Wednesday, June 23, 2010
Day 2 June 23, 2010 700 miles to Nashville and the heart of Music City!
We woke up this morning and drove the very long, very flat interstate 75 north towards Atlanta. Somebody - not me, but it could be Sarah - forgot their ipod hook up for the radio so we were stuck surfing the FM dial for the duration of the day. It started out cool with quite a variety of music, including about every late 70's early 80's arena rock hit ever written...ie: Boston and Journey. Then somewhere around the Georgia/Tennessee border we were commandeered by a single classic country station for well over 150 miles into Tennessee. It was a great kick when they played the oddball Bon Jovi song from the movie Young Guns. We both looked at each other with perfect ironic timing. Country music was cool since we were heading to the country western capital of the world... Nashville.
One of our stops was at a Waffle House on the side of the road somewhere near Perry Georgia. I am a virgin to the establishment so of course I ordered the double pecan waffles (pecans are grown all over the state). When they arrived I doused them in butter and syrup and wondered why the hell they weren't putting these things up north. This was after bite number one. Bite two had me solving world war and hunger. More Waffle Houses!!!! Anyway, we got to talking to our wonderful counter girl, Janet... a true southern belle. She was so warm and welcoming and had a laugh that just made your cheeks red. We started on traveling and ended up spending quite some time trading stories and having a ball. She was well traveled herself and offered us plenty of advice about the road. Don't worry Janet, we won't tell the story about you going back to NJ with bags of fireworks for your neighborhood friends! Everyone jumped in to talk to us once we told them we were headed to Alaska! It made the stop a very enjoyable memory that I will never forget. We took pictures and exchanged info and hugs before we left.
Satisfied and happy, we resumed driving... I was the driver today. The flattened roads of Florida and Georgia eventually turned into the rolling hills and mountains of Tennessee. At one point we snaked along a beautiful river bed and valley on route 24. What a beautiful state, and they keep the roads nice too. We barreled 700 miles all the way to Nashville with barely another stop, subsisting on a bag of sunflower seeds, a spit cup, and some bottled water. My gums still hurt from shucking the shells.
When we got here to Nashville we settled on the Holiday Inn Express which is conveniently located on Broadway right near the heart of "The District". The District is a couple square blocks of nothing but Country Music and Blues clubs, souvenir shops, guitar shops, poster shops and the world famous Ernest Tubbs record shop. It was great. Every establishment had big 50's style neon lights with big guitars and cowboys and all sorts of memorabilia. We stopped at Johnny's BBQ and tore up some delicious smoked pork and turkey, with beans, slaw, and all the fixings. Sarah started rebuilding her winter clothes collection by purchasing a hooded sweatshirt at one of the cooler boutiques in town. This place had hay strewn all about the floor and the woman at the counter had no teeth and smelled like alcohol. You can't make this stuff up. She asked Sarah "Why in the hell would you want to buy a sweater like this in Nashville?". Sarah told the woman she was moving to Alaska and the woman lit up like a fire engine. Her "huuuuuuusband" is from "theeeeere". Having purchased the sweater we moved on to the famous Ernest Tubbs record shop. This place reeks of music history. It still has the original tin ceilings and plank wooden floors that all the greats have walked before and after their music was sold there. Nashville is a hotbed for talented musicians.
Every bar we walked past had a great band roaring away inside. We settled on a band that was doing a country version of "Purple Rain" and decided this might be a place for us. We grabbed a beer and watched them rip through some awesome songs, including "Peg" from Steely Dan and ...... drum roll please....... "I'll be there for you" by Bon Jovi. I guess Bon Jovi is country down here! They were an incredible band and a testament to the level of players that work here trying to get signed. The lead singer was trying to look like Keith Urban, which kind of errked Sarah but we both agreed we would love to have the keyboard player in any band we could put together. He could harmonize to a T and was playing his ass off as well. On the way back to the hotel I was stopped by a panhandler in the streets. I'm a sucker for this kind of stuff, but I always give... and I always get a good feeling when I do. This guy, named Bobby, pulled me aside and sang a beautiful song and told me to "remember that you could be entertaining the company of an Angel.... you will have many blessings coming your way". Thanks Bobby, I feel blessed already. Looking forward to day three tomorrow. I think St. Louis is our next stop.