Trip Start Apr 01, 2013
Trip End Jun 28, 2013

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Flag of United States  , Tennessee
Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Big day today - off to see Mr Jack Daniel at the Jack Daniel's Distillery in Lynchburg, Tennessee which is about a 90 minute drive from Nashville.

I was up at 6.30am, showered, fed and out the door by 7.15am for my 15 minute walk to Budget Car Rentals. 20 minutes later I was still walking, but further away from Budget. Arse biscuits !!!!

I thought I was on to it as I had written down the instructions on how to get there from the hotel, the night before. Clearly, I am not good with instructions. All of a sudden I had an epiphany. I took my GPS out of my bag, plugged in the Budget address, and I was finally off in the right direction, albeit looking like a prize tool walking down the road with GPS in hand.

I picked up my car, a red Ford Focus. Clearly, it would be fast. It was red. Due to my unplanned extra time in getting to Budget, I was now forced to drive in peak hour traffic. That being said Gina (my trusted GPS) saw me right and I was soon through the worst of it. It was a pretty uneventful trip down to the distillery with hardly any close shaves. It was sad seeing all the US flags flying at half mast in recognition of the Boston bombing victims.

I arrived at the distillery around 9.30am and promptly booked myself on to a distillery tour. There are 2 tours, a free one and one which includes tastings for $10. The decision on which tour to take was not difficult I'll give you the red hot tip. I also took the opportunity to book into Miss Mary Bobo's Boarding House for lunch at 1.00pm. And, no it isn't a brothel. More about that later.

I popped into the Tennessee Squire room for a gander. This is a room at the distillery that can only be accessed by Squires of which I am one of, and contains Jack Daniel's related stuff that other Squires from around the world have dropped off. I also got me a couple of free glasses :). I met a fellow collector by the name of Bob whose collection makes mine look miniscule. My collection that is. In fact, he was telling me he has run out of room in his house, he has so much stuff.

My tour started at 10.30am and went for about an hour and a half. I met a young joker on the tour named Jason, who was training in the US Navy, and he said he was keen to head up to Mary Bobo's for lunch also. So we both walked over just before 1.00pm and he managed to fluke a reservation.

Now, Miss Mary Bobo's Boarding House is rich with history, particularly as far as Jack Daniels is concerned. It is now owned by the Jack Daniels Distillery and is actually run by Jack's great grand niece, Lynne Tolley, although she never met Jack as he died back in 1911, aged 61. Lynne took over running the restaurant when Miss Mary Bobo herself died in 1983 aged 102. Good knock that !

We, along with a number of others waited for the bell to ring and be called up for lunch by our hostess.

Ding-a-feckin-ling - there it is !

We were ushered into a room with a large rectangular table containing big plates of food, and were seated. There were 14 of us at the table and it was just like sitting down to a roast dinner with the family. It was really cool as you got to talk to everyone. We all had to introduce ourselves and say where we were from. I became an instant celebrity being the only person from overseas and also because of my Jack Daniels tattoo and the NZ flag.

We had a great bunch of people at the table including a couple from Boston who, sadly, new some of the victims of the recent bombing. I also got to meet a great guy by the name of Harold who pioneered his own brand of Gourmet BBQ sauce which has taken off here in the US. It's called Harold's Hogwash and it was the marinade on the pork ribs we had as one of our dishes.
Lunch was amazing.

We all picked up a plate of food, took off it what we wanted and passed it along to the person next to us and so on until the original plate you had came back around. Got to try some stuff I have never had - corn bread and okra. My favourites were the ribs, a chicken pastry dish and some apples which had been stewed in syrup and Jack Daniels. We had some sort of pie for dessert which was also delicious.

COOKING TIP: Substitute any baking that has vanilla in it with Jack Daniels - same measurement. Not my Jack Daniels though !

After lunch, me and my new navy buddy had a nosey through the shops in the Lynchburg town square before going our separate ways. I headed back to Nashville calling into the Grand Ole Opry on the way for a quick couple of photos to wind my sister up with :) Then it was back to drop off the rental car which, thankfully, was a lot less dramatic than the pick-up.

I walked back to the hotel, freshened up, and then headed to the Irish bar across the road. I had a few beers and a couple of shots of 'Fireball' on the recommendation of a few jokers at the bar, that I got chatting to.

I grabbed a cab into Broadway and bar-hopped for the rest of the night, again listening to some great voices.

I got back to the hotel just before midnight and caught up with some blokes playing beer-pong which involved trying to lob ping pong balls into cups full of beer. They were a band up from San Antonio playing gigs in Nashville. I had a few laughs with them before retiring.

Another early start tomorrow morning - Atlanta bound

Over and out
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