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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.

The next day we woke late, and on a recommendation from one of Jameson's friends, went to Whiskey Kitchen for lunch. The food was incredible, especially the calamari which was house-made and some of the most tender squid I've ever had.

From there we drove to the Musician's Hall of Fame. This museum honors session musicians. Although session musicians weren't in the spotlight, they were the rock upon which many gold and platinum records were built. Back in the day, when you wanted a certain sound, you found a studio that had a certain musician with a certain instrument. It was amazing to see the instruments, gold/platinum records, and other memorabilia on display.

After the museum we wanted to walk around dowtown, but the weather was against us, pouring rain and windy. We decided instead to check out a place I'd found online called Pinewood Social. On the website, it sounds like a bowling alley that offers better-than-expected food and drinks. In reality it was a very upscale bar surrounded by a nice restaurant on one side, a coffee bar on the other, and a vintage bowling alley in the back. I mean VINTAGE. It was BEAUTIFUL.

We rented a lane and got to work. By some sorcery (perhaps because my hipster sense had brought me to this hipster place) I got a turkey!! My first one in 32 years on the planet :)

While we bowled we enjoyed some amazing drinks from the fancy bar. Jameson got a Gunboat Diplomacy (Ford’s Gin, Aperol, Lime, Pineapple, Falernum, Dolin Genepy Des Alpes) while I had a Scorpion Honey (El Jimador Reposado Tequila, Del Maguey Crema De Mezcal, Briottet Creme De Banane, Lemon, Vanilla, Peychaud’s Bitters). When you have to look up every other ingredient, you might be out of your league :P

The drinks were fantastic, and for a little while we had this beautiful bowling alley to ourselves. It was a really memorable, fun way to spend an afternoon :)

After fighting traffic out of downtown we decided to order a pizza and call it a day. Nashville has so much to offer...I'll have to come back again soon!

Oh, and during this time we found out that the train had arrived AND been spotted in Cincinnati!!! It's got to be some sort of record. Congratulations to everyone on train crew. I'm sure everyone was relieved to have a normal load-in day.

The next day we drove to Nashville to meet the train. We were supposed to go to Brett's for a cookout, but didn't reach the train until dinner time, and upon seeing Jameson's room in person we decided to stay and clean. There was residue everywhere from the fire. He spent eight hours cleaning and still didn't get it all...it's probably going to take several weeks of spot cleaning to get the room back to where it was. On top of that the power had been left off in his room (a totally legit precaution) meaning all of his groceries had spoiled and needed to be thrown out. But again, there could have been a lot more damage. We're glad no one was hurt and nothing major was lost.

The next day we opened in Cincinnati. The rehearsal and show went well. Friday was a late split, meaning we had shows at 3pm and 7pm. It was nice to sleep in a little.

Saturday, three shows. Feeling bad for not taking more circus footage lately, I whipped out my phone to catch the cannon shot during the last show. This is what I get to see every day!

On Sunday we had two shows, both very well attended. Crowds at this arena have been great! Thank you Cincinnati :) Tonight Jameson and I drive to Charleston, and from there to Richmond VA. There we'll have NINE shows in three days! Yowza!!

Other stuff:

This week we say "see you down the road" to Cali (Pie Car) and Rebecca (lighting) as they pursue new adventures. We will miss you ladies, and wish you all the best!

A very well-written article about the elephants leaving the circus. It highlights the career of my boss's wife, Theresa Barlow, who used to ride elephants when she was a circus performer. A great read. (CLICK HERE)

Cute camels.

(photo courtesy Mike G.)

Thank you for coming to visit us Justin! See you down the road!

(photo courtesy Justin R.)

Some photos of the arena this week. Chaz (drummer)'s photo taken from our dressing room:

From my spot on the bandstand, taken during intermission:

After the show from what we call the "end track". Performers and crew are warming down or just hanging out chatting.

...or, you know, juggling five balls while standing on a motorcycle moving counterclockwise around the floor. Like you do.