Monday, June 11, 2018

Myrtle Beach Vacation-Part 4: Grand Strand Attractions

Myrtle Beach reminded me a lot of the Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge area. But its the beach instead of the mountains that attracts visitors. 

In addition to beach activities, the entire town is filled with amusements, entertainment, and dining opportunities designed, mostly, for families. 

We took in several of those attractions. I want to share those experiences with you. This will make for a pretty long post but I hope you will enjoy my recollections. 

On the Monday of our stay we decided to go to an area called "Broadway On The Beach."

This expansive venue takes up 7 blocks between 21st and 28th avenues just off Rt. 17. 

Our main reason for going there was to watch the recently released Marvel Avengers: Infinity War in their 16 screen theater.  

Because of the where the parking, in back of the buildings, we had a bit of trouble finding the the place. When we finally did it, was very close to the starting time. 

We had a bit of a problem with a Coke Freestyle machine before we went into the movie. But once we got into the theater and the film started everything turned out okay. 

After the movie we walked down from the theater across a bridge over the lake. We were both hungry and decided to go to Paula Deen's restaurant for a late lunch. 

Having been to Deen's restaurant in Pigeon Forge a couple of times, we knew what to expect. 

The interior of the building was exactly like the one in the Smokies: a retail store on the first floor and the restaurant on the 2nd. The food was okay but a couple of the entrees were disappointing. On a 1-5 scale I'd give the experience a 2.5. 

Because we were still tired from our couple of days of traveling we didn't do much of anything else in the area. We did take a selfie with Paula Deen's in the distant background. 

We left that day with the intention of going back but we never did.  

On Tuesday evening we took in a dinner show. If you've been reading this series you can probably guess which one it was: The Pirate Voyage Dinner Show. 

Our experience didn't start out very well. We arrived late for the preshow and there wasn't any place for us to sit and watch it. I was not pleased. 

But as you can see from this picture once we got into our seats for the show I was smiling. 
The menu was the same as it is at any other Dolly Parton owned show and it was pretty good. 

I liked this one a lot better than the Smokey Mountain Adventure show we saw in Pigeon Forge last September. 

The set was a lot more immersing. 

It had some pretty cool special effects. 

The story were very well paced. There was action all over. The water tank, ship sets, ropes, platforms, and runways were all involved in the show; sometimes at once.  
The only thing I found lacking was humor. There wasn't really any comic relief element to it. The whimsy of the trained sea lion was amusing but not funny enough. I like having all that action but there needed to be some laughs along the way too. 

On Wednesday, we went to the attractions area of the Myrtle Beach boardwalk promenade. The area encompasses 3 blocks along Oceanfront Blvd that's reminds me of the parkway through Gatlinburg than any place in town. Along the street is the touristy area filled with attractions, amusements, and shopping. 

Walk a half a block closer to the beach and you will find yourself along the boardwalk promenade. 

This area has the feel of a Jersey shore boardwalk. It's not upscale by any means but it is entertaining. There's your usual mix of t-shirt shops, arcades, snack food places, sit down restaurants and bars. 

We went into an arcade called "Fun Plaza". It was quite large arcade with both boardwalk and Oceanfront Blvd entrances. Just about every kind of arcade game you can think of was there. 

Paula found a replica of one our son's favorite characters from back when he was a kid. She took a picture and sent it to James.
 We played Skee Ball and video Yatzee but the thing that we'll always remember from this arcade is the old time baseball game. 

One wall of the place was lined with these old fashioned pinball type games. I remember playing these at the Bushkill Park arcade when I was growing up. 

Using marble sized metal balls, a spring-loaded pivoting bat, and ramps that represent hits and or outs you played a simulated 3 inning game for a quarter. 
I started playing one and did pretty good but not great. Then my wife decided that she wanted to try it. She killed it; scoring 20 runs or more in most her games. As competitive as she is, she didn't hesitate to claim bragging rights for the rest of the trip. 

Eventually, we turned in the coupons we earned in for a couple of toys for my granddaughter including some finger cuffs. 
The day was getting a bit warm so we decided to stop in a sports bar called "Moe's on the Boardwalk."

We each got a drink and shared a soft pretzel with cheese dip. Paula's drink had a little umbrella in it. 
The last thing I did on the boardwalk was one of my favorite things about entire vacation. I took a ride on The SkyWheel. 
Riding this attraction was a lot of fun. Paula, who isn't a fan of Ferris wheels, stayed at Moe's while I went to ride. 

I took this shot from the wheel. You can't see her but she's sitting at at the table inside the window just behind the double palm tree and last umbrella near the center. 

This wheel is the same size as the one I rode in Orlando in 2016, 400 ft. high. You get to go 4 times around. This one was a lot better than Florida though because there were things to see. Here are a couple of still shots I took while riding. 

I shot a couple of videos while riding as well. They are on my You Tube channel. Here are the links:
Myrtle Beach Sky Wheel Pt 1.

Myrtle Beach Sky Wheel Pt. 2

So there you have the attractions that my wife and I visited during our vacation. 

I know this has been a long post but there was a lot to write about. Here's a bit of a preview of what my next post is going to be about. 

Although we didn't spend a whole lot of time at the beach compared to last year's trip to Destin, we did spend a considerable amount of time walking the surf collecting shells. 

In doing so we experienced something for the very first time, a sight seeing tour aboard a boat. 

More on that in the next and final installment in this series. 

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Myrtle Beach Vacation-Part 3: Setting The Scene

The last couple of posts were chronological accounts of the first couple of days of our vacation.

Rather than continue to go with a "day by day" recounting, the remainder of the entries in this series are going to focus specific activities we enjoyed over the course of the week.  

But first, there are some elements I need to share with you which were important factors throughout our time in South Carolina. 

Myrtle Beach is at the center of larger tourist area called "The Grand Strand". It covers two-counties (Horry & Georgetown). It is bordered by North Myrtle Beach, obviously, to the north and Georgetown to the south. 

There are about a dozen communities within that span. Each of them have a variety of restaurants, hotels, resorts and businesses that cater to families, and beach lovers. During our stay we visited places throughout the Grand Strand. 

Unfortunately, our visit was right at the same time as one of the Grand Strands' biggest drawls. It was "Bike Week"; a semi-annual event that brings lots of business to the area. 

Motorcycles, most with both a driver and a rider, were all over the place the entire week. This made the restaurants, attractions, and the roadways crowded during our entire stay. We didn't really have any problem with them, but just the potential for issues was an underlying concern for me all week. 

The third factor, we realized just moments after we checked into our resort. As we were unloading our car, a commercial passenger jet flew directly over our building. The noise was extremely loud. The hotel was directly in the take off path of the Myrtle Beach International Airport just 2.5 miles away. 

A variety of aircraft ranging from a single engine prop plane to large multi-jet airliners would randomly depart throughout the day. Luckily it was mostly during "normal" hours and tailed off around early evening. But in the morning they would shake our hotel room and drown out sound of the ocean while we were on the beach. 

But without a doubt, the one element that made the difference on the enjoyment side of of our vacation ledger was the our hotel room. The view from room 532 in the Palmetto building of the Double Tree Oceanside resort was amazing. 

Here's a still shot and a video of what we saw every time we looked out from the balcony. 
In addition to the view it gave us, it was only a 5-10 minute walk to the beach. 

Just below us was the resort's lazy river.
A quick trek across the "river" area and it was a 100 yards or so to the waves. This pic with our balcony railing in the foreground will give you an idea of what I mean.

With those things covered let me get into the best part of our vacation: spending time at the beach. But that's for the next post. 

In the meantime, let me whet your appetite with a video of what served as the atmosphere for our first morning in Myrtle Beach. Enjoy and I'll see you next time. 

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Myrtle Beach Vacation-Part 2: On The Road To The Coast

Welcome to part 2 of my vacation series. This post is going to be more for the purpose of transition than anything else. It may not be that interesting but it's necessary to set up the rest of this series.  

The 2nd day of our 2018 vacation got off to a rather early start. That's because we had a long day head of us. 

We had to drive 2 hours east to meet up with my son and daughter-in-law in Crossville, TN. It's at exit 320 of I-40; about halfway between Bowling Green & Pigeon Forge. 

We got there a little early because I miscalculated the difference in time zones. 

When our kids arrived at the Pilot truck stop agreed on as our meet up point, we were sitting in the dining room of the Wendy's restaurant.   

I want to send out a big "Thank You" to them for taking the time out of their day to "save" our vacation. The entire round trip for them was over 5 hours. I appreciate them sacrificing their day to help us out. It was a unique and very giving Mother's Day present for my wife.

Around 11, we said "good-bye" to Michael and Heather and headed back east on I-40. 
We had about 9 hours and just under 500 miles ahead of us. We "lost" an hour going from the central to the eastern time zones.

As we drove through Knoxville, I made mention to Paula that sometime when we were passing through and had the time, I'd like to take the time to go visit the Sunsphere. It's one of two structures built for the 1982 World's Fair that are still standing. 

Paula and I have been going to the Smoky Mountains ever since 2001. Our favorite route to travel is taking 65 south to 40 east, getting off at the Sevierville, exit 407. This was the first time in a decade and a half of traveling that route that we went beyond that exit. 

It was at this point of our getaway that the adventure began for me. We were in a part of the country I'd never been before. I always like going to new places. You never know what you're going to find.  

The journey was a combination of a new experience and comfortable familiarity. I was driving and Paula was riding shotgun. 

As has become our routine when on the road, there was an open bag of cheddar cheese flavored Combos, the our drinks were in the cup holders between us, and an XM radio satellite station playing 70s music was on the Kia's stereo.    

In every marriage there is at least one or two places or situations that brings out the best in that relationship. It's different for each couple but there is at least one. 

For Paula and me, one of those is being on the road together. Whether its because we are heading for a single day event, a getaway weekend or a week long vacation, it is our "Sweet Spot". It has been from the very beginning. So even though getting to our destination this time made for a long day it was still "Us" at our best.   

We went through North Carolina on 40 turning southeast onto 26 just before Ashville. We crossed over to South Carolina heading toward Spartanburg. 

Of course along the way we'd make occasional stops to stretch our legs, take restroom breaks, get drink refills and putting gas in the car. I prefer Pilot truck stops but we did stop at other convenience stores as well. 

A turn east at Columbia took us to Florence via I-26 & I-20. From there, we went from a 6 lane interstate to a local county highway. It was 4 lanes but went through a lot of local areas speed zones ranging from 35-55 MPH. The last 75 miles of driving to Myrtle Beach took about 90 minutes. 

Along the way were many local businesses. We saw quite a few including: small fruit & produce stands, souvenir & area information centers, restaurants and more.

Once we passed the town of "Conway" on 501, we were in Horry county. The ocean front was still about 40 miles away but we had arrived the area known as "The Grand Strand". More on just that the region encompasses later. 

The sun was going down and darkness was setting in; we were getting road weary. We had been traveling for more than 12 hours. We were both in that "I just want to get there and get out of the car" mode. 

Although it was quite a bit away from the lighthouses along the South Carolina coastline, Rt 501 had its own plethora of "beacons" guiding us toward our destination. 

I'm talking about a never-ending series of billboards for the Pirates Voyage Dinner & Show. The Dolly Parton owned attraction in Myrtle beach had an overkill amount of billboards lining the highway from Conway to North Myrtle beach. I've never seen such saturation for one attraction. There were, what seemed to be, hundreds of them in clusters of 4-6 at a time. They went on for miles. 

Unfortunately, I didn't take a picture of any of them. But if you ever take 501 into that area you will see them for sure. BTW, they proved to be effective, at least on us. 

Finally, we reached Myrtle Beach and made the turn onto South King's Highway. A combination of nightfall, our fatigued induced difficulty to focus, an unfamiliarity with the area and our GPS giving us rather vague directions, we had some trouble finding our resort. 

But eventually, much to our relief, we did find the Doubletree Oceanfront resort. As we checked in the anticipatory wonder of what our room was going to be like set in. 

We were in a part of the resort known at the "Palmetto" building; room 532. 

The room was amazing. It was rather spacious for a hotel room. It had a comfortable King sized bed and a balcony that looked out onto the beach. We could open the curtains and see the ocean from anywhere in the room. More about the room later in this series. 

We brought our luggage up to our room. While we were both really tired we still had a couple of things to do. 

We went out and picked up a pizza at a nearby Papa John's and did some initial grocery shopping at the local Walmart. 

By about 10 o'clock we found ourselves back in our room, sitting on the balcony eating pizza and enjoying the sound of the ocean. 

Our vacation had begun. I spent a few moments of reverie telling my wife how being on that balcony was so surreal. How she has made my life so much more than I ever expected it to be. 

As our 2nd day of our getaway was coming to an end I was extremely grateful to be where I was, for who I was with and what we were going to get the chance to do over the next few days. 

It would take us both a couple of days to get over the fatigue the activities of the weekend had caused. But this didn't keep us from enjoying where we were. 

This brings me to the end of part 2 of this series. In the next post I will share with you our first "official" day in Myrtle Beach.  

Thank you for reading my block. I will let you know when Part 3 is posted.  


Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Myrtle Beach Vacation-Part 1: An Unusual Beginning

Hello There! I've been away from this blog for 6 months so I thought it might be time to get back to it. 

I can't think of any better subject to start with than sharing my experience from last week. My wife and I went on vacation. 

We enjoyed our time in Destin, Florida last year, so much, that we decided to go back to the beach for our 2018 vacation. 

We were trying to decide whether to go to Gulf Shores, AL, one of the beaches on the east side of the Florida peninsula, or Myrtle Beach, SC. We asked our friends on Facebook for some help with our decision.  

When my cousin, Roger, contacted me to tell me that he could get us a good deal on a hotel room at a resort in Myrtle Beach; we settled on going there. 

(BTW, a big "Thank You" to Roger. I'm not going to give the details. Let me just say that he helped us get a great deal at a very nice resort; saving us quite a bit of $$)

With my cousin's help, we booked our room in early March. The next two months were so busy for us that we really didn't do very much planning. That's really out of character for us, especially me. 

However, we did plan on making our trip a little more relaxing by stopping for the night in the Smoky Mountains area on our way there. 

While we do find ourselves in Pigeon Forge, TN quite often, (September of 18 was the last time) this quick visit, on the way to a farther destination, would be a first for us. 

On the way down the Parkway I snapped this shot of our my favorite attraction facade in the area. 

For this one-night stop, we were doing something we hadn't in several years; spending a night in a hotel room. We usually rent a condo. Our choice of hotel was a Best Western on the Parkway just down the road from our favorite condo complex. 

Our trip was going well up until the moment we discovered that we had left something very important at home. In a bit of miscommunication, while packing the car, we missed it. Without it, getting the restful type of sleep needed during the week would not be possible.  

A mode of panic took over for a few minutes as we scrambled for ideas on how to take care of our problem. We tried to find a way to rent a unit from a Myrtle Beach area pharmacy. But after about half an hour of searching the internet, and making several unanswered phone calls, it became clear that it wasn't going to work out. 

There was only one other alternative. I would find someone back at home to go to our house, get what we needed, and then bring it to us. 

But I couldn't ask them to drive all the way to Pigeon Forge. We would have to backtrack and meet them halfway. 

I called my son, Michael. He agreed to help us out. We would meet the next morning at 10 o'clock in Crossville, TN. 

With the "save" of our vacation set up, we decided to go out and have some fun in Pigeon Forge. 

We went to "The Alamo" restaurant for dinner. It's a place we've wanted to go for a while. Our first dining experience would be a good one. Paula had, what she said was, the best filet mignon she's ever had.

Next, it was off to one of our favorite spots in Pigeon Forge "The Island". 

Even though it was pretty crowded, we still managed to get to some of our favorite  activities. We browsed through some of the shops, played the "Harpoon Lagoon" video game in the arcade, and snacked on some soft pretzel mini-dogs. 

Of course, all of this was done in the shadow of "The Wheel". 

We needed to get an early start in order to meet Michael in the morning. We headed back to the hotel rather early in order to get as much rest as we could. 

That's where I'll leave you for the first of this series about our 2018 vacation. The next chapter I'll share our long day on the road getting to Myrtle Beach. 

As usual, I was excited about going on vacation; but the first day of this one turned out to have a bit of additional excitement for me. 

The day ended in a way I never expected at when it started. For me, the wonder of those types of days are what keeps life interesting. 

Of course, I am talking about those that turn out in a good way. The days ending in unexpected "bad" ways, I would rather do without. 

While we would be back tracking the next day and would be on the road for twice as long as originally planned; overall the results would be good. At the end of our second day away, I would find myself on the threshold of a new adventure with the Love of My Life.  

I'll be sharing the details of that adventure in this series. 

Thanks for coming back to my blog. I plan on getting back to posting again on a regular basis. Hopefully, I can carry through with that plan. Catch you next time.   

Sunday, November 19, 2017

RHFactors Digest #5

It's been a while since I've done one of these type of posts. I've got a few things to share to catch you up on what's going on in "Ron's World" during the first half of November. 

I've already shared, in my last post, what I did on the first day, which got the month off to a very good start. 

 My upper respiratory issues had me down and out for the last days of October. The lingering effects, were still making me a less than 100% at the start of November, finally made going to the doctor unavoidable. 

I went to the local Urgent Care facility that's associated with my primary care doctor. Because of my symptoms this is how I looked when I sat in the "sick" waiting room. 
 I wouldn't have minded wearing a mask if I hadn't been the only one out of the half dozen people in the room wearing one. They even made me keep it on in the examination room until the doctor came in. 

After a brief examination I was prescribed an antibiotic for 10 days. It would do it's job in helping me get back to my usual self.  

Those of you who are Facebook friends have probably already seen a video about the event I am going to write about next. 

On Monday November 7, I went and stood in line to get some free tickets to an upcoming special holiday event. The give away was for the "Polar Express" event at the Historic Rail Park/ L&N Depot in Bowling Green. 

My daughter-in-law had been trying to take my granddaughter to this annual event for the last couple of years. Up until now she had never been able to get tickets. 

This year she asked me try and get them. I was more than happy to do it. But I almost messed the opportunity. 

Initially, I thought the ticket give away was at a local car dealership. At 8:30AM I was sitting in the parking lot of Jim Johnson Nissan on Scottsville Road. 
 Now I knew from what Brandi had told me in the past, this was a very popular giveaway. It started at 9AM. But as I sat in the parking lot of the dealership I didn't see any sign of other people waiting. I realize something was wrong. It turned out to be me. 

A quick look at the ticket announcement on Facebook helped me realize that I was in the wrong place. I needed to be at the rail park for the give away, not at the business that was sponsoring it. With 15 minutes before the scheduled start I was nearly 4 miles on the other side of town.  

As quickly as I could I zig zagged my way through the streets of the west side of Bowling Green. When I got to the museum, I thought my mistake had cost me the chance to complete my quest.  

The lot was full of cars including the overflow parking area. I saw the line was already outside the front door. I drove around the entire building and couldn't find a parking place. 

I drove away resolved to the fact that I was going to have to tell Brandi that I let her down. 

But as drove down Louisville Road intended on heading home, I realized I shouldn't have given up so easily. I had made a promise to get those tickets, I needed to do all I could to do just that. 

I turned around and headed back to the museum. I was lucky enough to get there just as a car was pulling out of a parking spot to the right side of the building. 

I got in line on the left side of the front door about halfway down the outside of the building. 
One of the museum's employees came buy and handed everyone a slip of paper. There was a number on the back that, after a little bit of mental math, told me that I would be able to get tickets. On the front was some information that would allow me to predetermine my preferences for available show times. 
As the line advanced, slowly but steadily, a woman with a series of papers in her hand would come around and announce which tickets had been completely distributed. For example: "Monday December 5 at 7:30 is closed" was one of her announcements.  

The line formation once inside the line was set up in the center of the room so as to spiral from the center of the lobby out.
 It moved counter clockwise until you got to the box office at which was at the 5 o'clock position. 

You then went into another room where a group of ladies sitting at some tables were giving out the tickets. 
It took me about an hour to get to that point. A gentleman was at the entrance to the ticket room helping people get yet another accurate idea of what shows remained available. 
When I got finally got up to the tables, I stood in the line all the way to the right of the picture above. The tickets I decided on were not the exact one that I had wanted but it was the closest I could get. 

When I got back to my car I decided to make one of my "Hanging With Havens" videos. 

As I mentioned, I posted it on Facebook right after I finished it. For those of you who didn't see it here's the link to it on my You Tube channel. It tells about the whole experience in about 4 minutes. 
The Polar Express Experience

Every once in a while, in life, you come across something that requires minimum investment that gives you maximum return. I'm not just talking about financial decisions either.  

Last week, while shopping at my local Sam's Club, I discovered this little craft kit. 
I immediately thought of how much my wife and my granddaughter would enjoy doing this project together. It was only $13. 

This past Saturday, as part of Aria's weekend with us, they sat at our kitchen table and, together, made the nativity scene. 

They assembled, painted, and applied stickers.
It took them about an hour to get it all done. They were proud of their finished creation. 
I was so pleased to see them work together.  Not only did they create a new display for our living room for Christmas...
...there will always be a reminder of the day they did it.  
Far as I'm concerned, that memory is an investment that's priceless. 

On Thursday, the 16th, for the second time this year, I went to my granddaughter's school to have lunch with her. This time it was in celebration of Thanksgiving. 

Paula couldn't go this time so I was Aria's guest along with her mom and one of her mom's closest friends, Brittany. 

The experience was a little different than the last time but it was still fun. Aria was happy we were there. 

After we finished lunch, Brandi and Brittany had to leave. Like last time, I went with Aria back to her classroom for a few minutes. 

When we got there she gave me this Thanksgiving themed art work she made. 
Also, like the last time, she wanted me to stay with her for a while. But the teacher really didn't have anything planned. Shortly after we were back in the room, Ms. Wilson, distributed papers to the children for a class activity. 

It was at that point that I said "good-bye" to Aria. She handled me leaving a lot better than she did the first time. 

So there you have a few of the memorable things that have happened so far in November. 

Before I go I want to give you a bit of a "sneak peek" into what one of my next posts is going to feature. 

Although I write about Lego quite often; I haven't devoted an entire post to it since early this year. But this picture gives you a glimpse of the most interesting project of the year. 

 I'll share more in that future post. 

In case I don't get the chance to write again before the holiday, I want to wish you and all my blog readers a Happy Thanksgiving. 

Remember a heart that is full of thankfulness and gratitude is one which can also accomodate happiness. God Bless.   

Lego Christmas builds

Monday, November 13, 2017

Last Days Of October-Part 3

This 3rd and final installment in this series is going to be about a pair of experiences that just might point me in the right direction for the future. 

They both happened in the same place and technically, and just one of them happened in October. The other one was on the first day of November; but close enough.

On Saturday, October 21st, my nephew, Bobby, and I drove to East Nashville to the Watkins Park section. Our destination being the Third Coast Comedy Club. 

It's located inside the building that used to be the home of Marathon Motor Works; an early 20th century automobile manufacturer. 
I last visited this area 5 years ago in 2012. That's when I sought out the newly opened Antique Archaeology store. Here's a link to my post about that day. 
Pickin & Grinnin Part 1

The building has been repurposed as an entertainment and retail venue. 
The Third Coast Comedy Club is one of many businesses there. It is the one place in Nashville that focuses mainly on improv comedy. 

But on this day, improv was not the reason we were there. Rik Roberts, a comedian and podcaster and another podcaster, David Hooper were co-hosting a seminar on starting a successful podcast.   
The seminar was a combination of informational lecture segments by David and improvisational games for the purposes of "brain storming" as a group, facilitated by Rik. 

The event lasted from 10AM to about 4PM. At the conclusion of the day; a group picture was taken. Bobby and I are on the left.
There was a lot of information given but it was mostly for those who had already had an established podcast. There was some great tips and plans on how to take it to the next level. That applied to most of the people who were there. I met and talked with a few of them. 

However, meeting with the podcasters and hearing them talk about their programs motivated me to get serious about launching one of my own. It also got my nephew thinking about starting one of his own as well. 

But determining just what my podcast should be still has me conflicted. It's something I need to work out. I may write more about the specifics of that in a future post. Just to see what you, my potential listeners, think. 

One of the benefits of attending the "Big Podcast" seminar the 3rd Saturday in October was I got a free pass to an event 2 weeks later. 

On Wednesday, November 1st, I went back to the Third Coast Comedy Club to attend a night of stand up headlined by Rik Roberts. 

Rik has become a friend over the last couple of years. His podcast has both entertained and taught me a lot about stand up comedy.

As a supporter of his podcast through Patreon, I wanted to show additional support by attending this show. It was being recorded and will be released next Spring as Rik's next CD.  

I got there about half an hour before the show started. I sat and had a soft drink in the bar area. 
They were still in a bit of a "Halloween" mode because they were projecting an episode of the "Twilight Zone" onto the wall. 
I met a guy named "Matt" who was the show runner for the club. He asked for my ticket and then stamped the back of my hand. This allowed me go get into the showroom. 
I talked with him a bit about my interest in improv and how I saw this new club as a potentially useful resource. 

I mentioned my experience with the improv group at Western Kentucky University a couple of years ago. As it turned out he was a WKU alumni and used to be part of that group. 

I talked to Rik and he introduced me to a couple of people who were there from Ohio to be a part of the audience. 

Soon it was time to go into the showroom and find a seat. 
I sat in the last chair on the 2nd row from the front. 

The show was very funny. Rik had a pair of comics warm the audience up. Both of them have been guests on the School of Laughs podcast. Also I've seen them perform at Zanies before; so I was familiar with their style. 

Johnny W. opened up the show; doing about 15 minutes. I like his style. 
Brian Bates is a guy who uses a lot of self deprecating humor. His being a single guy in his 40s lends itself to a lot of good material. 
He reminds me of a little of the character of "Stewart" on the Big Bang Theory. He did about 15 minutes as well. 

Rik came on stage and did about 45 minutes. His act was some new stuff and some I'd heard him do before. But it was all very funny. 

At the end of his act he picked up his guitar and did his song about having a good time with a rental car. 

For his closing number he asked for a volunteer from the audience to come up and help him. The crowd was being a little shy. I put my hand up and he chose me. 

Once I got up on stage he asked my name and what I did. I told him "I am Ron and I am a ventriloquist." 

He asked if I wanted to do a little demonstration with him playing the guitar. I said "sure". We practiced the timing of my squeezing his neck and him moving his mouth. 

Having mentioned Johnny Cash in his act earlier he decided on the song "Folsom Prison Blues". 

In my best ventriloquist Johnny Cash impersonation voice I sang the first verse using the correct lyrics. 

When it came to the 2nd verse I decided that 
I would improvise and make up something. So that's when I sang:

I'm singing bout Folsom Prison
Someone is moving my mouth
The only place you'll see this stuff
In here in the deep south 

After we sang the chorus and gave a big finish. We got a lot of applause. 

It had been over a year and a half since I had gotten that kind of reaction for doing ventriloquism. It felt really good. 

Next, Rik had me sing a part of a song called "I'm Just A Guy". I was familiar with it because I had seen him do it at Zanies a few months earlier.

Based on what I had seen the volunteer do back then I decided that my part where I sang "guy guy I'm just a guy" needed to be done in as low a voice as possible. 

So when my part came I gave it my deepest effort. It worked better than normal because I still congested from my cold issue. The crowd loved us and we got a lot of applause.

After the show I got some really good comments from a few people on my ventriloquism. It was really encouraging. 

Over the last few month, I had become convinced that being a ventriloquist was never going to be more than a hobby for me going forward. 

I actually haven't picked up a puppet for practice or public performance in quite a while. 

Other than playing with my granddaughter, my puppets have been locked up in their case for more than a year and a half. 

The satisfaction I got just from my short improvised performance in front of that relatively small crowd that night has me rethinking the idea of becoming a performing ventriloquist, once again.   

If I decide to give that another try there are quite a few "path choices" I have to make. But it's something I'm going to focus on for the rest of the year. 

So there you have my two recent experiences in Nashville. Both of them have served as catalysts in motivating me and steering me toward what I want to do in life over the next few years. 

I'm going to take remaining few weeks of this year to decide what exactly I'm going to do and make a fresh start in 2018. 

As far as the Third Coast Comedy Club is concerned, I will probably go back there for a night of entertainment in the near future. 

Another reason to go back is the excellent improv classes they offer. That has always been an interest of mine. 

This wraps up my series about the last days of October. Now it's on to writing about the last two months of 2017. 

In my next post, I will tell you about the entire experience getting tickets to that holiday special event that I mentioned in my last post. 

Thanks for coming by to read what's going on with me. Til next time, God Bless.