A Nashville to Knoxville road trip doesn’t usually take 6 days and being on the road for 1000 miles, but I took a more unusual route. Taking in Memphis, Holiday World and 5 new states on the way to the Sunsphere. Here’s my diary from the trip, starting off with my first two days taking in Nashville with some of my pictures from the trip.
20th July 2016
Arrived at Heathrow more than 3 hours before I was due to fly. As always my taxi driver was silent, which is exactly how people should be before I’ve had my morning coffee. I checked in and some rude morons queue-jumped me, which I sarcastically thanked them for. Played a little bit of Pokemon Go. I’ll have a big breakfast as waking up early always makes me starving.
My flight was great! The guy next to me moved seats so I got a bulkhead seat with a window and the flight landed early so I had plenty of time to get to my connecting flight. There was a fancy immigration system at Boston Logan that is new since I last came to America last year, so I got through security really fast. The airport didn’t have the simcard I wanted, unfortunately. Not sure why US airport don’t have things like that for tourists to buy, they could make a killing. I ate a great crab cake sandwich at Legal Seafoods so managed to get some seafood in Boston. The JetBlue flight was full but completely on time! So that has hopefully ended my run of bad luck with internal flights in the US.
I got to the rental place and could pick the colour of my car which was a great surprise. Last time I hired a car, they didn’t even have one in the category I’d booked so I’ve learnt to expect the worst. No queues either, so I was well ahead of schedule. The car has a Bluetooth speaker and everything. Super fancy.
Driving in Nashville is horrible! The best word to describe it is: hectic. And driving on such little sleep after a long flight didn’t help, but I got to my destination fine so all’s well that ends well.
The house I’m in is kind of weird. It’s nice, but the description wasn’t wrong when it mentioned it is next to the highway. I didn’t notice any noise last night as I was so tired, I hope that keeps up. I got to the Airbnb and two guys turned up with a u-haul van. They went out at some point and then left their van there and still weren’t back when I left the next day at 9am??? Party on.
I headed off to Hattie B’s apprehensively as I was really scared of the queue. It’s a hot chicken place and I’d read about hour and a half queues. I tried to order online but no luck without a US credit card. I turned up and the parking lot was full. Not looking good. Waited around for a space for a while but when I walked in I was immediately served! I just waited for the order and ended up drinking about 21 diet cokes, must have been thirsty. My order only took about 15 minutes and then I drove back to my place.
The food was great! I got far too much. Half bird was (unsurprisingly) too much but I wanted to try the dark and white meat. In this case the dark meat was way better. You could choose your spice level and I went for hot which was easily bareable. About right for me. I could have tried the one above and survived, I think. It was late enough to get back into a decent sleep schedule so I went to bed and slept very, very, very well.
Went to bed early so got A LOT OF SLEEP. Which I needed. Woke up a few times but nodded straight back off again. Ended up being ready just before 9am and headed straight for AT&T. I’ve noticed people are friendly in a guarded way in Nashville. Apprehensive before being welcoming, which I liked.
The guy in AT&T was interesting and talked about a bunch of things: a university town I should check out, a book series he’d written about angels and that his family were originally from Lancashire. Americans always enjoy telling you where they’re from in more detail than us Brits.
Next up was the Johnny Cash museum which was definitely worth my time but bloody tiny. They’re making a racket here out of museums. I only spent about an hour there but everything I saw was worthy of display.
Then I headed over to Frothy Monkey. It was getting really hot. Thank David Bowie for air conditioning. I got a decent coffee and some amazing bacon. It was post-hipster heaven, however I didn’t bump into Jake Gyllenhaal, so I guess it wasn’t actually heaven. I probably should have gotten some fancy coffee with syrups and flavourings and heaps of foam and cream but I got my usual Americano, black, no sugar. As it was a hot day I ordered an iced one. When it comes to hot weather give me America’s air-conditioned heat over England’s sunny days where there’s no escape.
Next up I toured the Ryman Auditorium. Today I did a real non-stop, glut of tourism within Nashville. I’ve never spent so much on museums in one day. Here I took the guided backstage tour and then the self-guided. It was nice to see the dressing rooms and take a photo of the stage from a different angle, however the tour guide felt a little like he’d done this x times a day and was bored with it. Some of the anecdotes were good though and in retrospect it would have felt incomplete just to do the self-guided tour.
I got my photo taken on the stage which is a great souvenir, but incredibly expensive for what it is. I’m having a very “fuck it” day, which is a vacation attitude that usually runs rampant towards the beginning of a trip. I liked the idea of so many important people stepping on that stage too so I let myself indulge in buying the photo. There was even some Ryan Adams stuff, which I wasn’t expecting which means he played there too. Dream concert: Ryan Adams at the Ryman Auditorium, for future reference.
Next I had some lunch at a place called The Southern. Which was pretty average, but I can say I got some truly southern food, eh?
Then I visited the Country Music Hall of Fame which was cool, but not essential. I heard a lot of names I’d never heard of before and there were some clips of some pretty funny (to me) songs. You know, ones that were so stereotypical you can’t imagine they were actually written. I’m not sure Americans realise how much Country doesn’t translate internationally, their Pop singers are generally known here but the Country artists don’t travel so well.
After the Country Music Hall of Fame I grabbed some more coffee and made my way to the pedestrian bridge. I got a great view of the city and caught a bunch of Pokemon. Stupid game.
Now I’m here in a bar drinking moonshine cocktails and about to go home. I’ve been out for over 12 hours and hopefully tomorrow I’ll get to Holiday World in one piece (oh my gosh driving in Nashville sucks).