No Direction Home

This humble blog was started to document our travels around the country during the summer of 2006, We have opted to continue updating it due to the requests from family & friends. Enjoy!

Thursday, May 23, 2019

“There isn’t nothing wrong with Nashville…” – Todd Snider

May 12, 2019


“There isn’t nothing wrong with Nashville…” – Todd Snider

Since my visit to the Johnny Cash museum found me literally in the heart of Nashville, I decided to spend the afternoon checking out a few spots located in the area, which has become somewhat to my dismay something of a Disney or Las Vegas version of what was once a quaint, hip locale. Now the entire downtown area is some sort of huge tourist mecca, with the Broadway Street corridor as the central artery where literally thousands upon thousands of tourists roam about in packs.

I recently watched portions of the NFL draft coverage which was broadcast from downtown Nashville so I had an idea of what the city had become, but until I experienced it for myself it was really something of a shock to see what has happened. I guess I should have had a suspicion since one of the commentators announced that Nashville has become the top destination for bridal parties overtaking Las Vegas and New Orleans.

I am sure many people are cashing in on the crazy growth of the place, but it has completely destroyed the character of the city, or perhaps has become more reflective of what has happened to country music in general. Should it be a surprise that the country music capital of the world has become a fantasy land of excess and commercialization as this is what has been happening to country music for years. 

The downtown area is littered with huge monstrosity bars including many owned by music stars such as Luke Bryan and Kid Rock. There is even a huge Margaritaville. These places feature multiple levels of cheap beer, mostly bad music on multiple stages and crowds of drunken tourists who must imagine that they are experiencing a true Nashville experience.

The old-time authentic places are still there and I took time to visit a couple of them including Earnest Tubb’s record store and the nearby famous night club, Tootsie’s which thankfully has remained pretty much the same and seemed the most authentic to the true spirit of country music than most of the newer places combined.


I have a feeling that the true authentic spirit of the city has simply relocated to East Nashville, though I did not have the time to check and see if that was true on this visit, but trust me- the next time I am in Nashville that is where my visit will begin. I did have the good fortune to visit Martin’s BBQ, one of the top rated BBQ joints in the city for a wonderful meal. I also spent time visiting a couple of downtown breweries.

My first stop was the Jackaloupe Brewing Company, where I had a couple of delightful brews before walking the short distance over to Yazoo Brewing where I sampled even more tasty offerings. Both of these locations were pretty cool, full of good beer, nice people and great atmospheres. Both located downtown and only about a block apart, they were worthy stops and I would suggest checking either or both if you happen to be in the area.

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Ring of Fire

May 11, 2019



Ring of Fire

I think that I get my love of military history from my father. He was a war buff and had hundreds of books around the house as I was growing up about battles, weapons, and all manner collectable items from various wars. Among those were a number of rifles from World War Two as well as swords that belonged to various officers beginning in the Civil War. His most famous piece was a sword that had belonged to General George Meade who was one of the Union commanders at Gettysburg and who coincidently built many of the lighthouses in the Florida Keys including Sand Key.

Even more odd was that one of my first jobs in Key West was working at Reef Relief for DeeVon (Meade) Quirolo who was a direct descendant of the famous General Meade. My father used to take us to Civil War battlefields when I was a kid and it is something that I have always enjoyed doing in to my adulthood. Driving from Key West to Indianapolis offers numerous opportunities to visit some of the most historic battlefields from the Civil War and I took advantage of the proximity to visit two.


The first was the site of the Battle of Chickamauga which was fought on September 18-20, 1863. The battle was fought between the Army of the Cumberland under Maj. Gen. William Rosecrans and the Confederate Army of Tennessee under Gen. Braxton Bragg, and was named for Chickamauga Creek, which meanders near the battle area in northwest Georgia (and ultimately flows into the Tennessee River about 3.5 miles (5.6 km) northeast of downtown Chattanooga).

The battle was a major Union defeat and was the first major conflict in the State of Georgia. It was a terrible fight and only Gettysburg surpasses it in the number of casualties. The battle offered only a brief moment of victory for the Confederacy because by November of 1863, the Union was victorious and captured nearby Chattanooga in what is considered by many to be one of the turning points of the war.

The next battlefield that I visited involved many of the same combatants yet was held earlier and farther North, near Murfreesboro, Tennessee from December 31, 1862 through January 2, 1863. Of the major battles of the war, Stones River had the highest percentage of casualties on both sides. Although the battle itself was inconclusive, the Union Army’s repulse of two Confederate attacks and the subsequent Confederate withdrawal were a much-needed boost to Union morale after the defeat at the Battle of Fredericksburg, and it dashed Confederate aspirations for control of Middle Tennessee.

Both of these sites have wonderful visitor centers and have maintained the actual areas where the conflict was waged in as close to their original states as possible. Of course as at almost all major Civil War sites, there are literally thousands of memorials and markers honoring those who fought there. There is also a National Cemetery at Stones River.


The wooded areas and land on either bank of the Stones River, where much of the most intense fighting occurred are particularly beautiful natural areas and it is tough to reconcile all the death and destruction that happened there with the quiet, beautiful natural solitude that is found there now.

My next stop had nothing to do with the Civil War and more to do with my love of music, specifically the music of the legendary Johnny Cash. I had never visited the Johnny Cash Museum located in downtown Nashville, Tennessee and it was someplace that had always intrigued me. I have never been a huge fan of Country Music, but have always loved and respected Cash.  The museum boasts the largest collection of Johnny Cash memorabilia in the world and once inside, it is easy to see that that claim is true. Anything Johnny Cash related could be found on display and there was a long and successful career and life to cover.


Officially authorized by Johnny Cash’s estate, this museum is an authentic dedication to the music career and life of Johnny Cash. As you embark on an in-depth journey through the Man in Black’s eventful and amazing life, you’ll have the pleasure of viewing hundreds of interactive exhibits and artifacts that make up the most complete collection of Johnny cash memorabilia in the world.



Included in the exhibit are Cash’s personal guitars and other instruments, handwritten lyrics, personal items such as important papers and things such as his high school yearbooks, a collection of his stage costumes and clothing, personal letters and correspondence, original tour posters, albums and singles and much more. They even have nice examples of his artwork, which I was totally unfamiliar with.