I'm going back down South now
Trip Start Jun 06, 2011
50Trip End May 22, 2012
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Where I stayed
Motel with pool
What I did
Swam, bought vegetables
KK: Needed to get to Nashville. We enquired about getting the bus but it was cheaper to hire a car. So we got a KIA from Budget which doesn't sound very cool but it was great. (see picture) – The air con was freezing, we could plug our MP3 players into the stereo. It was virtually new, handled brilliantly and had cruise control. Before we knew it we were flashing along a Tennessee freeway with the music turned up. Now this is travelling.
LK: In contrast, an earlier phone call to Amtrak resulted in me being told to phone back up once our journeys have finished "because you might have more problems." Now that’s not travelling.
KK: We were glad we hadn’t got the bus when we got to Nashville because the hotel prices were silly, there was a country music festival the week previous and rooms were still at a premium
LK: And we stopped moving on our own accord, nice to have the choice.
Tuesday 14 June
LK: A trip to Lynchburg (population 361), home of Jack Daniels, and a visit to one of Tennessee’s State Parks were planned for today. It went well, only got lost a little bit coming away from the Timms Ford State Park.
KK: We had no actual Jack Daniels in Lynchburg because it is a “dry state” but we did see some good ol’ boys in dungarees shootin’ the breeze with the local sheriff. One of them had a straw hat. Nearly all the shops sold JD paraphernalia and little else – lord knows where you go to get a loaf of bread or a bottle of washing up liquid.
LK: Our local wildlife experiences consisted of a few mayflies and a splendid frog (see pic - sorry to those of you who are frog phobic). No bear encounters as yet.
KK: Had a swim in the pool then went out to cruise the highlights in our KIA. The famous Grand Ole Opry is ten miles out of Nashville on a ghastly country and western retail park. Willie Nelson has got a place there too and right next door is Cooters named after the dim-wit mechanic in Dukes of Hazard. Both have large cartoon likenesses on the front.
LK: Despite all this horror, can’t help thinking that we’ve got the better deal hanging out in Kings of Leon’s home town than their impending visit to sunderland this week. Don’t stay any longer than you have to, lads.
KK: Had a cruise down Broadway then up past the Exit/In an alternative venue with band names of acts who have played there on the wall outside. The Clash, The Chilli Peppers, Rollins, Johnny Cash, John Lee Hooker, Tom Waits, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club but tonight, nothing. Cruised back up to the hotel.
Wednesday 15th June – Coffee and Carrots
KK: Had four hours to do 217 miles back to Memphis to drop the car off on time. Ran straight into ominous looking traffic.
LK: But it was no match for Kriss’ driving skills and we’d dropped the car off with a half hour to spare. One of the staff at Budget “was pretty sure” there were regular buses into town so we waited and one duly arrived. Very entertaining journey, featuring a rowdy wheelchair user and stroppy bus driver. We drove past a whole row of bail bond stores – I understand all the words separately...oh, they have shops for that?
KK: Got a 50 cent tram up to Beale St and sat in the shade by the Elvis statue. Found a new secret weapon in the ongoing struggle against pan-handlers. “Can you spare a quarter, I’m hungry?” – “no, but we’ve got some carrots” – “I don’t want carrots, I don’t like carrots” – not that bloody hungry then are you?
LK: Ten minutes of lovely peace later, our next specimen arrived, an itinerant homeless man in his thirties who claimed to walk most places in his travels across many states, but then he also claimed that his dad and brother both reckoned they were George Bush and his mum and dad were Elvis Presley – “I know he’s dead,” said our new chum, trying to prove that he might not be eligible for the social security cheque he gets for mental incapacity. Would have felt more sorry for him if he hadn’t been such a horrible racist; I think this means I can’t award him Best Accent of the Trip so far? (Oklahoma). We fled.
KK: Abused Starbucks free wi-fi and air-con for 5 hours before walking back out into the intense heat and up to the station. Yes, the train was late.