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On the way to Lexington we stopped in Nashville. It seems like every time we play Nashville, it's February and two degrees outside and raining. I've been through the city several times, but have never been down the main drag. This time I finally got to see Nashville!


Oh wait, I'm getting ahead of myself. Before exploring the strip, we had a wonderful dinner at Whiskey Kitchen! We'd been here earlier this year and the food was AMAZING. Today it was just as good! We started off with calamari. This isn't freezer squid, it's squid steaks cut into thick slices, hand-battered, and fried alongside spicy pickles. Tender and delicious. Best fried calamari ever.


Jameson got seared tuna (I should have taken a pic because it was beautiful) while I went the unhealthy route and got hot chicken and chipotle mac n cheese! The chicken was tender and hot enough to make me sweat. The mac n cheese killed the flames nicely. Thanks again Whiskey Kitchen for the above-and-beyond eats!



THEN we went to the strip, to walk our dinner off. One of our first stops was a record store that had been full of all kinds of vintage vinyl the last time Jameson had been there. Unfortunately now it's been cleaned out, and mostly houses country CDs and vinyl box sets. What a shame. As we continued down the street we noticed that although there weren't a lot of people out, there was a LOT of live music, so much that in the street it just sounded like a wash of sound. Pretty much every bar had a live band. In some ways that's awesome, and in other ways it might show how competitive it is to be a musician in Nashville.

Before going to our hotel, Jameson drove me down the REAL "music row", where all of the recording studio offices are. We saw the offices of RCA, Warner, BMG, and many others. But many of the buildings were for lease or sale, and new condos were springing up in this historic place where musicians used to go to be made or broken. It was amazing to see, and kind of sad, because the music industry just doesn't work that way any more.


Anyway, I was very happy to finally see Nashville :)
That night we stayed at Hotel Preston, a unique hotel that Jameson found outside the city. The decor was really cool! It was a funky change from the normal chain hotels. We had a great stay here...look for this hotel if you're in the area!

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We drove to Chattanooga and spent the night. The next day we went to Bluewater Grille for lunch (we remembered it from two years ago). After a delicious meal we visited the candy store across the street, just because we could. This particular store specializes in weird sodas. Flavors ranged from the normal root/ginger/butter beer and fruit flavors to the bizarre and sometimes downright gross. Ranch dressing? Gravy? Sweet corn? Eew!

Jameson was brave and got the PB&J soda. He has yet to try it. I got an almond-flavored one and will check it out sometime this week.

Then we drove to Nashville. After checking into the hotel we decided to do some looking around. First stop, Gruhn Guitars to check out some amazing and rare instruments! I don't know much about guitars, but this was a very impressive collection. Jameson really enjoyed looking at them and playing a few.



After poking around in a nearby antique mall, we decided to get dinner at the highly recommended Hattie B's. I was skeptical that fried chicken could be anything but plain ol' chicken...but this was something special! You choose your chicken portion and the heat level you want. Neither of us were brave enough for "Shut the cluck up" spice, but we both enjoyed the "medium" heat. The chicken was SO good, juicy and tender. The sides were delicious as well, especially the black eyed pea salad. Don't leave Nashville without stopping in for a bite!



We were both pretty tired, so decided to just enjoy the hotel that night. Just as we were falling asleep we got a call from Rebecca (wardrobe) who lives on our car. Apparently the train came to an emergency stop, causing a lot of things to go flying around in everyone's rooms. Soon after, smoke started coming from Jameson's room. It turns out a bottle of (ironically) Jameson fell onto the stovetop knob, turning the burner on. A stick of deodorant fell on top of the burner and caught fire.

Fortunately we've got some quick thinkers on our car. Rebecca called train crew while Chaz (drummer) got into the fuse box and turned the power off to Jameson's room. Rebecca was kind enough to take some photos of the area around the stovetop. It's fortunate that none of the other flammable items lying around caught fire.


(photo courtesy Rebecca)

Jameson was very relieved, and thankful to everyone who helped to take care of the situation while we were traveling overland. Thank you Rebecca and Chaz, and everyone on train crew, for looking out for us. One emergency is hard enough to deal with, much less a second unexpected one. Thank you.

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The train run was really nice :)
I didn't take all that many pictures...tried to stay off the vestibule this time to help my sinus issues wind down, and I think it might've worked...? But on the first day we had a lovely sunset.



Late on Tuesday we arrived in Cincinnati. Internet signal is pretty strong there, so I was finally able to watch a preview clip from the upcoming season of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire! For those who don't know, my sister Raven is in an episode! She's the youngest contestant that's ever been on the show!!! She appears in the preview at about 00:18.


Yeah, this has nothing to do with circus. I am just so proud of her!!! I don't know how much money she won and it doesn't matter. She got on the show and had a blast. SO AWESOME :D

Anyway, we were pretty much a day late getting into town. Thursday was supposed to be a dark day but ended up being load in. Once again we are parked in the RJ Corman yard. I remember it well because the yard is literally in the parking lot of the building, and it is immaculate...no broken glass or rusty nails here! I was happy to see that the RJ Corman "museum" is complete; two years ago it was just a framework. Now it's a weird building in the middle of a parking lot...but hey, it's the unique things that attract us :)



Jameson and I went to a Kroger that we remembered; the walk was a bit further than I remembered but maybe that's just because it was very hot out. We were dripping by the time we got back to the train!

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The train run was looooong.
We were supposed to arrive on Monday night around midnight, but didn't even leave Columbus until after 6pm. We missed our window. It was a long day. In its own way that's relaxing, but still wish I could've gone outside for a bit. Instead I cleaned up my room, made a list of things to do before Mexico, and tried to create my own flavored water using mint/vanilla extracts (a horrible failure as extracts are 98% alcohol).

Old telephone poles:

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I recognized this farmhouse...we were stopped in front of it for over two hours the last time we were through. The house itself is gorgeous (not pictured) and so is the barn. The owners were out front waving to us. They have a big brown horse and a dog. I'm kind of jealous :)
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I had hoped to take Jameson for a date on Tuesday but he came down with a chest cold, poor guy. So instead I went downtown to enjoy the fine weather. I visited the Waterfront Park again (had been there with Cindy the last time we were in town).

The Ohio River.

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A statue of York, the first African American to cross the country. He was a slave, but participated fully in the Lewis and Clark expedition.
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The long-distance viewer for looking at stuff across the river. And the view through said viewer :D
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Then I went to my bank to deposit some checks and make sure they knew that I'd be going to Mexico soon. Then I went to a nearby salon to get my hair cleaned up, as there won't be another chance for haircuts until June. Then I was going to go grocery shopping, but got hungry and tired and decided to pick up dinner for Jameson and I at Panera instead.

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Another beautiful train run!
I spent a lot of time on the vestibule again :)

Crepe myrtles in bloom:



Got this really cool pic of a bridge before passing underneath.
I love how the shadow almost continues the line of the bridge.



On the second day I woke up around 9am, surprised at how dark it was.
Then I heard another train go by, and realized that we were parked in a tunnel!



Creepy cool!
Passing through a small town called La Grange, we received a very warm welcome.
The tracks run right down the town's main street!
People came out of their offices and stores, excited to see the circus train.
They lined the streets, waving, taking pictures, and shouting.
That was a pretty cool feeling!




Trainspotters:


As soon as we were spotted in Louisville, Jerome and Catfish and I walked to the nearest point of interest,
a Hooters knockoff about two miles from the train. I wasn't hungry but it was nice to get off the train and enjoy
the weather and the exercise with friends :)


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I got an 8-grain herb bread from Sunrise Bakery while in Lexington.
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Well, from the farmer's market. The bakery itself was closed that morning.
Most of it is gone already :D It's very good and smells a lot like pizza, haha.
Chewy crust and nice and fluffy inside, not too dense. Yep, like pizza!
Probably would have made good, aromatic toast too. I never toasted it but it was great with eggs.
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Lexington is awesome!
Definitely adding it to my own personal Top 10 Cities list :)


Mostly it just reminds me of Winston-Salem.
(There IS a Mellow Mushroom here after all!)


Beautiful clean streets, mix of old and new buildings, culture and class. Love it.

Before exploring downtown proper, I went in the opposite direction on Main St. and found POPS Resale, a shop featuring records, vinyl, vintage clothes, gaming systems, and turntables.
Didn't buy anything but the lo
oking was free :D


Right next door was the Meadowthorpe Antique Mall. I had a good time poking around there too; they had lots of dishware and art from "occupied Japan", and lots of WWII memorabilia.
Bought a 1970s teacup because it was cheap and made me happy :)

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The next day I explored downtown!
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So, I had a really great time here in Lexington :)

I know that frequently (ok, always) I post pictures of objects and places, but rarely of people or with people.
I'm the type of person who likes to explore during the daytime, before noon, and this often means I end up going solo.
I like finding unique things in each city we visit, and making discoveries on my own and at my own pace. Going out to bars in the evening with friends is fun too! I just don't go out at night very often, because it's not my favorite thing to do.
So for those of you who are concerned that I have no social life, please don't worry.
I'm fine! This is just who I am :)
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9/4
We got off to a bumpy start around 2am
(the train was in several pieces and needed to be reassembled).
Seems like the driver knows what he's doing...it's been a smooth ride since then :)

The power must have gone out at some point, because I woke up at "5:30am" and felt strangely well-rested.
Went back to sleep and woke up at "9:30am". It was actually NOON. Wow.

So I've lost half my day, but wouldn't have spent it very productively anyway!

(later)
I am 2 minutes into watching The Maltese Falcon, and already I love the bottom-to-top window shades, and Spade's match-lighting gizmo!! Also, these guys make trench coats sexy ;D

9/5
We are spotted in Lexington KY, right next to the National Cemetery! Definitely gonna check that out!
This was a nice train run, we had a really good driver/engineer. Highlights included deer running alongside the train, loads of beautiful wildflowers, and a raccoon picking its way between the trees. None of which I got pictures of lol.

(later)
Just got back from a walk to the grocery. There's a Kroger right down the street. As soon as we were spotted, I hopped off and started walking, but at the top of the nearest hill I looked up and saw this rolling in:



...and turned right back around :P
But about an hour later it cleared up and I was able to get to the grocery. Didn't actually NEED anything, but it was a nice walk. There's a large plaza with an antique mall and several thrift stores in that direction. Luckily our rehearsal tomorrow was pushed to 4pm, so guess where I'll be! *joy*

On Friday I'd like to check out the downtown area and possibly the college area. There's a Mellow Mushroom! And a PNC Bank! Boy, it's just like being back home!

I'm also HIGHLY allergic to some plant or mold or something in this area. Have been sneezing non-stop since we got here, and my eyes are all pinkish. No photos please! Haha.

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