Travel File: Get Out The Map

Get out the map
Get out the map and lay your finger anywhere down
We’ll leave the figurin’ to those we pass on our way out of town
Don’t drink the water
There seems to be somethin’ ailin’ everyone
I’m gonna clear my head
I’m gonna drink that sun
I’m gonna love you good and strong
While our love is good and young…

Why do we hurtle ourselves
Through every inch of time and space?
I must say around some corner
I can sense a restin’ place
With every lesson learned
A line upon your beautiful face
We’ll amuse ourselves one day
With these memories we’ll trace

(“Get out the Map” by Indigo Girls)

Whenever we get ready to plan a trip around our house, we sing the first line of that song… We get out the map and lay our fingers upon the places we want to see, the people we want to visit, the places we’ve never been. The voices of rest and our kinship with spontaneity whisper to us as we open the giant atlas and begin tracing our dreams by way of dotted off-road byways.


Most recently, our fingers landed on the southern hemisphere of the United States.  Matt and I came up with these requirements for our vacation: visiting the south and being in a city when meeting up with my high school best friend.  We decided on Nashville since none of us had ever been.  That ticked “city” and “south” on our priority list, and since it was a midpoint between our Texas and my friends who reside in Washington, D.C, Music City was a no-brainer.  We all agreed it was a perfect city for us musicians and music lovers to enjoy.

tennessee road sign

As for other points of interest during our two-week getaway, we included Graceland and Asheville, NC.  Graceland was a highlight because we like all things music and it just seemed like the right thing to do for a southern trip.


Asheville, a little mountain town in North Carolina, is where my sister currently resides.  It had been ten years since I last visited her (about time, right?) and Matt and I really wanted to see the fall leaves!

smoky mountains fall trail

So… A two-week time frame + how many hours we wanted to spend driving each day + how long we wanted to spend in our three main destinations = approximate landing spots for all the other nights we were on the road. This “equation” helped us determine where we’d be on a given night, but the rest was up for grabs.  Sure, there were important sites we wanted to see in a handful of cities, but we tried to keep pre-planned activities to a minimum.  That’s why we didn’t contact people we might have known on the way or in those cities.  If a meet-up happened organically, then great.  But vacation is a precious thing, and everyone has their own idea of a perfect one.  For us, the more plans you make, the less wiggle-room for opportunities that may arise along the way.

For instance:  had we not gotten a wild hare to “dip down” into Georgia one day while driving, we never would have seen this store:

drug and gun

This is definitely not a combo you would see in a store on the west coast!

I’ve gone ’round and ’round about how to share photos and stories from this trip, but I think I will go chronologically because it makes the most sense to me (minus the doughnut teaser from N.C. I already posted!).

I’ll start off my vacation posts with a focus on our first important stop:  Memphis, Tennessee!

Stay tuned for more photos of Graceland, the Graceland RV park (oh yes we did!), Sun Studio, the Civil Rights Museum and more!  Memphis is a city rich in culture and history, but also beautifully decorated in greenery and friendly people.

Elvis gold recordgraceland entrance

Lorraine Hotel Memphis TNOrpheum theater Memphisblues hall of famesun studioMississippi river




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