Day 4: January 23, 2016
No Road Crew for Me

Comment via blog

Previous Day
Next Day
Site Home
Trip Home

Yeah, this looks a lot like the start of yesterday except there's more cars in the picture, more snow on the ground, no new snow falling, and I'm not surprised.

People on TV were still telling people to stay off the roads if possible but the worsening storm had moved on eastward and the local warnings were considerably toned down. I decided to go ahead with my original plans and said goodbye to my Motel 6 & Waffle House oasis about 9:30. The first picture is of I-440 south of the heart of Nashville. Overhead signs urged drivers to keep it slow and warned of hazardous conditions. A few miles back, where I-440 and I-24 share pavement, they told of lane closures on I-24. Yesterday's closure of I-40 had been lifted overnight and the expressway sections I traveled were fairly although packed snow still covered a lane or two here and there. The second picture shows US-70S southwest of downtown. The surface is less clear than on the expressway though the surroundings are prettier. The third picture was taken on TN-100. That's hardly the worst I saw, both hands were on the wheel through those bits, but it does hint at how lesser roads got less early attention and less traffic and retained more snow. That's the TN-100 bridge over the Harpeth River in the last picture. It's green.

When this trip was coming together, I figured today would be a good day to work in breakfast at the Loveless Cafe. It sits on TN-100 (formerly US-100) near the northern terminus of the Natchez Trace Parkway. After breakfast I could drive the parkway south towards Leiper's Fork. Sure, the weather had almost certainly put the kibosh on my parkway plans but it never occurred to me that the legendary restaurant might be closed. Yes, I can be really stupid on occasion. The lots were super clean but the cafe was closed. I spoke with someone who told me that current plans were to open at noon on Sunday. The restaurant itself was ready and accessible but this is not the sort of operation that asks employees to take risks to keep their jobs. Giving the roads another day to improve is just plain sensible.

The Loveless maintenance crew includes men from Alaska and Oregon. That white truck with the Fairbanks phone number on the side belongs to one of them. Its past includes work as an Ice Road Truckers pilot vehicle. Those guys probably think this Tennessee snow is kind of cute.

I didn't expect the Natchez Trace Parkway to be open but there were tracks leading toward it so I followed them. The road closed sign was waiting around the bend.

This is Puckett's Grocery and Restaurant and gas station and firewood supply and concert venue. With the Loveless close and no substitute nearby, I headed onto Leiper's Fork. I knew that Puckett's served breakfast and had it penciled in for my morning meal before leaving the area on Sunday. I headed there simply because I had no better idea. I got to see some narrower and snowier roads along the way but I made it and it was open. As I ate breakfast, the source of the trip title and those ultra-clever puns vanished. My phone beeped with a message from Joe, a Road Crew member. He was personally snowed in without heat and other band members weren't much better off. Tonight's show was canceled. There would be no Road Crew in Leiper's Fork this trip. When I paid for my meal, I asked the server what might be going on there tonight. "Nothing," she laughed. "We're closing at 4:00."

It was now noon and I had a decision to make. I could probably cancel my motel reservation and head towards home. I might even reach it today if roads were decent. Or I could go ahead and spend the night hoping to find something interesting in Franklin where the motel was. A third choice would be using the credit from last night's unused ticket to attend the Saturday Grand Ole Opry show. The drive would now be nearly three time as long but the roads were better. I needed to park so I could see if the show was even worth attending and to make the phone call if I decided to go. I could have just pulled over on a Franklin street but what I did was use my handy dandy Untappd phone app to look for a nearby brewery.

And that's how I ended up drinking beer with Derrick and Chad, co-owners and co-brewers at Mantra Artisan Ales. As I told them my story, they told ma about local music venues. One of their favorites would be hosting a Grateful Dead tribute later. At two miles from my motel, that sounded much better than either the long drive to Nashville or the longer drive home. My plans were set. Good beer, good conversation, and helpful tips for travelers.

On the outside, Kimbro's Pickin' Parlor looks pretty much like a house with extra lights. Inside, too, although I suspect some walls have been added, moved, or removed. The food was decent and and the music great. The entire Stolen Faces line up can be seen in the picture if you try. The front four and the drummer are pretty obvious. Behind the guy with the hollow-body is a pre- or early-teen pounding on a couple of standing drums. The keyboardist is harder to see beneath the cow skull far to the picture's right.

[Prev] [Site Home] [Trip Home] [Contact] [Next]