Ten years ago, this past September, I checked off number 28!

I went to Dollywood! I haven’t until now, however, posted the pictures or stories from this adventure. The good news: I just came across all of the images and videos from that trip. The bad news: I can’t remember most of the stories of what was going on at that time.

What I do remember, however, is that my friend Colee came to visit me while I still lived in Kentucky, and we went on a road trip down to Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. On the way down, we listened to a lot of Dolly Parton’s music, and we stopped for a night at my friend Heather’s house.

Dollywood was a blast, and I would love to go back again! On the way home, we went Zorbing, and then we stopped by Mammoth Cave to explore. It was a really fun trip and an amazing visit with my dear friend, Colee!

I have finally put all these videos together, if you’d like to take a look. The first one is our trip down to Dollywood, and the second one is our trip back up to my home in Kentucky. I hope you enjoy!

Travel Week: 3

My assignment for my two-day trip was to fly from DEN to BOI to MDW, and finally, I was to end up at CVG. I was looking forward to this since I’ve never flown into Cincinnati. Day two was supposed to work two legs back to Denver. This got me to Denver with plenty of time to kill before my 13:40 check-in.

Low and behold, my first leg to Boise had been canceled. They still had me scheduled, however, to fly the rest out of Boise. The only problem: I’m in Denver, not Boise. Sure enough, they fixed my schedule. Instead of working two two-day trips back to back, they changed it into a three-day trip.

Sunday: DEN > GRR

Other than a slight delay, we landed in Grand Rapids without any incident.

Monday: GRR > RIC > BWI > DEN

With all of the delays and reroutes happening this week, I probably had a change to my assignment at least five times. When I woke up, the plan was to go GRR > BWI > MCO > PHL. Coworkers tell me that you should never make plans because once you do, the scheduling gods know, and they end up changing your trip. It’s like a Murphy’s Law thing. I jinxed our day because I was excited to take two of my crew members to get cheesecakes in Philly.

About forty minutes into the flight, we were rerouted to Richmond, Virginia. The result was 141 upset passengers. It would have been good to be finished there for the night, but an hour-and-a-half later, we were on our way to BWI. I reminded the passenger several times that we always try our best to be on time, but safety is our biggest concern. When we finally landed in Baltimore, I walked from the ‘C’ terminal to the ‘B,’ just in time to work the last leg back to Denver- which was the latest change to my assignment.

Both of the crews that I worked with on this two-day trip were just amazing. We had so much fun laughing and joking around with each other. It almost made it worth working a late shift (not quite, but almost). I got back to the crashpad at about 02:30 and was fast asleep about fifteen minutes later.

Tuesday: DEN > FLL

Another change! When I left the crashpad, the assignment was to work two legs to San Jose, California. Instead- I was to work one leg to Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. This 18+ hour overnight on the beach was just what my soul needed! I was scrolling through my pictures, and then it appears that the last time I was at the beach was back in January.

I stayed at B Ocean Resort-like last time. This is located right on the water. The only thing that I don’t like is the fact that the food there is so expensive! I know this is a vacation town thing, but still. Paying thirteen dollars for a waffle on Wednesday morning was a bit much. Not waffles (plural), mind you- one waffle.

After eating, I hit the beach. The hotel has a private beach area where those staying can use one of their beach chairs for free. If you want to fork out some cash, you can upgrade to one covered with a shade. I sat in the sun for about five minutes before deciding it was time to swim in the ocean.

We didn’t even have to head back to the airport until 18:30, so I had almost a full day of relaxation and enjoyment. I only headed back inside when I was starting to turn pink. I didn’t want to get sunburn like I always do.

Wednesday: FLL > BNA > DEN

Wednesday’s workday was very easy, as we only had to work the first of the two legs. The second was just a deadhead back to Denver. It was great to see my friend and coworker Linda, who happened to be working that flight.

Now that I’ve had the mental reset from some beach time, life is good again. Not that life wasn’t good before, but this particular beach visit was just such a welcomed surprise!

Tonight I’m in Nashville, Tennessee!

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IMG_0070We landed just afternoon, and even though I was tired from not having slept very well last night in the crashpad, I knew that if I took a nap, it would throw off tonight’s sleep as well. I forced myself into regular-person clothes and walked the three blocks to Broadway (tourist area) and had Jack’s Bar-B-Que for lunch. This delicious gluttony meant that a nap was definitely needed. I walked back to the hotel and took a three-hour snooze.

If I’d had any energy whatsoever, I probably could have done Nashville proper. Now I’m wide awake- wishing I’d called my old friend Shannon who lives somewhere near Nashville. It would be a blast to go sing karaoke, but the alarm is set for 03:10 (that’s gonna hurt tomorrow- just over 7 hours from now.)! Instead, I just went down to the front desk and bought some popcorn and chips. I think I’ll have a wee snack and read in bed. Reading usually helps me to fall back to sleep.

Every Southwest Overnight?

So much has happened in the last few days- I hope I can do this story justice. First off, I’m happy to report that I am another step closer to checking bucket list item number 74 off (which is to stay at every single Southwest overnight). I will admit that this is one bucket list item that I may never check off wholly. The reason why is because my employer constantly changes what overnights are available to the flight attendants. Since I’m based in Denver, there are some places where we just don’t go. Now, if I were still Baltimore-based, there would be some other places that I would not be able to go- layovers that may be only available to Denver-based flight crews. Does that make any sense? Regardless, it’s good to have goals and reach for dreams, even if they may never come to fruition.

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That being said, I finally spent my first night in Memphis. After checking in at our hotel, Ashley, Will, and I changed into “regular people” clothes and had the hotel’s van driver take us to “the best Memphis barbecue.” We ended up about a mile away, at a restaurant called Central BBQ (map). Ashely and Will (who happen to be my roommates at my crashpad) got half racks, but I opted for a full rack! It was so delicious! The sauce was incredible, and the meat fell off the bone pretty magically! And just like that- bucket list item number 66 is checked off!

The Civil Rights Museum: Across the street from the restaurant is the Lorraine Motel- this is the place where the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. was shot and killed as he stood on the motel’s balcony. It was such an unimaginable experience to be there. The motel has been preserved in the same condition that it had been back on April 4th, 1968, the day of his assassination.

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Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was shot while he was standing right beside room 306. 

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This is the marked path of the assassin’s bullet.

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Next, we headed up to historic Beale Street, stopped in a few gift shops, and then sat down to hear a live blues band play. It was incredible! The perfect day, with the ideal weather- the upper ’70s and not too humid. Later, I walked back to the hotel by myself, wanting to see more of the city. Ashley and Will weren’t feeling it, and they opted to call the shuttle driver back from the hotel.

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Voodoo Shrine

Now- to report on two nights ago. We ended up in one of my favorite places: Nashville, Tennessee! Before our last flight landed in Nashville, I logged on to our plane’s wifi signal and checked to see if there were any tickets left for The Grand Ole Opry. Thank goodness- there were a few left! I asked Will if he was interested in getting tickets, and he wasn’t. I then walked to the after galley and asked Ashely and Lori the same question (Lori is our “D” flight attendant who wasn’t with us yet in Memphis but had worked with us this second day and would be staying with us in Nashville). They said they were indeed interested!

After checking in at our hotel, the four of us Uber’d into Nashville and found dinner at Dave & Buster’s, adjacent to The Opry House (map). Will was with us for dinner, but we said our goodbyes since he didn’t want to go to the Opry. He headed back to the hotel, then Ashley, Lori, and I went to the show.

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This was my second Nashville overnight, where I attended the Opry (the first time having been at the Ryman downtown- see post). Some of the artists were the same, but I was also introduced to a few new ones. Unfortunately, there were no surprise visitors, as there had been on that first visit. Maybe this is a good thing since we had to head to the airport this morning at 05:00. When Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood showed up that night, that stretch things out pretty late, and even though it was a fantastic experience, I was a zombie the next day.

Still, the show was incredible, and I need to research and find out if they do some kind of Opry season pass. I will love to get one of those if they’re not too expensive (and if they even exist).

Tonight I’m back in my own home, getting ready to sleep in my own bed. I was supposed to work another trip yesterday, but unfortunately, I have something going on with my throat that I hope doesn’t turn into laryngitis. The last time I experienced this (that I can recall) was back in December of 1996. I can remember the experience so well because I was required to sing in Handel’s Messiah over the Christmas break, and even though no sound would come out, I stood there with the choir and mouthed the entire thing. Good times!

When I worked back to base yesterday morning, I had no voice left and even had to ask the other flight attendants to make my required announcements. Today I’ve been sipping on herbal teas, and unfortunately, I can now am being bugged with a headache and sore throat as well. I hope I’m better by Wednesday when I’m planning on commuting back to work.

Let’s Talk About Working On Reserve

Usually, when you work a reserve trip, you are getting the worst assignment available. If a flight attendant has 18+ hours on a sandy beach, they’re less likely to get rid of that trip. A flight attendant is less likely to call in sick for a great trip, as well. I DO NOT condone using a sick day unless you indeed are sick. Actions like that will come back to definitely bite you in the butt!

Since I’m based in Denver, I have decent seniority- I’ve been here long enough that I never have to work reserve unless I pick up a reserve block by my own choice. Usually, that means I’m helping out a friend, or maybe I’m trying to get more hours in the month. It’s a rare thing but not unheard of. I wait for the call from scheduling- I cross my fingers and say a prayer that I don’t get a bad trip. This week, I did get lucky with my assignment.

On the second night of my trip, I ended up in Nashville, Tennessee, after working two short legs. I was given over twenty hours in music city, so I decided to head downtown and find an early dinner. I ended up at Jack’s on broadway. This restaurant is a definite tourist attraction, but it also has some really great barbecue! This is one of my favorite overnights!

After dinner, I searched on my phone to see if there were any shows or events in town. I was hoping to find a good deal on last-minute tickets. I, once again, got lucky! It is with great excitement that I can now check off number 44 of my bucket list! Even at this late hour, I managed to get myself a ticket to the Grand Ole Opry!

Since I had a few hours to kill before the show started, I decided to take a tour of the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. This was amazing! Memorabilia from so many of the artists that I grew up listening to!

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The concert was amazing- they had been having it at the Opry house, but this time they were back at the Ryman, which is something that I have always wanted to experience!

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The artists who performed were Jeannie Sealy, Mike Snider, Kelsey Waldon, Jon Conlee, Connie Smith, Jamey Johnson, Riders In The Sky, Jesse McReynolds, Jamie Lynn Spears, Bill Anderson, The SteelDrivers, and Kristian Busch. Jamey Johnson surprised everyone and brought Allison Krauss!

So- all of the artists played two songs, but when Kristian Busch got to the, he only played one song. I thought that was rather odd since he appeared to be the headliner for that evening. When he left the stage, the announcer said that we would have a commercial break, and then he had a surprise for us. Since it was getting late, I decided that it was time to head back to my hotel. I had to be up early the following day.

I left through the gift shop, and as I was purchasing a shot glass, the lady ringing me up told me that there was a surprise and that I needed to head back into the auditorium. I told her that I had to be up early, but she looked me in the eye and said, “Trust me! There’s a surprise, and you need to go back into the auditorium!”. I found that odd but did as she said. As I re-entered the auditorium, I saw a band setting up, but nobody singer was approaching yet.

All of a sudden, GARTH BROOKS walks out. The crowd went wild! Suddenly, I’m incredibly grateful that the gift store clerk didn’t let me leave! After singing The Thunder Rolls, Garth said, “I want to introduce you to someone!” TRISHA YEARWOOD walks out! I’m beaming! Did you know that hearing Trisha Yearwood sing live is number 97 on my bucket list, and hearing Garth Brooks sing live is number 120 (not even kidding)!