Trial Run

Trip Start Apr 12, 1992
Trip End Jun 15, 1992

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Flag of United States  , Tennessee
Sunday, March 1, 1992

On March first Helen and I made a trial run up to Nashville to determine if I had stowed in the van all the articles needed to be self sustaining. Also I wanted to look for any repairs required. It was a cool, clear day, the kind of day when it feels good to be out and around. We spent some time at Centenial Park and the zoo. While Helen toured the interior of the replica of the Parthenon (Athens, Greece) I walked around outside, made a few pictures, but mainly just enjoyed the warm Spring sun.

The Parthenon replica was falling apart. A fence had been installed to prevent people from approaching the building.This precaution was needed to avoid injury from falling statuary. This is ironic; Despite our high-tech construction capabilities, the modern structure,built to commemorate the ancient one is deteriorating much more quickly than the original.

Mid afternoon we went downtown, walked the streets, and watched people, a fascinating diversion. Nashville encourages this activity. It is home to a large population of unique people. At dusk lights bloomed and magically the dirty, tired streets came alive.

The odor of stale beer spilled from the doors of dark,smoky taverns where unknown country musicians played old favorites,, hoping to elicit eating money tips from the patrons. From time to time they proudly slipped in one of their own new compositions, trusting that eventually someone who could advance their career would hear and appreciate their art. The fans restlessly looked all around, hoping to spot a real star.

Meanwhile, middle aged women who looked older, the aspiring singers of the prior generation, offered to share their booth, and perhaps a little more, for a few beers and a sympathetic ear. These ladies are eternal romantics. Repeatedly they mistake courtesy or kindness or sympathy from some stranger for romance. They fall in love with unfailing regularity, and they have survived a thousand disappointments while waiting for the right guy.

We stopped at Tootsie's Orchid Lounge. Tootsie's is just across the alley from the old Ryman Auditorium, original home of the Grand Ole Opry. For many years the Orchid Lounge has provided country music performers with a place to perform for tips. It was home for many who later became country music legends. There are stories about Hank Williams hanging out here, playing and singing for the patrons, and getting so drunk he couldn't go on stage at the Opry when it came his turn to perform.

In addition to country musicians, two other types of people frequent Tootsie's. Tourists come from everywhere in the world. They treat the joint somewhat like a shrine. Their faces tell the story. You can read their awe at being in the same room where Patsy Cline and Eddy Arnold once sipped cold beer. The other group consists of performers who live in a phantasy world. they dream of the future, becoming part of the country music scene. They work at anything to stay alive. This group occasionally produces a performer with talent, but most of them never make it. I admire their stamina. The featured performer was a guitar player named Ray Win. He was good. Helen bought one of his tapes.

It was late when we headed back to Huntsville. A wreck out on West End Avenue had traffic blocked so we detoured into the nearby El Rio Bravo Cantina for dinner. The food was excellent, muy picante. Down the road a little later I became dangerously sleepy so we stopped for a nap, woke up chilled, and continued home.
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