LA/XC-3 DAYS TWENTY-THREE, TWENTY-FOUR, TWENTY-FIVE, AND TWENTY-SIX: NASHVILLE, ATLANTA, AND CHAPEL HILL
Day Twenty-three mileage: 462
Day Twenty-four mileage: 37 (in and around Nashville)
Day Twenty-five mileage: 252
Day Twenty-six mileage: 393
Total LA/XC-3 mileage: 7,414.4
Road music: Sirius cycle; Ashley Monroe (Like A Rose); Kip Moore (Up All Night); Keith Urban (Love, Pain & The Whole Crazy Thing); Nashville Cast (The Music of Nashville Original Soundtrack Volumes 1 & 2); NFL Sunday Drive
Weather leaving Hope, Arkansas Friday morning: 80 degrees and sunny
Weather arriving Chapel Hill Monday evening: 65 degrees and perfect
Four-day state tally: 4 (Arkansas, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina)
Gas money to date: $1,438.48
Place names of the day: Bucksnort (TN); Tugaloo River (border between Georgia and South Carolina); Fair Play (South Carolina); Thicketty Creek (SC)
Picture this: We’re in Nashville, so I’m automatically in a good mood. But we’re closed out of the Saturday night Bluebird Cafe performance — which might be getting just a lit-tle too popular via its Nashville TV series exposure, if you know what I mean — so I’m a little bummed. But Shannon, the concierge at the Sheraton Nashville Downtown, has booked us a table at The Listening Room, which is supposed to be like Bluebird before Bluebird starting getting too big for its britches, and we’re heading over there following drinks at the rooftop bar of Rock Bottom, so I’m psyched. When we arrive at the corner of Second Avenue and Demonbreun, though, we see the venue is cordoned off: For the weekend, The Listening Room has become part
of the huge Southern Ground Music Festival — and we don’t have a pass. Trouble. I talk my way past not one, but two gatekeepers, by explaining we really have reservations, yada yada yada (Can you just see that happening in New York?), so I’m relieved. Inside, though, the intimate little spot for singer-songwriters we were promised has turned into a riotous music hall, so I’m a little disappointed. We manage to find some good standing room with a clear view of the stage, and the first two performers are pretty damn good, so I’m happy again. And then we hear a familiar voice singing a familiar song, “Hey Ho”: It’s Lennon Stella, young star of Nashville (she plays the older daughter of Rayna James)!!! I’m not too mature and
sophisticated to rush the stage with the other groupies when she’s done, and fortunately she’s not big-time enough yet not to give me a photo op-with-hug. This all went a little ways toward easing my disappointment when I found out Greg’s friend Ashley, along with her Nashville friend Dana, had hung out with Kip Moore (“Somethin’ ‘Bout a Truck,” #1 song on my Next 100) the night before, and didn’t even call me! She said she thought it was too late. Come on, Ash!
You’re talking to the Beagle Man, who never sleeps! (Carol, Greg and Kelly, and Ashley had flown down from NY to join the Beagle Man Tour for a Nashville weekend.)
Other Nashville highlights: Lunch at Loveless Cafe (I see that Ricky already mentioned I left bowl #7 there in his most recent Roof Rack Report ); ribs and music at Rippy’s, and rollicking tunes all up and down Honky Tonk Row, highlighted by a kick-ass performance by Dusty Hundley and his band at Legends Corner. (They played not only “Somethin’ ‘Bout a Truck, but also “Sweet Home Alabama,” my all-time #1!) Only regret: Never made it to the Pedal Tavern (yeah, I’m sure you
can figure that one out).
Greg and Kelly stayed in N-ville Sunday because, by amazing coincidence, the J-E-T-S happened to be playing the Titans right across the river at LP Field. But Carol and I had a date with our friends the McKays in Atlanta to go to the Falcons game vs. the Patriots on Sunday night. (Glad I didn’t stay in Nashville to see the Jets godawful performance in 38-13 blowout loss to Tennessee.) The Falcons lost a 30-23 heartbreaker to the Pats, but we had a great visit, as always (de-lish pre-game dinner at Chick-a-Biddy) and I tried to buck up the spirits of all the Falcons fans by reminding them the Jets would be in town next week. Carol actually joined me for the driving leg from Music City to ATL — the first time she ever joined the Beagle Man Tour on the road — and was totally carsick by the time we reached ATL. She said if that’s the way she felt after 252 miles, I probably shouldn’t count on her for LA/XC-4 next year.
Carol flew home from Atlanta early Monday morning, and the Rickster and I got back to our normal road warrior routine, driving 393 miles to our next stop — Chapel Hill — for a visit with Carol’s North Carolina cousins Lucy and Spencer. Went out for a fun evening at Four Corners on Franklin Street (very much enjoyed their “Big Ass Beer” special) with Cousin Marcy, her friend Jonathan, and her daughter Julia, and Ricky stayed back with his new friend Bingo. (Whom he wrote about,
quite resentfully, I might add, in a Roof Rack Report last May.)
RANDOM ROAD NOTES:
• It happened again at the Sheraton: I was looking out the window at the bright lights of downtown Atlanta. But it was actually Nashville
• Why does everyone in Tennessee just camp out in the left lane and stubbornly not let you pass? Is this the Volunteer state or the Bleeping-Idiot-Driver state?
And now, on the most beautiful first day of October ever, it’s off to Alexandria, Virginia — where Ricky will get to see his great old friend Toby the Bichon — for the final stop of the 2013 Beagle Man Tour . . .