"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.

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!?!?


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!

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