The road trip. Day one: Nashville
Long story short, I needed to move my black Volkswagen GTI, Ralph, from Raleigh, North Carolina to the town of Issaquah, Washington, just outside of Seattle. I could've shipped it, but instead decided to enlist my girlfriend, Lia, to help me tick an item off my bucket list and drive the roughly 4,000 miles, almost-coast to almost-coast. We planned our route based on projected sanity levels at various stages of the trip, and decided the predicted eight hour drive from Raleigh to Nashville was a sensible way to begin our first day.
Ten hours, one Klan kountry gas stop, and a few burst blood vessels in my eye from concentrating on the road so hard later, we arrived in Nashville.
Despite being a broken man at this point, Lia insisted we make the most of our time, and so while I tried to find my human form in the bottom of the shower, she unleashed her Yelp mastery to find us some grub. We plumped on ramen - because when in Nashville, eat asian food.
Following our server's recommendation, we decided to truly try and finish ourselves off on the first of the 10 days of driving ahead of us by seeking out some band playing something, somewhere in Nashville. It would've been rude not to.
East Nashville had a similarly grungy vibe to South Austin, which we'd visited earlier in the year. It was just a more manageable size. Hip, expensive shops lined the main drag towards downtown, and you couldn't get far without running into a local brewery, coffeeshop, or store selling those Carry On Cocktail kits (the red flag of a trendy boutique country-wide, we've determined).
Confident we'd indeed listened to some live music and not entirely wasted our evening in Honky Tonk Town, we head back to our temporary accommodation. Our Lyft driver told us she was dying to visit Boston, as she has "some serious Irish heritage." Giving her the benefit of the doubt while I violently rolled my eyes, Lia asked if she wanted to check out the Freedom Trail, or some of Boston's other magnificent history? Nope. "I want to check out the bars!"
The next morning we breakfasted at Sky Blue Cafe where I tried and loved my first milky oolong tea, before making the extremely hot walk to Broadway: Nashville's Times Square, with more cowboy boots.
Broadway was hot, tacky, and far too early in the day for the amount of live country music flowing out of Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville.
The Grand Ole Opry (or, the Church of Country Music) was expensive so we didn't do it, and the Parthenon was miles away. So we turned around to find some lunch in our preferred part of town, East Nashville.
Conscious of making good time, we departed mid-afternoon to St. Louis. I only accidentally ran one stop sign on our way out of town. All things considered, a good start.