we travel to Hurricane Mills and Loretta Lynn’s Dude Ranch
4 September 2016 Hurricane Mills Tennessee
I left Johnny Cash’s Boyhood Home in Dyess Arkansas and made my way to the site celebrating another country music legend.
The drive took about three hours with no break. I thought about stopping overnight a couple of times on the way but nothing appealed. So it was I pulled off the I-40 with about 15 minutes to go to Loretta Lynn’s Ranch.
Just off the Interstate here were gas stations, eateries and hotels. Most alluringly, there was Loretta Lynn’s kitchen. This would do me fine for the night. I checked in to the Holiday Inn and took the last room available – the lady mentioned to me that Loretta herself was having a concert up at the Ranch tonight. That would explain all the people around. I half though about going to see her perform but decided against it. I was tired, had seen her on stage last year and she would be at Bristol’s Rhythm ‘n’ Roots Reunion next week where I would see her again.
I walked next door to Loretta Lynn’s Kitchen where the all-you-can-eat dinner buffet was $10.99. I was definitely ready for a square meal – meat and vegetables and this was the place to be.
You paid your check at the adjoining gift shop, which contained some amazing items – John Wayne coasters, cowboy paraphernalia, toys galore, named shot glasses, badges, framed posters of stars of yesteryear, jigsaw puzzles, uplifting Civil War place mats and of course Loretta nick-nacks galore.
But above all, these items took my breath away:
I went for a short walk after dinner – there were no sidewalks and, with cars buzzing everywhere, I decided it would be safer back in my hotel room.
I planned to go to Loretta Lynn’s Ranch directly after breakfast the next morning. Due to the concert last night, the hotel car park was pretty full. The breakfast conversations were interesting – discussions about last night’s performance, past experiences and sharing of Loretta love.
The drive to the Ranch was short and I took the turnoff to the private road. It was so pretty. The weather was perfect. A creek, horses and lush vegetation on the way, along with a large RV park. The ‘Ranch’ is impressive and much bigger than I expected. As well as the RV park, the complex has log cabin rentals, a swimming pool, numerous themed-gift shops, a Grist Mill Museum, snack service facilities, Loretta’s Fan and Doll Museum, a recording studio, a Motocross race track, a 18,000 square foot “Coal Miner’s Daughter Museum” and concert pavilion. You also can fish, go horseback riding, 4-wheeling and hiking.
Now, today was the middle of the National Labor Day weekend and, coupled with Loretta’s performance the night before, there were people everywhere, very excited and buying up a fair amount of merchandise, of which there was an endless supply of anything your heart contented. There was a rack of toy rifles and daggers, CDs and shirts of course – Loretta plus Loretta and Conway (Twitter), aprons, mugs, food preserves, cook books, Loretta water bottles, (more) cowboy paraphernalia and even cassettes! It’s probably the biggest commercial facility for one person that I can recall outside of Graceland.
I decided against buying anything or taking any tours, just enjoying the peace and quiet outside, the beautiful running creek and the perfect weather.
Eventually though time to go.
A change of plan that I developed last night – I am going to spend two days in Nashville.