Monday, March 26, 2007

What Happens in Nashville, Stays in Nashville: March 26-31

Occasionally I get a wild one and decide to spontaneously go on a road trip either alone or with some of my friends.  Well, this time someone else mentioned the trip and I decided at the last minute to go.  I gotta tell you- I LOVE road trips.  There’s something bonding about it, whether it be with friends or romantical partner.  Tunes, munchies and good company is all I need and I could drive forever! 
   Anyway, Shannon and I made the decision to leave Minnesota around 5p on Monday, and by 2:30 I had enough of work and took off for home to finish packing.  Shannon arrived at the house around 5p and we drove into town for a bite before heading out to Fort Dodge, Iowa to pick up Tracy and Connie.  3 ½ hours later we arrive at Tracy’s tired as hell.  After spending an hour or so catching up we decided to catch some Z’s since we had to get up at 7am to hit the road.  I don’t think any of us got sleep.  Tracy and Connie were too excited, Shannon just couldn’t sleep, and I was cold and too exhausted to even try.  Shannon and I are extremely light sleepers anyway.

   The drive to Nashville was, well boring.  I fell asleep to my MP3 player until we were well into Illinois.  We were fortunate enough to get close to St. Louis, Mo to see the Arch.  There was a mild fog around it, and it seemed a little creepy lurking there in the distance.  It seemed like Illinois continued forever!  It’s about as interesting to drive through as Iowa.  We stopped for bit in Illinois and had lunch with Tracy’s dad who was a hoot, before continuing. 
   We rolled into Nashville around 8p-8:30p on Tuesday evening and immediately headed to our room on Music Row.  We dropped off our stuff, stretched and went out looking for some grub.  The weather was awesome considering the late hour.  We’d left 78 degree weather in Minnesota and it was about 70 in Nashville.  I was surprised.  We ran around for the better part of an hour before settling on Chili’s, then settled into our room to eat and get some sleep.
    We woke up around the crack of God’s ass to rain.  The pouring, lightening, thunder, raining cats and squirrels kind of rain.  SUCK.  A few moments of deliberation decided that we should hit the Sunset Grill for lunch and refuge from the rain.  We ate, sampled some dessert (god the chocolate bombe and cocoanut whatever was fab-u-lous!) and decided to take some shots in the bathroom… don’t ask for I can’t claim to understand it either.  We thought it would be funny…Guess you had to be there.

    For the most part the rain had subsided by the time we were finished so we drove over to the new Opry and visited this hole-in-the-wall souvenir shop / wax museum.  We briefly looked around, ventured across the street to Sun Records, saw the Ernest Tubb tour bus and other miscellany items.  It was starting to get late so we headed back to the hotel to shower and dress for the Scrap Metal show at Cannery Row.  Connie had won 2 tickets and after “rock-paper-scissoring” for the extra ticket, it was determined that Shannon and I were going to have to arrive early if we wanted tickets at all. Connie had made us all black, Scrap Metal shirts to wear to the show and we decided to “vamp it up” with tons of Aqua Net and heavy black eyeliner.     Shyly holding Connie’s hand, I noticed everyone (or at lest it seemed like it was everyone) staring at us as we walked up to get in line.  I felt like we were all sorority girls, wearing matching izod sweaters going to a goth party.  Two photographers approached us and asked if they could take our pictures to put up on the Tin Pan South web etc.  We were asked several times about the shirts and then Tracy mentioned that we’d traveled from the midwest she was rewarded a shirt by the local radio station that was sponsoring the event. In line I met a psyche nurse who worked over at the Vanderbilt who seemed a bit put off by our ahem-verve.  She claimed to be a toughy so I figured with Connie on my left and the nurse to my right, I’d was fully protected and in good company. Once inside, Connie, Shannon and Tracy got up front while the nurse and I ordered a couple of drinks.  I was on my third drink before the band came out, but it was worth the wait.  They were on fire! 

   Gun was really hamming it up with the leaning against the post, staring at me and other girls until we blushed, and jumping around on stage.  He looked like the Cheshire cat up there.  Kelly was great and I had anticipated he’d sing “Sing Me Away” for it’s one of my favorite Night Ranger songs.  The energy was phenomenal!  I liked all the surprise guests and was even surprised by a few.  Not realizing they had written this song or that and I’m usually up on those things.  I thought the female “singers” they brought up during Sweet Home Alabama was somewhat lame.  I expected them to sing, not put on a “let’s see who can get the most attention” show.  Other than that, it was up there next to Fleetwood Mac-who can beat the Mac? 

  We waited around a bit after the show hoping we’d get to say “hey” to them.  Matthew came up, said hi, and hugged the girls.  I just gave him the “smile and nod” for I was at the bar paying my embarrassingly, enormous liquor tab. (I had a total of 6 cocktails!!!) Connie, Tracy, and Shannon went up to have our shirts signed by Mark and Kelly, while I stayed behind and was talking to a guy who was a guest of Gunnar’s.  He mentioned that he wanted to buy my Scrap Metal shirt, which I jokingly told him he could have for $20.00 vanilla scented body sweat included but if Mark and Kelly signed it, the price would increase to $40.00.  What can I say I’m not in Marketing for nothing!!!  We hung out for a bit longer to see if Gunnar would make an appearance but was booted by security.  We eventually made it back to the hotel around 2 am.
   The next morning we rolled out of bed at a respectable 7:30am, got dressed and hit the street to see what sort of trouble we could find.  We started with lunch and bar pix at Coyote Ugly, then to Sun Records, Billy Joe’s for some fresh ink (the 4th for me and 2nd for Connie), the Hard Rock where we watched the Jacob Owen band (they were great!), then to the sacred Ryman Auditorium where we attempted and were disappointed to be declined access.  Apparently, they were setting up for a show.  I wanted to catch a glimpse backstage and have an opportunity to absorb the energy and history of all the artists that I admire who have played there.  Johnny Cash and June Carter met back stage, the Johnny Cash show debuted at the Ryman, Booker T. Washington lectured there, Sousa, and his band played here, Elvis Presley, Patsy Cline, Loretta Lynn all performed, and Coal Miner’s Daughter was filmed there as well.  It was as close to a religious experience as I’m ever gonna get.  Therefore, it was sort of a disappointment that we didn’t get the opportunity to see it all, perhaps another day. 

  Checking out the performers listed for Tin Pan we decided to go see Richie Sambora at 12th & Porter.  We waited for about 90 mins before we heard they weren’t letting any more people in for they had stretched themselves beyond capacity.  We waited for an additional 15 mins before deciding to spend our last night whooping it up at what has become our favorite place-The Sunset Grill.  We had cocktails (well, I had cocktails), ate yummy food (The Truffled Angus Burger was to die for.  It was like eating silk!!) toasted it up and I can’t tell you what we talked about or why it was so damn funny, but we thought we were going to be kicked out and by the time we got back to our room our sides were aching.

 On our last day we slowly woke at 6am, packed up our loot and grabbed some much needed coffee at Starbucks before heading out of town around 7am.  Shannon and I didn’t reach Minnesota until well after midnight on Saturday morning.  We ran into bit of a cold front at the northern tip of Iowa which consisted of rain and dangerously thick fog which slowed us down a bit.  I hit the sheets in my own bed, with a contented fuffer on each side around 2am.    

There were few minor moments of retardedness (temporarily losing a wallet), moments of repulsion (getting sick watching someone getting tattooed), moments of panic (getting pulled over by the police), and hysterics (pooping cows, exposed body parts and the photo) that are mixed in.  It's short trips like this that make me appreciate my life (or lack there of) and how lucky we all are not be tied down in relationships etc. so that we can spontaneously get together and do things like this. So thank you ladies for taking this trip with me.  I had a hysterical time, we will definitely need to do this again!   And also? I am totally in love with Nashville.  Perhaps I will consider moving there someday. 

There will be more pictures of the trip on flickr tomorrow and check out what the ladies had to say about their experience in Nashville.
Give them some love!!!!
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