Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Road trip, part 3 "Great BBQ, a Rocket, and the Nastiest Bathroom ever!"

It is amazing what some sleep and a free breakfast can do for a travel-weary soul. Bright-eyed and refreshed, we were ready to explore "Music City."
I'm no country music fan, but that didn't keep Nashville from being a worthwhile stop. On a quest for cheap cigarettes, we stumbled on a fantastic vintage shop run by a hippie with a thick southern drawl.
He was awesome. He asked if I thought he had a heavy accent. I pretended I couldn't understand him. Then I bought a 1930's beret.

Stomachs rumbling, it was time to find some food. Southern food. Damn good BBQ to be exact.
We ditched the car back at the hotel (after a couple wrong turns ... but really, I look at that as more sight-seeing) and walked along this beautiful pedestrian bridge over the Cumberland River. This took us straight into downtown Nashville ... which led us to Jack's BBQ. It looked like a hole in the wall, but served up the BEST BBQ pulled pork sandwich I've ever had. By the time we were done eating they had a dinner line out the door. I smugly walked by the waiting cowboys, smacking my lips and rubbing my full tummy. Suckers.

We checked out cowboy boot shops ... where I must have been hypnotized by the bolo ties sashaying in the wind. I suddenly had the urge to buy a hat, boots and poncho and make an entrance like Bill Murray in 'Ground Hog Day'.
Fortunately the price tags snapped me out of it, and, in any case, we had to get back to the hotel to try out the FAMOUS GUITAR SHAPED POOL!
This was fun, except it was filled with children and mysteriously salty water. I say "mysteriously" because I didn't want to accept the obvious.
Not to mention I didn't have more then a minute to ponder the salination issue before I was blinded by some serious headlights ... or flying saucers ...
No ... it was a busty girl swimming in a white t-shirt. I think she took a wrong turn on her way to Cancun. I'm no prude, but really, is that how 5 yr old boys and girls should learn about puberty? From a wet t-shirt contestant in a piss and sweat-saturated guitar shaped pool?
None-the-less, the musical swimming excursion was a novelty, as was being in a pool in March (where I believe it was around 40° F back home - HA!).

In the morning we headed out for the next stop: Birmingham, Alabama. It felt good to be back on the road ... especially since New Orleans was a mere 8 hours away.
Alabama is beautiful. Flowers and green everywhere ... rolling hills ... and a big ol' rocket greets you at the first rest stop after the state line. A truly impressive phallic structure ... It must have spotted Miss Cancun from the night before. We spent some time at the Korean War monument so we could say we took in some history. Then we continued on to Birmingham in search of fried food, grits and gravy. Which we found and it was deliscious.

From Alabama we ventured into Mississippi. Another dead zone. Alabama had felt welcoming and warm. Mississippi was a wee bit terrifying. There was a pick-up truck sporting a bumper sticker that read "Does my American flag offend you, call 1-800-LEAVE-USA" ... that was a little bit awesome. I slowed the car down so Mohawk could snap a pic ... then sped off as the driver aimed his shotgun.
Really needing a bathroom, and still a couple hours a way, we made a stop in Lumberton. Don't ever do this. There isn't a whole lot there, 'cept for the nastiest restroom I've ever seen. The walls were corroding. The water was brown. The floor was blanketed with some sort of insect ... I believe the scientific name is grossious runneth foryourlifeth, and only most of them were dead.

Finally we got on a bridge that takes you into New Orleans. It just might be the longest in the world. Beside the one we were on, you can see the bridge that was toppeled by Hurricane Katrina. There is still so much damage down there, it served as a sobering reminder that although we were on this fun adventure to find Chuckles, we were traveling in an area still reeling from some serious tragedy.

With the help of my sometimes reliable GPS, I navigated through a series of one way streets and a sketchy neighborhood until ... there it was, our hotel. In New Orleans. After about 28 hours on the road and two whole days, total, since leaving Poughkeepsie, we had reached our desination.

So, just one question remained .... where was Chuckles?


Anonymous said...

Yay! Glad you made it. My friend and I did a road trip to Murfreesboro, TN for the Bonnaroo Music Fest. We had all intentions to venture further to New Orleans (pre-Katrina) since we were SO close, but we ran out of money and had to head home. A few months later Hurricane Katrina hit and we've regretted not taking the plunge ever since.

Sten said...

You know, I was supposed to be in New Orleans the weekend Katrina hit. Obviously the flight was canceled and devastation ensued ... I've always been bummed to have been so close to seeing it how it was.
Still a great tourist spot though, and it was awesome seeing so many tourists down there supporting the city.

Toughguy said...

Murfreesboro was were the tornado hit after we got to Nashville. We slept through it.

Sten said...

It was hitting while we were on the road, luv. But some of us still slept through it :)

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