Keepin’ It Country in Tennessee

With four Redneck Roadtrips now under our belts, the Prissy Bitch and I have come to one very important conclusion: Everyone should be force to visit states that are nothing like their own. Like “Wife Swap” for normal people. Between the two of us, we’ve pretty much been all over these here United States and to many places beyond. Somehow, though, Tennessee was…uh…different.

Yep. That's Air Force One.

The trip started in White Plains, at the preppiest airport in America, and took us through Chicago. The Windy City was nice enough to really roll out the red carpet for us, and even went so far as to give us a Presidential greeting. It was really quite nice of them.

Eventually, though, our state visit came to an end and we headed to Nashville. This is a great little city, despite some parking issues. Every bar you walk into has live music — and it’s all good, unlike the bars here that charge a cover to see overly loud crapfests. We heard a particularly good version of Old Crow Medicine Show’s “Wagon Wheel” at the Whiskey Bent Saloon and got a man with an Ani DiFranco tattoo to sing me some Willie Nelson at The Wheel.

Unfortunately, the hotels in downtown Nashville don’t really fit into our whole crappy, redneck aesthetic. So instead we went to the Comfort Inn on Music Row where Taylor Swift stays when she’s in town. But enough about that skinny bitch… I want to talk about sriracha meatloaf. You see, for dinner we went to The Tavern, which was clearly the new hopping place in town. We had to wait…forever. Obviously they don’t know who we are. But it was well worth the wait because I got the sriracha meatloaf special. It was delicious and so spicy I couldn’t finish it. And so we started our collection of leftovers. After dinner we went to some bar, the name of which I can’t remember. It was boring, and we’re old and tired…so we left our half-full beers on the table and headed back to our hotel where there was a raging party happening. Normally, this would be where we made dozens of friends and got named Queen of the College Hotel Party. But we were so tired all we could do was go to our room, complain about how loud they were and then pass out. Of course, a few hours later we woke up to the sounds of a belligerent drunk pounding on the next door, proclaiming that he was going to have to sleep in the camper because his friends were so wasted, none of them heard him pounding on the door asking to be let in.

Dumplin's

Despite the drunken antics of our neighbors, we woke up bright-eyed and bushy-tailed to head to breakfast at Noshville, and then head out to Lebanon, where we made it just in time for the judging of the Dumplin’ Cook Off. After eating our fair share of dumplin’s and then severely disagreeing with the judges, we set off to explore the rest of Fiddler’s Grove. It’s like Lebanon’s version of Sturbridge Village.

It was there that we met a car enthusiast who gave us our first taste of culture shock. It wasn’t long before the “rude Yankee” stereotype was thrown in our face, or he started telling us how conservative he was. “I’m always a little skittish about talking about it in front of Yankees ’cause I know ya’ll are from a blue state.” I said, “Don’t worry, we’re not communists yet.”

It was a cold, rainy day in Tennessee so we eventually moved on. After taking a peek at a sheep auction we decided to explore the rest of Lebanon, find a place to stay, and place to eat, and a place to drink. We also almost attended a Cumberland University baseball game, but thought better of it. The thing about Lebanon is that its restaurants are almost entirely chains. They’ve got a Shoney’s, an O’Charley’s, a Ryan’s, and a bunch of other chains you’ve never even heard of. But we decided to go to Demo’s which advertises Steak & Spaghetti on its sign, because our hotel gave us a coupon for a free appetizer. We got some seriously bad spaghetti and then added it, along with some meatballs, to our collection of leftovers.

It was a good thing we stocked up, because we had a long night ahead of us and we definitely needed it by 2 a.m. After dinner we headed to the Whip Crackin’ Rodeo where my hatred for rodeo clowns once again found its footing. The agricultural arena was filled to the brim with a bunch of families, and the PrissyBitch and I drinking Natty Ice out of Sobe and Fuze bottles. (Tennessee has some very confusing alcohol laws, including the fact that we were in a wet town in a dry county.) We were having a pretty good time — despite the long prayer — until the bull riders came out…which was also about the time an Obama dummy came out. I tried to be understanding. I mean, if it were a George W. Bush dummy I’d be laughing. But I figured these were the same people who thought anyone who dared speak ill of the President after 9-11 should be sent to Canada, and therefore I didn’t much care  for their antics. So, suck it, Whip Crackin’ Rodeo. (Send your hate mail to this website.)

After that debacle, we needed a drink so we went to the closest bar in the hopes of finding some of the cowboys. Instead, we found a group of seriously questionable individuals. It was in a strip mall and filled wit ha thick cloud of smoke. I’d barely ordered our drinks when one of the few people with teeth was trying to push his way by me and insisting the fact that I was in his way meant he had to buy us drinks. He wanted to buy shots, though, and I was not in a shot doing mood. So we stuck with our beer, much to his chagrin.

After telling us all about his job as an extradition agent, and asking us a million times why we were in Lebanon he convinced us we were at the wrong bar by explaining that knives and guns were regularly pulled in that bar — and that it was for poor people. Generally, that wouldn’t deter us, but he was adamant. He suggested we go to a bar called Ole Neighborhood, which seemed promising so we took his advice.

It was a terrible idea. It  was filled with young people who looked like young people everywhere else, and was generally boring. On the plus side, we drove by a place called Silveradoes on the way there and got to hear more Old Crow Medicine Show on the jukebox. But we expertly deserted our host and headed back to Silveradoes as soon as we could.

Upon pulling into the parking lot, hearing the music, and seeing a sign that said “No Firearms Inside” the Prissy Bitch exclaimed, “This is the shitshow we’ve been looking for.” And it didn’t disappoint. Apparently it’s a nightclub but we thought it was a line-dancing bar, as evidenced by the line-dancing — both of the country and hip-hop…yes, hip-hop…varieties. There was a bachelorette party, a post-reception party, a bunch of girls who just seemed to know all the dances, and what can only be described as America’s Best Dance Crew.  Just see for yourself:

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8_iCX1O5qPA

They were mesmerizing. Eventually though, we had to bust our own moves. We were wary of getting on the floor since we don’t know any line dances. I headed out on the dance floor when some  young man, quite clearly many years my junior asked me to slow dance.

Anti-Couric practicing to be a Cougar.

It went something like this: Him – “Will you dance with me?” Me – “Seriously?” PB – “I’ll hold your stuff and take pictures.” He was a nice fella. But the Prissy Bitch really got the full-on line dancing experience when some old black guy who also didn’t know the steps forced her to dance to “Cotton-Eyed Joe.”

At some point, after we watched newlyweds grind and some other folks change a tire in the parking-lot we decided to go back to our hotel…where we stuffed our face with the meatloaf from the night before and managed not to die of food poisoning.

On the next day’s itinerary was breakfast at a Ponderosa — terrible idea — and a trip through some of America’s roadside attractions and the horrific display of crass materialism that is the area surrounding Dollywood.

First we stopped at The Minister’s Tree House. This is basically a 5-story death trap built by a devoutly religious landscaper who believes Jesus promised that he would never run out of materials as long as he built the Big Guy a tree house. There we a bunch of dogs roaming around, eating garbage, and looking ready to give birth.

The Minister's Tree House

I was only willing to go about three-stories up. It was surprisingly sturdy, but when you went up the stairs on the outside of the building they were terribly slanted and generally terrifying. The Prissy Bitch, however, doesn’t value her life and so climbed pretty damn close to the belfry while I wandered around taking pictures — mostly of the lawn chair swing.

Next we hit a Steak n Shake. If you’re not familiar with the genius of the Steak n Shake, it’s basically that you can get a “side by side” milkshake where you get one flavor on one side of the cup and another on the other. I went for chocolate and mint. I think the PrissyBitch had some banana in there somewhere. And then we rode the Monster Truck. It was a little on the anti-climatic side of life but it was still pretty hilarious.

After that we headed to Knoxville which is a surprisingly nice city. It’s got a great little downtown scene and had just had an arts festival earlier that day. We had a nice dinner on a patio before retreating to our hotel on the outskirts of town. We once again had to resort to drinking in a strip mall. This time, the place was huge with pool tables, ping-pong tables, darts, and shuffleboard. The bar also came with a crazy alcoholic lady who was very proud to announce that everyone in the bar knew that Irish Car Bombs are her drink of choice. We also met a kind of sad guy who, after playing a few games of pool with us, said, “I gotta pay my bar tab, return the pool balls, find something to eat, and get a divorce tomorrow.” Then he whipped out an envelope with which he was aiming to pay his divorce lawyer.

Poor bastard.

On Monday we headed back toward Nashville. Our plane wasn’t scheduled to leave until 6 p.m. so we killed some time by eating at the legendary Loveless Cafe, visiting Opryland — which is like Six Flags for country music enthusiasts and a huge disappointment — Cooter’s Place, and the Willie Nelson & Friends Museum.

When we made it to the airport we found that our flight had been delayed by half-an-hour which was a pain because we had a short connection at Dulles. You’ll be happy to hear we didn’t miss our flight though… because it was canceled.  That’s right, our flight was canceled by United for, um, no good reason. Basically it had something to do with the crew, but it could have either bee that they didn’t show up or that they had timed out. Either way I think United sucks. I mean, fire people who don’t show up and plan bettter. ‘Nough said.

The airline put us up in a hotel and rescheduled us on a flight to Bradley. So we had just enough time to get a few measly hours of sleep before putting our clothes back on and heading back to the airport. But we’ll try to forget our horrible flight, and instead, remember our trip this way.

 

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