Santa Cruz for the night where we enjoyed our amazing room at the Dream Inn.
Now THAT is a great view to wake up too.  And, yes, that is a sunrise on the West Coast.  You gotta look at a map of Santa Cruz to figure out how that works.  Thanks to the Dream Inn for the fantastic room and view.
Tuesday, September 6 - Before heading back to the airport in San Jose we stopped at our adopted west coast college book store on the campus of UC Santa Cruz (Go Banana Slugs!!) for some Slug-wear, then breakfast at the Santa Cruz Diner (a DDD stop) and finally took gander at a real 50' blue whale skeleton outside the Seymour Marine Discovery Center.
12 Days of CAKE leading up to Ashlee's birthday included pancakes...of course...at the awesome Santa Cruz Diner.
An actual blue whale skeleton.  A 50' female that washed up on shore nearby.
The flight home was smooth and we even got good looks at the amazing Bonneville Salt Flats in northwestern Utah from the plane.
It was such a great trip that ended way to soon, but gave us lots of memories, and lots of reasons to want to come back to this area again!

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

August Report

August saw us traveling a little, listening to a
little live music and comedy...you know, the usual.


Tuesday, August 2 - We saw one of favorite performers, LP,  tonight as an opener at The Ryman for Bryan Ferry.  We didn't stay for the main show because we saw (and heard) all we wanted to with THAT VOICE in THAT PLACE!  We had a tasty dinner before at the new Lula Cafe that is now part of  recent expansion at The Ryman.

August 5-7:  We took a break from the new pool for a long weekend road trip back down to North Georgia and the quaint little town of Blue Ridge where we rented a cabin on the Toccoa River for some tubing and relaxing.  Thanks to our friends Wayne, Charlie and Wendy for going with us.


Friday, August 5 - We got to our awesome rental cabin (Homeaway.com # 250292) on the Toccoa River this afternoon just in time for a quick float downriver (which is actually flowing north). Afterwards we had a wonderful dinner at Chester Brunnemeyer's Bar and Grill in downtown Blue Ridge...best wings on the planet!  Thanks to Wayne for taking the picture.

Saturday, August 6 - It was a full day of tubin' today with a short run and then a longer one all the way into the town of McCaysville on the GA/TN border.  Ashlee actually floated on in to Tennessee due to a little high-water mishap, but we were able to pull her ashore in  the adjoining town of Copper Hill.   The evening was spent at the cabin hanging out on the river watching the fog roll in from the beautiful gazebo on the property and roasting weenies and s'mores in the fire-pit.  
photo courtesy of Onlyinourstate.com
Sunday, August 7-  After a great breakfast made by Ashlee, we regretfully had to check out of the cabin.  But before heading home we all ambled back down to Blue Ridge for some shopping and a stop at The Sweet Shoppe, a Food Network "Cupcake Wars" winner, for some excellent cupcakes.


























Thursday, August 11 - We had great seats tonight to see one of our favorite comedians,  Jim Gaffigan as he brought his "Fully Dressed" tour to  TheBridge-stone 
Arena.  We also had access to unlimited (delicious) food and (adult) beverages at the Lexus Lounge inside the arena before and after the show.   Jim and his opener, Ted Alexandro, were hilarious as expected.

Wednesday, August 17 - An "old friend" was back in town tonight in the form of Scott Miller who did an acoustic show at a tiny East Nashville venue known as The 5 Spot.  Besides being an early show and on a weeknight night, the place was pretty packed. We haven't seen Scott play in several years and it was good to catch him again live and see and hear that he as good as ever.   This was our first time in this venue and it's a dandy with good sight lines and great acoustics.   We hope to be back soon.

Friday, August 19 - Another "old friend" was back home in Nashville tonight as we caught a SOLD OUT show by the always-amazing Butch Walker on his "Stay Gold" Tour at The Cannery.  His opener, The Wind and the Wave, were solid as well.


Friday, August 26 - Ashlee's co-worked and good friend, Eileen, came to visit us for a few days from Philadelphia, so tonight we decided to take the Yankee to the giant Wilson County Fair to see how the other half lives.  There was a riding lawnmower demolition derby...enough said...

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Our First Summer with a Pool!!

Having a pool really cuts into your social life, but we did manage to squeeze in a few memorable events over the summer months that didn't involve getting wet in our back yard!


Sunday, June 5 - We headed back to The Cookie Jar down in Dunlap, TN, for my sister Melinda's birthday lunch.  It was delicious again!


Thursday, June 23 -  Tonight we attended an  opening night IMAX presenation of Independence Day: Resurgence at Opry Mills with our pal, Wayne.  The movie was a little cheesy, sorta like the first one, but still an entertaining sequel.


Friday, June 24 - Tonight we saw Raiders of the Lost Ark at the Symphony Center celebrating it's 35th Anniversary with our friends, Wendy and Charlie.  We had an outstanding dinner before at Bob's Steakhouse in the Omni Hotel.
Three theories:  Fred's got a new baby brother/sister;  Fred's got a new daughter/son;  Fred has told more deer have about our city-limits, back-yard deer haven.
We spent the 4th of July 3-day weekend at the pool...ours and then at our friends' John and Monique on Monday.
Wednesday, July 6 - We dodged some major rain tonight to catch Duran Duran at the new Ascend Amphitheater with our friends, Bethany, Danny and Brenda.  It was a very good show along with CHIC featuring the amazing Nile Rodgers opening.   The sunset was amazing after the storms got out of the way.  This was our first time sitting in the "lawn" area and it was great with good sight-lines and excellent sound.  We had a good dinner beforehand at Puckett's Grocery where our dinner and drinks bill cost less than our $41 parking!!  C'mon, downtown Nashville!?!?

VEGAS, BABY!


Friday, July 8 - We flew out to Las Vegas today basically for free as I won a seat to the 2016 World Series of Poker Main Event plus travel and lodging expenses!!  I had the most accumulated points in a 12-tournament series over the past year in a local poker club here in Lebanon.  Thanks to our friends, Wayne and Bethany, for coming along for the ride!

We chose the beautiful Mandalay Bay complex for our lodging for one main reason:  Lazy river, Vegas-style!  It was our first time staying at this resort and it was great.
Saturday, July 9 - We spent the day today relaxing  at the Mandalay Bay pool and then took an evening Ferris Wheel ride on the giant High Roller that was built on The Strip a few years back with some stunning views and an open bar!!
Sunday, July 10 - Today was my first day at the gigantic 2016 WSOP Main Event.  I lasted day one with about my starting stack, and Ashlee and the gang met me at the tasty Ping Pang Pong  nearby for my dinner break.
Monday, July 11 -  It was a day off from poker for me today, so we started the day at Mr. Mama's for an outstanding breakfast.  We spent the whole day (and well into the night) on an epic road trip over into California passing the amazing Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating Facility. through some of the Mojave National Preserve, a stop for dinner in the tiny desert town of Lucerne Valley at the awesome and historic Burger Depot and finally the beautiful Joshua Tree National Park.
Science fiction?  Not hardly. It's the amazing new Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating Facility as seen from I-15 heading out of Nevada west into California.  
Somewhere in the Mojave National Preserve.  Is that white steam or clouds behind the train?  Nope, neither. Those are giant sand dunes in the distance.
The beautiful and historic Kelso Train Depot (that has now been converted into a cool visitor center) is a nice oasis in the middle of the Mojave National Preserve.
Yes, it's just a burger and fries, but here's the really cool part:  Notice the handwritten "Double" on the wrapper.  That was penned by Laura, the lovely co-owner  of the Burger Depot (along with her husband, Dave) of this tiny business in this tiny town that they have run together for over 25 years.  They are the only two working in the place, and we were the only customers at the time they were preparing our food, yet she took the time to write "Double" on the wrapper.  Try and find that attention to detail anywhere else these days?  We also shut the place down (6 pm) and watched as Dave lowered the flag in front of the place (as I am sure he does every night) and Laura brought out a step-stool and changed the hanging sign from "Open" to "Closed" (as I am sure she does every night).  What a wonderful nostalgic place!  Big thanks to the YELP app for helping us find it.
We made it just in time for sunset and a cool shadow pic.  We stayed way too late gazing at the amazing field of stars above.(despite the half-moon shining bright) and vowed to come back when we could spend more time in this beautifully unique place and maybe even camp overnight if possible.
"Where the streets have no name..."  - U2, The Joshua Tree

Tuesday, July 12 - Ashlee and the gang headed home today with hopes of coming back out to Vegas the following weekend as I continued to play in the WSOP...but that was not meant to be...I was knocked out late tonight as my pocket queens were cracked on the river by ace-king...oh well...on to next year hopefully.  It was still a great, great experience.


Friday, July 22 - Tonight we saw Michael Franti and Spearhead (for the seventh time) at the War Memorial Auditorium in downtown Nashville.  It was a lively show, as usual, full of good vibes and positive messages. We had a good dinner beforehand in East Nashville at The Holland House.  This photo was snapped by our friend, Danny, as Michael took to a small stage in the center of the room and the center of the crowd as he usually does for close contact with his fans during his shows as Ashlee and I look on with a "front row" view.


Friday, July 29 - We stayed overnight in this new retro-style Shasta camper in downtown Nashville for a bit of "urban camping" (and about a third of the cost of a downtown hotel).  Thanks to AirBnB for this unique opportunity.

We were in town to see Dwight Yoakam  (as well as a pre-show meet-and-greet) with 2nd row seats for a first-time-ever show at the Schermerhorn Symphony Center in Nashville.   The show was good albeit the sound was not as perfect as thought it could be for this venue...maybe they are just not used to "cow-punk" inside these fancy walls??  Meeting Dwight was a hoot and he was very nice to all the fans.

Turn it on, turn it up and turn him loose!