Our Tennessee Trip

According to Google Maps, we traveled 488 miles, and drove for 11 hours and 1 minute during our week in Tennessee

Each state we visit, we will choose at least one point of interest from each of the following categories: Famous Person, Famous Food, Roadside Attraction, State Capitol & State Museum, National Park, Historic Location, Can't Miss Attraction, and Made in the USA Tour. Some of the categories may have more than one selection, and sometimes a category will be vacant due to the lack of a candidate. Please click on the links below for the corresponding blog related our experiences in Tennessee the past week.

Famous Person: Dolly Parton

Famous Food: Goo Goo Clusters

Roadside Attraction: Alcatraz East

State Capitol/Museum: Nashville

National Park: Great Smoky Mountain National Park

Historic Location: Site of Martin Luther King’s Assassination, Beale Street

Can't miss attraction: Graceland

Made in the USA tour: Gibson Guitar

Please view our previous blog posts for further explanations of our experiences in Tennessee over the past week.

A breakdown of our expenses of the past week are as follows:

Gas $169.00

$ 2.29 gal. in Memphis,TN was the lowest price paid.

$ 2.78 gal. in Brentwood,TN was highest price paid.


We did great in this category!

Groceries: $163.00

Walmart $79.00

Costco $84.00


We bought a lot of food in Tennessee!

Dining out $77.00

Starbucks $6.00 (Tea x 2 for free WiFi)

Kroger $21.00 (Yummy vegetarian sushi)

Costco $4.00 (2 slices of pizza on the go)

Costco $6.00 (3 slices of pizza on the go

CiCi's $13.00 (Pizza buffet on the go)

White Castle $14.00 (Veggie burger sliders)

Goo Goo Clusters $13.00 (Disgusting, but it was the state food)


We did great in this category!

Entertainment: $226.00

Redbox $4.00 (Budgeted Movies x2)

Gibson $22.00 (Budgeted Admission x2)

MLK $32.00 (Budgeted Admission x2)

Graceland $112.00 (Budgeted Admission x2)

Alcatraz East $56.00 (Budgeted Admission x2)


Albeit budgeted expenses, we spent WAY more than usual in this category!

Lodging: $0.00

Walmart $0.00 (Slept in parking lot x 7 nights)


We did great in this category

Miscellaneous: $23.00

Parking $23.00


We did great in this category

Tennessee Expenses Grand Total: $ 658.00

(Our expense list does not include re-occurring expenses such as insurance and cellphone etc.)

Is Tennessee Our New Home State?

Here are the rules:

Below are the 5 categories that are important to us in choosing our new home state. Each category is rated from 1 to 10 based on our personal experience in no particular order. 1 is the lowest and 10 is the highest for each category. Each category will receive 2 scores; 1 from Lori and 1 from Nate. The average of these two scores will determine the final score for each category. To determine a state’s final score, we will average the total score of each category. If a state’s final score is less than 8, then that state is eliminated from consideration. At the end of our year long cross country trip, the states that scored 8 or higher will be subject to further consideration. In addition, Lori and I each have 1 wild card option, which allows a state that otherwise would have been eliminated, to be considered as our new home state.


Nate: 8

Tourism, agriculture, auto manufacturing, film production, healthcare, and manufacturing form the basis of the states well diversified economy. Unsurprisingly, Tennessee’s unemployment rate is 10% lower than the national average. However, the states average family income of $47,275 ranks 42nd in the nation! Ouch!!!”

Lori: 8

Not only does the Tennessee constitution require a balance budget, the state ranks 8th in the nation for government fiscal responsibility, and holds $533 million in a rainy day fund. I may just hang my hat in Tennessee!

Economy score: 8

Cost of Living:

Nate: 10

“Tennessee's zero state income tax for salary and wages is very sexy, but their states sales tax rate as high as 9.45% after local surcharges is not so hot! However, the Volunteer State features the 4th lowest property taxes in the nation. Hooray for Tennessee!!!”

Lori: 10

“When compared to the national average, in Tennessee; housing is 25% cheaper, gas is 10% cheaper and food is 6% cheaper! I love a state with a low cost of living!!!”

Cost of living score: 10

Quality of life:

Nate: 7

“Tennessee offers a temperate climate with warm summers and mild winters. Regarding risk for natural disasters, the state ranks: 15th for tornados, and 20th for earthquakes from the New Madrid Faultline. While in a library in Eastern Tennessee, I actually felt a tiny tremor, and watched an overhead light swing too and fro! VERY SCARY!”

Lori: 3

“Tennessee's violent crime rate of 6.3 is 40% higher than the national average, which is totally unexceptable in a potential new home state! On second thought, maybe I won’t hang my hat in Tennessee! EEEEK!”

Quality of life score: 5


Nate: 7

“BBQ, dancing, hiking, boating, any and every outdoor activity, festivals, jam sessions, sports events such as basketball, country music, dining out and much more are among the many recreational activities awaiting you in Tennessee. Sounds like fun to me!”

Lori: 6

“Compared to the National Average, Tennessee ranks 30th for energy production from wind, and 40th for energy production from solar. I prefer my new home state to be more green! On the bright side, the state scored above average for the number of vegan restaurants!”

Culture Score: 6.5


Nate: 9

“Outside of the major cities we encountered little traffic, and the roads were well maintained, and easy to drive, with ample scenic beauty. Throughout the state we had no problems with access to goods and services. Interestingly, I noticed distinct cultural differences when traveling between Western, Central and Eastern Tennessee”

Lori: 10

“Tennessee's major cities of Memphis, Chattanooga, Nashville, and Knoxville are spread throughout the state so you are never too far from civilization. However, with 57 state parks, and 12 national parks, there is ample wilderness if you need some time alone with nature”

Environment Score: 9.5

The verdict is in:

The final score for Tennessee was 7.8, and it will NOT be our new home. Nate already used his wild card, and Lori chose not to use her wild card on this state

Below are the current standings:

Colorado 9.2

Michigan 8.3

Oregon 8.2

Tennessee 7.8

Ohio 7.6

Indiana 7.4

Texas 7.3 (NATE’S WILD CARD)

South Dakota 7.1

North Dakota 6.9

Washington 6.9

Georgia 6.8

Virginia 6.6

Wyoming 6.5

Arizona 6.5

Pennsylvania 6.5

Florida 6.2

Idaho 6.1

West Virginia 6.0

California 5.9

Alabama 5.9

Kansas 5.9

Nevada 5.8

Nebraska 5.7

South Carolina 5.4

Utah 5.0

Kentucky 4.9

Mississippi 4.7

Wisconsin 4.5

New Mexico 4.5

Louisiana 4.3

Minnesota 4.2

Montana 4.1

Missouri 3.5

Iowa 3.3

Oklahoma 3.3

Illinois 1.9