Monday, 24 May 2010


The idea was to make Nashville for a Saturday night whooping it up in the bars of the main drag. Broadway. So we hit the interstate and headed north to Georgia. Scenery changing slightly and bright sunshine. Judging by the bill boards by the roadside North Florida and southern Georgia seem to have a bit of an identity crisis going on. We like the directness that you get in the US whereby if you have a service to sell you tell people about it. You don’t wrap it up in a clever advertising message which may win you an award. but garner no sales. You tell people: 1) I am selling this stuff. 2) Its cheaper and better than everyone else’s. 3) Call me and we’ll do a deal. It doesn’t seem to matter what it is. Be it trucks to health care. To British eyes the idea of haggling over a heart transplant seems a little… well Un- English! “Sacred Heart Memorial hospital across town said they throw in a Lexus if I got my new ticker there” “We’ll give you a free kidney too” “Hmmmm” “How about a vasectomy as well?” “Done!” Open me up here’s my credit card. There was a radio commercial the other day I heard that utilised a recently returned Iraq war trooper to tell us that he wanted a new truck and “Bobs trucks” (Or similar) did him the best deal. By the time we reached the Georgia border we were under no illusion as to what lay ahead. With a wonderful juxtaposition of huge road side signs which are on poles twenty feet high and the placards themselves which are about ten to fifteen feet across. The first sign had a stars and stripes with the American Eagles glaring imperiously at us mere mortals rattling past at 65 miles per hour. The caption read “America Come back to God” Immediately next to it was one of equal size which boomed “Strippers. That’s all you need to know” With stylised pictures of pole dancing women and in smaller letters: “Truckers welcome”. I think this establishment knew its target market pretty well.

About 20 miles from Macon (Allman Brothers territory). The radio suddenly cut in with a severe weather warning. Apparently there had been 60 mile per hour winds and golf ball sized hailstones. Trouble is it mentioned counties that meant nothing to us. However we did notice the sky was darkening. Without too much warning over perhaps 5 miles the temperature dropped 20 degrees Fahrenheit and we got to see the most spectacular thunderstorm with blinding forked lightning on both sides of the road and deafening cracks of thunder that made the car vibrate. I had taken the precaution of shutting the roof just in case although there was no sign of ra… Then it looked like someone had just poured several buckets of water over us. Imagine driving in a car wash with added hail. We decided (it is a mutual thing we have going here.) It would be a good idea to pull over until the rain slowed. Turned off the interstate and into a motel car park opposite the aptly named “Flash Flood” gas station. For the next half an hour we just sat there as it poured and poured and poured. As it began to let up we eased back onto the Interstate to find the storms legacy: For the next fifteen miles we passed pile up after pile up. Luckily most just appeared to be fairly minor collisions. However in one a bright red pick up truck was at right angles to the concrete crash barrier its tail lights pointing accusingly at passers by. From time to time we saw slightly more severe accidents with ambulances in attendance. “Had a fender bender? Bleeding and injured? You need Al’s Ambulances. We get you to ER quicker as we only employ ex racing drivers”. Some of the hospital billboards we saw did in fact have illuminated readouts telling us how long the current waiting time was for treatment. Arriving in Macon we started looking for a motel for the night. There was one next to a branch of “Applebee’s Bar and Grill”. Perfect. Booked in and then went next door. I visited a branch of “Applebee’s” up near Niagara Falls on American Adventure 2 when a huge Canadian Couple ate their way through the card. With a lot of loud smacking of lips. That is when the difference in scale made me decide that it was ok to have a dessert despite pigging out on a 14 oz Steak covered in shrimp and Parmesan. This time as I was with the Dark Lady and still hoping and trying to create the right impression. I had the more sedate Fajita combo while she pecked delicately at a shrimp salad. We also ate sitting at the bar. Closer to the drinks.

After an hour or so we went back to the motel and turned in. Round about one AM the DL shook me awake and whispered. “Someone’s trying to get into the room”. Quick as a flash I was out of bed and heading to the door. “Don’t go outside” she pleaded. I may have been dumb and er naked but I was not mad. Most hotels give you security advice and one of the things they tell you is never to open the door to strangers. So I peered through the spy hole. There was a middle aged guy with black hair and a carrier bag. He seemed to be trying his cardkey. I banged on the door from the inside. Not sure what this was going to achieve but it did the trick. The message sent was probably: “You are standing at a door. Someone is knocking on it. This must mean you are inside already. So go and sit down.” To our relief he slunk off down the corridor. We drifted back to sleep and then 20 minutes later there was a knocking on the door and a voice said. “I need to know your last name.” This is ridiculous. This time as I peered through the spy hole there were two of them. I pondered what to do. Should we call the cops? “Why do you need to know that?” “I just need to.” “Lester now go away or I will call the police” I phoned reception and after seemingly an age a mans voice answered. “This is room 114 someone is trying to get in.” “Yes that was me Mr Lester. According to our computer that room is vacant. The evening manager had forgotten to enter your details”. I could feel that good old fashioned British “dudgeon” begin to rise. “DO YOU REALISE” I barked “YOU SCARED THE LIVING DAYLIGHTS OUT OF MY GIRLFRIEND?!” (And me to be frank). You can always rely on a Brit when the chips are down to sound effortlessly pompous. We slept like babies until the babies in the room above started running around about 6. We were on the road by 8. We were on our way to Music City USA…Nashville!

By the way, you can add me on Twitter by clicking here and Audioboo by clicking here. It is the same login for both so if you do one you might aswell the other!


Annie said...
At last we see the beard and the striking new look! I must say, it's much better than I was anticipating - you look cool.Of course there will need to be a new photograph for the Radio 2 website.Thank you for continuing to tweet and blog - especially now that you have K for company - who I think has the patience of a saint.Take care of you both and enjoy the drive!
23 May 2010 23:57

marianne said...
Wow the beard looks great glad the dark lady likes it I agree with annie above thanks for continuing with our insite to your holiday now you have the Dark Lady for company enjoy your week maybe a picture of you together on the next blog
24 May 2010 00:59

Grant said...
Glad there are already two comments here, Alex. I was going to ask who the bloke in the picture is, who looks like a bloke from a rock band. The 'look' suits you - I hope the DL agrees!I hope both of you enjoy the rest of your 'holiday' - although, for the amount of work you put into your blog etc, I think the term 'holiday' is a little exaggerated.
24 May 2010 03:37

DamoIRL said...
LOL! Sorry, Dark One, I had to laugh at the photo. More the hat than the beard! (at least its not a baseball one. Note to William Hague) I'm gonna break the cozy consensus here and say, its doesn't look great. As a fellow struggler in the battle with the scales, I feel beards don't do a great job concealing one's other chin. Maybe thats just me, don't take my word on it! All the same, top blogging as per usual! :)
24 May 2010 07:50

mwhite229 said...
Fab blogs once again Dark Lord - over and above the call of duty to write all of this for us while supposed to be on holiday - but we do appreciate it. Like the beard too -- sexy -- might tip Jancie Long over the edge next week tho - but nice to see something other than fotos of your feet - just need the middle bit now!! Enjoy your remaining days.
24 May 2010 09:10

Chris said...
Looks like a young Charlie Daniels to me LOL!
24 May 2010 11:43

Mary said...
The beard looks great on you! It's added a whole new level of cool to the character we all know as The Darklord...Or, could this be the reincarnation? Could this be the world-famous Johnny Havoc, live and in-person?Glad the intruder situation ended a lot better than I had anticipated. Glad you and the Dark Lady were able to weather both storms, the intruder and the hail, with no injuries!
24 May 2010 18:22


  1. Hmmmm. With your beard, that brilliant hat (you know I love hats) and sunglasses you’re looking like the big cheese in the Mexican Mafia. Is there such a thing? I’m not so sure you’ll get back into the UK looking like that- cool yes.. a little bad …definitely but with undercurrents of a major league criminal on the run… still cute though.

  2. Just updated my blog, to find a link to this dirge! All I can think of is that I'll have to read the rest of the durk lards ramblings (Forgot that I'd linked to follow before he went - and the bugger seems to have managed to get back in 1 piece. How, I'll never know)

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