We got to Nashville around 10:30, and to our surprise there was a cherry blossom festival going on with a bunch of anime and oriental vendors. First priority was food finally; we stopped at the main stage to watch some live drumming music and then headed downtown. It may have felt like 2:00pm for us, but in reality most places were not open for lunch at 10:30am. Once we realized this, we walked around a little until 11:00. Dick's Last Resort was next to Coyote Ugly so we decided to go there for lunch, at the time I had no idea what we were getting into. Awhile ago while in Boston a few friends went to a restaurant where they were horribly sarcastic and made fun of you on large white paper hats, Dicks. We sat down and as soon as the waiter came over and threw the white paper and utensils on the table it immediately clicked, I knew what we were in for! Our waiter wasn't a complete dick, once he learned our story of where we were from and the journey we were on there were smart ass remarks inbetween suggestions and normal conversation. We were asking about campgrounds since we were still unsure of our evening plans and it was as if Nashville doesn't know what camping and tents are. Another waiter came over and half jokingly said we could camp out in his backyard, I was serious when I asked, really?! Once he knew we were serious he gave us his number and told us to call him later. Lunch was pretty good, I was beyond the point of being overly hungry so I was kind of forcing myself to eat since I knew I had to. I got a pulled pork sandwich and fries and their French fries were really, really good. After lunch, obviously it was boot shopping time. I have wanted a pair of cowboy boots for over 5 years now, I have a pair of Steve Maddens that are "cowboy boot-like" but not authentic. I thought, what better place to buy than Nashville, Tennasee! To our surprise it was buy one, get two free! I got a pair of brown ones and a black pair, and Rosie got a black, red, and brown pair; now we're ready for Coyote Ugly! I gotta say, I absolutely love a place that when you go out in the city, everyone is in cowboy boots. Dresses, shorts, pants, guys, girls, locals, tourists, kids, doesn't matter. After our purchase we decided to stop by the car to drop everything off, by then we decided that the other things we watched to see we're going to be 15 minutes away so we might as well take the car outta the garage and drive there. Tootsie's was a place I wanted to visit for a photo for my Mom and family, ever since she was younger my Papa and family called her Tootsie and to this day they still do. I punched the address into the GPS and to my surprise this "15 minute drive" was the next street over, frustrated we'd have to pay for parking again we drove around to try and find the garage we came out of originally, but failed. We decided to just park in a lot nearby and pay again, had I known it was going to cost $26 as oposed to the $5 we paid at the first garage we would have walked. $26 to park in an open lot that was crammed and slanted was not what I wanted to spend my money on. Never fails that when I opened the door the bag of veggie sticks fell out and splatter on the ground like glass everywhere; I really should not be allowed near the food and drinks in the vehicle. We walked the strip and saw a huge three floor outdoor bar with people crowding the face of the building against the railings. We decided to check it out, music coming from every floor and laughing drunk people sounds like an ideal Saturday afternoon for me. We went up to the top floor, grabbed a beer, and a stool on the railing to the outdoor sunshine. Sitting there in the sun, beer in hand, and a country cover band playing some of my favorite songs will be a memento of Nashville for sure. Besides, it was a perfect people watching location with all of the bachelor and bachelorette parties going on, go figure Nashville is the most visited destination for such events. We ended up talking with two guys from a nearby bachelor table, one of which was the groom of course. They were very intrigued in our cross country adventure and thought we were locals when they first approached us because we looked like badasses that were head of our table haha (they were drunk what do you expect.) I was just honored to be considered a local! Though people left and right all day asked me what part of Texas I was from since I was wearing my longhorns ball cap. After getting a two beer sun buzz on we decided to try and figure out our camping arrangements. We texted Josh the waiter from Dick's to see if the invitation was still open. After not hearing back for a couple hours we gave him a call but no answer, well thanks for the false hope. Did he even give us his real number? Do guys do that? Time for plan b, that's one thing the Appalachian Trail taught me, not everything always works out, but unexpectedly somehow it does. We called every campground in Nashville and either they were booked, or most places only took RVs. KOA wanted to charge a flat rate of $90 for same day reservation, for a tent! Outrageous. After calling everyone we learned that Jellystone was $15 a tent and that was where we would have to go. Though I will admit that along the way I kept my eyes peeled for a secluded tent spot where we could stealth and not be bothered. Getting off the exit I saw a building with a large parking lot and large patch of grass, maybe we could stay there! I saw it had to do with the churches and remembered staying at church hostels along the way. Pulling in, there was no one to ask or talk to but up on the hill was a Catholic Church we decided may be more secluded. Driving up the steep narrow driveway I thought, this could work! While trying to google if we could get in trouble for legally staying at a church overnight someone pulled up the driveway. I drove around to the other side of the building to meet the new arrival and see if they knew anything about camping out for the evening. It happened to be the pastor getting the mail so that was good news, the downside was he said a lot of "druggies" have been caught going up there since it is so high up and away from the main roads. He advised it wouldn't be safe and to see if the ministry would let us camp below. I thanked him and drove down to find the ministry, on the way was a fire station, I thought; I wonder if they will let us camp out back? We stopped to ask and they agreed, a big thanks to Shane, Ronnie, Matt at the Nashville Fire station for their hospitality. They let us shower and use the bathroom inside, offered steak and corn, hot chocolate and to watch TV. I felt really bad for turning down the steak and corn one because they offered so typically I like to receive offerings but also because that sounded really good. However, the lack of sleep and the fact that we would be going out to Coyote Ugly tonight told me I should lay down and rest. I set up camp, crawled in and laid down while Rosie went down to the fire station to charge her phone, journal, and drink hot chocolate. After about two hours of restless "napping" and Rosie texting me she was getting in the shower I decided I had to get up. At this point I wanted to just lay there the rest of the night since I have yet to sleep more than 4 hours in the last 48 hours. I knew a fun night was ahead of us though so I gathered my clothes and shower things and headed down to the fire house. After my much appreciated shower, we got ready and before heading out got a pep talk from our newly formed fire fighter fathers about how there will be 75,000 men downtown for the NRA convention and we better be careful. They really were a great bunch of guys and am so thankful to start off our first night in that way. We drove downtown and got mentally and physically prepared for the wild Coyote Ugly. Inside, it was smaller than I thought it'd be. We went up to the bar where a few girls were dancing atop and ordered whiskey and ginger ale, only they didn't hve ginger ale so who knows what concoction they made. We went over and claimed the free pool table for a round of pool. Next to us, was four guys from yet another bachelor party, and wouldn't you know the one that likes me is the soon to be groom...it's amazing and scary how a guy can change so much when his lady isn't around. I was having fun and I'm sure he was on his bachelor party but I wouldn't want him to be my fiancée doing that to another girl. Another guy came up and asked if we wanted to play doubles after our game so we agreed. Rosie won the game her and I played so Matt and Brett joined us. They were both locals which was refreshing since most of the crowds are tourists. They bought us another round and won the first game, we made a deal that next game loser buys the round and after we go to this trailer trash bar where you can dance on crushed cars, we agreed. The game was great and somehow Brett scratched on the 8 ball so the rounds were on them! First before leaving, I couldn't pass up getting on the bar top; Coyote Ugly is a famous bar no matter how much of a tourist trap it is and I'd be disappointed if I didn't. That doesn't mean I could just hop on up there however, I'd have to finish my drink, let the guys talk us into taking a body shot off of us and then we would already be up there. So down my whiskey went, and next thing I know the girls are helping us up on top the bar. The two of us being up there at the same time made me question what Matt told the girls since we were not taking the shot off of each other. There was a misunderstanding so Rosie got down and I was up first. The dancer made me her bitch and I felt like I was at the strip club before she told me to lay down on the bar and then put some more moves on me. Matt took the shot off my navel and next was Rosie. I stayed up on the bar so we could take a photo of us up there in front of the bar sign. It was a great time and I am glad I got up there and did it. As promised, after we danced on bars, we walked to dance on cars! Matt got a small pitcher of beer for all of us and we danced a bit, the great thing about the guys is they knew how to have a good time. They weren't your typical hey whatsup grind up on me and I wanna take you home type, they were a genuine good time crowd. And every now and again Matt danced all up on me! The time difference is an hour behind Connecticut here and the bars stay open until 3:00am. Fireball shots, drinking and driving crushed cars in a bar, and pulled out nose rings concluded our night. We took a solid 10 minutes looking for Rosie's nose stud which was knocked out when she was being helped up onto of the car to dance, luckily she spotted it right before we were about to leave. On the streets of Nashville, we were presented with an array of drunk people and street performers. We stopped off at a rapping drum player whose music was great, and dancing circle equally as entertaining. The boys wanted to go to Waffle House but I wanted to call it a night to try and get a decent nights sleep. We said our goodbyes and made plans to get some authentic BBQ outside of downtown the following day for lunch. A big thanks goes out to Matt and Brett, they truly showed us an amazing time! Back at the fire station we climbed in our tents and called it a night. The nostalgia flowed back as soon as I laid down and heard the bugs chirping away, it is an amazing thing to sleep in nature again.
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