Rain. Wet. Cold.
Those would be the best words to sum up our five-day journey across the South and Midwest. Really makes you appreciate that beautiful Southern California sunshine. I will never take it for granted again.
We hit the first three states in which I had never been before on Sunday: Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia. However we didn't really get to enjoy all, or any, of what they had to offer due to the time crunch getting from New Orleans to Atlanta to Louisville in 2 days and due to the miserable weather, which drained us of any desire to stop and do anything outdoors. The most memorable thing about our brief jaunt across the Bible belt had to be the billboards (eg "HELL IS REAL"/"JESUS DIED FOR YOUR SINS"/"AN EMBRYO IS A BABY"), the gas-station t-shirts (eg "1 cross + 3 spikes = 4 given" and confederate flags up the wazoo) and the healthy dose of Southern Hospitality we received. Just about every gas station in the South is run by a very..um..."down-home-looking" woman. And these gas station ladies are just as pleasant as can be: "How y'all doin' todaaye?" is the typical greeting you receive in stereotypical Southern drawl. It caught me somewhat off-guard, seeing as how most gas station attendants in California a.) often do not speak English well or at all b.) are usually not women and c.) usually look like they want to punch you.
Say what you will about Tennessee and Kentucky, but driving across them is really beautiful. Nothing but miles and miles of rolling hills, deciduous forest, grassy fields, rivers, cows, horses and farms. Monday evening there was a chill in the air and with the leaves just beginning their colorful transformation i got my first real taste of fall in years. It was really nice. Almost made me wanna live there. Almost.
The city of Louisville has a classic Eastern feel with Brownstone neighborhoods full of close-knit brick homes. Unfortunately AC/DC cancelled their scheduled show there and the weather sucked out any life the city may have had. Our stay there was a pretty uneventful one, the highlight being an in-store performance by The Entrance Band at Ear X-Tacy, one of the best record stores I've ever stumbled upon. And in Kentucky.. go figure.
Our next stop was St. Louis, where Paramore promptly continued our string of 'luck' and re-scheduled their show for November. We were left without much to do but drink in the St. Loo night-life with Nick, a super cool hulk of a man we met during our hotel's happy hour who happened to be both an Army Ranger and MME fighter. St. Louis has this great area down by the riverfront; a few blocks of cobblestone streets from the French colonial days and all kinds of great drinking holes with live music. Sadly, on a Tuesday night they were all virtually empty, even during a Cardinals playoff game. We learned that the economy was largely to blame for this. Imagine the Sunset Strip being nearly empty during a Lakers playoff game. It's kind of like that, which was pretty depressing.
We hit up the University of Missouri (Mizzou) football game against Nebraska last in rainy (surprise surprise) Colombia, Mo where we spread Wolfmother cheer and soaked up the whole college football game-night atmosphere that I unfortunately never got at UCSD. With two nationally ranked conference rival schools going at it on national television in front of stadium packed with drunken students and alumni, it was like like nothing I had ever experienced. Thanks again for depriving me of yet another essential college experience, UCSD!
Chicago all weekend. Can't wait. Stay tuned.