I’m back. I hope you figured out that I posted two weeks worth of cartoons before I left. If not, go to the archives, you dummy. I have to pound out another cartoon today, my first day back in dank and clammy New England, so this is just slapped together at the last minute. Please visit your local travel agent for a more thorough travelogue.
First, I’d like to thank Allison and Dan for letting us crash at their place for three days, showing us around Memphis, and putting up with my endless bitching and moaning about the heat. (To be fair, it was in the nineties and complaining is the only thing I’m good at, besides ventriloquism.)
Greg, Craig, and I first stopped in Baltimore, where we all went to school. We marveled at how gentrification is slowly rendering the entire eastern seaboard unaffordable for poor people and hopelessly optimistic cartoonist types who think they can fuck around forever without getting a real job.
Then we began our descent into our nation’s delicate nether regions. We drove down the Blue Ridge Parkway, a very nice drive everyone should try. After taking some photos that began to all look the same, we arrived at a campground. We were the only ones occupying any of the tent sites, but the RV half was bustling with the shuffling of those who’ve already lived their lives.
After waking up at the crack of dawn, (Is sleeping in even possible in a tent?) we went westward, and stopped in Knoxville for lunch. We arrived in Knoxville at noon, and it was desolate. I saw just one other guy off in the distance as we gawked at the Sun Sphere. You might recall that it was featured in the Simpsons episode where Bart gets a license. Knoxville’s other claim to fame is that it is also some guy’s last name. We promptly left and headed towards Nashville, where shitty pop ballads have been ruining the quality of country music for decades.
We didn’t spend much time there, but Nashville appeared to be just like any small city I’ve been to, at least until I saw this warning. After that, the idea that every person I saw on the street was packing heat made me cancel my plans to bunch random strangers in the face. (The NRA was right! Concealed weapons do work as a deterrent in completely made-up scenarios!)
The expanse between Nashville and Memphis is awe-inspiring in its complete lack of shit to do. We were forced to eat at a Cracker Barrel in Jackson for lunch. They can be found around here, but aren’t nearly as ubiquitous as in the south, so I’ve managed to live my entire life without navigating their kitschy general store. I prefer the surly service and Moons Over My Hammy at a Denny’s to waiting in line with a bunch of old people to eat food I can find in my grocer’s freezer aisle.
After all that nothing, we arrived in Memphis, a bonafide city with stuff to do. Our first stop was the National Ornamental Metal Museum, right on the Mississippi and birthplace of our gracious host Dan. From there, the order of things I visited are kind of blur, as much drinking was involved.
Rather than try and force a detailed paragraph about each place I visited, I will rattle them off in a desperate attempt to finish this long and rambling post. There was Beale Street, Sun Studio, the BBQ fest, and about a dozen other places you should check out. The most touristy thing I did was have a Mint Julep in the lobby of the fancy Peabody hotel. That’s not nearly as bad as the folks who come to Boston and throw those tea bags into the Fort Point Channel.
For the last half of the trip, I was aware that the AAN Finalists were announced. Unable to check the website, I didn’t learn that BFW didn’t qualify until I returned home. That on top of cold weather and trees that don’t even have all their leaves has made the trip back to reality a salty kick in the crotch.