An active retirement has a lot of moving parts. We focus on four of them—Faith, Family, Food, and Fun—as the center of Easin’ Along and try to hit on one of them each week. When we have a week to experience all four, we’ve had a great week. Such was the case recently when Helen (adorable wife) and I took Bertha to Middle Tennessee for a few days beside Percy Priest Lake at Nashville Shores Lakeside Resort.
It all started when my sister, LeAnn, and brother-in-law, Marty booked a week at Nashville Shores to spend some time in their new motor home, a 36-foot luxury hotel room on wheels. We thought it would be a great opportunity to enjoy some family time while giving us another opportunity to get Bertha a bit more organized before we take off on another extended road trip. We secured the last space available for the week, but the space we were given backed up to Percy Priest Lake and we had a great view from our patio.
Another reason for LeAnn and Marty to visit Nashville was to help their son, Rob, move into the new home that he and his wife, Melissa, had just purchased. On our first night, we went to the new home where we were joined by Melissa’s Mom and LeAnn’s twin daughters and their husbands for a cook-out. Even though Rob and Melissa had barely moved in, we had a delightful family gathering and a great start to the week.
The next morning began with coffee on the patio area behind Bertha. Although it would later prove to be a very hot day, the morning was wonderful. We watched a family of Canadian geese swim by and also watched the family next to us pack up their motorhome. The RV had Florida tags and I couldn’t help but ask where they were going next. They explained that their business involved working with polo horses and they spend each winter in Florida and then spend a month driving to Aspen, Colorado for the summer. You meet the most interesting folks in RV parks…
Soon LeAnn and Marty joined us. I was eager to try out my new camp stove and griddle and needed no prodding to whip up some pancake batter and cook some bacon for breakfast. Everything turned out ok, but more practice is needed with the new stove. LeAnn and Marty were kind enough clean their plates of the overcooked pancakes but left quickly to do some kayaking on the lake when I offered second helpings. My family is a very thoughtful bunch.
The rest of the day was devoted to casual activity. Helen and I walked around the resort for exercise while LeAnn and Marty spent several hours in their kayaks. The rest of the morning was spent getting Bertha a little more organized. We also replaced the old bedspread and sheets with a new and more colorful selection.
That afternoon the empty spot next to us was filled with a young couple and their two children who arrived from West Tennessee towing a 30-foot Classic Airstream trailer. Although I love Bertha, this Airstream left me filled with envy. The owner skillfully maneuvered the trailer into the campsite and hooked up the utilities with practiced precision. After the setup was complete, we introduced ourselves and had a very enjoyable conversation. Throughout the next few days, we had the chance to get to know them and found them to be quite charming. Their children were well-mannered, energetic, and fun. I have posted a precious picture of their daughter taken by her Mom at the water park.
The couple was gracious enough to give Helen and me a tour of their Airstream. I’ve seen some elegant RV’s lately, including the one owned by Marty and LeAnn and the Airstream ranks right there with all of them. Although it is called a Classic, everything about it is ultra modern including marble countertops, LED lighting, and leather reclining couches. We fell in love with the many large windows that provided an open, airy feel to the interior. I found a floor plan and posted it below for anyone considering a travel trailer in their future.
The next day we were treated to the use of LeAnn and Marty’s kayaks for a ride on Percy Priest Lake. These kayaks are propelled by fins on the underside and are driven by pedals similar to a bicycle. Marty spent some time giving us an orientation then turned us loose. Helen was somewhat limited by her knee issues, but we had fun nonetheless and it was great being on the water.
That afternoon, we decided to hit the water park and the Lazy River. Just as we were purchasing tickets (Senior discounts…always ask) four bus loads of school children arrived for an afternoon of fun in the sun. Nashville Shores Water Park is huge and able to absorb a large crowd with relative ease, but on this day it seemed that the large crowd all wanted to join me on the Lazy River. I managed to get five trips around the course before I gave up and found a lounge chair for some people watching…almost as much fun as River riding. Next, it was back to Bertha for a nap in the air conditioning.
Readers to Easin’ Along know how much we love good food and Papa Turney’s Barbeque at the Marina filed the bill. We went there to try it out and were not disappointed in the least. In fact, the barbecue ribs were, and I’m not exaggerating, the best I’ve ever had…ever! They were coated in a scrumptious rub then smoked to fall-off-the-bone condition, and served hot. We ordered them to go and took the meal back to Bertha’s patio to enjoy them next to the water. I savored every bite, but could not eat the entire order. In fact, I save three ribs to enjoy several days later and they were still as good as fresh. This little restaurant is one hidden gem.
During our last night, the remnants of a tropical storm moved into the Nashville area which required that we load up and drive back to Knoxville in a heavy rain. I hooked up Bertha and received some very welcome help from the Airstream owner which reduced my time in the rain. I thanked him profusely for the help (and the cookies brought over by their son the night before). We gave LeAnn and Marty a goodbye hug and drove on. Bertha handled the rain and the traffic without difficulty.
On Sunday we experienced the Faith component of our very pleasurable week by attending church on Sunday then joining the members of our congregation in a farewell picnic for our departing minister. Our minister, one of only three in the 70-year history of our church had accepted the call of a church in his hometown of Charleston, SC and this was his last Sunday with us. We’re going to miss him very much. Eternally energetic and blessed with an engaging smile, Dr. Seigling has served God and our church superbly in the six years he has been with us. Although there was an air of sadness about his leaving, everyone was happy for him that he would be returning to the area that he loves. There also was some great fun at the picnic when the staff and assistant ministers brought out a new kayak and a life jacket and presented it to the very surprised and very grateful recipient. A good time was had by all.
This event topped off a delightful week for Helen and me. We had shared in the love of family; we enjoyed fantastic food (ribs – not pancakes), had a bunch of fun with Bertha at Nashville Shores, and joined with many fellow church members to send well wishes to someone who had contributed much to our walk of faith.
Yep…that’s a wonderful week with all the components covered. Retirement is a great gig and it’s a good time to be Easin’ Along.