Saturday, May 30, 2015

Memphis... Nashville... HOME... (Last Day!)

So... where was I?

OH... breakfast with Jerry Seinfeld - that's right!

So... up at at 'em; the usual time. Down to Capriccio for our usual breakfast. Arriving downstairs I asked the host to seat us within the section of our favorite waitress (Mia) and so of course... he did.


Seated next to a far corner table marked "reserved" we were served coffee, juice, and Mia took my omelet order. (Mary wasn't in the mood for an omelet and stuck to the buffet.)

So... after a few sips of coffee... a few sips of juice... I head up to the buffet. Just as I'm getting up from the table the host leads a party of three to the reserved table next to us. I actually pay little attention as my thoughts are focused upon what I'll be having as my first breakfast course...


After filling my plate I return to our table - still paying no attention to the three men seated right next to us.

I sit back down... my back to the "reserved" table... and just as I'm about to start shoveling food into my mouth, Mary gives me a "pssst" and whispers, "Billy; Jerry Seinfeld is right behind you!"


Without batting an eye I say, "that's nice," and begin to eat. I don't look behind me; instead, I notice that another couple a few tables away are staring in our direction - staring past me.


Next... I hear... the voice.


YEP... Jerry Seinfeld was eating breakfast right behind me!

Kinda neat! (Not the first time I've been in close proximity to a celebrity, though.) No one bothered Mr. Seinfeld. No autograph seekers... no requests for photos - at least while we were there. (And that's how it should be!)

Anyway... we finished up before they did and went back upstairs to our room. I blogged while Mary packed. (Showered... shaved... etc.)

We checked out of The Peabody just after 11:00 a.m. and drove straight back to our previous morning's frustrated attempt to visit the Danny Thomas Pavilion at St. Jude. UNFORTUNATELY... for the second day in a row... at the gate we were told that the Pavilion was closed for a private event.

Folks... I was pissed! They're still gonna get a donation... but... I'm gonna be sending a strongly worded letter addressed to Mary Anna Quinn (Chief Administrative Officer of St. Jude) expressing my displeasure - along with a check, of course.

Anyway... looking at it from a "glass half full" perspective this allowed us to get on the road to Nashville sooner - which we did.

Uneventful trip... got to Nashville around 2:30 p.m. and since the car wasn't due back (at the airport) till 6:00 p.m. we had some time to kill. Unfortunately... rush hour begins early in Nashville on Fridays and so our "time window" in which to explore wasn't quite as large as the numbers themselves seemed to indicate.

Again... following the theme of trying to catch up on our "list" stops... we decided we'd make another attempt to visit the Japanese Tea House - Two Ten Jacks. Well...


We arrived at around 3:30 p.m. only to be told that they didn't open till 4:00 p.m.

Next... (and this one was for my best friend Carl!)... we decided to make a quick stop to see "the glories" of the Opryland Hotel.

WHAT... A... FRIGGIN'... RIP-OFF...!!!

(Friggin' low-class Marriott...)


So... the hotel is massive...

(Check out the website!)

We arrive and find that not only is there no free parking...

(Even though it's a "suburban" hotel!)

...but that the parking actually goes from "20 minute grace" free entrance/exit to $23/day for anything beyond 20 minutes! (Friggin' RIDICULOUS!)

Still... we entered... I flagged down an attendant and asked "does the Hickory House (their premier steak house) validate," and she told me they do. So... I parked... and we went in to explore - planning to also drop in for a couple drinks at the Hickory House bar!


We explored... took a photo or two... finally found the Hickory House...


...only to find it closed.


Apparently (and I just checked the website - which is deliberately vague) they're (again... according to the hotel's own deliberately vague website!) "open for dinner."


No hours; just... "open for dinner."


So, anyway, at this point we decide we'd better "get the hell out of Dodge" so as not to be charged for overstaying our 20 minute grace parking. We would have made it... but the exit from the lot was all jammed up... ticket/card machines not working properly... one solitary attendant rushing from lane to lane, car to car, because everyone was getting stuck...

We were literally stuck behind another driver caught up at one of the exit gates for five minutes! Meaning... when we finally got to the gate ourselves...


...upon reading the ticket the machine read "Pay $25.13 Daily Rate."

Ha! Like hell...!!!

I'll freely admit... I semi-lost it!

I beeped to get the attendant's attention and when she came over I told her in no uncertain terms that I'd be damned before I paid $25.13 for a "day's" parking when if it hadn't been for their faulty equipment I would have been out of there within the 20 minute grace period!

Believe it or not... she actually tried to tell me there was nothing she could do!

My reply? "GET ME A MANAGER...!!!"

After going back and forth for a bit she FINALLY opened the gate manually...


Folks... it's a friggin' SCAM. It's that simple. I'm a damned New Yorker and I've never seen anything like it - not even in midtown Manhattan! (Forget the suburbs!)

I may actually write a letter of complaint to the proper Tennessee state authorities! 


Anyway... by now it was around 4:30 p.m.; time to find some cheap gas to fill up the tank of the rental car.

(I'm gonna miss that car... that beautiful Impala...)

First, though... one last drink!


We drove around... nothing "spoke to me"... and then before we knew it we were in the city proper! So... we decided to revisit the Listening Room. (They make good drinks!)




ARE... YOU... FRIGGIN'... KIDDING... ME...?!?!


Oh, well... it seemed that the day was destined to be a bust... until...





We'd stopped to fill up the tank ($2.53 per gallon - regular) and had almost given up on finding a spot for a quick drink/bite when we passed a trusty ol' Waffle House...


My friends... it turned out... the PERFECT way to end our trip!

Yum... yum... yum...!!! And GREAT service! (The friendliest people on earth apparently all work at the Waffle House!)

Just a quick stop... maybe 20 minutes... but we got to eat not just our entrees, but we shared a KICK-ASS slice of grill-warmed pecan pie! (It was out of this world! And... our waitress gave ME control over the can of whipped cream!)


Folks... if there are any among you who have never been to a Waffle House... take it from me - "Mr. Leading Hotels of the World," "Mr. Fine Dining Is My Middle Name" - the Waffle House is the place to go when you're just not in the mood for Masa.


We were at the airport before 6:30 p.m. (for a 7:50 p.m. flight)... returned our beloved rental car... got a ride on a golf cart to the main terminal...

And the rest is pretty standard.

One thing I will say, though: I LOVE Southwest Airlines! (Not only are drinks just $5 - with a nice selection including Fat Tire and Leinenkugel Shandy - but after only one round... our flight attendant "bought me" another!) GREAT service!

Anyway... we're HOME...

Next stop... Congers, New York - my godson's Holy Confirmation! Church at 1:00 p.m. followed by...



michellez said...

Ah, I LOVE LOVE LOVE Waffle House!!! LOL, we have one two minutes from our front door, hahaha! The parking thing is a scam, for sure. I've never been anywhere that at least the first hour was a lower price.

Anonymous said...

Sorry about the Opryland, but in my defense, we went to the Hickory for dinner (and got our parking validated), so I did not realize it was closed during the day. Also, I checked the Marriott website and parking at the Marriott Marquis is $60 a day ($85 for valet parking), so $23 is not so bad, and yes, I realize with you that when it comes to parking, its the principal and not the money...


William R. Barker said...

@ Michelle -- This was only my second Waffle House experience... (The closest Waffle House to me is Scranton, PA - 78 miles away)... but I'll never forget my FIRST Waffle House experience: It was September of '91... (*SMILE*)... we were driving back from Florida (Disney!) and it was time to find a hotel for the night and grab some dinner. So we picked an exit (N. Carolina) at random and checked into a Holiday Inn or some such. (I remember there were two hotels right next to each other. I went into one to check the price and then the other to check THEIR price. Turned out BOTH hotels were owned by the same chain... but the second one - upon hearing the first one's quote - beat it and thus won our business.) Anyway... we were in the middle of nowhere! BUT... there WAS a Waffle House next door! So... to the Waffle House we went. Let me tell you... FRIENDLIEST folks in the world! Like I say... this was 24 years ago and I STILL remember how good the burger was and how much the cook actually CARED that it was cooked just the way I liked it! (And then of course there was the jukebox; with WAFFLE HOUSE SONGS...!!!) Yep... gotta love the Waffle House!

@ Carl -- WHAT IS FRIGGIN' W*R*O*N*G with you...?!?! The Marriott Marquis ALSO offers an HOURLY rate. The DON'T charge you an effective rate of $25.13 for a millisecond! And, again... the Opryland Hotel is IN THE SUBURBS! It's situated within a MALL COMPLEX! The Marriott Marquis is smack dab in the center of MANHATTAN! I swear to God, Carl... (*BITING MY TONGUE*) (*GNASHING MY TEETH*) (*ROLLING MY EYES*) (*SHAKING MY HEAD*) (*SPITTING ON THE FLOOR*) (*GUFFAW*)