Nashville, TN Trip

Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Day 4 | Day 5

Day 1

Good Evening Camp Courageous,

The Travel Clan is on the road again! This fun group is ready to get down and dance and sing in Nashville, TN! Many of them have their cowboy boots and hats and are ready to see their favorite country music stars. We started off our trip at 7am, where we met travelers Dirk Miller and Daniel Ruttan and volunteer Penny Schoon. We then traveled to Marion we we met travelers Lorie Schmitz and Patti Loth and volunteer Mary Johnson. They hopped on the bus then we made our way to Coralville to pick up travelers Tessa Stevens and Adam Lee. Our final pick up was in Walcott at the Iowa 80 Truck Stop, where we met John Davison, Mary Ellen Webster, Aileen Walker, Tracy Wenger and Chad Driscoll. We welcomed the group to the trip and when I announced Nashville, they gave a great big cheer! We then started our drive to Nashville!! We stopped at two locations for lunch and dinner, Subway for lunch and Taco John’s for dinner. I joked with John Davison that he owned this restaurant and that they would have some great food for us! If you know John, you know that he loves to joke around! We made it to our hotel in good time!

Tomorrow we start are fun! Have a great week everyone!

The Travel Team

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Day 2

Good Evening Camp Courageous,

The Courageous Travelers had such a great day. There was so much to see and do, I am not surprised that they are all fast asleep. We started off our day around 9:30am. We ate a good breakfast and made our way to our first activity. This was the Tennessee Agricultural Museum. This museum offered a lot of history of Nashville and Tennessee, with lots of artifacts form when big machinery wasn’t even invented yet. They had log cabins, that people use to live in, which we got to tour, and old trackers that were pretty cool. Travelers Danial Ruttan and Chad Driscoll really liked seeing these cool artifacts, such as the Coverlets, spinning wheels, and the weaving looms. One thing Chad mentioned was that he loved 4-H, and the reason he mentioned that, is because he saw a display about 4-H and famous football star Payton Manning was big in this. It was displayed at the museum. The security guard at this location, took the time to show our group, some horses that were grazing, they are used to pull Horse drawn carriage ride that they bring out on certain days.. It was a fun experience touring and seeing all that Nashville had at one time. There was a lot of history in this place, and we were happy to read about it and imagine what it would be like to live the Early 1800’s to 1930’s.

Before we knew it; it was time for lunch, so we jumped over to Arby’s. Had a scrumptious meal and made our way to the Nashville Zoo at Grassmere. Grassmere is an old farm that was turned into a zoo. There is a house that was built by Col. Michael C. Dunn. He owned the farm and had slaves work on the farm. He then sold the house and land to his son William Dickson Shute for $5! William and his wife took care of the house and renovated it after the Civil War. They had a garden at this farm and the primary crops were sweet potatoes, corn, wheat and hay. They even raised pigs and cattle. William and his wife had four daughters. One of those daughters married a William Croft who ended up living on the farm. They had two daughters named Margaret and Elise who stayed on the farm until their death. But in the meantime they had an agreement wit the Children’s Museum of Nashville to preserve the house and the land and maintain it as a “nature study center,” that educated people about animals and the environment. Which in turn, turned into the Nashville Zoo. The house is still on the property and have tours going through the house, from time to time. It was pretty cool to learn about this history, so I decided to share this with you all.

The zoo was amazing! There was so much to see and do. We took a lot of pictures and videos of all the fun we had at this zoo. The highlight of this zoo was the four White Rhinos. The zoo no longer had Elephants, so they brought in Rhinos to replace them. Other animals included all types of birds, zebras, ostriches, bear, tiger and Kangaroos. But not only did we see kangaroos we had the opportunity to pet them. If they were off the grass and on the sidewalk, we were allowed to step behind the kangaroo and pet them. The travelers really got a kick out of this. It was great to have this experience. We also had the chance to pet giant tortoises, goats, and had the chance to feed/touch parakeets. We spent the rest of our afternoon at the zoo and it was well worth it. We saw all the animals, and took our time doing it.

After the zoo, we hopped back on, to head to the Nashville Nightlife Theatre. When we arrived, our host welcomed us with open arms and sat us at our tables. We made our way into the building, where we were seated right away. We were right in the front and very close to the stage. Our waitress, Taylor, took our drink order and we were ready to tour the buffet line.The food consisted of southern cooking. From Fried chicken to sausage, to green beans or baked potato and for dessert cherry pie and banana pudding. It was quite delicious.

Once we were done eating, the show began. The host came on stage and announced all the groups that were present. The travelers were so happy and proud to hear our name being called and the whole group cheered for joy. After that the music began. It was a great performance. Lots of clapping, dancing, and singing. Sorry we couldn’t do live feed, but there are plenty of pictures that are being posted in our blog. The show was outstanding, great music and great company. One of the acts was from Steve Hall, a born and raised Iowan. He is a comedian that traveled around the world with his wife and his friend Shotgun Red. It used to be on TV, pretty famous for his time. Well, he came out, gave a great show and his wife Miss Sheila handed out a free stuffed shotgun red souvenir. Traveler Patty Loth, was ready to tackle her for that stuffed shotgun souvenir. It was funny, because Miss Sheila didn’t have a choice, she gave the souvenir to Patti.

The music was fantastic! Lots of classics and a couple we didn’t know. As we listened to this great music, travelers Aileen Walker, Lorie Schmidt. Patti Loth, and Tessa Stephens were dancing away to all the great songs. It was a memorable night for all of them. What a great show it was. After the show, we stopped by the front desk, met some of the stars and indulged in some shopping.

After the shopping, it was time to head back to the hotel. So we hopped back on the bus drove to hotel and now we are all sleeping. It was a busy day, but it was also a blast. Tomorrow is another busy day so please stay tuned to all the fun we are having in Nashville. Peace, the Travel Team

Day 3


Good evening Camp Courageous,

The best quote of the day,  ‘The love in your heart knows the way,” by Jason Crabb. It’s that so true! That’s a new song from this up-and-coming artist he wrote this right after the hurricane that hit Texas. He had such a great performance and so did many other country artists today at the Grand Ole Opry. But before I get there let’s talk about the day. 

We started our day pretty early with a tour at the Tennessee State Capitol. It’s always great touring and learning about new places and especially the state capitol. There is so much history, that it is hard to taken in, but it is worth exploring.  We had a wonderful tour guide who showed us the beauty of this building and the history behind it. The House of Representatives and the Senate only meet five months out of the year January to May, and they have to be present everyday that they are in Nashville. There are three floors to the State Capitol and some of the rooms we couldn’t get into because it was under construction, but we still got to see a lot. The founders of the State Capitol are Samual Orton and William Strickland they didn’t like each other very much but they sure got the job done to build the state capitol. Actually William Strickland died before they could finish it. William and Samuel are actually buried in the capitol. One of them is actually buried in the Governor’s office. I wonder if he has a lot of cost sighting during October ;)!

After we toured the capitol we made our way back down the elevator to an underground tunnel that took us right across the street from the State Museum. The museum had a couple of floors worth of all sorts of artifacts. From the prehistoric Native Americans to the Civil War and the 20th Century. We thought, maybe we would only be there an hour, but it ended up we were at the museum close to two hours. It was pretty cool, with a lot of things to look at and read about. There were also videos that were playing throughout the museum, so we listened to some of the history of Tennessee. One of the highlights of the museum, was the case that had a mummy in it. The mummy was brought over from an individual who was in the army, and had the museum examine it. Check out the pictures on the blog and to see how cool this mummy was. The other cool highlight was when most of the travelers wanted to put their head and arms in a “pillory” check out the pictures to see what we mean. This was used for horse thieves. We had fun joking around seeing who was next to be trapped in the “pillory.”
We found out, that the museum is actually growing and building a bigger museum which should open late next year. So in the future, we will be back to just venture off to that museum. After we visited the museum, we had lunch at this delicious west-mex restaurant called the Southwestern Grill. The owner was supper nice and really looked out for our group, to make sure they had plenty to eat. He also joked around with us. Once we were done with lunch, we made our way to the Military Museum. It was a small museum, but worth visiting. So much history from all these wars. It was a great stop.
Before we knew it, we were heading back to the bus. We decided to head to the hotel, so we could freshen up for the performance and head to dinner and The Grand Ole Opry. We freshened up and then departed for dinner.
We had dinner at a restaurant called Loveless Cafe. This was just an awesome dinning facility. The staff was really nice to our group and catered to our travelers. The food that they served was DELICIOUS!! We had homemade biscuits with four different types of Jam and we all had are favorite entrees.
Once dinner was over, it was time to head to the Grand Ole Opry. The travelers were doing great holding their composer, because all morning they were talking about the Opry and how cool it will be to see a show! Once we arrived, they cheered for joy. It was time to watch our favorite singers. The line up for the show was as followed: John Conlee, Maddie & Tate, Collin Raye, Bill Anderson, Dailey & Vincent, Jason Crabb, and Brooks & Dunn. Oh yea, Keith Urban was also there. Each one of these individuals did an awesome job playing in front of this huge crowd. But that didn’t slow our travelers down as we were dancing all night. We heard some great music and it was worth where we were
It was such a fun experience going to the State Capitol, State Museum and Military museum. Then to finish off the trip at the Grand Ole Opry was just the topping on the cake. We could only take pictures of the performers, so enjoy the many pictures we took.
We had such a great time! Tomorrow we have more music to listen too. Stay tuned to our fun adventures.
Travel Team

Day 4

Good Evening Camp Courageous,

The travel group was so pumped up by all the music we heard yesterday, we needed more of it. So today we had a combination of shopping and listening to some good music. I dropped off the group at the Nashville Visitor Center. They had a lot of information about the different things you can do in the city and it had a nice size gift shop. One of the highlights of the visitor center was the “open mic” they had in the lobby. The travelers couldn’t help but jump onstage to pose at the “open mic.” Travelers Aileen Walker and Patti Loth sang some fun songs, Aileen sang about “love” and Patti sang you are my sun shine. It was great seeing them on stage and it was time for them to get ready to hear some more music.

The first place we visited was called Honkey Tonk Central. Here we ate lunch and listen to a great band. The travelers danced to every song they sang. The group didn’t have a name, but they did sound great. The group clapped along and sang to their favorite songs. It was a great place to be.

After lunch and listening to a little more music, it was time to do some more shopping. We made our way on the strip and made sure we bought some more souvenirs. We even had the chance to take a picture with Elvis.

As we shopped, we made our way to to Layla’s, another fun place that had free live music. We witness two bands and they were both excellent. One was the Dom Holman band and the other we didn’t catch the name, but they showed our travelers a great time. All the travelers were on the dance floor for these bands and even Traveler Chad Driscoll said “WOW this is a party town!” He was having a great time. The beauty of hanging out on broadway street, is listening to the different bands along the strip. I highly recommend hanging out with Layla’s. They had some great music.

After awhile it was time to head out, do a little more shopping, where three of our travelers Chad Driscoll, Dan Ruttan, and Adam Lee bought belt buckles. They were excited about this. Once we were done shopping, we made our way to a pizza place called Luigi’s. We had something else planned, but last night a gentleman at the Grand Ole Opry gave our group a $100 to go have pizza. He was from Shreveport, Louisiana and wanted to be unanimous. This was an awesome gesture. So we were happy to fulfill this request. The pizza was delicious! Thank you man from Louisiana! It was great to have you treat our group. We hope your vacation is going very well, thank you for contributing to our travelers happiness. They were sure excited about pizza.

Once we were done with eating, we took a stroll on a pedestrian bridge to our bus. It was such a beautiful night, that it was awesome to take a walk. We then made it to our bus and made our way to the hotel. Where we surprised our travelers with GooGoo Clusters! They are a Nashville original. They are a mix with caramel and marshmallows with fresh roasted peanuts. Then hand-dipped in cluster milk chocolate. Let’s just say, they are delicious!!! The travelers thought so as well! What a great way to end the day.

We are now resting at our hotel, getting ready for our last day in Nashville. It should be a great time! Have a great night everyone,


The Travel Team

Day 5

Good Evening Camp Courageous,

The Travel group had such a fun time on their last day in Nashville. We had two major attractions to visit and they were a must! The places we toured were the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum (CMHFM) and the Grand Ole Opry. During our visit to the CMHFM we had the opportunity to read about all our favorite country artists. From the beginning of when Country music became famous to today’s artists. We listened to music and made it our mission to find out favorite stars. Traveler Danial Ruttan found Jason Aldean, Chad Driscoll found Taylor Swift, and Tracey Wenger found Elvis. Travelers Lorie Schmitz, Aileen Jo Walker, and Mary Ellen Webster found an arts and crafts station where they made some awesome cowgirl hats. Everyone was complementing on their hats. They were so cute!

Once we were done exploring this amazing museum, we had lunch, and made our way to the Grand Ole Opry. I know what you are thinking, why are we visiting the Opry again? Well, that was for a show, this time it was going backstage to see how the magic starts. The travelers were super excited to go backstage to see the music stars dressing rooms. We had a great tour guide, who showed us all we had the opportunity to see. We found out that Mini Pearl donated a fountain that the stars pass by when they arrive and that Ray Acuff is the father figure of Country music and there is an entire dressing room dedicated to him. It was such a great tour. The highlight of this tour was the opportunity to stand on stage, just like the stars and take individual pictures on the Opry circle. We even had a group picture taken. What a great way to end our week!

After our tour, we had one more opportunity to shop and then made our way to dinner at Cracker Barrel. The travelers really wanted to eat at this restaurant, so we made our way to this tasty southern restaurant.

What a great trip. The travelers had so much this week. So much country music! They LOVED IT!! They want to stay for another week. Patti Loth loved it so much that she wrote Alan Jackson and other stars some notes, so they can find them in their mail boxes, when they come to visit. What a great note that would be to read.

Tomorrow we start our drive back to Iowa. We will have travelers picked up in Davenport (dinner at Pizza Ranch), Coralville McDonalds, Marion Walmart, and at camp. We will be back around 8:30pm. Please send all your best wishes and prayers as we make our drive back.

Have a great night everyone and a happy Friday!


The Travel Team

2 Responses

  1. Diane Sneed says:

    I love ❤️ all the pictures you must of had a great time. Wish I was there with you all because I miss the Zoo.

  2. Lois Schmitz says:

    What a wonderful job someone or others that took the pictures & filled us in on each day what all they did. Our daughter Lorie has a good time but is not able to tell us what all they did so that made it very interesting to us to be kept in touch.
    Thank you for a job well done.