We were home for about a month total around the holidays. I don't know what I was thinking, but for some reason I thought it would be a relaxing time to hang out with family. I was completely wrong. Every day seemed to fly by, and even though we were dying to get back on the road there was so much for us to take care of before we left. My mom and I made cushion covers for the dinette, and Tig got herself a new set of tires. I could go into a ton of detail about what each day was filled with, reminisce about our time spent with old friends and family, but I think that would make for one crazy-long blog post. Instead, I'll summarize by saying that we had a blast, cherished getting to see everyone we loved, and are already missing all of their smiling faces.
As we made our way out of the city, we quickly realized there was one thing we forgot to do before we left: check the weather. Somehow, we had missed the warnings about 45mph winds, with gusts up to 60. As you can imagine, this made driving- especially in snow- extremely difficult.
We made it to Erie, PA.
Go ahead, chuckle a bit. Our big, first day back on the road was cut down to an hour and a night in a Walmart lot. I've said it before, this RV life can be PRE-TTY glamorous sometimes.
After waiting out the wind, it was time to make our way to our first real destination: Nashville! We were pumped to be able to explore such an iconic city, all while hearing the strums of acoustic guitars flow through the streets. In true "Nomadic Neighbors" fashion, we managed to walk from one end of the city to another, seeing everything from classic Lower Broadway to The Country Music Hall of Fame and beyond. By the end, our feet were hurting so bad that I began to wonder if everyone wore cowboy boots because of their comfort level. If that's the case, I need to find a pair ASAP.
Who am I kidding, I want a pair anyways. We both do. You're reading the musings of a couple trendsetters, right here.
By far, our favorite spot in Nashville ended up being Robert's Western World on Lower Broadway. We hit a couple other big name bars as we walked along, but none of them had the feel that Robert's did. Not only did they have that traditional, honkey-tonk vibe with an incredible band to bring it home, they also had the "Recession Special": a fried bologna sandwich, a bag of chips, and a PBR to wash it all down. Yep, you read that right, and it tasted as glorious as it sounds in your head. Hands down this bar sold us on Nashville, and if we make it back you better believe I'll be swiping a stool and telling the bartender to fire up the flattop for me.
From Nashville, we made our way to the home of the blues: Memphis. Honestly, I think we were even more excited to visit Memphis over Nashville. Andy is a big blues fan, so walking down Beale Street was like walking into Heaven. Of course, this entry into Heaven had to be christened with a fitting meal, so we made our way to the Blues City Cafe for none other than some Memphis-style BBQ. We gorged ourselves on ribs, collard greens, and the best gumbo I've ever tasted. My mouth is actually watering as I type this, remembering how delicious that meal was.
As we meandered along, incredible notes flowed out of doorways and mingled in the air around us, each one beckoning us to come in. We finally settled on one door, no sign outside, but the sound was impossible to ignore. We think it was the back room of the Rum Boogie Cafe, but I can't say for sure. What I can say though, is that listening to that woman sing, hearing the rasp in her voice over the humming of the harmonica, took music to another level. There is so much soul, so much feeling that comes through when you listen to the blues, that it becomes unlike any other genre. Standing in that dark bar, with a really big beer in my hand and the sound of a soulful songstress belting it out like there was no tomorrow, will be a feeling I remember for the rest of my life.
As sad as we were to leave Memphis (we know we'll be back), we were excited to get to our next destination: Texas. It was time to take on the Lone Star state, and also time for some warmer weather. We packed up and out for the drive south, with a mutual understanding that this was not the last time we'd be hearing that bluesy Memphis sound on a walk down Beale Street.