Saturday was the big day, our last full day in Nashville and the “official” day of the comic cookout. Of course, we had to find time to stop by the Grand Ole Opry while we were in town. We hadn’t planned on going to a show, so we just stopped by the gift shop for the obligatory hunt for souvineers to bring home. Vivian grabbed a harmonica and a guitar fridge magnet, and I snagged a Grand Ole Opry t-shirt. We also found a couple country-themed rubber duckies. Dotty apparently collects them.
I’ve never been a country music fan, but I have to admit that staying in Music City for a couple days started to affect me. The next time we’re in town, I’m getting tickets to this place so I can see more than just the gift shop.
We arrived back at the hotel in time for the official “cookout” portion of the cookout to begin. The food was catered by Neely’s, a local barbecue restaurant that served up brisket, ribs, smoked chicken, and other savory items for the carnivores among us (Aggie had gotten some pita-based alternative for the vegans in our group). We ate and goofed off for most of the afternoon drawing in sketchbooks, playing Rock Band and batting around some strange latex bubbles that Ryan blew up with a straw (until they exploded).
Later in the afternoon, a bunch of us decided to conduct an impromptu taste test between White Castle and its southern equivalent, Krystal, in downtown Nashville. Fading Aura and StrRedWolf used Google Maps to find two of the chain restaurants within a few blocks of each other so we could compare their burgers in a state of relative freshness. Vivian preferred the White Castle burger, mainly because Krystal seemed to gross her out. It was a fun experiment, even if only half of actually wound up eating any of the burgers, and it gave us a chance to try some digestion-challenged food with some goofy friends (and make Ryan ride in the boot of our car).
Fading Aura, Vivian, and I decided to take a tour of downtown Nashville to check out the night life. Aggie had told us that there they closed off parts of second street so they could perform live music in the open air, but we didn’t exactly see any. We did find some breakdancers performing for tips at the corner of 2nd and Commerce. We also took a stroll down Printer’s Alley, where barkers for strip clubs along the street enticed us inside for “naked karaoke,” among other things. It made me appreciate how much cleaner the Old Market in Omaha seems to be by comparison.
Vivian and I were ready to collapse when we returned to the hotel at the end of the night. Somehow, we stayed awake long enough for a couple rounds of UNO and then joined some of our comic friends for some after-midnight breakfast at the Waffle House. I’d seen the small breakfast diner around the corner when Vivian and I first arrived, and I wanted to take her to see the southern equivalent of Village Inn.