My Six-Month Hippie Road Trip (Part 03)

Get Caught Up First   Part 01: Burning Flipside & How It Started     Part 02: Wakarusa & Graceland

Nashville, Tennessee
As we approached downtown, traffic was at a standstill”

Arriving in Nashville, Tennessee, we actually had a family waiting to take us in. Max’s godparents live on a large piece of property off 12th avenue, just south of downtown. They have not one but two houses on the lot, with the second one being off-set behind the first and much smaller, like a guest house. This house became home to us derelicts for the next eight or nine days (minus the five days in the middle for Bonnaroo Th-M). We posted up there for a couple days, some relaxing and resting around the house, others shopping and drinking downtown while enjoying the 6th Annual CMT Country Music Festival.

Nashville, Tennessee
Absolutely everywhere and everything was packed

It was actually a complete surprise to use that this festival was going on. None of us listen to country, we had no idea. It just timed perfectly, so we went with it. For those of you have have never been to the CMT Country Music Festival (which I am guessing is probably just about every single person reading this), it is kinda of like SXSW in Austin, TX — only all country. Hordes of bands and performers arrive in town and are playing at just every venue, restaurant, park, and open stage in town, and while plenty of the shows are free, the best ones require you to have a pre-purchased event pass to get in.

Nashville, Tennessee
Those passes around everyone's neck are what gets you into the top-tier shows

And while I am not a fan of country, never have been and probably never will be, it was fun to listen to something different for a few days. Plus it seems like most people were performing what I would call “good country,” versus a lot of that whiny B.S. “my girl left me and my pickup died”-type country music.

Road Trip: Nashville, Tennessee
The derelicts have descended on Broadway!

The second day out weather was great. We started off with a few of us going back downtown to do some shopping and catch a late lunch.

Nashville, Tennessee
Posing with some of Nashville's finest
Road Trip: Nashville, Tennessee
Bought a nice new hat on Broadway... Lost it two months later in NYC
Nashville, Tennessee
I had to stop and do a goofy pose with the King

After an hour or two of visiting every shop and tent selling items on Broadway, we decided to stop at Broadway Brewhouse Downtown for some food. We also started getting drunk there. Every heard of a tough man shot? It is when you snort the salt, shoot the tequila, and then chase it by squirting the lime juice in your eye. Definitely interestingly painful. And you have to do them in pairs, otherwise one side of your face is burning but not the other (and that feels awkward). Check out the video.

After about an hour eating and drinking inside the restaurant, we paid our tab and were just barely walking towards the door when suddenly, out of nowhere, it began to pour and thunder. Within mere minutes the streets and sidewalks were flooded and people everywhere had taken shelter inside the Broadway businesses.

The following four pictures, according to the meta data, were all taken within a span of four minutes. Look just how quickly that water rises and overtakes not only the sidewalk but also the lower couple inches of the building. Also notice the blue hoses running along the curbs. We had noticed them all along Broadway and although they look temporary, in places they were actually paved over. The whole time we were wondering why they were there too… How quickly we learned.

Nashville, Tennesse
It went from a cloudless sky blue to pouring in mere minutes

Nashville, Tennesse
Looking east on Broadway

Nashville, Tennesse
I've seen many storms come out of nowhere in many different places, but never expected it in Nashville during June. Live and learn.

Road Trip: Nashville, Tennesse
Four minutes. Look how fast that water rose -- in a modern capital city -- in literally only four minutes!

So for the next 20 minutes we stay inside the restaurant and posted up at the bar, ordering a few more drinks and enjoying the sudden cold breeze whipping through the establishment. And then, just as suddenly as it had appeared, it disappeared, and quickly thereafter so too did the water. But since we had all gotten a good buzz already, we decided to start bar-hopping down Broadway.

Nashville, Tennessee
Current drinking destination: Hard Rock Cafe. Ever had a pickleback?

The other thing we were drinking besides tough man shots were Picklebacks. Never heard of a Pickleback either? Don’t worry, you are not the only one. As the story goes, it was discovered at Burning Man 2009 when supplies were running low. What you do is take a full shot of whiskey, pretty much any type of whiskey (although obviously not Scotch or anything), and then chase it (i.e. “back it”) with a sip of pickle juice — and I’m talking just a sip, 1/10th – 1/20th of a shot, it does not take much.

Because they are an acid and a base they cancel each other out and immediately any taste of whiskey is gone, you are just left with the faintest taste of pickles in your mouth. I don’t even like pickles but I love Picklebacks!

We did these at every festival, starting with Wakarusa — I was actually greeted at 8am with them one day. I refused but the bottle and cup of pickle juice went all the way around the circle and back to me with everyone loving it, so I thought “What the hell, can’t be too bad!” Wow, I tell you, I probably did 1,000 picklebacks over the next six months. It became a routine for me to ask bars / restaurants — before even ordering my first drink — do you guys serve pickles here? Because if they didn’t have a fresh tub of pickles from which to obtain the necessary juice, well then obviously

Nashville, Tennessee
Don't remember what bar this was but should not be that hard to figure out, not like Nashville has a big downtown...
Nashville, Tennessee
How many faces do you see? How many can you name?
Nashville, Tennessee
Picklebacks @ The Whiskey Kitchen. On the way back to the house we drunkenly pulled into this place just because of the name and have a few more shots.

Yeah, the pictures pretty much continue like that. Lot of picklebackin’ and a lot of tough man shots but absolutely fantastic times. And then it came time for Bonnaroo Music Festival, which was being held about Manchester, Tennessee, not far southeast of Nashville. On Wednesday, the night before the start of the fest, we went to what is supposedly the only liquor warehouse in Nashville, Frugal MacDoogal’s, and stocked up so we could continue drinking for free as well as selling drinks for gas money and expenses along the road.

Behold... The Liquor Warehouse of Nashville, Tennessee!
Derelicts at the entrance
I don't remember how many hundreds of dollars we spent all together...

...but it was enough to fill the bed of a pickup truck.

Departing for Bonnaroo!

Not-as-early-as-planned Thursday morning, after a kick-ass homemade breakfast by Max’s godmother, we loaded up the Future bus and headed down I24 on what should have been a short trip to Manchester. Unfortunately, the Bonnaroo traffic made what should have been less than an hours drive a 40-mile standstill. Luckily thanks to our kickass bus we just bypassed everyone until we were about 1,000 feet from the entrance, at which point we cut in line. But no worries, we bribed the people we cut in front of by having the girls jump out with a tray of jell-o shots and cheers of “Woo-hoo, we’re here! Bonnaroo!”

It worked perfectly!

Don't know what happened but sucks for that trucker
Signs, signs, everywhere a sign...
That is us passing everyone waiting in line for 30+ miles one direction, then hitting the u-turn and passing another 10 miles of the cars you see on the left. Dirty, but had to be done.

After that it took less than 20 minutes for us to make it past security and begin hunting for a parking spot.

Luckily we all had Bonnaroo tickets, so no need to smuggle anyone in the deep dark cavities of the the Future bus 😉

They spent 10 mins interviewing Rummel to get our story...

I just noticed I have 384 pictures from Bonnaroo that are in the “good” folder and this post is already this long. May have been a little presumptuous of me to think I could adequately cover Nashville, the Country Music Festival, and Bonnaroo Music Festival all in one blog post. I’ll post a gallery of Bonnaroo pictures after this post but for now I will only mention the most interesting part of the whole weekend.

...and then filmed a couple mins of footage on the other side of the bus, of the DJs making music and the wildly dancing crowd.

Thursday afternoon, as things were just getting rolling, a news crew came around and asked to interview us. Rummell was the interviewee, but a bunch of us made it in the shots and the clip aired that night on at least the Nashville news — not sure about any other central Tennessee channels. I even ended up meeting one guy Friday night whom had seen the clip Thursday night while packing for the fest.

Sadly, there was at least one death from heat exhaustion at Bonnaroo that year. On Sunday night when the Nashville news aired a segment about people partying too hard and suffering from heat exhaustion, they re-used the footage of people wildly dancing in front of the Future bus while they did the voice-over. Tsk tsk tsk, just like a news group, using their footage for good or bad, whatever fits their story of the day…

The shows were good, just crowded

So many good times!

We always had huge crowds at our bus

Monday afternoon... The aftermath of Bonnaroo...

At Bonnaroo we had two more join on group, bringing the total to 14, but before even making it back to Nashville we had lost several people to the airport. After saying our goodbyes, the remaining eight of us returned to the house off 12th Avenue for another couple days of partying Nashville style By this time the Country Music Festival had packed up and left town, so we were free to see how the Nashville downtown is on normal weeknights. And we were able to go honky-tonkin’ on Broadway! You just have not truly experienced Nashville until you’ve done that. As a matter of fact, my fridge still has a bumper sticker that reads “I was honky-tonkin’ on Broadway in Nashville!”

adventures will continue tomorrow with Chapter Four: DexFest, the Great Smoky Mountains, and Asheville, North Carolina. I will leave you with some closing post-Bonnaroo pictures from our final couple days in Nashville. (Or you can skip straight to the comments)

Road Trip: Bonnaroo
All aboard! Leaving Bonnaroo...

Road Trip: Bonnaroo
We chilled in hippie comfort aboard the Future bus

Saying our goodbyes at the Nashville airport
And then immediately back to downtown Nashville

Most random sign ever. Found in Nashville's public parking garage downtown.

Gettin' ready for some honky-tonkin'

This is Broadway, downtown Nashville

Can you name this Nashville bar?


What Was Your Favorite Road Trip>

Have you been to Nashville before?

What did you think, did you like it? Share your comments below.

  Part 2: Wakarusa & GracelandPart 4: DexFest Cosmic Convergence  

  This old adventure was fun but you should see the wild new adventures I’m getting myself into and my   travel videos. Learn how to have more rewarding travel adventures with my HoliDaze Offbeat Travel Guides and monthly offbeat newsletter:

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About Derek Freal

"Some people eat, others try therapy. I travel."   Cultural enthusiast. Adrenaline junkie. Eater of strange foods. Chasing unique and offbeat adventures around the world since 2008. Derek loves going to new destinations where he does not speak a word of the local language and must communicate with hand gestures, or places where he is forced to squat awkwardly to poo -- supposedly its healthier and more efficient. For more information (about Derek, not squat pooing) including popular posts and videos, check out his bio.

3 thoughts on “My Six-Month Hippie Road Trip (Part 03)”

    • Yes, every once in a while you come across a place that is just so beyond your wildest expectations you’re taken aback and almost wonder if you should question some of your other preconceived notions of other lands not yet visited… That is why I travel 😉


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