The flight out

On 10-15-07 we took a flight out from Tucson to Nashville (via Dallas). It was a nice day, and I got a few shots out the airplane window. Here is the Willcox Playa, a dry lake bed. The Apache Generating Station plumes can also be seen. A bit further on a twisting dry riverbed can be seen in New Mexico. Then there is this large area that looks like (one of several) failed housing developments in eastern New Mexico. However, that is not clear, on further reflection. It is all in the vicinity of the Hobbs Precision Bombing Target, so it may be associated with that. However, the "pads" look like they were bulldozed out for a housing development, with road running to all the pads (but few houses). This sort of thing covers much of southeastern New Mexico and into Texas. I don't know what it is, but Google Earth shows a widespread area (probably more than 1000 square miles) that looks just like it.

The Gaylord Opryland Hotel

Well, eventually we arrived in Nashville, picked up our rental car, and headed for the Opryland Hotel. Traffic was pretty awful and it took around an hour to go the 7 or 8 miles. There were several events going on in the vicinity and there is a large shopping center (Opry Mills) nearby, and it was just before Christmas. Eventually we made it. The hotel and convention center comprises 56 acres under roof, and everything was decorated for Christmas. The hotel was quite nice, so first we see some shots of the environs and decorations.
Outside lighting
Closeup of large "tree"
Small lighted trees through the large "tree"
Lights in one of the atriums (atria?)
More lights
And still more lights
Garden Conservatory
Cascades water feature
One of the Christmas trees
The Delta Atrium
More Delta Atrium
The canal (on which a boat ride may be taken) in the Delta Atrim
Waterfall in the Delta Atrium
The Convention Center fronts on the Delta Atrium

The real excuse for the trip

The real reason for the trip was to see Amelia's niece, Sherri, receive a Distinguished Service Award from the National Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association (see the banner in the previous link). More about that later, while we next get to the people pictures. When Amelia and I arrived, we took each others pictures in front of a Christmas tree. Here's Amelia and me. Shortly thereafter, we met up with Erin, Faye, and Ronnie Sherri's daughter, mother, and father (also Amelia's brother) in lobby. That evening we went in to the old Ryman Theatre to see the Grand Ole Opry (temporarily displaced from the "new" theatre because of other events). Quite an experience, but a bit disconcerting with camera flashes going off at irregular intervals (averaging once every two seconds; it never occurred to me that one could take pictures, or I might have taken the camera and joined them) during the entire preformance and patrons going out for drinks and coming back in with them. Oh well, I've been there now. It was interesting to see "Little" Jimmy Dickens and some of the other oldtimers. And it was also fun to see Jimmy Dickens (he isn't called "little" for nothing) at 4'11" and Trace Adkins at about 6'6" doing a song together on stage.

The next day we went to the Grand Ole Opry to see the Radio City Music Hall with the Rockettes. They did a fabulous Christmas program, just amazing. That evening we met for dinner at the Jack Daniel's Saloon in the hotel. While waiting for a table, I got this shot of the crew. That's Sherri and her husband Bill on the right, of course. Then Erin swapped places with me so I get to be in a picture. She took a better picture than I did (but then - I'm in it!).

Monday was the big awards luncheon. The award Sherri received was one of twelve given by the Association for the entire country. She was the first woman from Texas to receive the award, a newsworthy achievement. Congratulations, Sherri. We all met ahead of time and took a few pictures. Here's the award recipient and proud husband. Then, the award recipient and proud family. Here's a three generation shot. Here we are in front of the Christmas tree. We then went to the official "picture taking", where I took unofficial pictures of Sherri and plaque and Sherri and Bill (and plaque). Then a kind fellow offered to take a picture of the entire contingent there for the award ceremony. Unfortunately I do not have a real good picture of the award ceremony. While we were seated up close, it wasn't close enough for use of a flash, and without it didn't turn out real well, but here's my picture of it.

After the luncheon some of us took a little trip out to look at Vanderbilt University. Here's Cornelius himself. Here's a shot of one of the buildings, showing the architecture typical on the campus. There is an interesting sculpture on campus. Here a group of confused people search for the end of a möbius strip.

The next morning Amelia and I looked at a Christmas tree exhibition. Most had fanciful decorations, including this one admired by Amelia. The trees were up for silent auction and the admission fees and auction proceeds benefited charity.

The flight home

On the way home from Nashville, it was cloudy until we got out toward Dallas, but I got some interesting cloud pictures.
Here's first
Here's second
Here's third
Actually, there were many more, but enough's enough.