Saturday, 12 October 2013

But this is country music, and we do.

It only took a few hours drive to get to our next stop and our next state: Jackson, Tennessee. From there we turned up, checked ourselves in a motel and caught up with what was happening back home. After we’d finished the internet it was time to head off and get some food. Unfortunately, there was surprisingly a lack of food establishments nearby so we settled for a combo burger meal in yet another fast food joint (a note for our mothers: we’ll be eating properly again soon, promise!). After a good few days on the road, it was nice to actually clean ourselves up and sleep in a proper bed again.

The next day, there were two things on the list: get to Nashville and Ben wanted to obtain some fancy boots. He’d been researching for many hours and found a place in a little town that should have a decent selection. So it was time to go all European and go to erm... Milan. The one over here is pronounced ‘Me-lan’ though, as we found out from our quick crash course on how to speak southern from the cashiers. Anyway, Ben found himself some lovely cowboy boots from there and the first part of his fancy dress costume was complete. With that all done, we ploughed on through to Nashville and to our hostel. The hostel itself was absolutely brilliant, more like staying in a fancy hotel but with great prices! Also it was on North 1st Avenue, slap bang in downtown Nashville and only a few blocks away from the happening live music scene that it’s so well known for. Right next door was a bar serving food so we got ourselves some stocked sandwiches and a Blue Moon each before heading back to the hostel to chill out. It was while we were there we met Mar and Rebecca from Norway and Denmark and founded the European club. Rebecca had got herself a new phone after putting the old one through the wash so we hung around with them for a while using my laptop to transfer some songs for her to listen to on the long greyhound bus journeys! They were both guitarists so they had a bit of jam to finish off the evening.

Mar and Rebecca playing in the hostel
We slept fairly well that night and with the blinds down and enjoyed a naughty lie in once more. Once we’d got up and had nice hot showers we were fast approaching midday so we made up some peanut butter and jelly sandwiches (genuinely pretty good!) and got ready to head out and do a touristy thing for once: Nashville Country Music Hall of Fame & Museum. There were loads of exhibits there from stars past and present, ranging from Elvis to Taylor Swift and everything in between. Personally, I loved seeing the old guitars belonging to singer-songwriters of days gone by, many looked worn and well loved and you could tell that they had stories to tell. Seeing the Pontiac Trans-Am from Smokey and the Bandit II was an unexpected bonus for both too! It was expensive to get in to so we made the most of it and spent a good couple of hours milling round the exhibits and reading up on some interesting stories about the history of country & western. We were quite tired after this, so we headed over to the civic buildings and park to relax and took an elevator up to a viewing gallery so we could take in some of the views of the city.

After that, it was back to the hostel to get ourselves ready to go out to some live music bars that the city is famed for, after all it is the capital of country music! First things first though – get some grub! A place called Demos’ showed up on Google and looked cheap ‘n’ good so got ourselves some steaks and filled up! Next, we wandered up and down Broadway as Mar had suggested, just listening for something that took our fancy. A lot of the bars were very full and we didn’t quite fancy sweating it out with everyone else so eventually we found a fairly empty bar with a band and settled in for a nice beer. The band were actually great to watch because every few songs they changed their line up (and style of music). Starting out with a female lead singer, then moving on to a guy and eventually swapping out their guitarist for one of the barmen who also sang, we were treated to covers of everything from Miranda Lambert to The Police and AC/DC – all with the famous country twang. The beers were expensive though, and we were tired so we went and got a few beers from a corner shop and sat in the amazing common room in the hostel and got down to some hard relaxing before heading to bed.

I slept in (again) the next morning while Ben browsed the internet and by the time we’d showered and packed up, it was about check out time. We loaded up the Chevy and got our deposits back and then hit the road in a southerly direction. Whilst on the Interstate we spotted signs for Lynchburg, a place we had intending on visiting the whole time but had entirely forgotten about. Some of our friends may recognise the name of this place more than others but it is the home of a dear friend of myself and Ben and we have spent many a good evening in the company of this fine fellow, who is of course, Jasper ‘Jack’ Daniel. Anyway, we rocked up and made our way into the visitors centre, fully expecting to pay an arm and a leg for a tour of their facilities. In fact we were pleasantly surprised to find it was actually free and a further bonus came about when we found ourselves accidently on the tasting tour which normally would have set us back around $12 or so. We kept quiet anyway and had a good tour round the place, taking in some of the history of Jack Daniel himself as well as the production side of the whiskey. It’s great to know that despite the huge volumes they make and sell, it’s still made in the oak barrels in the traditional way and I’m sure you’ll agree it’s worth it! As a bonus we got to have a little tipple in a dry town - in case you're wondering they supposedly get round it by selling the glass and giving away the whiskey for free. Or something.

We awoke the next day in a campsite in the Tims Ford State Park. We’d turned up past closing time the night before so went to pay the next morning and had a nasty shock – it was over twice the price of most other sites we’d stayed at before! We kept a stiff upper lip though, paid the park ranger and were on our way after a bit of tweaking to the passenger’s door latch – for some reason it refused to properly close that morning and had been progressively getting worse up until then. It was out with the WD-40, a copious amount was applied and the mechanism worked back and forwards until it became a little freer – result – it worked reasonably well again and didn’t require a doubled armed slam to close anymore! That day had not much to report at all, we went to a mall and Ben exchanged some money for some denim products and then we shacked up in a rest area on the interstate once more. We can honestly promise the next update will have some excitement and unexpected events for our dearest readers! Speaking of which, our blog is nearly up to 1000 page views already, thanks for readin’ n’ sharin’ everyone, lots of love!

Chris =)