We diverted our route to Nashville to try to align with some friends, unfortunately, that didn’t work out. Nashville is really a destination location and is not a great place for living low cost. The KOA North Nashville campground is located on the North side of the metro area and given the location, the price is below average for the Nashville metro area. It was far more than we normally pay for each night and they don’t offer a weekly rate either.
Downtown Nashville features the Ryman Auditorium, referred to as the “Mother Church of country music” and is surrounded by numerous bars and restaurants that feature live music. The Grand Ole Opry and the Opryland Complex including Opryland Mills (shopping center) are not downtown but are out further to the Northeast. There are a couple of other campgrounds in that area at a much higher cost per night. Ray Stevens has a new dinner theater on the West side of the metro area. There are numerous museums for the various legend artists that owe their roots to Nashville speckled throughout the area and there is the Country Music Hall of Fame museum that tributes everyone in the industry over time.
We enjoyed one evening downtown near the Ryman, finding a great parking place just a half block south of the front entrance of the auditorium. A little parking lot that seemed too good to be true, but it was perfect. We walked the main drag and ended up in Ole Red, Blake Shelton’s new restaurant and bar downtown. We spent several hours there enjoying some great live entertainment and just sharing some amazing food. The menu is very different, with some great unusual pairings of ingredients to craft some very cool signature dishes. Once we enjoyed our time there it was off to the Ryman Auditorium for the Grand Ole Opry Classics radio performance. Several great performers including old names like the Gatlin Brothers and some new names like Ronda Vincent and Mo Pitney. The legendary Pam Tillis was the headliner of the evening. We have been to the Ryman before and it is just an amazing facility, the “old mother church of country music” where so many greats have performed.
After our night on the town, we decided it was a wise decision to forfeit our last night, another set of concert tickets and to leave early. We had been watching a large weather system developing out west and we wanted to head North to beat the winter storm. We had planned to return to River Falls around April 19, placing us back for Easter weekend. As we got closer to Wisconsin we felt the magnetic draw of our family and friends calling us back up earlier than that. We arrived back in River Falls on April 6th after a two-day journey from Nashville. This is almost one week later than we arrived back to River Falls in 2018, but we still got to see snow this year. April once again brought snow showers with some furry. Getting back this early also meant Jason was able to participate in an annual work-related event with his colleagues. We had planned to be there with the RV, but this worked out better to spend more time with travel too.
We are also loving our ability to be self-sufficient. On our way north it was becoming incredibly more difficult to find open campgrounds, most open May 15ish in time for memorial day. We have a membership to overnightparking.com website and used that to try to find a parking space. Free is nice but specifically the goal, although when you are just pulling off the highway for the night you really don’t need much. Most Cracker Barrell restaurants have “bus” parking that you can use overnight and many Walmarts still let you stay. We struck out on both of those and had to settle for our third option a Walmart in the Rochelle, IL, just in the southern shadow of Rockford, IL. This was a great stop, it is a new store with a great manager and it is clear they care about the way the store is cleaned, set up and maintained. We had called ahead to verify that we could park overnight, but we still checked in with the manager on duty. We had known already to park over by the Taco Bell out of the way. The manager was very appreciative of us checking in with her because the other RV that was already there was in their way for their overnight crew and they didn’t ask. That simple act of not checking in was a negative mark on the community, we hope by our asking she has faith again. The other key to the asking to stay in their parking lot is doing so after filling up our cart with our groceries for the week to come. We paid for those and then went to the customer service center to ask to speak to the manager. So she could see we were not just mooching but were indeed good customers spending money in her store.
We got underway early in the morning. Barb even got behind the wheel from the rest area to rest area. She had driven in Florida in a very quiet industrial park on a weekend. This was a fast and furious merging onto I-94 from a rest area. Jason trying not to scream get left, get left, with too much gusto! All in all, Barb did an amazing job and can feel more comfortable should she be required to drive the motorhome and Jeep in tow she can do so. One of our RVE Summit friends had recommended the concept of the rest area to rest area because it has very little navigation around tight corners or obstacles. This was great advice for learning quickly and safely on the highway. Barb even took it further and encountered navigating through a roundabout at the Hammond exit.
We are now back in Wisconsin, there were snow banks melting on the day we arrived and more snow refreshed that just a day later. The grass is green and the park is bustling with people that have been couped up all winter wanting to get out in the worse way to enjoy the great weather. Our summer plans are quiet, becoming grandparents for the first time and basking in that. We are now in the six-month window to get fall reservations and spots booked, so we are already looking to the coming winter on the calendar. Time does indeed go so quickly in this lifestyle.
The motorhome has much more LP gas on board than our fifth wheel and we have two “heat pumps” that are electric heaters. Newmar uses quality products and the Duotherm air conditioning units are no different, the heat pumps are specially designed to work down to 30 degrees and not the traditional 40 degrees. Heat pumps take the “heat” from outside and transfer it to the inside, just the opposite of an air conditioner that transfers heat from inside to the outside. Also, a great feature in our Newmar is that once the physics behind that process becomes ineffective the LP gas furnace automatically kicks in to compensate. We have 30 gallons on board the motorhome. Until we learned the nuances of running the heat pumps we did go through a full tank in a week. Now with the motorhome, we have to move the entire rig to fill up the propane tank, no more grab the tank out of the trailer and run for a fill. However, it is awesome to have so much propane on board. In the fifth wheel, we had less than half the volume we do now. The LP gas runs the cooktop, furnace, and refrigerator only. The generator is diesel.
|Campground||Nashville North KOA
1200 Louisville Highway
Goodlettsville, TN 37072
The campground is located about 30-45 minutes North of the Nashville downtown area where all of that action is around the Ryman Auditorium. The campground is located about 5-15 minutes from the Opryland complex where the "new" (in 1970's) Opry theater and the Opryland hotel and moneysuckingplex is located.
|Nights Stayed||8: March 30 - April 6, 2019 (left 1 day early to beat the storm)|
|Parking Site||Site 35 W/E50/S immediately adjacent to the entry, the highway and all of the noise. There is a fire station not too far away so lots of sirens. This part of the campground did not hear traffic from the interstate. This is located directly in the shadow of the interstate that wraps around the Southwest corner of the property.|
|Restaurants||There is a Waffle House South of the campground a few minutes, otherwise, you have to get around the hill to Hendersonville where you will find your normal chains and big box stores.
Chef's Market & Catering (Goodlettsville, TN) was a great find in the area. We eat there once and were impressed. Confused at first because it is laid out backwards and there are no instructions. They call it "cafeteria" style food in the restaurant. You go in and go to the back of the restaurant, go past the deli, ask some people for some cold things and some hot things, but not all of them, someone else will ring up on a cash register those things and give you a receipt you will not pay. You are told to sit down and wait, be listening for yiur name. You might be told to get cake for dessert, but that is not included, but you will pay the cake people for your meal. Check it out, it is worth it.
|Attractions||Downtown Nashville with the Ryman Auditorium and numerous bars and restaurants that feature live music. The Grand Ole Opry and the Opryland Complex including Opryland Mils (shopping center) are not downtown but out further to the Northeast. Ray Stevens has a new dinner theater on the West side of the metro area. There are numerous museums for the various legend artists that owe their roots to Nashville speckled throughout the area.|
|Remember for Next Time||There is a parking lot across from the Ryman Auditorium entrance, but that is contract non-public parking. There is a parking lot nestled just South of the entry across the alley with a pay station that seems to be overlooked.|
|AT&T Coverage||AT&T was almost non-existent.
|Verizon Coverage||Down 11.52
|WiFi Coverage||Did not try the campground WiFi|
|Mail Services||Did not try any mail handling|