Thursday - 8.31.00

We both were ready to leave the motel around 11:00 AM. The first order of the day was to call our parents. We had promised them we would call and neither of us had done it yet. Luckily, they know us and hadn't worried about our lack of contact. We then proceeded with the day. The first stop - Wally World again. We needed film and bought Wal-Mart gas - it was a dime cheaper than every place else on the strip.

Our goals for the day were to visit NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center at the Army's Redstone Arsenal Complex and the U.S. Space and Rocket Center.

(Click for more pictures)

(Click for more pictures)

After tossing a coin, we decided to visit Marshall Space Flight Center first. We didn’t get very far; we were told by the guard at the gate that we had to take the tourist route and go to the Rocket Center first. He explained that they brought guided tours aboard a bus back to the Space Flight Center. Dejected, Kurt and I headed towards the Rocket Center.

We arrived at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center around 1:00 PM and began our tour. First, we walked through the museum on the premises. We learned all about the history of rocketry and the work that Wernher Von Braun did. Huntsville is the birthplace of NASA and Von Braun was the first director of NASA. He was a German scientist who had worked for Hitler during WWII but managed to immigrate to the United States near the end of the war. We toured through the Mercury, Gemini, Apollo, spaceshuttle and Skylab displays.

SpaceCamp (an intense camp for teenagers interested in the Space Program) is also held at the Rocket Center in Huntsville and we were able to see some of their training areas. Next up was the bus tour over to the Army's Redstone Arsenal Complex. On the tour we were able to see a few of the modules that will make up part of the International Spacestation in the coming years. Kurt was being a little geeky (imagine that!) - asking more questions than anyone else was on our tour.

There was also a life-size mockup of the completed Space Station that our guide walked us through. Once we returned to the Rocket Center, we were starved… traveling tip - don't wait 'til 4:00 PM to eat lunch, NASA only has bagels left at that hour. Not very satisfying.

(Click for more pictures)

After 'eating lunch', we headed outside to view the rockets and other space vehicles on display. We were especially impressed with the Saturn V's (two, one broken into stages on the ground, and one fully assembled vertically - WOW!) and the only full shuttle system on display in the world (the orbiter, solid rocket boosters, and the external tank all fully assembled). On the way out of the museum, we rode the Space Shot - a vertical ride shooting upward at a rate of 45 miles an hour in 1.5 seconds.

For dinner that night we went to Shoguns (a Japanese sushi house) in Huntsville. We had pretty decent California rolls, steak and scallops all prepared right in front of us. Unfortunately we smelled like a hibachi for the rest of the night

(Click for more pictures)

After dinner we made plans to drive to Nashville, TN, find a hotel downtown and go out.

Nashville, TN

When we arrived in Nashville, we scoped out the downtown area and spotted a few bars that looked suitable for our presence that evening. We referred once again to our trusty guidebook and located a Days Inn downtown. We even had a 10% off coupon for it (obtained at the Tennessee Visitor's Center at the border back on the Interstate). The clerk told us it would still be nearly $100 for a room, so we decided to check down the street for another hotel. As we were leaving, the valet ran out to the Jeep and gave us a different coupon, instructing us to go back inside and try again. So Kurt went back in and this time the clerk gave us the same room for $65.00. Strangely she gave our new coupon back to the valet guy. We weren't sure what type of scam they were running but we were happy.

Kurt and I cleaned up and headed out to Printer's Alley, an area recommended by the guidebook as worthy of a visit. As we were sauntering down the alley (which is what it really was), we were 'ambushed' by doormen at each of the different bars. They worked so hard to get people to come inside their respective bars. We were eventually talked into visiting a country bar first called Fiddle and Steel. (I know, I know - Kurt and I in a country bar? But the doorman was very entertaining and persuasive - besides, there wasn't a cover to enter.) Considering it was a country bar and we felt a little out of our element, Kurt and I had one beer and spent a few minutes people-watching. We walked up and down the Alley for a bit but didn't see any other bars worth visiting that didn't have a cover. So we walked down to 2nd Avenue and found a very cool pool bar. Kurt was so extremely excited as we counted over 30 pool tables in about 5 different rooms.

(Click for more pictures)

We determined that we had to play several games of pool after we toured the facilities. It was definitely the best pool bar we had ever been in. Kurt vowed that if he ever had to live in Nashville, he would go there every day.

He stated that he might even get a job cooking in the Martini bar upstairs. After several hours at the pool bar, we moved on to Maggie Magee's, this one on Broadway. It turned out to be a college hangout with a decent blues band playing. Once again, the doorman was very cool. You could tell he wasn't from Nashville originally. We once again stumbled back to the hotel around 2:30 AM. Kurt of course misbehaved and initiated an ice fight on the 5th floor. Good thing our room was on the third floor. When we finally returned to the room, we didn't have any ice so Kurt had to go back for more. During this trip, he was questioned by the security guard - good thing he "didn't see or hear anything". We finally retired for the day around 3:00 AM. (Day 7)


| HOME | 0 | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 |
09.25.2000 -