Rain. On the road for 43 days without any real rain, and it is really raining today.
Lee Ann and Bill at the Fairfield Inn went above and beyond to make sure the Cottage Restaurant was opening at 10:30, and they provided great directions. They didn’t know the address of Prince Mongo’s house, so I’ll have to try to catch his place next time. Prince Mongo is apparently the most visible eccentric in Memphis. He’s not really a prince, and his home isn’t really a castle, but he puts all kinds of funky stuff in his yard.
The Cottage Restaurant was great. I was quite the celebrity there. The ladies really got into the book and their mention in it. I met Mary, Gloria the Pie Lady, Miss Annie the Nana Puddin Lady, Helen, and Linda. The Cottage Restaurant is a classic local café, and the place opened at 10:30 and was packed for lunch by 11:15. I enjoyed Fudge Pie and some Nana Puddin, but the ladies there were what made it so special. When in Memphis, make a point of going to the Cottage Restaurant!
With the rain and the late start due to the late opening of the café, I drove the interstate to Nashville. I encountered the same signage problems when I hit Nashville. A sign on the interstate indicated there was a Visitors Center at the next exit, but I never found one.
I made my way straight to the Country Music Hall of Fame, and I took the tour. It’s a very impressive museum and Hall of Fame. There was no photography allowed. There are all types of artifacts and exhibits of various types…and a lot of great country music. I enjoyed everything but the inclusion of the Dixie Chicks in an otherwise excellent video about country music on TV for the last 50 years. I Met Michelle, Kelly, Louise, and Melanie.
Unfortunately, the Grand Ole Opry is only open on the weekends. I really wanted to go, but I had to settle for the museum and Hall of Fame.
I drove to Second Street and parked and walked around the bar and restaurant areas in downtown Nashville. I met a lot of policemen; it’s obvious they have to have a high profile in the area to keep the tourists safe. I took photos of Karen and Rita and their horses. I met Arnold from Boston and had a nice chat with him. I really enjoyed speaking with Katmandu, Roger, and Sheila – three street people. Katmandu told me a great story about the Biker “Babe” in Uncertain, Texas who had his scoot (bike) repossessed. He invited me down to the river to see his shelter. I didn’t go. Roger said they are starting a band called Street Trash and go on a tour called the Need Gas Tour. There are a lot of street performers in Nashville. I suspect many of them are homeless.
Ryman Auditorium was home to the Grand Ole Opry for many years, so I enjoyed seeing it. I saw the famous Ernest Tubb Record Shop and a number of great old buildings and well-known clubs.
Two bicycle policemen responded in unison when I asked where the best place was to eat – Jack’s Barbeque. It was great. Jack’s offers a number of sauces, and I especially liked the “Tennessee” sauce.
I’m not sure what I learned today. I learned a lot about the early days of country music. I learned that the Grand Ole Opry is only open on the weekends. I learned that as you get closer, you get anxious to get home no matter how much you are enjoying your trip. And as Dolly Parton said: “If you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain.”