Thursday, June 2, 2011

Day 4: Knoxville to Nashville

 Nashville, Tennessee, home of CMT and nicknamed “music city”, was our next stop. A couple hours of morning driving put us into Nashville around noon. The lackluster hotel breakfast left us hungry and ready to dive into some Tennessee barbeque. Walking out onto main street we were bombarded with men in Hawaiian shirts, women in coconut bras, and a giant street festival with palm trees and margarita stands. Apparently Jimmy Buffet was playing live that night and there was a day long party in the street in preparation. We dodged hordes of parrot heads and found our way to Broadway Brewing and Mojo Grille. It had open air seating so we could still hear the band in the street. Little did we know this would be the first of 57 cover bands we would hear in the next 48 hours.
We sat down and ordered beers, deeming this midday imbibing acceptable by the fact that there were people my parents age walking around with tall boys. For lunch we both went for Southern options. I had a cup of gumbo made with chicken and andouille sausage, and a salad topped with bacon and jalapeños. The gumbo was spicy and thick, I loved the slices of sausage that gave it some serious kick. Joey ordered the house special pork sandwich. It came smothered in cheese, topped with bacon, on a thick brioche bun. The panama sauce on the side was sweet and added perfect balance to the pork. What is panama sauce? I have no idea. The extras were nice but the sandwich really held up because the pork itself was so tender and flavorful
When is a salad not a salad? When it's covered in bacon and cheese.

After lunch we decided to get more involved with the street festival but we didn’t stay long because I had my first encounter with a cicada and I nearly passed out. I did not know that there were bugs on this earth that were that large, then one was suddenly on MY FACE. They were everywhere, they moved in packs, and they were relentless.
The Country Music Museum and Hall of Fame looked like it would make good cover from the flying monsters. It turned out to be pretty solid entertainment as well. Georgette Jones, daughter of famed country star Tammy Wynette, was playing with her band in the auditorium. She played a tribute to her mother for a large audience and several cameramen. I may have only heard of this women five minutes earlier, but I enjoyed the performance nonetheless. Even for someone who knows little about country music (I once went to a Taylor Swift concert, does that count?) the museum was engaging and fun. It was definitely a commitment at 25 dollars, but I was completely glad that I went. The man at the tourist info center said that this was the best use of money and time in Nashville, (besides tall boys of Land Shark at the street festival, of course,) and I was glad we took his word for it. 
Georgette Jones and her band
"Audrey" cowboy boots worn by Hank Williams wife, Audrey Williams. Where do I get mine?
Whenever I’ve been traveling, there have always been a few things that didn’t quite turn out right. For us, there was the Grand Ole Opry. We drove out there because we thought we would see a beautiful old building and be enchanted by stories of its history. Instead we were led by my GPS, Susan, to a mall complex in the middle of a sad, tacky, tourist explosion. It was a disappointment, it was 100 degrees, there were 1000 cicadas, and we were pissed. Joey drowned his sorrows in a bag of kettle corn. 
Later that night we were not disappointed by our venture to the Wildhorse Saloon, a bar known for its live music and dancing. We arrived and drank a pint to prepare ourselves for the line dancing. While I am comfortable with the swing, some pop and lock, and even some good ol’ bump and grind, line dancing is horse of a different color. I was in Nashville and I was not going to pass up this opportunity. By the end of the lesson, Joey and I had tamed the beast, and we were grape-vining, lasso-ing, and stomp-clapping with the best of them. 
Line dancing at Wildhorse
We left the bar sweaty and headed elsewhere to find refreshment. On our way we passed all kinds of people having all kinds of fun. After strolling around Broadway and 2nd Streets for a while, people watching and enjoying the pleasant night temperature, we landed at Second Fiddle where a country-ish cover band kept us dancing and happy fir the rest of the night. 

Total mile count: 1,315


  1. I've heard such good things about Nashville and you've made me really want to check it out!

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