Monday, March 21, 2022
This week I am heading to Big Ears Festival in Knoxville, Tennessee. This is a four day music festival running Thursday through Sunday but…this trip did not begin as planned.
I had a piece of art, "The Things You Made, Discarded, Are Now Art,” was accepted into the "Rustbelt: REDUX" exhibition at the Vestige Concept Gallery in Pittsburg (PA). The show runs from March 26 to April 24, 2022. I could have shipped the art to Pittsburgh but since I had plans to travel anyway I decided I would alter my travel plans for the Big Ears Festival and head to Pennsylvania.
To complicate matters even further, my Dodge Grand Caravan had a transmission leak so it was in the shop until 8:00 am (for the sake of clarity all times here are going to be in ET). Denice was nice enough to get up and have me at the dealer so that by 8:30 am I was on the road to Pittsburgh.
Usually I like to travel even long distances off the Federal Highway system but not this trip. 571 miles later (6:00 pm) I was in Pittsburgh. Because the gallery people were not actually at the gallery I was instructed to drop it off at one of the gallery people’s house. This made me very aware that Pittsburgh is hilly and none of the streets run in a straight line. I won’t bore with my GPS crisis, the two almost accidents, driving at night without my lights on and other weird adventures I had but the good news is I did manage to deliver my art.
P. S.: This piece sold the opening night of the exhibition at the reception. How cool is that?
This night I stayed in Pittsburgh. Total miles for the day: 639.
Tuesday, March 22, 2022
My plan today was to wander around West Virginia, a state that I have not visited before. I began with breakfast at a national chain (we have them in Milwaukee) called First Watch. My driving plan was to take Hwy. 119 through the state to see what I could see.
After leaving Pittsburgh, I went down a Blue Highway to find my turnoff. Attracted by a road attraction sign, I made a detour to visit Red Rooster Antiques and Salvage in Jane Lew, West Virginia. This small but packed business had great stuff and it was priced that way. As my first stop of the trip I was reluctant to buy anything, perhaps distracted by the shop cat who followed my everywhere. Whenever I would stop the cat would scratch at my pant leg to get me to pet her. With the recent loss of my buddy Mr. B I spent most of my time scratching her behind her ears.
The turnoff for 119 was at a town called Weston, WV. In this town is a huge old asylum that can be toured…but not till April. I did check it out and a few other cool sites in town. I did also tour Roshell’s Antiques on the main drag and came away with a small wood child’s sled that I think is pretty cool.
Here is where the day all fell apart. Getting onto 119 just out of Weston, I got caught in a construction mess that had me sitting in a line on 119 for so long I finally turned around and went back to Weston to catch 19 South. While this seemed like a good idea at the time, 19 kept dumping me back onto Blue Highways before I could slide off again. 19 was pretty boring for the things that I was looking for so I decided to just make today a travel day.
Of course, this meant I was going to arrive in Knoxville a day before my booked arrival time. I tried calling the hotel to see if I could stay there but between very aggravating computer drones and getting cut off after a ½ hour wait to talk to a human, I decided to just risk it.
My pre-books festival home is the Marriott Knoxville Downtown on Henley Street. For some reason my GPS would not take that address so I just used the general search of Marriott Knoxville. This allowed my GPS to lead me to an abandoned Marriott which must have been their old location. Finally I just put in Henley and drove around until I found the magnificent new location right by the old World’s Fair site and the Knoxville Museum of Art. This is going to be a great location for me for the rest of the event.
Luckily for me the hotel was able to put me in my room a day early, at the festival rate, as long as I was willing to check in tonight, check out tomorrow and immediately check back in. Whatever.
So today I took no photos, ate dinner at Burger King, and only bought one thing. But, I did see a lot of acceptable road views from the Blue Highways, listened to a lot a music and got to my ultimate destination which I guess is what it is really all about.
Total miles for the day: 513.
Total miles for the trip: 1152.
Wednesday, March 23, 2022
Today it was breakfast in the Market Exchange which is part of the Marriott. Then I retrieved my car and headed a few miles south of my hotel to the Bargain Hunters Antique and Flea Market Mall. This place is huge, roughly the size of a K Mart or Target. The bad news is that many of the items in the store are reproductions. That being said, I found a small ladder, an ironing board, a tambourine, a pipe holder and a four part mirror all of which are for collaging.
North of the city I went to Cottage Door Antiques and Gifts but I could have skipped the trip—very home decoration orientation meant I found nothing to buy.
When I got back to the car I valet parked the van and that is the last I should see of it until I leave on Sunday. After a run up to my room to get my camera, I was off to the Big Ears Festival area in downtown Knoxville.
The coolest thing I found to photograph was Strong Alley, between Union and Wall Avenues, off Market Square.
Tonight I treated myself to the Chef’s Surprise at Koyo. $151 later, after six course and some wine, it was time to call it a day.
See the next blog in this series for the cool musical acts that played at Big Ears Festival 2022.