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American Road Trip Vol. 6

April 28th, 2009 2 comments

We are on our way out of Alabama, having visited Mobile, Birmingham and Montgomery, but there is one more stop before we see the lights of Georgia.

Tuscaloosa, Alabama

While trawling through Alabama, we met our new friend Chris (himself on a road trip, with his lovely girlfriend, from Mobile to Birmingham) who has invited us to meet him in Tuscaloosa to catch some American Football shenanigans (I”ve always bristled at the idea of that sport being called “football” at the expense of the one that actually calls for the predominant use of feet). And so we go to Tuscaloosa to see the University of Alabama”s gridiron team, the Crimson Tide, beating seven shades of blue of tonight”s oppostion, Wake Forest University”s Demon Deacons. The appalling punster in me is amused to note that the habitual winners should be based in TuscaLOOSA.
Steely Dan – Deacon Blue.mp3
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Atlanta, Georgia

After our excursion into American sporting culture, we dump our 36-tonner truck which we picked up in Baton Rouge and avail ourselves of the great US Railway system, arriving at the station just in time at 23:55. It rains as we cross the state border. Eventually we arrive in Atlanta, city of the unaccountably popular and repulsive Gone With The Wind, carbonated syrup soda, AT&T and other mega-corporations which at present probably are engaged in doing their sums to see if they can qualify for a bailout. Strange to think that just 190 years ago the city was a Cherokee village called Standing Peachtree (hence the civil war Battle of Peachtree Creek and the name of Atlanta”s main street). The Cherokees apparently sold the village to The Man, who in turn forcibly removed them less than 20 years later. Nice.

Atlanta was, of course, an epicentre of the civil rights struggle which was led by a son of the city, Martin Luther King Jr. Atlanta tried to rise above the racism in the region, dubbing itself “the city too busy too hate” (which did not immunise it from hate crimes, racist and anti-semitic).
The B-52s – Love Shack.mp3
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Gatlinburg, Tennessee

Our foray into Georgia is brief, as we make our way north towards the Appalachians (travelling in, for the fun of it, a stagecoach). En route, we stop for a brew in a run-down saloon in Gatlinburg, in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee. The frost on our glasses has barely thawed when a fellow spontaneously starts a fight with an older man. The problem apparently arose over the older man giving the younger man, his son, a girl”s name. Turns out that the old boy had given his son such an awful name to toughen up the kid in his fatherless childhood ““ a ploy that seems to have had its desired effect, yet seems to have been a bad idea on every other count.

After the younger man has left to have his cut ear stitched, the old man snorts derisively: “I lef” home when the kid was three and it sure felt good to be fancy free, tho” I knew it wasn”t quite the fatherly thing to do. But that kid kept screamin” and throwin” up and pissin” in his pants till I had enough, so just for revenge I went and named him Sue.” And it gets much worse, and funnier, thereafter. (Get Shel Silverstein’s original of A Boy Named Sue here)
Johnny Cash – A Boy Named Sue.mp3
Shel Silverstein – Father Of A Boy Named Sue.mp3

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One more stop before we cross the Appalachians into Kentucky on our way to Ohio.

Previously on American Road Trip