I have not had the pleasure of writing a journal entry for a while, so here goes. First , hi to family & Friends who may be taking the time to read & follow our dumb & dumber exploits, especially Mum & Dad , who I guess are still at Coppers Beach, no news yet??? We all look forward to, & enjoy getting emails, so , as long as the server performs, please keep them coming..Because of our decision to maybe head for Washington DC for ANZAC day, 25th April, to attend the dawn parade, ( for non Kiwis, this is our New Zealand "memorial day " , and growing in significance every year.), please do not place too much faith in our proposed route.
After an awsome couple of days in Chicago, music & spectacular skyscrapers, including a trip up to the 94th floor of the John Hancock Building in a high speed lift with Ruby shaking the lift to make my journey even more unforgettable, we decided to head south to warm up a bit. What a trip. Extreme high cross winds, interstate entry ramps closed, long detours, more cross winds and the most trucks I have ever seen in my life. Honestly, one truck every 100 to 150 meters, both ways, like a huge convoy, except that this is just a normal week day of traffic. 80 mph just to pass each truck, with the whole bike being shaken & buffeted until we reach the front wheel of the truck, emerge past & get hit sideways again by the cross winds, bloody scary, bloody scary, & totally exhausting.
To make it all worthwhile, we arrived in Nashville, Tennessee, a very nondescript city, but the music scene was ABSOLUTELY AMAZING. The main street, Broadway, has bar after bar, side by side , both sides, with a live band performing in each one, ( almost) , some even had two bands, one at front , one at rear. Mostly, no cover charge, full on country & country / rock from early afternoon till 2.30 am plus. Two nights of this & we had to escape, what an unforgettable experience, & Ruby & I are not real country fans, but with live performers, the oldest was 80, no cover charge & the fact that 21 years old is minimum drinking age, a fantastic time was had, no kids, no drunken aggro, just bloody good music, in a totally appropriate way. Recommend it for anyone over 21. Ruby & Emil will no doubt have more to say . We are now in a quite spot called Vonore, on our way to do a bike ride into the Appalachian Mountains, which was recommended to us by Ben Bailey, of CMI Equipment Sales Inc, Nashville , who stopped us in Nashville to look at our bikes, got talking & suggested we give it a try. Apparently it is famous, ( amongst bike riders ) for its sweeping corners & gradients etc, we will see tomorrow, hopefully.
We are now over half way through our fist leg of this trip. What an eye opening experience its been. America, a land of complete contrasts, huge stuff-ups, & great successes?The cost of living is very noticeable, a lot cheaper than I expected, Petrol at $3.50 and less per gallon, diner style meals for less than $ 10 / head, totally acceptable accommodation for around $60 per night, but then with their service industry wages so low. (waitress & barman at the bar in Chicago on $3 / hour, plus tips, toilet attendant on no wage, tips only, all the bands at Nashville on tips only, they take a bucket around every hour ) But, boy have we been made to feel welcome ,at every single instance, (they love our accent, and yet we have not got one), & we have met a large number of locals of all sorts, all genuinely friendly & interested, just wish they would stop calling us Australians. I will hand over to Ruby & Emil now, see ya....... hi, Ruby here. Gotta just agree with Noels writeup... I can finally tick off one of the things on my wish list. Nashville!! Music being one of my first loves, meant I had a ball the two nights we trawled the bars. Theres nothing better than live music, and man, do those good Ole boys know how to do it! also had chats with some of the other bar hoppers, and have secured an addy from some Irish guys that go to Nashville every year.... they have promised us a good night at their own pub, so am looking forward to hitting Mullans Bar, in County Down Ireland, and catching up with Speedy and his mate.
Now ME..... Numb Nuts Theres not much more for me to say except that we got a loud cheers when the crowd found out that there were 4 Kiwis in the bar, as well as the Irish and the Poms If they only knew we were just Bums .. Two late nights in a row nearly kills us now and unfortunately its tooooooooo late to start training, even though some of us are in the peak of condition NO NAMES The music was just awesome with this one particular band having a different sound depending who was doing the vocals Great to just listen too and on occasion dance, the bar was packed