Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Nashville Countryville

When we were driving south on the IL 127 from Galesburg to Paducah, we had to stop for gas and pulled over at JR's Minimart. JR???? Wasn't he in Texas?? Oh well... LOL
The sign was very tattered and paint peeled off the wood, I just needed to take a picture of that!! :-))
On the parking lot they were having a flea market. Well, flea yeah, market I'm not so sure. There were only 3 booths... I guess the not-so-nice weather had a great deal to do with that, after all it was a Sunday, the perfect flea market day!!
I did have a look around of course, and what did my eye spot almost immediately there???? A car emblem!! And just any car, nooooo... The car emblem of a Blazer!!! OMG!!! I sooo wanted to get that, but Jan insisted on "no" once again... Maybe for the best, coz I probably wouldn't have a use for it anyway. But it would have been FUN to get that, right???? LOL

While on the road I got a small bottle of cranberry juice at one of the gas stations since I had liked that so much at Aleta's place. But to my horror this one tasted like sugared water with a flavor added to it!! Yuck!!! This was no cranberry juice, this was jsut sugar water with a flavor and color added to it, no matter what the label said!! It was horrible and nothing like the juice I had tasted in Galesburg! Now I know, I need to look for the unsweetened stuff... ugh...

For our first evening in Nashville we ordered a cab to pick us up at the hotel that was just outside the beltline of the city. We had no clue how parking would be in the city, and Jan was pretty tired of driving for such a long time anyway.
Mr Cab Driver for the night was a black guy named Fritz. I thought that was a funny name for an american but didn't comment on it. Being the good girl again. LOL
He was very interested in how life was in Belgium and we talked about health care, food, housing, cost of living, etc. When we told him that a pair of Levi's jeans would set us back around $100, he laughed and insisted that we go to Walmart or Target the very next day and check out the jeans department, where we could get a pair of jeans for just $10!! Or so he claimed.
We went to a place that had BBQ chicken and they had a stage too, but no band seemed to be around. We sat down and ordered, the people at the table next to us greeted us and wanted to know where we were from. People are just sooo friendly!! Or is it curiosity???? Ah, who knows, and who cares?? They're NICE and that's all that matters!! Suddenly the lights dimmed and the stage lights went on. The band came on stage! Yay! Music Maestro!! :-))
Oooh!! That were those nice people sitting at that table next to us!! Coincidence??? No idea. LOL
After having listened to the band in the restaurant for a while, I guess until their break time came up, we were really tired. Do you even call such a place a real restaurant?? It's a bar that also serves food really. Great fun though, whatever it's called!! :-))
Fritz the cab driver had given us his card to call again when we were ready to go back to the hotel. So we called the dispatch and insisted on having Fritz drive us again. They were a bit stunned I guess, but hey, he was a nice guy, so why not let him get our business?? We were ready to hit the sack. Fritz picked us up and wanted to hear more about Belgium so talked some more on the way back. Wonderful guy.

The next day it was raining again of course, and since we didn't HAVE to be somewhere specific and didn't have a long drive ahead of us, we didn't get up as early as some of the other days. YAY!! I'm sooo much NOT a morning person, so this was a real good thing!! For the both of us, coz I can possibly get a little grumpy when I have to get up way early. LOL
We took the car for a drive around the city, and finally parked it somewhere safe (or at least it looked safe). We had lunch at the Hard Rock café, of course, and Jan got to buy a t-shirt and a guitar pin. He doesn't want any other, only the guitar pins. Sometimes with a design that suits the local area, but always the guitar. LOL
We found out that after 6pm the Hard Rock Café didn't mind parking the car in their parking lot, so that's our plan for the night. Free parking, and it saves us the cab fare. Though I wouldn't have mind if we could have Fritz drive us again. :-))
We walked through the town in the rain that got worse and worse. Did you know that Nashville has its very own Broadway??? oh yeah!! And a Walk of Fame too!! I took some pics of the stars' names on the pavement!! ;-))
Do any of you remember that we intended to buy jeans, boots, and maybe some sportswear?? That was on our shopping list anyway! Apart from the Hard Rock café stuff and my crafty things of course. LOL
While walking through downtown Nashville and checking out the shopping streets, we went into every store that had boots and hats!! But my oh my were they expensive!! Even the hats were so far out of our budget that we started thinking we'd go home without new boots. But then, I spotted a sign of a store that had a discount thing going on. The sign said "buy 1 pair, get 2 pair". I thought for sure that was a mistake and should read "get 2nd pair" which would still be a nice sale. So I went in and asked and sure enough the lady said "no you get what the sign says, you buy one pair and you get to pick two extra pair. You'll pay the most expensive pair, and that's it for all three pair." Oh boy oh boy, what a sale was that!!!!
The next two hours or so we spent trying on boots after boots in that store!! LOL
Hey, what else can you do when it's raining anyway?? We had fun!! hahaha!!!
There was a girl asking something at the lady running the store, and we looked at each other and immediately said "she's dutch". They know english well enough, but can't hide their accent. Sure enough, she was dutch. (ggg)
After trying several boots and in all colors of the rainbow (I didn't even know they made these boots so fashionable!!) we made up our minds. And I guess you know what happened next, right?? Yep, we went back to the car with three brand new pair of western boots!!! LOLOL
This sure rates high on my list of "best buys" so far!!! :-))

So far our outfit to blend in with the local american lifestyle was jeans, t-shirt, sneakers and a baseball cap. But not just any baseball cap, no no no!! Jan had found a Pink Floyd - his all time favorite band - baseball cap when walking around in Galesburg while Marylou and I were out shopping. He was sooo happy with it that he didn't even ask what we had been up to. Heck, what could he have said?? He had been out shopping too!! LOLOL
And I usually wore the glitzy rock 'n' roll cap that I got at the Rock Museum in Cleveland. It just had a few rhinestones on the "Rock" design, so not too glitzy. I alternated this one with the one I got at the Harley Davidson store on the "land between two waters" just south of Paducah. Looking like a real babe!! Hahaha!!! ;-))
After buying the boots and before hitting the town for dinner and a live band, we changed the sneakers for a pair of boots. Blends in better in that city...
There were live bands playing in just about any bar that was open, so we went bar hopping that night. Never stayed too long in one place, coz we wanted to see/hear several bands if possible. Most of the stages were located next to the entrance and they all say "hi" when you walk in. Real nice, and a bit strange to us. Nobody would do that here, unless they know you personally. Darn, we don't wanna attract any more attention, people will see that we're not local anyway. But I tell ya, that's pretty hard to do when they say "hi" to you in their microphones!!!!
Most bands also sold their own recordings on a CD, so we bought two of those. That will make a nice lasting memory of this trip too!! Besides, I really like country music anyway. Jan is not so much into that, so I might have to listen to these when he's not around. Although we did play them in the car the next day!! LOL

When driving away from Nashville in the direction of the Great Smoky Mountains and Asheville where we were gonna meet yet another cyberfriend, we came across this Target store. Bearing Fritz' advice in mind, we decided to stop and check out the jeans department there. Before we got to that there was the t-shirt department. You know, the ones that have all these funny sayings on them?? We laughed and laughed!! I should have written some of the funny things down, coz now I can't remember any of them anymore of course!!
Then we went to the men's jeans, and sure enough, Jan found himself a pair of jeans for just $10!! Wow, what a bargain!! Well, I guess Fritz was right on this one!! Of course this was NOT a true Levi's, I think that maybe jeans in general are called Levi's in the States. Over to the ladies' department then, but all I could find were the low waste types, and that's sooo not me!! LOL
I'm pretty sure if we had explored the store more we might have found more regular jeans for ladies too, but we had a long drive ahead of us, so we decided not to waste more time. Jan had his jeans, and I got something to clean my new boots and new eye contact fluid (for a third of the price back home!) and we headed back to the car.

It was in Cumberland County, Rockwood, that we had to pull over for gas and a "pit stop" if you know what I mean.... Right before Knoxville. Outside there was a police car, you know, the sheriff's type like we so often see in the movies. Of course Jan was bold enough to walk up to the guy and ask if we could take a picture of his car. No problem. He did laugh about it though, you know, he had never been a tourist attraction before!! LOL
Told you we'd do off the beaten track stuff... Hahaha!!
Well, he started talking to us (or maybe we to him, I don't remember) and we talked about the weather, our trip through the US and his county. He explained what a county actually was, and how many counties there were in his district, and the whole she-bang! Nice explanation too. He was actually not the sheriff, but his deputy (and no, we shot neither of them... We know that song too!! LOL) but he did wear the star shield like we see on the TV all the time. He had a black ribbon around his badge though, and while I did guess what it was for, I asked him about it. Wanted to know if it was one for his colleagues in his county. No, it was in honor of a colleague cop from a neighbouring county who got ambushed and got shot 43 times!! YIKES!! The year of living dangerously, ey???? Good grief! They would all wear the black ribbon for a week and then it was time for the funeral. The official ceremony was taking place in a few days, that's where they would give him a salute and fold the US flag to give to his widow. Just like you see in the movies. Jan thought they wouldn't do that in real life, but they do. And now we know why they sell these triangular wooden cases with a glass front in several large stores. We had wondered what they were for, even though it said "flag case". We just didn't get it until talking to that deputy. Nice guy.

About two miles further we crossed the time zone. Ack!! We were loosing an hour now!
But we're on our way to the Great Smoky Mountains, sure looking forward to that!!



thejanet said...

Weeeezle... keep posting!!! I can't wait to read your take on Lisa's graduation ceremony. zzzzzzzz but I'm so proud she graduated. And she was beside herself that y'all came to it!

Mim Smith Faro said...

I want to see pics of your boots and your caps! I have really enjoyed reading about your trip. As teachers, my husband and I have the summers off and want to travel like you are throughout the US. We have to wait until our youngest is a little older though.

Share some pictures!

marylou said...

Wezz, so glad you added the boot story to your blog, sounds great. Wish we did have more time together as Sounds like Jan and I could have discussed Pink Floyd in depth. and we could have drooled over Keith Urban and George Strait.

Hello to theJanet!--long time no see, wait change that, long time no type.............

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