Tooleing Around: Day 44

Dull, dull day.AFBE2436-A34C-4BA3-8347-3F4E373C694D

Dragging my ass big time. Coffee in the lobby then headed to Asheville, North Carolina. I had to deal with some Chase Bank credit card issues before I hit the tar. After 43 days they decided to question my charges?
I did absolutely nothing today but drive. 290 miles from Nashville to Asheville (good name for my bio). The road took me through the Smokey Mountains, connecting Tennessee to North Carolina. Not the fastest trip, hit pockets of traffic, but I’m back on the Eastern Standard clock.
Stopped at coffee shop in town to get my bearings. High Five was a crunchy spot and had great cappuccino. From there I booked in online to the Holiday Inn a few miles outside town. It’s busy here, on the edge of leaf peeping season, which is late this year. It was after eight by the time I got to the hotel.
Song well placed today Mister Blue Sky – ELO. I saw them in MSG in August, they were magnificent live. Their first time in The Garden in 40 plus years.
It seems the Biltmore Estate, the biggest privately owned home in the United States is in Asheville. Originally built by the Vanderbilt’s, who started the Staten Island Ferry, so we know who’s responsible for that. The towns also know for its micro breweries.
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Since I spent all day on my arse I went to the gym then the hotel restaurant before it closed at 10. Decent salmon. A loud ex bodybuilder was holding court for his birthday at the bar.
Tennessee based Movies to recommend: Nashville (one of Robert Altman’s best); Inherit The Wind (holds up); This is Spinal Tap (some of it); The Evil Dead (launched Sam Raimi).
Books: The Firm; The Blind Side ( book great, film overacted melodrama); The Underground Railroad.
Tonorrow I will do things.
The Tab:
Hotel: $147
Dinner: $18
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Tooleing Around: Day 43

Mine was a Country and Western filled day.
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Bumped in to Martin in the elevator looking hung over shiney. The Hickory Grill is also the breakfast room, they remove the bar. Charged me $3 for a coffee. It’s the little things.
Broadway bound, it’s the central strip in Nashville.
Found parking back down by the river and started moseying. This is definitely a party town, mid morning and live music is playing everywhere. Stopped in at the Sun Diner. The healthiest thing on the menu is bacon , egg and cheese on a bagel. I ordered the hangover flatbread WTF that is. The rock and roll in here is deafening – Joan Jett, Jerry Lee Lewis, Peter Gabriel, Fats Domino , Simple Minds – loud –  love it – could sit here all day. And great coffee.
The hangover flatbread is my greatest breakfast dish in history ever – scrambled  egg , sour cream , bacon, more bacon, extra egg and scallions on a crispy flatbread served pizza fashion . Big enough for four.
Before and After.
Then next door to the Man in Black exhibit, the one who actually did sing he shot a man in Reno. The museum for Johnny Cash, the man, the legend, is hugely popular . Though one of the all time greatest musicians, the exhibit of his acting clips taught me he was a dreadful actor. Included is a tribute to the Sun Record greats and the Million Dollar Quartet.  My favorite Cash song is, of course, his cover of Depeche Mode’s Personal Jesus. Ring of Fire is pretty good too.

Call me Crazy, but I just had to go upstairs and see the Patsy Cline museum too. And that truly has always been one of my favorite songs, on loop on 45 on the jukebox. Another fun museum,  I almost went to pieces in there.

I left the gift store a lot poorer. I couldn’t walk the line on which souvenirs to buy. Tees, keychains, mugs, books? Couldn’t make the call , so bought the lot. 

Onward to the Ryman Auditorium, the original Grande Olde Opry. Now I usually skip or skimp on the video presentations, but their display on the Ryman and Olde Opry History is really well put together, interesting and entertaining. Actually managed to be light on the cheesy. It may even have convinced me I’m actually a C&W fan underneath the Electronica facade. From there you entered and toured the Opry hall itself. The original seats are like church benches.
Nelson Eddy poster , performing at the Opry, included for dear old Mom.
Back out on Broadway , I dropped into Laylas Honkeytonk and listened to a band perform some Merle Haggard covers for a bit. They switched it up to HonkeyTonk, Truck Drivin Man. Every bar has live musicians, in the middle of the afternoon, living off tip buckets. I need to get me a dog and a pickup. I went in a few more to hear a song or two and spread a few bucks around. Paid a homeless chicken woman for a photo.
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Leaving from town I had to find an Apple store, my powecell was not charging. Wayne, the counter lad, recommended a trip to Asheville as well . He rebuilds Moog synthesizers as a hobby so we talked Krafwerk and Jan Michele Jarre and I talked Underworld. He’s a big fan, I’ve seen them play New York the past couple of years. He suggested  a couple of destinations right up my alley I will try for tomorrow.
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Scored a good seat at the Grande Ole Oprey for tonight’s line up at 9.30pm!  There are two shows every Tuesday. I went with a black and white checked shirt with black trousers and jacket. Dressy , tradition yet with a hint of Country.
Ah! The Grand Ole Opry House – think a night at Lincoln Center but a lot less teeth and a lot more beards and dungarees and hats . Joke (ish).
This is it the C&W Mecca. The GOO is on the go since 1925. GOO is a blend of modernity and nostalgia, the seats are still church pew style. There’s a five band line up tonight and I recognized one name   – The Charlie Daniels Band. You all know them!
I got a great floor seat, stage front, 16th row! Psyched! The show tonight was sponsored by Dollar General. They are running a special on adult wipes.
Tonight is Tuesday Night Opry, the show is broadcast live on 650WSM as it has been for many years,  a Nashville tradition.
There are few moments on this trip that will match getting to hear Charlie Daniels play The Devil Went Down to Georgia live at the Grand Olde Opry. The man turns 82 this month. His band were hopping live, I’ve never heard fiddle like it.
Do you know the difference between a violin and a fiddle ? Attitude.
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Craig Morgan, obviously a huge crowd favorite, celebrated his 10th Anniversary as an Opry inductee member, on the stage tonight. It seems one of his big hits is called Redneck Yacht Club, I was possibly the only person didn’t know the lyrics. He debuted his new song I Need A Bar at the event, he’s a fantastic performer. The song before that dealt with drinking whiskey excessively, though he hates the taste. Craig might consider going to a meeting.
The last act was some pop teeny, platinum album seller, Kelsea Ballerini. Teeny C&W sounds just like Teeny Pop. Baby & Crazy rhymed a lot , I expected Fire & Desire soon after. She finished with Make the World Go Away, an old standard. That worked . She was not my cup up tea.
Bill Anderson & Luke Combs also performed.
The GOO was a load of fun.
The Bills:
Hotel: $160
Gas: $38
Dinner: $7

Tooleing Around: Day 42

I’m in Nashville, Tennessee.FC3352C1-418E-48C1-82A3-AA7A93E5DCB9

Today was a driving day. Not much to report.

We had lunch at the Kingside Diner. There seems to be a big chess association in this part of town. Best Diner coffee of the trip and your given a full big pot. It’s roasted locally I was told and lovely biscuits and sausages gravy, for those keeping score.
Learned that a local big wig property owners is a big chess enthusiast and a major donor to the Chess cause.  The Chess Club of St. Louis is next door and the Chess Museum is across the street.
We crossed from the diner and visited the three story chess museum with its variety of exhibits.
Ground floor was an exhibit by Peter Mannion, a local artist. He works in paper, felt , paint and plaster. You could touch if you liked. The pieces felt like the giant cow hair ball. Nice.
Second floor is an exhibit by legendary celebrity photographer , Harry Benson, with a concentration on the time he spent with Bobby Fischer in 71/72. Benson, now 89, was here for the exhibit opening last week. The subject matter was diverse. Benson had shot everyone from Jack Nicholson , to Michael Jackson, to ex Presidents to my favorite piece, Ian Fleming on the beach in Jamica. We had once looked in to renting Goldeneye for one of my big birthdays.
Third floor, is the Chess hall of fame. St Louis is considered the chess capital of the USA. All checkered decor. They have a great gift store, so I bought more stuff.
It really is a nice gallery. Marge, the guardian of the exhibit, followed us floor to floor to make sure we did no damage. Stacey snagged a crystal Rook while I charmed and distracted young Margie with fascinating stories of my cross country adventure and my fairytale childhood in Ireland.
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We took a bit of stroll around the area and found the Left Bank Bookstore. I think the girl on the register had an Adam’s apple. Bought a 70s set Californian coming of age surf novel I absolutely needed.
I dropped Wifey off at the airport at three and got on my way. We’d had a great weekend in St. Louis but don’t feel the need to return.
Stopping for petrol, I observed a number of elderly people disappearing behind this door inside the gas station for their one arm bandit action. Odd.
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Out on the road tonight, I saw a dead head sticker on a Cadillac . 268 miles from St. Louis , across Illinois and Kentucky and now I’m in Nashville , Tennessee.
I pulled in to a spot near the river to find a hotel online and a significant firework display started off across the way. I felt very welcome.
I booked a room at the Sheraton in Musictown, a few miles outside of the city. It’s a good sized hotel, nearer the airport.
Downstairs for dinner, The Hickory Grill is as soul less as an airport lounge. But they served until midnight. I ordered the meatloaf and mashed potato . It reminded me of my Granny’s. She was a terrible cook.
Bar staff were all very nice though, catering to a gaggle of Brits in the corner  getting drunk on Baileys, of all beverages. The bartender cut off the Limeys. He would serve them beer but no more Double Baileys . The argument was hilarious. These boys want their Baileys!
Im finished my good. They are still arguing about the Baileys. Voices are being raised, stools scraped back –  “ I want me Baileys! I want me Baileys!”
Thirty minutes later, the boys stormed/were kicked out and I started a conversation with Martin and Michael at the bar.
By coincidence they were both in for seperate conferences but hailed from within a mile of one another in Cleveland.  They opted for Jameson’s and beer on last call and I chatted with them an hour or so.
Michael is a new Dad with a two month old at home; Martin is heading to Edinburgh for Thanksgiving with his college aged sons. Both recommended highly that I go to the Smokey Mountains in the Carolinas. As regulars to Nashville they were irritated with the skyrocketing prices in the town with all the conferences hapoening. It’s why we were all booked near the airport.
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My Missouri viewing and reading recommendations:
Winters Bone – excellent movie and book, and the one that launched Jennifer Lawrence.
Gone Girl – book and movie too.
Killshot – one of my favorite Elmore Leonard books and an underrated Mickey Rourke film.
The Long Riders – one of the best modern Westerns. Casting real brothers as movie brothers brilliant.
Chicken People – a documentary about the    Westminster show of poultry.
Three Billboards Outside Epping Missouri – not a real town and not filmed in Missouri but the best film of 2017.
Bills:
Hotel: $144
Gas: $53
Dinner: $27
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Tooleing Around : Day 41

We started the day at The Preston for brunch, one of our Hotel’s restaurants. It also has an old school, Angelina style, five screen cinema in the lobby.

Today I made my decision on the fast and rude versus slow and polite question. Fast & Rude everytime. The Preston service was woeful but sweet it took twenty minutes before we even saw a waiter. He was such a nice little old man I couldn’t even be snarky, I nearly had a nosebleed holding it in. Very good bacon, egg and home fries and our sweet waiter forgot the toast, even after reminding.

Onward to the home of the Budweiser horsies.

Grants Farm was built by old Ulysses S Grant back in 1848. The current format opened to the public in 1954 and hosts 900 animals, 200 Clydesdales. The horses are not bred here but come here for training and to learn their social graces, they need to get used to people. The Farm is on 450 acres.

October they host haunted Halloween rides in the evenings, there are decorations all over the property. They get thousands turning up for the haunted rides in costume on the weekend evenings.
The property holds  five variety of deer, elk, zebra, giraffe, yak, longhorns, lemurs, goats, camel, Oreo cookie cows, Wild turkey, bison , llama , elephants, kangaroo,  and ducks, always ducks. It’s a pleasant half hour tram ride through the safari of the meek.F14AA688-2AE7-4FBA-9941-67A6B24DE7BE
There is also a gigantic, multi species petting zoo. The kids were a having a blast feeding the animals. I watched a camel snatch a full cone of feed from a little 3 year old, she was cracking up, it was hilarious.
But most importantly, they have hand sanatizer everywhere. All this hay and horseshit kills me.
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I found my old friend Ginny, she had escaped from certain death in the Grizzly rescue and made her way East. Unfortunately, she was recaptured trying to cross the Mississippi in a kayak and was now awaiting deportation, back to the Montana Grizzly Encounter.
“ Kaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaarl”….

You get two free Budweiser’s with your entry, all served in the large Busch beer garden blaring German Polka, that most American of music . The beer garden also  includes a collection of antique travel coaches and sleighs  in mint condition. I’m seeing a lot of coaches & wagons this trip.

And of course the magnificent Clydesdales. As an avid equestrian myself, looking at these majestic animals today I thought to myself, how imperial man must feel on a horse .
We drove back to downtown from Grants Farm and parked alongside the Mississippi River. With extreme rains lately there has been a lot of flooding, the water levels can be seen far up the steps that usually lead down to the riverside cobblestone  walkways. Illinois can be seen on the far bank, across the massive tree trunks, fast flowing down the river.
Much like Mount Rushmore, the St. Louis Arch surprised me, it’s far more impressive in the flesh than I could have imagined.
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A metal monument to Louis and Clarke and Spot’s return from the West, is stationed at the bottom of the steps,leading up to the Arch.
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There is something alien about the 630 foot tall metallic  structure. It’s impossible to explain its effect, it has to be seen. It’s the tallest man made arch in the world and symbolizes the Westward expansion of the USA. The small viewing windows
are just about visible from street level.
We went underground through the Museum and paid for the tram tickets to the top of the Arch. You are asked, for good reason as it turns out, as you get the tickets, if you have a fear of heights or claustrophobia. Ish!
I got discount with my National Parks Pass, again.
The Arch was designed in 1948 as part of a competition , the build began in 1961 and completed in 1968.
They are very organized getting people up the Arch but it’s a bit of a cluster on the way down. The sardine sized 5 person pods elevate you to a submarine tight viewing tower. Those 16 little black rectangles you can see in the top are windows.CA2372B5-9093-4790-BF2F-69D271F108FC
It’s far more enjoyable to view from the outside. I’m glad I saw the inside once, for the experience and a look at the mechanics of the place. Up top, on the viewing platform, it was like competing for a peek out the only porthole on the Red October. It takes about five minutes to get up, and five back down, but it’s an hour round trip between the lines and pod loading .
The museum underneath includes another western museum with a video history covering the mythic western as told through theatre,  penny dreadfuls, books and movies , The narrated slide show covered everything from Stagecoach to Shane to Josey Wales through that great historical work , Blazing Saddles.  The video also covered the evolution of how westerns portray minoritys, women and Native American Indians in film, briefly.
Theres also a section covering the history of the river port. St. Louis was the third busiest port in the nation.
Also included was a history of American land treaties broken with the Native American Indians.
It all had me feeling two tents ( Dad Joke #77).
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We had dinner back near the Hotel, a Japanese spot named Drunken Fish. It’s dead around here on Sunday evenings. Food was good.
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The Bill:
Gas: $53
Hotel: $270
Dinner: $77
I promise , I didn’t “**ck up” any goats.
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Tooleing Around: Day 40

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Very slow out of the starting gate today. Priority is to get some decent food quickly, but atleast the deviled eggs didn’t kill me in my sleep.
Wifey has been working crazy hours, as usual , while I’ve been gallivanting. Thus a big sleep in. Someone needs to pay for my books and Bluerays.
Went to Scape, a few hundred feet from the hotel, one of the higher rated brunch spots. Benedict or Biscuits and gravy?
Felt a bit ripped off by the Valet Parking last night on recall. When getting the Escalade to go get wifey at the airport I gave the Valet the ticket and $5. He said it’s just right there, and pointed in front of the building .
“Can you pull it out yourself?” – Valet.
“Sure” – me and I did.
$5 for a pointing.
Our Hotel overlooks Forest Park, the biggest city park in the Country, I was told by Nick our waiter. I challenged this claim, with Central Park, without any proof, but got beat down.  Neither of us was close – 88th & 134th , Forest is 450 acres larger than Central Park. New York has tougher squirrels, rats and homeless. Today’s geography lesson.
 We observed a pregnant bride smoking outside the hotel as we waited to get coats from our car. Best of luck with the wedding and baby.
It’s chilly in St. Louis. Stacey just racked up my hotel bill with a fashionable wooly hat and scarf purchase.8BD19FF5-AEAA-4D98-86A4-3FFE389A0C0F
We cut through Forest Park for a bit, big not busy. We walked along Liddell, which is lined with Mansion homes, on our way  to the Missouri History Museum .
The Museum has The Spirit of St. Louis hanging from the ceiling as you enter the atrium. That’s the first solo plane to cross the Atlantic. Charles Linberg piloted it and landed near Paris in 1927.
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The Gallery of Panamoric views is pretty unique , Full with photographic images encompassing the history of the state and city. It also covers the history of panoramic  photography .
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Not the luckiest of cities I’d say, between fires and tornados. The museum covers the history of the native Americans in the region, slavery, suffragettes, baseball, cholera , industrial development, Jazz (home of Miles Davis), Buffalo hunting, Rock & Roll (home of Chuck Berry), McDonnell Aircraft, Unions,Civil Rights & desegregation,  brewing and most importantly Tooles of St. Louis .
You got it Missouri.
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There was a large section on MUNY, the 100 year old municipal theatre group. I couldn’t move past that fast enough.
Lime scooter rentals, I was seeing them everywhere in Oklahoma City and now Missouri. Simply download the app, pay , pick up a scooter where ever you see one,  drop it off where ever you want. Anywhere.  Quite the system.
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We walked up to the World Fair Pavilion, held here in 1904. They were setting up for a wedding. Not the most interesting spot. On the interesting World Fair side, Devil in the White City, is a fabulous non fiction book. Trust me, it is full of surprises, not the book you’ll expect.

Though unlucky with the overcast day, we counted six seperate  wedding parties having their photo shoots at various scenic points in the park. We saw the pregnant bride again, swigging  on a whiskey bottle, with a cigar in one corner of her mouth, by the World Fair Fountain (not).
We wandered the park a bit more then landed on the strangest destination of my trip, mass at The St. Louis Cathedral.
For my sins , we arrived in half way through the service, just as the collection basket came around. As was my way, back in my day as good Christian, I snuck out when they started serving holy communion. I got scorned for taking a photo of the Church by another good Catholic. Shalom.
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St. Louis Cathedral is the most magnificent I’ve seen, it doubles St. Patrick’s in size. The green dome reminded me a lot of the Cathedral in Galway, minutes walk from our Canal Road home.
Two churches. One week. Zero lightening.
Right behind the hotel we found a multi block, cosmopolitan section teeming with bars, international restaurants, boutiques and coffee shops. We split an excellent Red Velvet Muffin and had a coffee in the The Cup.
Going high end to dinner tonight at Tony’s , top rated dining in St. Louis. First time I’m wearing a jacket in 7 weeks.
I look great.
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Tony’s started out as Tony’s Spaghetti House in 1946. Tony passed away in 1950 and Vincent , just out of high school, took over the business from Dad.
Vincent , our dapper, charming host and owner, has run and claims to have  improved, year to year, his restaurant for each of the past 68. They are in the current location 25 years. I watched as he visited every table and chatted to every single customer in his top rated, filled to capacity, restaurant  tonight.
As Vincent said, you always can get great stuff if you’re willing to spend money on it. He’s right. It was one of my best dining experiences ever. Fresh made Pate; Veal Marsala and Lemon Ricotta Cheesecake – all outstanding.
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Tony’s staff were all old school professionals , everyone moving in perfect sync. George, our head waiter, looked like Donald Sutherland’s shorter less attractive brother, but man did he know his job and the menu. His recommendations were on the nose.
They have quite the celebrity visitor wall of previous diners by the bathrooms, with everyone having eaten there from Frank Sinatra to Henry Fonda.
Tony was still going table to table , greeting and storytelling with the guests, as we left two and a half hours later.
Some other celebrities that stayed here in the Chase Crown Plaza ,for dear old Mom; Elvis; Nat King Cole; Lena Horne; Billy Holliday ; Gregory Peck . The list goes on. The hotel closed in the 90s for a $100m face lift.
I had the Eggs Benedict for brunch, in case you were still wondering. They had run out of biscuits and gravy.
This sharing selfie space is tough stuff.
And my blog “facts” will get scrutinized.
Todays Tab:
Dinner: $196
Hotel: $270
Fantastic  Halloween setup in the street here. I hope they don’t have kids.
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Tooleing Around: Day 39

 

I’m in Missouri.

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I got my answer.
Mikey Mantle was born in Oklahoma, lived there in his youth before he went on to his illustrious basketball career in the NFL.
I went to the Farmers Table for breakfast, put my name on the list, but didn’t feel like waiting half an hour and left. Friday morning and packed.
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So I continued on to The Bread Basket in town, a highly rated breakfast and lunch spot . The ivy covered facade was very appealing. Bacon egg and cheese on a house bread and good cappuccino, before you ask.
I had one of the most enjoyable mornings of my trip hanging our with my new friend , Kayelyn Johnston, in Fayetteville. We shared a table in the coffee house and got to talking.
Kayelyn  is from nearby Eureka Springs. We sat chatting in the coffee shop for over an hour then Kayelyn gave me a mini tour of town and walked me to the massive used book store, on Dickinson. I bought an Elmore Leonard I didn’t have (Cat Chaser my favorite of his, and there is a hard to find film adaptation with Peter Weller & Kelly McGillis at her peak I recommend).
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We bonded over  Black Mirror, The Matrix, John Wick, anything Keanu , John Malkovich, Don Delillo books, Queen and the upcoming Bohemian Rhapsody bio. I recommended Under the Skin, book and film.
Kayelyn had worked managing  inventory for a group of 9 bicycle stores for the  past 4 years. One of her recent tasks involved organizing period bicycles for the latest True Detective series , just filmed around Fayatteville . We agreed season one was a masterpiece. I liked two. She moved jobs recently but is still an avid cyclist.
Kayelyn has a very broad movie and series viewing knowledge base for a 25 year old. My kind of conversation. I really hope I can return the hospitality in New York if she gets East.
Definitely one of the more fun mornings of my trip. Another town I’d come back to.
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On recommendation from Kayelyn and a blog friend I drove the 30 minutes to the  Crystal Bridges museum in Bentonville. The galleries are free to the public and they have a large, elaborate collection, The building is a maze like, multi level structure , primarily glass , surrounding a man made Lake and sculpture gardens.
It’s a mix of modern pieces and american masters, including extensive galleries  of frontier paintings.
And a painting of the little dude from Bad Santa, strangely enough ( my second favorite Christmas movie after Die Hard).
933D585E-1A6D-48D1-8D35-8A2203799B4EThe garden exhibit has some gigantic pieces, but it was pissing out of the heavens so I couldn’t take it all in.

It’s the most beautiful gallery I’ve been in. The modern collection included a Rothko, my favorite.
Gifted by an organ donor?
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Keeping with the High Art theme, I drove into Bentonville to see the original Five & Dime, Walton’s , the birthplace of Walmart and The Walmart Museum.
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The museum display, I could care less about, lots of black and white stills and talking heads. But the store and ice cream store/soda fountain were worth seeing, centered in the ultimate little All American town.
Google maps took me through the back roads to Missouri, to avoid Friday traffic. It all looks a lot like upstate, in my Ancramdale area.
278 miles and five and a half hours later, I’m in Missouri. To quote Judy Garland, wifey/researcher is coming to “meet me in St. Louis Louis” on her way back from a trip to Houston.
Checked in to a classier Hotel the next couple of nights, since I’m not solo . Booked The Chase Park Plaza Royal Sonesta St. Louis. Dean Martin and Reagan stayed here, to name a couple , atleast based on the wall photos.
I had ordered room service for dinner but it hadn’t turned up after an hour and I had to leave for the airport.
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Drove to the St. Louis airport and picked Stacey up at midnight.  Then drove around looking for food. I’m still holding off on fast food so I got some deviled eggs at a Supermarket . God help me.
The Tab:
Hotel: $270
Gas: $53
Dinner: $6
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Tooleing Around: Day 38

 

I’m in Fayetteville, Arkansas.
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One makeshift Bluetooth car player down, but like a good Boy Scout, I came prepared with this Pyle.
Went back to Stitch for breakfast. My old buddy Kolton said he was sorry to hear the pigeon Museum was closed yesterday. The counter conversation spanned from sound quality at the Criterion (room for improvement) to European travels to Irish Cuisine (two worlds seldom used in the same sentence) to dead bodies in fish and chip shop freezers in Galway ( Google it – great story).
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Joel Tunney, a young Navajo regular
 from Arizona, was struggling with an Alice Walker book he needs to finish for discussion before the weekend. He came to Oklahoma City for work and loves the place.
We got in to a broad conversation on reading and viewing. I have a 60 page rule, if a book is not grabbing me by then, I drop it. Joel’s number is 90. We agreed on In Bruges, Tombstone, Friday Night Lights (film, series and I read the book) – all great. He’s on the fence about  Westworld, I’m done. We also both agreed that the recent Wind River and Hell or High Water were excellent modern westerns. Joel needs to watch Game of Thrones and finish Deadwood.
The discussion turned to westerns and racial stereotypes in film. White man speak with forked tongue versus the brawling drunk Irish of John Ford movies (ok I’ll give you that one).
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Alyssa and Kolton made the best cappuccinos and Avocado toast I’ve had on the road. I have a Dutch friend looks for Avacado toast where ever it’s available for lunch or breakfast. Now and again for me is enough.
Stitch are waiting on city approval  to get a grand big sign outside to front the store.
I had to leave , I only had an hour on the parking meter. Staff and customers alike all made me extremely welcome.
What’s the Mickey Mantle Connection in Oklahoma City? Street names and bars?
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Some unfortunate trucker, in an 18 wheeler, ran out of gas, blocking the only way in and out of the gas station I had stopped at. He barracaded  everyone from getting out in anything bigger than a Mini Cooper. I had just filled up. The driver had to carry multiple containers of fuel , a few hundred yards, to fill her up enough to get the truck restarted.
As I sat there for half an hour, watching this slow  project in action , watching the other parked  customers waiting patiently,  I asked myself, have I become more tolerant being removed from NYC these weeks, surrounded by all this hospitality and niceness?
The answer was a resounding NO! The Dipstick should have gotten diesel. He has two things to do, fill her up and drive her. I soooooo wanted to lay on the horn but the very large bearded truck driver could have easily knocked the snot out of me.
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210 miles from Oklahoma City to Fayetteville, Arkansas, with marginally interesting roadside views. I passed through parts of the Ozark, it looks very bushy. Booked into a Staybridge Suites again, right by the University of Arkansas .
I stopped to see sparkly new looking Razorback stadium, as I got close to the hotel. Frank, a faculty member took my photo and gave me some dinner recommendations and places to see in town. The campus and facilities look pristine . Frank also pointed me down to the hog fountain , it’s a powerful looking piece.
Hit the hotel gym  as it was mostly an arse numbing day again, showered then headed to Hugo’s on recommendation. It’s a basement level, checkered tablecloth joint , the best known restaurant in Fayetteville , as I understand. Opened in 1977; they never change decor out of a superstition that they’ll mess with their success if they do.
After a delicious bacon, Swiss burger I took a wander around town and landed on Dickinson, the main party drag. It’s got two or three dozen bars and a Bourbon Street buzz (ish). There was a moderate amount of people out at 10:30, mostly students obviously. There was a well stationed food truck section on a lane between the bars, smart locationing – everything from tacos to pie.
Stopped in at JJs, a buffalo wing and pitcher establishment with live music. Tonight they had Dial Up, a 90s cover band, blaring Jump Around up to 11 , as I got in. Franco the bar tender was wearing a Depeche Mode , Black Celebration, tee so we bonded and I got my OJs free.
On leaving JJs, I popped into Willy D’s, a few doors down, where they had two guys on duelling pianos. Too many Willy’s, I left.
Another first, a drive up liquor window on Dickson .
And then I stopped in at Puritan, a coffee and beer spot. Needless to say , I was the only one drinking coffee at 11pm.
Fayetteville has a lively partying Main Street. I will come back for brekkie and take a daylight gander at the town.
Hotel: A freebie – another 10 Hotels.com booking
Dinner: $10
Gas: $53
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