After my day touring Mammoth Cave I arrived in Nashville in time for a great dinner at this cool place in Five Points/East Nashville where I had turnip-noodle pasta that was so good I made actual happy yummy noises eating. Excellent start to a Sunday night, and while eating I googled some options for music that night and came across a random $5 fundraiser for Bernie at a cool club across town with multiple bands, so that sounded pretty weird and like a good way to see a few people (I’m cool with the Bern but wouldn’t be inclined to to to a rally or anything on a usual day). It was at this club called the Exit/In, which gave me a 9:30 club vibe on a smaller scale. I arrived not too long after the show started and it was…. super dead. There were maybe 20 people there, including the handful obviously there with the performer. The first singer was wearing this funny (perhaps intentionally?) Bernie sweatshirt, and the second singer went off on Mayor Pete and Bloomberg, and by the end of that set there were maybe 30 people there, but I was not one of them.

At the show I was talking to this man who had given me directions earlier who was going to see another show on Broadway so I tagged along to that and got a tour of some places downtown. Apparently a lot of the bars and restaurants are branded by famous singers with little to no actual affiliation (sounds uncomfortably like Trump branding), and the first place we went was the Kid Rock place that has 3 floors with different bands playing on each. It was high energy though the band was not super impressive, and the next stop was a place called the Redneck Riviera- hilarious name, great band. While the band took a break we checked out the rooftop with a view of all the lights, which was the first time I really had to talk to the dude I was with, and it wasn’t pretty. He let slip that he had gone to the fundraiser just to see what kind of people would go to a “socialist propaganda event” and was giving off a weird vibe. I am not proud to admit this, but I totally bailed on him with no warning when I went to the bathroom. I mean, I actually tried to go back to say I was leaving but they must have been closing the upper floors for the night and the stairs to go back up were roped off, so it was a sign. Sorry, random guy, not the nicest move, and later I hoped that he didn’t think I got lost or die or whatever. Oops. But better to trust my weirdo-alert sensor and be rude than the alternative, right?

I actually felt so weird about bailing and knew that he lived downtown near all the touristy thing so I went incognito the next day. Ha. I got up early from my parking spot near Vanderbilt just by this Parthenon building, and went to park by Nissan stadium across the river. I walked over the pedestrian bridge and walked through some of the sights, like the country music walk of fame, then did a tour of the Ryman Auditorium. They have a wonderful movie intro and great exhibits of musicians’ clothes and artifacts, and a lot on the history of the hall and its shows. Plus just a gorgeous, though probably not super comfortable with the whole pew seating situation, venue. I thought about staying another night to see the show that night but don’t know enough Collective Soul, which turned out to be a good thing.

I had a nice long lunch at a vegan restaurant back across town before heading south, where I stopped off in the town of Franklin. Not only had several people and the internet said it’s an enchanting town, I’m collecting namesake place photos, so seemed like a good place for a coffee. I just walked around the main streets for a bit, popping into the bookstore, cafe, and tracking down the post office to get that sweet Franklin postmark on a few cards I was mailing. Random aside: where have all the mailboxes gone?? There was not a single one on any of the streets in town. Oh well.

Fast forward to later that evening when I’d arrived at my next destination, some heavy thunderstorms came through that woke me up a few times and resulted in a small leak on my back door- not a huge deal but something I though I’d fixed by replacing my back top brake light, but now think maybe it’s an old seal along the top of the door. Anyway, not the point. The point is that when I woke up in the morning it was to some kind texts and weather alerts on my phone that a string of tornadoes had come through Tennessee and hit Nashville hard, in some of the areas I’d been parked and eaten the days before. The pic above with the arrow was put up online by the restaurant with the turning noodles of their alley & parking area and neighboring building that got messed up. So even more glad I didn’t stay for that show. Sometimes the universe is on your side.

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