Travel Tales by Reuben Dagwood
Traveling by automobile is both a wonderful experience and a nightmarish horror. Trekking out from your secure home base and slowly plodding through new areas with the excitement of what’s to come is a wondrous time of guessing and anticipation. Most times, the actual destination turns out to be far less than what your mind has built it up to be, and typically, the return trip is a miserable romp at top speed, in the attempt to simply make it home.
I recently accompanied a couple of friends of mine on the first leg of a “musical odyssey down the trail of American musical history”. They flew in from England into Cleveland in the attempt to move semi-backwards through the history of Rock and Roll. The idea was to visit the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, move south to Nashville and the Grand Ole’ Opry, on to Memphis and Graceland, and finally to New Orleans and the roots of Dixieland and Jazz.
I joined up as the driver for the first leg, from Cleveland to Columbus to Louisville, KY to Nashville. In the weeks approaching the journey, my level of anticipation grew to extraordinary levels. By the time the mission started, it was a simple fact in my mind that this would be a soul searching, eye opening, life changing trip. To foreshadow, I was mistaken.
Being that I write for our loved Board, I left with the intention of having a sandwich in each city and writing multiple posts along the way. Sadly, this was not to be. Very early in the trip, a pattern emerged. The evenings were to be spent drinking. Hard. The mornings were to be spent sleeping. The afternoons were to be spent eating breakfast and recovering, and the early evenings were to be spent preparing to drink. Hard.
As a result of this pattern, the sandwich eating became a harder task than I had originally planned. By Columbus, I realized that this trip would probably not have much to add to the blog.
Upon first arriving in Louisville, we were all enamored. As quoted to us, Louisville proudly boasts at having more bars, per capita, than Manhattan. Driving through the small city, we could easily believe this. We all believed upon first glance that Louisville was a Mecca for boozehounds, and would make for a wonderful addition to the trip. We stayed with a stranger on her couch, and I was told that while there, I had to eat a “Hot Brown”, which is an open faced sandwich created by the Brown Hotel there somewhere around a century ago. As a result, every self respecting Louisville restaurant serves one, and all argue that theirs is the best in town.
I made a comment that we had some unique feelings at the Cleveland Sandwich Board in regard to what defines a sandwich, and that the open faced aspect of the Hot Brown may count it out from contention. This was when I got my first real look at what Louisville is. The response I got was “We created it, and we can decide if it is or is not a sandwich. And, it IS a fucking sandwich.”
You see, if I could describe Louisville in one word, I’d tell you that word right now. But, in order to do it justice, I have to use more: Elitist. Overinflated. Pompous. Disconnected. Misinformed. And, above all, unfulfilling. Even the proper pronunciation of their town becomes an entryway into the snobbery of the populace. “it’s Lulville, NOT Lewisville.”
Our first evening there took us to a bar that served over 1,000 beers, and somehow still managed to be pretentious and snobby about each and every last fucking one of them. We spent entirely too much time there, and ended up with a $150 bill. We asked to be taken to a grimier bar, with a smaller, cheaper beer selection, and with some live music, or at least some good music. This bar also fell short of what we were looking for.
At this point, we decided that we needed to just get out and see as many bars as we could and hope to get a better taste in our mouths for the town as a whole, because as of yet, it was more than just the bad bars that were leaving us less than fulfilled. We were still starving for conversation, excitement, and some sort of entertainment. So, we got a ride to yet another bar that would fall short of what we were looking for. At this point in the evening, the highlight of the entire town had been the graffiti on the bathroom wall, instructing “Rape your wife for America.”
We got a ride from this bar, in search of a better one. However, on the way there, the driver nodded off, despite our yelling as loud as we could, due to the fact that the car was travelling very fast and was pointing at a telephone pole.
While walking away from the totaled car, blood running down my face, bruises shared by everyone, we came to our conclusion: Fuck Lewisville.
The next day, our agenda included me finding a Hot Brown to write about. But, at this point, I was so angry at the city, I didn’t think that their shit sandwich deserved a spot on our hallowed pages. With a final middle finger flare, we departed and headed to the brighter skies of Nashville.