Monday, December 27, 2010

Treehouse, California


“I’ve missed you, Dead Man’s Curve!” Honk, Honk, HOOOOOOOOONK. “YEEAAAHHHH Sundown Falls,” we shout as we whip around sharp curves along the Kern Canyon. I’m sure all other drivers think we’re smoking crack, which makes us yell louder and honk longer. We drive to the guide house first, a flop house where most guides hang their hats (and kayaks) for the summer. Finding only empty PBR cans and random pieces of clothing strewn about, we peel out to look for friends at a notorious hangout, our boathouse. We pull up as two friends sand brand new, wooden boxes for our overnight camp while several others stand around in board shorts, drinking Busch Light. “Welcome home,” I say to myself, face beaming. We knock back a few stouts at the Kern River Brewing Company, my summertime home away from tree-home and I’m thrilled because tomorrow I get to move in!


A staircase leads to a room 12 feet above the ground, with skylights, tree branches shooting through the floor and ceiling, a balcony with a sliding glass door, wi-fi, electricity and many, many spider webs. My immediate reaction to having spiders as roommates is unnerving, but realizing that it’s bad karma and downright rude to destroy every home they’ve built over the years, I spend a good fifteen minutes deliberating which webs to leave intact. One that’s stretched perfectly in the crux of branches near the ceiling, two cozily tucked between rafters and The Plaza of spider webs are the chosen few. “Time to shack-up, dudes,” I whisper.




I hang lamps from the backpack suspended between tree limbs, arrange my books and clothes, makeshift a desk from a sawhorse and sweep my balcony, all the while singing along to Patty Griffin and Imogen Heap. My landlords, Emma, age 12 and Megan, age 10, have already done some sweeping and de-cluttering to make my transition from convertible to treehouse flawless. They continue to help throughout the day by fetching extension cords, sweeping small piles of dirt but most importantly, keeping me company in my new home. At the end of the day I say goodnight to the girls, pour a glass of wine from a glorious $6 bottle, lay back on my air mattress and admire my cozy home, spiders and all.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Over The Hoover



Leaving the Grand Canyon is only exciting because after we experience the Hoover Dam, we’re heading straight to the Kern River where we work as whitewater rafting guides in the summer time.

We enter the Hoover Dam via a 5 mph zone crawling with officials scanning vehicles for bombs, illegal immigrants, errant agricultural items and God knows what else. I’m finding it comical that our officer is paying special attention to us, as if beneath our yoga mats we’ve concealed ten kilos of cocaine and three Mexican slaves. After a benign drilling by the pudgy man, he lets us through with a crooked smile and we speed up ever so slightly toward the parking lot before shooting a ridiculous amount of photos. I remember visiting the Dam as a little girl and seeing it as a man-made miracle, genius really. However, as an adult I have adopted a more environmentally motivated perspective, and while the massive amount of concrete alone is astounding, I can’t help but wonder what incredible pieces of canyon we have swallowed beneath Lake Mead.


Crossing into Nevada, our 19th state, we decide to circumnavigate Vegas and keep a quick clip directly to the Kern, stopping only for pee breaks. I am ready to be in my tree house (OMG!!!) and Bridget is anxious to see Matt. As we have been nearing the end of our trip, despite my desire to be a sponge for each experience, I have been needing stillness. This road trip has been challenging my communicative ability as well teaching me humility. Given the amount of time we have been on the road, it isn’t surprising that annoyances occur on an hourly basis, reciprocally. But what am I going to do? Hike out? Give up? Take a bus? The small things that occasionally annoy me (and there are probably double the amount that annoy Brij) are inconsequential in comparison to the stake I have in our friendship. When I find myself quieting the petulant child in my head, I simultaneously delve into a deeper level of friendship with this free-spirit in the driver’s seat.


video

... And It Opened Up My Eyes

Some of the better signs had to be documented....
(click on the photo to enlarge)












Friday, November 26, 2010

Canyon Marvels: Bryce, Zion, and Grand



After waking to chatty tourists snapping cameras around us, we blast the heat on our way to the trailhead, still wearing our sleeping bags. Bryce Canyon National Park boasts complex formations called hoodoos. They are created by the freezing, melting and refreezing of snow and ice on limestone-covered sandstone rock. They are mesmerizing. Ab-so-lute-ly mesmerizing. We must have at least 150 photos of Bryce alone because each time I capture a view ten more follow requiring immediate finger-triggering. We hike into the canyon, the crispness of pines permeate the air. Being at a higher elevation, there are smatterings of snow still visible between the hoodoos, and of course the cool temperatures make for a nicer hike.



Zion National Park is beckoning and being only a little over an hour away from Bryce, we zoom over to get a free campsite for the night. These treasures are all over the U.S. but they’re tucked away and travelers must know whom to ask. Independent, local coffee shop baristas are usually a wealth of information about life off-the-grid. We splurge on a bottle of red zinfandel to drink by the Virgin River while dialoguing the many gifts we’re grateful for, our sentiments intensifying the closer the bottle comes to empty. The next day, Bridget ventures into the red cliffs of Zion for hiking bliss while I zen-out at CafĂ© Soleil working on this blog. We each have only till noon to do our own thing since we want to make it to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon by nightfall… or midnight.



Our late night arrival to the Grand Canyon National Park with the temperature pushing 30, we opt to spend another night in the car instead of entering our not-so-united states of irritability. Upon waking, we choose a hike for the day and begin our descent into the crevasse of billions of years of geologic history written into layers of rock. My most humbling experience on this trip is hiking back up to the South Rim after a two-hour walk down. I consume the wonder with every step. Each plant demands my respect while the defined layers of evolution in the rock whisper that I have much to learn. Although the man-made stairs continue to revert my focus to the task at hand, returning to civilization is not my priority. Incredible, breathtaking, spectacular and magnificent all combined together and intensified to their greatest degree of splendor, can still not adequately describe the glory that is the Grand Canyon.

National Park-ing Day




Our day, beginning with the Arches argument, is packed with multiple National Parks spanning from Utah to Colorado to Arizona and back to Utah. A banquette of canyon blanketed with cacti and sagebrush ushers us to Mesa Verde National Park where we commune with ruins the Anasazi left behind in their mysterious disappearance 700 years ago. We lunch on our staple wrap of avocado, cilantro, spinach, hummus, and cucumber as the wind whips our faces on a cliff overlooking the four surrounding states, though we can’t decipher where one begins and another ends.

It’s just a short drive to Four Corners National Monument where we find a “closed” sign. Since there’s controversy over whether the monument is actually on the four corners, we figure our presence counts. Just for good measure we perform headstands for the other disappointed travelers and flip off the gated institution for wasting our gas. We peel out, meeting more high winds that attempt to rob us of valuables from the backseat as offerings to the desert gods. I unbuckle to adjust the load in perfect time for a state trooper, from which state I couldn’t tell you, to witness my heroic efforts. Anxiety ensues as his lights flash behind us, but thankfully the sweet officer takes pity on two organizationally challenged east coasters and offers us a warning.

We drive over Glen Canyon Dam, watching sand being swept into wave-patterns along the highway as we weave toward Bryce Canyon National Park. Around nine pm and 8,000 feet, we embark on a steep, winding road anticipating a campground twelve miles and 1500 vertical feet away…
Still Anticipating…
STILL ANTICIPATING…
Where is that damn campground?!
It seems that the scale on Rand McNally’s Atlas is slightly off; or maybe we are just exhausted. After an hour and a half search for the fabled campground at Bryce, we bag the idea for a 30-degree-night in the convertible.

Warning: Driving Causes Emotional Carnage





It’s 5:30 am on day… oh… 40 of our road trip and we are waking to catch the rising sun peep through the Arches outside Moab, Utah.
“Can you please roll that yoga mat a little tighter,” I squeeze through my cranky lips.
The roll of Bridget’s eyes is not invisible under her head lamp patched with hot pink duct tape.
“Why is she packing the car like that? Why is this taking so long? How does she expect me to know where her things are… why should I?” I realize my emotions are hi-jacking my brain and that means one thing: I need time alone.
Departing from Windows Arches after the sun’s performance, I reveal my emotional state to Bridget.
“Yes. You do,” she replies, sparing no candor.
Now, anyone who knows me can already sense the heat of anger bursting through my body. “Abbie, you’re losing it. Don’t blow up. Calm down,” grown-up Abbie attempts to assuage child-Abbie’s tantrum.
“Bridget, when I tell you what I need, how about you just say ‘okay’ instead of telling me what YOU think I need!”
“Well, I don’t like that you take your morning grumpiness out on me,” Bridget retorts.
“Well, I don’t like that you lose your things and then ask me about them in an accusatory tone!” My eyes are growing to be the size of saucers from one of my childhood cartoons.
“I don’t even know what you’re talking about,” Bridget deflects.
“Oh, great. Well, I’ll point it out next time you do it,” I offer, ever so graciously.
“Fine. I don’t agree with you. Stop trying to get me to agree with you!!!”

We tether frustrations for a half hour, driving further into Arches National Park and trying desperately to enjoy millions-of-years-old geologic formations despite our highway-induced blowout. Let me reiterate that it’s six am, only days away from the end of a five-week-long road trip. Bridget is one of my favorite friends to fight with because both of us want it to be over as fast and healthily as possible. By eight, we are sipping Starbucks on our way to Mesa Verde, already laughing, anticipating this to be one of the funniest stories from our trip.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Trivia Answers



1. What is the greatest number of parks and monuments visited in one day?
b. 4
***Arches, Mesa Verde, Four Corners and Bryce Canyon (technicality… we were on the premises)

2. Which animal(s) did we almost hit at 60 mph in Utah?
a. deer
***The thing leaped from a ditch and came within a foot from being road kill.

3. In which states did we NOT get pulled over?
e. none of the above (pulled over in all three: Alabama, Louisiana and Arizona)
***Note to all out of state drivers: be paranoid. Be very, very paranoid.



4. What is the correct number of consecutive drinking hours in Nashville?
d. 14
***Hey… at least it wasn’t 16!

5. What is the greatest stretch of days without a shower?
b. 6
***So disgusting, I know…

6. What is our favorite stretch of road?
e. all of the above
***Don’t travel on interstates… you’ll miss the country.



7. Which rivers did we almost raft? (Had gear on and ready to go…)
d. Nolichucky and Arkansas
***Stories for another day.

8. Which tree did we not see on our trip?
c. Birch
***Anyone know where to find a Birch tree?

9. What was the most unique instrument we saw being played?
e. all of the above (washtub, hand saw, washboard and accordion)

10. How many states (by the end) will we have gone through?
b. 20
***New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia, Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, New Mexico, Colorado, Utah, Arizona, Nevada and California. (21 if you count New York!)

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Layover Trivia




1. What is the greatest number of parks and monuments visited in one day?
a. 2
b. 4
c. 3
d. 1
e. none of the above
2. Which animal(s) did we almost hit at 60 mph in Utah?
a. deer
b. prairie dog
c. rabbit
d. a and b
e. b and c
3. In which states did we NOT get pulled over?
a. Alabama
b. Louisiana
c. Arizona
d. all of the above
e. none of the above



4. What is the correct number of consecutive drinking hours in Nashville?
a. 3
b. 7
c. 11
d. 14
e. 16
5. What is the greatest stretch of days without a shower?
a. 4
b. 6
c. 2
d. 8
e. 7
6. What is our favorite stretch of road?
a. Alternate 89 Scenic Byway through Arizona
b. I-70 through western Colorado
c. Scenic Byway 128 to Moab, Utah
d. Highway 68 between Santa Fe and Taos, New Mexico
e. all of the above



7. Which rivers did we almost raft? (Had gear on and ready to go…)
a. Nolichucky and Colorado
b. Rio Grande and Arkansas
c. Chattahoochee and Colorado
d. Nolichucky and Arkansas
e. all of the above

8. Which tree did we not see on our trip?
a. Spruce Pine
b. Dogwood
c. Birch
d. Willow
e. Oak
9. What was the most unique instrument we saw being played?
a. washtub
b. hand saw
c. washboard
d. accordion
e. all of the above
10. How many states (by the end) will we have gone through?
a. 14
b. 20
c. 19
d. 17
e. 15

Spiders And Tigers And Colorado, Oh My!



The tiger’s head morphs into a giant spider and it shrieks through the fangs of a tiger. I awake, rattled and breathing heavily. I bring my hand to my chest in an attempt to soothe from the nightmare and shake the cobwebs out of my head while freezing in my not-so-40-degree sleeping bag.

Later that morning we embark on our hike through Temple Canyon with Bridget’s friend Willie. I’m hoping that the freakishly terrifying animal from my sleep isn’t a premonition of wildlife we’ll meet on the trail. After fording Grape Creek, the red rock scramble opens up into a 100-foot oval carved by water and wind. Thank you Mother Earth for the hand and foot holds that allow us to experience the inside of this masterpiece of nature. Bridget and I feel like queens surveying our land while Willie searches for the most challenging ways to traverse the crumbling rock around us. On an out-and-back hike, the "back" part seems so go much quicker; we maneuver through Cholo cacti toward the trailhead without any run-ins with tiger-spiders. (Whew!)



Our next stop is Longmont, Colorado to visit my friend Leah who emotionally rafted a class five part of my life five years ago- chemotherapy and radiation. Brij and I make an exception to use interstates to get to Leah's since we'd like to get there in time for dinner. We are introduced to Gwen, her darling of a daughter that I immediately fall in love with. Being in her presence, I recall that time of my life so vividly and with gratitude for the opportunity to be here, seeing her future in her daughter’s eyes. Maybe the terrifying tiger-spider actually represents represents the fierce feminine spirit that rages through Leah, Bridget and Gwen. Maybe it wasn’t scary omen, but one of love and rejuvenation.

Friday, May 21, 2010

ADD Flares In New Mexico



“Oh fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck, FUCK!” I knew I’d love Eileen long before I met her, but this expression of her frustration solidified my certainty. We take the highway the opposite direction of the house and her response is the ultimate validation; I can’t think of a better way of expressing how I feel about wrong turns. An hour later we arrive at their exquisite adobe home where we are greeted with hugs, kisses and “It’s great to meet you.”

They suggest we shop The Plaza, browse the galleries on Canyon Road, visit Museum Hill and sample Cowgirl's margaritas. We begin at The Plaza and browse southwestern boutiques; sadly, the only thing we can afford is a peanut butter filled truffle covered with chili infused chocolate. We savor the treat breezing through a hall of necklaces handmade from turquoise, silver and gemstones guarded by their Native American crafters at the Palace of Governors. My curiosity is so piqued by their history of hardship that I’m tongue-tied and questions I want to ask fade like background into the red rock walls.

Arriving at Museum Hill shortly afterward, New Mexican margaritas creep into our minds and cause us to abandon exquisite art for recommendation number three: Cowgirl. Butternut squash casserole is the perfect accoutrement to happy hour margaritas and O-M-G… if I had ten thumbs, I’d put them all up for that delectable dish.

We plan to stop at Roy's favorite spa in Ojo Caliente on our way to Taos, but we accidentally take the scenic route. Although chasing the mirage through the canyon was well worth the omission of the spas, I’d like to return to Santa Fe when my attention span is longer than five minutes for anything except prickly pear margaritas.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Big Spoon and Other Texan Stories


An arm wrestling contest ensues after bidding farewell to friends and a prolonged match between She and I continues. Our eyes are flirting, hands tangling. We smile mischievously. I push her arm toward the table until I hear, “Do you want this to end, Abbie?”
I ease off and my face lights up.

Bridget grants me the extra day that I beg to spend soaking in Her intriguing world. She and I create memories of silliness, begin to learn each other, hike Enchanted Rock, share stories, throw a ball for Her pup, steal glances and sip Lone Star around a pickin’ circle in Luckenbach. I am swept up by this Texas tornado. She stands next to Cypress Creek and it reflects her radiance while her laughter reverberates through my body. She’s leaving an imprint of her spirit on my being.

It’s time to rip off the band-aid. She heads to work and Bridget and I rig the car to flip once again. I inhale and close my eyes, knowing that I’ll see this cabin again soon. I leave a Hansel and Gretel trail of intention and emotion scribbled on scraps of paper as we drive toward Guadalupe Peak. Wind tousles my hair and I beam thinking about her flirtatious smile during that arm wrestling match. No, Erin… it’s not over.

Comida Y Bebidas, Tejas


Bridget and I decide to go in our own directions in Texas since I need to reconnect with my past and she is set to meet Matt’s friends, family and family of friends.

Donnie and I exchange gay stories over Belgian trippels and waffle fries at the Flying Saucer. Melinda and I reminisce over a margarita lunch about the rattling off ingredients of the Yvette Sauce to hungry patrons fifty times each night before racing out of work to get plastered and play pool. Later, Lauren and Erica add conversational flavor to our Tex-Mex dinner with gossip about fellow 2000 Madison graduates, Lauren’s preparation for motherhood and Erica’s responsibilities of sainthood.

BAM! Bella decides to bail on the world of newspapers for a long weekend to frolic with me and mutual friends in Tejas. Thank you, thank you, to my sister who drops everything to be where she is needed. We stay with our friends, Laura and Lori in San Antonio who lift us with laughter and fix scrumptious food.

Erin and Jennie drive from Wimberley to swoop us into a world of more margaritas, Mexican food and a trip to H-E-B before we return to Wimberley for a party in a cabin on Cypress Creek. Laura and Lori drive up and micro-manage the grilling of chicken while I chop mint and carve mangoes. Wine flows like the Cypress while Jennie and Bella catch up on life between chapters three and four of “How To Become A Lesbian,” coached by Erin and I…

Thursday, May 6, 2010

N'awlins: Beyond Just Hurricanes

“It’s back. It’s totally back.” Like Katrina never happened, the French Quarter hops with hurricane hubs and Cajun cuisine while beads are tossed by women in lace from balconies. We meet Chad, the crawfish boiler at Yo’ Mama, who drives us to Cooter Brown’s, a local beer joint away from the debauchery of the French Quarter. He reveals his account of Katrina: the 14-hour evacuation to Mississippi, returning to rubble, gratitude for the kindness of compassionates and rebuilding in the aftermath.

We frolic amidst neon signs, eat our way across the Quarter, tap the ever-flowing booze and take full advantage of that legal-to-drink-on-the-street law. It’s time to check out after a night of piano renditions of Robert Earl’s “Gringo Honeymoon” and Sir Mix-A-Lot’s “Baby Got Back” at Pat O’Brien’s. On our way out, we bump into gregarious Karla, immediately suggesting we visit the Ninth Ward before heading out of town.
“We were going to head over there but have been repeatedly warned that it’s too dangerous,” Bridget informs.
Karla chuckles, “Just by folks that are afraid of black people.”

Past the Quarter, shabbiness creeps in on the faces of pink, blue, green houses; crossing over the bridge our trepidation is palpable. We drive a street where houses used to be crammed so close together you could’ve heard Chad making dinner next door. They’re now expanses of overgrown grass sprinkled with empty foundations. Intermittent structures resembling homes are missing roofs, walls of brick are caved in and trees protrude from bedrooms. The air is thick with shrieks of the past’s horror and a montage of Karla’s recollections flash through my mind. “No trash pick up for a year... A nightfall curfew enforced by soldiers brought back from Iraq still programmed to shoot at will... And imagine being escorted to your home, ordered not to touch anything and the next time you return it more closely resembles piles of wood on cement than a home.”

Even five years after the storm, the booms of devastation render us silent. A man rolls down the window next to us seeing my pensive look and gleams a smile, “Life ain’t that bad!”
I blink back tears I have been fighting all day so not to scare the poor man and embrace the gratitude that electrocutes me . Hopeful, I reply, “It sure ain’t.”

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Gettin’ Juked in Clarksdale, Mississippi



I drive while Bridget keeps me supplied with coffee and Frou Frou serenades beneath a night freckled with stars toward Robert Johnson’s Crossroads. Upon arrival we discover that if by “campground” the map meant “unused train track and parking lot,” then we would be at our destination. Being hobos at ten p.m. in a foreign town with creepsters lurking doesn’t instill confidence in safety. Despite the lack of vacancy at our contingency, the Shack Up Inn, we drive to the property to attempt negotiations to pitch a tent. The Inn was once a cotton plantation, complete with a gin and slave homes which have been converted to cozy cabins. On the porch of one, we meet bearded heroes Grandpa Goose and Crazy Deano, who throw down two couches, showers and Chivas Reserve… in essence, save our lives.

A welcome surprise for the weekend is the Juke Joint Festival- a blues blowout that draws 90-year-old musicians from next door as well as up-and-comers from Australia. During a breakfast of sweet tea, grits and smoke billowing under fluorescent lights at Delta Amusement, we meet Puddin’; he performs dice and card magic with hands weathered by struggle in the South. Afterward, we are mesmerized by Stan Street’s inhales and exhales combined with melodic mouth movement; I never knew the harmonica could be sexy! And by noon we have a corps of Mississippi friends with whom we exchange stories, drink Southern Pecan beer, listen to passionate blues tunes and watch monkeys riding dogs while herding sheep. (Real monkeys, real dogs, real sheep…. Seriously.)

In small-town Mississippi, visitors are old friends they’ve never met welcomed by a wave on the highway, a bed to sleep in or life stories.
I’ll miss you, Mississippi.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Sweet Home Georgia


Visiting Bridget’s family in Georgia is a respite from the uncertainties that create excitement while traveling but also make me long for comfort and stability. I’m struggling to find a balance between accurately capturing the heaps of kindness we encounter without rambling for pages about how I’m falling in love with each member of the fam. (Or maybe it’s the bomber margaritas that JP is feeding me through an IV!)

I meet Matriarch Sally, a hospitality hummingbird making an array of dips with representation from at least five different countries while also baking cookies for a household of ravenous college boys. Matriarch Julie is a steel magnolia who slices strawberries while rattling off kid’s schedules between suggesting activities for us. Uncle Pete and Uncle Tom regale us with stories about Bridget’s Dad, Sean, as a 20-something and the “remember-when’s” of family vacations. Morgan keeps us healthy with laughter with his well-timed sarcasm and one-liners. Ryan impresses with his La Crosse skills blowing out the opposing team 19 to 1! Camryn and Aislin perform Slinky-like back handsprings and ensure that we are never deficient with hugs. Shea kept earnest presence with us and may have convinced Aunt Julie to let her move to California with Bridget. Kayla and Bryn drive hours between meetings and activities just to be able to see us for a few. Sean whisks us off to Tennessee for a day in a log cabin by Lake Cherokee. JP and Nick introduce us to Athens nightlife at a bar where we paint each other with neon crayons, fashion necklaces from pipe cleaners and dance until they kick us out. JP wakes us the next morning with orange juice in bed while Nick is busy in the kitchen making custom omelets.

Although they offered us everything but their first born children, the best part of the trip was catching a small glimpse of the lives of a few people who enrich the world with their spirits. (If you’re reading this, I hope to see you on the Kern in June!)

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Roaming The Carolinas

“You’re going to have to detour an hour and a half around I-40 because of a rockslide,” Dan, our hostel angel warns. We opt for a scenic byway detour tucked in the Great Smokies; it runs through a vortex of disturbances. A truck doing 80 in a 55 zone passes us on the double yellow; ten minutes later, the truck is a permanent addition to a cliff. (Hope you’re okay, sir.) Shortly afterward, a crack-head pulls into a gas station behind us after running another driver into a ditch and queries us about directions with his pants unzipped. We reply with screeching tire marks. Fast forward to Asheville, North Carolina. PHEW!!!

We pause between purchasing yoga mats for each other and wandering to soak up the energy of dancers and a drum circle. A girl swooshes in tie-dye next to a purple-clad hula-hooper while a lad in tatters trips out with his eyes closed, hands swaying. Clark takes us out for Wedge Beer, Ruby Slippers jazz band and Portobello Burgers. We hear a young man playing a saw with a violin bow as we head out of town.

Driving through a myriad of confederate flags on our way to Greenville, South Carolina, we are in dire need of a life maintenance day. Sue overlooks that we are dirty hobos and makes us at home in her grand loft. We scrub our bodies and clothes, drink sangria (why are we always drinking?!) and cook stuffed peppers together. We are rejuvenated. All systems go for Georgia!

Another Round, TN 37201



Nashville equals debauchery. We start at one in the afternoon with a marathon of beer and shots. Our beloved bartender, Sammie, hooks us on locally brewed Dos Perros and Yazoo Wheat while we sketch “Manhattan Bitches” on dollars that we add to the mezcla of tacky decorations above the grease trap. Our beer workout makes us ravenous for pounds of fried pickles, pulled pork and brisket. (P.S. Beer workouts are outnumbering our runs at this point.) All the pickles killing our buzz prompt us to shoot innumerous amounts of Jameson next to our 90-year-old friend “Anal,” –I’m not even joking… that’s his name. Conversations flow like Yazoo with our other new friend Scott who gives us a shot of purple stuff… oh God… and we buy another round of Jameson for the closeted-rocker musicians. I drunkenly take notes about our evening that I desperately want to remember such as, “Bridget’s escape pauses at the risk of being groupies…” Translation, anyone? After we visit every bar downtown, another new friend, Jes, drives us to “REAL” Nashville, on the east side where we encounter a wash tub player (a wash tub with a stick coming out of it.) Fiddlers, guitarists, bassists, cellists, and harmonica players are feeding off each others’ musical genius. We exalt their talents and drink more Dos Perros. Cheers, Nashville!