Tuesday, March 26, 2019

2019 Big Ears Festival in Knoxville, TN: Getting There

Knoxville, Tennessee
March 18-25, 2019

I am off on a solo adventure to Knoxville, TN, to attend a music festival called Big Ears. This is an eclectic blend of musical acts spread across ten venues and four days. 

I have given myself some time to get to Tennessee so let’s see how that worked out.

Monday, March 18, 2019

Today I got up at 6:00 a.m. at home, finished packing, ran some errands, got some breakfast and then got on the road. The get out of town time was 10:00 a.m. (Eastern) (9:00 a.m. Central). From now on all the times will be Eastern until the return date.

I wanted to get through Chicago and out of Illinois as I can do those territories any day I want. I made the decision to get off I-80 East pretty quick so rather than following my plan to go over to Ohio, I ended up spending the day in Indiana. When I am able to, I prefer to travel on the small blue highways rather than the federal interstates.

As soon as I was into Indiana I noticed one thing--religious propaganda of all sorts from billboards to this roadside souvenir shop called The Shrine of Christ's Passion Gift Shoppe. Its roadside attraction is this huge statute that dominates the view. 

Right outside the gift shoppe is this fake grave site that I think speaks for itself.

About a mile west of the shoppe is a fairly new community that surrounds its own church. I assume the people that go there make up the congregation because they even have there own school.

My next stop was at the ETC Thrift shop in Schereville, IN, where I got some small cool items. I had lunch in Lowell, IN, at a nice café called the Gold Star. My last stop was at the CTC Thrift shop in Montecello, IN.

To my surprise, my final destination for the day turned out to be Muncie, IN, a town I have visited often when I was attending Magna Cum Murder Conventions in the 1990s and 2000s. So much for wandering off the beaten path.

My total mileage for the day was 353.

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Today I do not get up until 8:00 a.m. (do not judge). I hit the road with the intention of finding a unique place for breakfast and made it all the way to Dunreith, IN, before I found The Flamingo Motel and Restaurant. It was all I wanted it to be.

Most of the day today was spent in the saddle on the backroads of Indiana. I did make two stops: the Olde National Trail Antique store on The Old National Trail Highway (Hwy 40) and at the Goodwill in Rushville, IN.

I crossed over the Ohio River into Kentucky about 2:00 p.m. today. I made a stop in the New Castle (KY) Cemetery where I found a few concrete angels.

Around five today I realized I needed to stop and find a hotel as the priority for this evening is seeing the first two First Four NCAA games. Just past Lexington, KY, in Richmond I found a Quality Inn next to a Texas Roadhouse—the perfect combo on NCAA night.

My total mileage for the day was 239.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Today I set the alarm for 7:00 a.m. and was out on the road by 8:00 a.m.

Heading down the highway I found a great café for breakfast in Stanford, KY, called Bluebird. I was very impressed at the quality of everything in this café/coffeehouse considering the rather tiny town it was in.

I only made one flea market stop today, the Tri-County Flea Market, in Somerset, KY. However, I could not find anything to buy.

I made it to Knoxville by 1:30 p.m. and checked into the conference hotel, the Hilton. The hotel, the restaurants and the venues are all within a walking distance area in downtown Knoxville. I decided to spend the afternoon doing a Knoxville walkabout. 

For dinner tonight I went to an Asian fusion restaurant called Kaizan. Now it is time for the festival to begin.

My cell phone photo from my seat at the Tennessee Theatre.

Then a short walk away is the Tennessee Theatre, a magnificent setting for any event, where I saw Lucy Negro Redux, a Nashville Ballet presentation with the music written and performed live by Rhiannon Giddens of the Carolina Chocolate Drops and Francesco Turrisi.

Photo Credit: Karyn Photography

The entire production is based on the book by Caroline Randall Williams and she was also present this evening to do the spoken word narrative.  I am probably doing this a disservice but the “plot” is trying to prove that the “dark” girl in some sonnets by Shakespeare was a black woman. The production was well-worth seeing. The dance was created by Nashville Ballet artistic director Paul Vasterling and that part was great. It technically was not a part of the Big Ears Festival but rather an add on event with an extra charge for the ticket. I was glad I got here in time to see it and that I spent the money.

After that event I ran back to the hotel to catch the second half of the last of the four First Four games of the NCAA basketball tourney. Hey-priorities.

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