Tour with Roadside down the Route 11 corridor across western Virginia and into Tennessee. Destination: Nashville and a visit with John Baeder, the guy that essentially changed my life and put me in search of a better America.
See the Flickr feed of the trip here.
Read a review of the tech used on this trip here.
(Photo in the image at left by John Baeder.)
Let the record show that I, Randy Garbin, publisher of Roadside Magazine and RoadsideOnline.com, two of the finest documents of the American back roads ever conceived, harbor no great admiration for the travelogue. Quite frankly, most of them bore me.
Why? Because the vast majority that I've ever had the pleasure to review lather on about the building, the scenery, and the food. I can see great buildings and eat good food anywhere. I can go to Fairmount Park in Philadelphia and see the forest primeval.
I look for the story—the narrative that documents the culture, and that cannot exist without talking to the people. And so, I will attempt to do that during my trip to Nashville, Tennessee. This trip, which will take me down the Route 11 corridor down the western side of Virginia and onto Route 70 into Tennesee will with any luck introduce me to the whole flavor of the region which I will explore.
First day on the road, got out of the house by about 9 A.M. Perfect weather, got into the upper 70s.
Arrived in Winchester, Virginia about 1 o'clock and immediatel found the walking district. Somehow, I missed this during my last visit earlier this year. I drove all over the city, but completely passed by the closed off downtown street, within which Winchester has maintained a healthy cultural district. Some promising looking restaurants and not a few coffee shops. Roadside fanatics will love the Snow White Grill, but don't get there on Sundays when it stays closed for the whole day.
Because I stumbled upon the downtown district, the Triangle Diner would have to wait a bit longer, but when I got there, I didn't find much outwardly different than what I found last spring. Thanks to their Facebook postings, I know that the owners have made many improvements to the building, but they still hang a banner on the encompassing fence that announces a 2009 opening. No word yet from the owners.
The end of this leg couldn't have worked out better. Approaching city limits, I came across a Starbucks -- yes, a Starbucks -- which worked out well because I used the bathroom and the wifi, which allowed me to research where I'd stay and what I'd do after I checked in. The Crest Motel couldn't offer a better rate: $32 plus tax. $36 total. That gets you a bed, a bathroom, a TV and a fold out couch. Wifi? Don't push your luck pal. For that, I headed downtown, where I found the perfect place to set up shop and write this: Java J's. Free wifi, great food, and though I'd never buy anything by the band bluegrass band playing here, perfect music for the setting.
Started out the morning from Staunton and had breakfast at Mrs. Rowe's, a plance highly recommended by a number of sources for its breakfast and for its pies. I liked the breakfast, but I caught the waitress in a little white lie. I saw corned beef hash on the menu, but I asked if they made it there or if it came from a can. They told me they made it. They don't. Never mind. I liked the eggs, and even though I didn't eat them all, I did like the fried apples.