After our whirlwind tour of the East Coast, we flew into Nashville for the beginning of what would be a two week road trip, covering Nashville, Louisville, St Louis and finishing up in Kansas City. Upon arriving at Nashville airport, we headed over to the hire car desk to collect our car. I was keen to hire an American muscle car and really embrace the whole US road trip experience. When the lady at the rental company informed us we could pick any car from the "row of cars over there", Jess was quick to ask "Do you have a Dodge Charger?" At that moment, I was never more certain that I had proposed to the right girl.
For a 4-door sedan, the Charger was a monstrosity of a car - a 5.7 litre V8 engine and a body that was as long as a Ron Jeremy sock puppet. Reverse parking with this thing, on the right hand side of the curb, was simply out of the question. Having fired up the behemoth and plugged in some classic Tom Kiefer and Cinderella albums on the iPod, we were ready to hit the road. First stop, Nashville - the Music City.
Nashville was all we thought it would be…and then some. Simply put, it was the land of non-stop good times. The 24/7 energy of the Honky Tonk bars on Broadway blew us away. Each bar was chocked full with people and with live bands running around the clock. There was never a bad time to visit the Honky Tonk bars. Tuesday morning? No worries. Saturday night? Is the Pope Catholic? We spent many a day and evening running up and down Broadway and soaking up as many Nashville sounds as our cold Aussie ears could handle. And the food was something else. Our personal favourite was the shrimp and grits we had at a Honky Tonk bar whilst watching the Chiefs defeat the Seahawks. Oh, and you can't leave Tennessee without trying a Goo Goo Cluster!
When the Honky Tonk Highway got a little too much for us we made a brief escape to the little town of Lynchburg to visit the Jack Daniel's distillery. The tour of the distillery turned out to be the perfect complement to the whisky tours I had taken in Scotland and Ireland. Now I could confidently say that I knew the difference between bourbon, Scotch whisky and Irish whisky - even though Jack Daniels is technically not a bourbon. Even Jess got a kick out of the tour and enjoyed the tasting session. First she requests a Dodge Charger and now she's downing straight Jack Daniels. Could I fall anymore in love with this girl??
On our final morning in Nashville we woke up to light snow. This was the first time in my life that I had seen snow fall from the sky. In a matter of seconds, I went from a Charger-driving, whisky-swilling, wannabe cowboy to a kid in a Disney film. Once the magical snow stopped, we loaded up the car and set course for Louisville, Kentucky.