Day 1: January 20, 2010
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Would you drive over seven hours through rain & semis for a little music & BBQ? Apparently I would. I didn't plan on the rain and traffic but that's what I got. The rain did let up on occasion, such as when I skirted Nashville, but it seemed to rain more than not.

I walked to Beale Street after checking into the hotel. There was a small jam session in Handy Park and blues fans were just starting to appear on the street. The last of the day's sunlight vanished while I eased my thirst inside the Rum Boogie Cafe.

Dinner was at Pig on Beale. A banner declaring the this the home of a Memphis in May Grand Champion hangs above a window full of trophies. Inside red vinyl stools stand in front of a glass block counter. What's not to love? The cole slaw, apparently. I ordered slaw then asked if the onion rings were good. "Yes", came the reply, "but the cole slaw isn't." I switched to potato salad and, despite the waitress's endorsement, decided against the onion rings. Corn & potato salad were OK. Ribs were great.

The Challenge starts tomorrow so tonight on Beale was essentially business as usual with a crowd swelled by IBC attendees. Some places blasted recorded music and some with the real thing had a cover charge. The tastefully decorated Blues City Cafe had no cover. They did have a good crowd and a hard driving seven piece fronted by Earl the Pearl.

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