While driving through Arkansas, we lost a tire. I heard the pop and then started feeling the pull. I got to the side of the road, rather put out by our luck. Our car was loaded to the hilt with all the stuff we’ve been traveling with since last December, and to get to the spare I would have to take all of it out. And to my chagrin, the spare was not full sized. That meant we had to find a tire store ASAP.
This loss of time meant I didn’t have time to stop in Little Rock to take some pictures. After we got a new tire, we pushed on ahead, aiming for Nashville. By happy coincidence, Laura’s sister Jurate was going to be in Nashville that night too. She was driving from Florida to Chicago, and when we found this out, we coordinated to stay in the same hotel so that we could see her.
We all arrived fairly late, so it was a short visit to be sure, but the girls were thrilled to see their aunt, and Jurate agreed to let them sleep in her room. This left Laura and I free to go out that evening, something we seldom get to do.
So down to the strip we went. We aren’t all that into country music, but we like to check out different scenes, even if just as tourists, so to speak. We didn’t even leave the hotel until after eleven, but downtown was still hopping, with lots of people walking about under the glow of the neon signs.
Laura and I walked the strip up and back, just looking. Eventually we picked a place to go in and listen to the music, primarily on the merit that the band had a fiddle player and didn’t seem to be playing so loudly that we wouldn’t even be able to talk. A bit out of our element, we still enjoyed ourselves, finding the music to be really good. At one point the lead singer took requests, and I asked for Baton Rouge, knowing it’s got a nice fiddle part. They played it, and it took me back to high school days, when my sister Laurie had the Garth Brooks Greatest Hits CD.
We didn’t stay too long, and though we had hoped to find another place to check out, we started getting tired and eventually just went back to the car to go home. Typical date night for parents. Still, it was great to get out, and I liked seeing the Nashville scene. I’d only been into the city once before, twelve years back, when Laurie flew me out to Nashville to see a Howie Day and Nickel Creek concert for my birthday. Nashville is definitely a great town for music. Just about every bar had live music, and the musicians were all extremely talented. I’m sure Nashville is a lot like LA, in that people wanting to break into the business come from all over to live there. It’s a hard game for the unknown artist trying to make it big, but it sure makes for great local music!
The next day we said goodbye to Jurate and got back on the road. Our road trip was finally coming to an end. We didn’t have any housing lined up yet, but we knew we wanted to be in the Asheville area, and we’d arrive that evening. Thus began a new chapter in our lives, in heart of Appalachia, in the Blue Ridge Mountains of western North Carolina.