By: Katie Cardinal
Greetings from Nashville, everyone! CJ and I embarked on our twenty-plus journey to Nashville yesterday morning after finishing packing and hitting up the gym. I left my house around 9 am, putting me at CJ's around 10:30. After having a pee break and switching things from my Mazda into his Mazda, we were on our way...and it actually wasn't that bad! CJ was a trooper and actually drove the WHOLE WAY. I know, he's crazy..but I guess I did the same thing when Sydney and I went to Virginia two weeks ago. Anywho, we made pretty good timing and after a 4 hour nap at a truck stop and figuring out we were actually in CENTRAL time now, we made it to Nashville, Tennessee at about 9 this morning.
Fortunately, we decided to try to check into the front desk a little early and it actually worked out for us! They had no one staying in our KOA "Kabin" the night before, so we were able to quickly check in, take some showers, and head off to downtown Nashville. As hard as it is to believe, Nashville is even MORE beautiful than I had remembered. Mom, Dad, and I had visited Nashville when I was in the fifth grade and I absolutely fell in love with it. Now that I LOVE country music (or maybe am now willing to admit it) it makes the experience THAT much better.
So we went downtown and the first thing we came across was a vender on the street selling photographs. Big pictures, small pictures, signed pictures, framed pictures...they had it all. Thanks to CJ I found two really cool pictures of Keith that I bought for only two bucks each! After that we went to the famous "Ernest Tubb Record Store" just to look around and to say we had been. After walking up and down the streets a few times we found this awesome place selling cowboy boots - BUY ONE GET TWO PAIR FREE! Obviously I thought his had to be too good to be true, but it wasn't! I was shocked...and I think CJ knew he had a WHIIIILLLEEE to spend in the boot store with me :) After looking around for a bit we decided to go to lunch and come back to look some more.
We knew we didn't want anything too fancy for lunch, nor did I want some super greasy food, so we ended up at this little place called the "Big River Brewery." It was very cool inside and had a cute little porch for us to sit out on. Our server was very hilarious (and very gay) and our food was absolutely delicious. CJ got meatloaf with green beans and white cheddar mashed potatoes, while I got a half of a turkey sandwich, green beans, and one of the best soups I've ever had in my entire life. It was called beer cheese soup and oh my goodness was it good!
After eating we went back to the cowboy boot store where I bought my three new pair of cowboy boots! I may have spent $300 on them, but it was totally worth it in my book. I'll definitely have the boots for my entire life, and I got them in a variety of colors - brown, black, and mint green!
After picking out my boots we went to the car to drop them off, then decided to take a few minutes to check out the "kick-off parade" on main street. We got to see all kinds of artists including Rodney Adkins, Kellie Pickler, and Bo Bice. One of my favorites was when Jeff Burton went by and I was like the ONLY fan that actually knew his name...I know, I'm awesome.
After the parade we decided to make our way to the line for the Alan Jackson concert. We had heard through the grapevine that Alan Jackson would be providing a FREE concert at the Cadillac Ranch beginning at 8, but that 1,000 bracelets to get in would be given out at 4:30. Having seen the line being formed earlier in the morning we didn't have high hopes for getting in. However, after seeing a little spot of opportunity to jump in line, we just could no refuse the chance! Unfortunately, I'm the idiot who didn't put on sun screen this morning cuz it was cool out and paid dearly for it! We had to wait in line over 6 hours to finally get to the front of the line, only to discover all the bracelets were gone and that we could wait until 8 to try to get in, but there where no guarantees. Then all of a sudden a little angel of hope came out of the Ranch. He came right over to me and said, "Hey, do you have a bracelet to come in?" Shocked, I said "NO!" and the guy gave me a fanclub bracelet he had in his hands! I was so excited I was about ready to cry, but unfortunately had to leave CJ in my dust. I had a good feeling Cj would be able to get into the Ranch before the concert and just could not let this opportunity slide by.
After going in and leaving CJ outside, I sort of began to freak out. I called Mom and Sydney to try to figure out what I should do...both of which recommended I wait it out to talk with some cowboys to try to let CJ in. After talking with a lady at the door, I realized that they probably weren't going to be letting any more people in and that I was probably going to have to leave because there was no way I was letting CJ loose in Nashville on his own. Then, my little prince charming came back! The same guy that had given me MY wristband said, "So, are you with someone tonight or what." Me, of course, was like "OMG yes, he's out there in the black cowboy hat!" Without a bad of the eyes the guy looked right at me and said, "Well I can tell how much this means to you and your passion for music, and I'd much rather you be able to stay than me, so I'll go give him my bracelet so you two can enjoy the show together." I nearly started crying!!! What an AWESOME guy let me tell you!!! Him and the girl he was with BOTH left so that CJ and I could enjoy the show together - a TRUE southern gentleman!
So the show started at 8 and before too long I was like the third row from the stage. Alan was awesome and played for just over two hours. He seems so genuine and really is just a "country boy." He played clips of all of his hits and definitely made the tears roll down my face for "Where Were You." His voice was simply amazing and he just seemed so humbled that people would wait in line to see him ALL DAY in the scortching sun. The concert was FANTASTIC and a great way to kick off Country Fest!
CJ and I are just chillaxing in the cabin now...need to get some SERIOUS rest before tomorrow's activities!
OH, and as a sidenote, someone saw Keith Urban shopping in the mall on Monday in Nashville --- AHHH!!!