Friday, January 15th

I awoke at the London, Kentucky Motel 8 at 5:00 in the morning after a quiet nite. A quick glance outside revealed only about 10 cars in the hotel lot where the previous days shush had now turned back to ice. I checked the thermometer - 28 degrees.

I had my usual fig bars and coffee then worked on the journal for day 1. At about 6:30 I went to the hotel "continental breakfast" and had two bowls of raisin bran. I then finished up my web webwork, reorganized and repacked the car and headed down the road at 9:15 Eastern.

From London, my route would take me across KY Rt 80 to Somerset where I would then pick up the Louis B. Nunn Cumberland Parkway to Glasgow. At Glasgow I would head south on US 31E to TN 386 just outside of Nashville, then to I-65 south and TN Rt 155 - the Briley Parkway. This is a beltway which encircles Nashville.

I made only one stop in Russell Springs to fuel up and get a bit to eat. The Cumberland Parkway section of the drive was very scenic, ever though it was winter time. The last leg from the Tenseness state line to Nashville was slow going with a good bit of local traffic. The last section of 31E from Gallatin to I-65 was a congested, sprawling mess and a route I would not choose again.

When I got on to 155 west the traffic thinned considerably and it was not long after that I was in Bob's 'Hood - Belle Meade. It is a ritzy, upscale neighborhood where the most expensive homes in Nashville are located. The 'Hood is home to the rich and the famous and now home to a West Virginia transplant who managed to slip in the back door.

I arrived at Bob's domicile, Belle Meade Towers, at around 12:30 Central. This was a bit earlier than planned and, not wanting to wake Bob who works a night shift as a Blood Bank Supervisor at Vanderbilt Hospital, I decided to snooze until about 1:30 when I was sure he would be up and about.

I roused myself and entered the lobby of the Towers, told the doorman who I was there to see, signed in and then took the elevator up to Bob's floor. When Bob opened the door I gave him a big hug. I was mighty glad to see him and glad to be off the road. We got a few things out of my car then hopped into Bob's gas guzzling Land Rover and headed off to Bob's choice for lunch.

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Bob had chosen Rotiers, a famous burger joint with a lot of history.

Once a carriage house for a fashionable West End Avenue home, the site of the family-owned restaurant sports vintage-upholstered booths, lighted Budweiser signs, and a price list reminiscent of the 1970's. The "un-modern" restaurant draws a diverse crowd -- students, attorneys, musicians, actors, artists,reporters, police officers,judges, doctors, magistrates, city planners, striders, and more.

Cheeseburgers on French bread and thick milkshakes are the two best sellers. Today, 90 customers can crowd into the restaurant and order a full country breakfast or a meat-and-three lunch or dinner. Read the Menu.

Source: Rotiers

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A look at the bar just inside the front door.

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Ready to eat!

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We both ordered the cheesburger on French bread and cokes to wash them down. After I looked a bit more closely at this photo I realized why my burger had no onion on it - Bob got it!

Bob and I had a good time catching up and Bob also had a good time chatting up our waitress. Bob asked me if I was interested in art, specifically Georgia O'Keefe. I said I was - more or less. I am not in the habit of going to galleries, but I figured if Bob had something in mind, it would be worth a look see.

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Here is what Bob had in mind.

There are two galleries here. One houses the permanent exhibit of the Alfred Stieglitz Collection of Modern Art, which includes works by Picasso, Cezanne, Renoir, Toulouse-Lautrec, O’Keeffe, Demuth, Hartley, Dove and Walkowitz. The other galley features a rotating schedule of traveling and temporary exhibitions organized by the University Galleries’ staff.

The gallery had the original of Pierre Auguste Renoir's " The Hat Pin". I have seen many reproductions of this painting over the years and it was pretty cool to see the original.

Pierre Auguste Renoir's -The hat pin title=

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Here Bob stands next to one of the hammered copper doors of the Carl Van Vechten Gallery at Fisk University. The doors panels were made by Gregory Ridley. He was the artist-in- residence at Morehouse College during the 1995-96 academic year, and he has conducted a number of workshops and seminars elsewhere. He served the Tennessee State Museum as a guest curator, organizing the acclaimed exhibition "Visions of My People: African-American Artists in Tennessee."

It Carl Van Vechten Gallery is located at 1000 17th Avenue North.

The door was locked so we rang the doorbell and were greeted and ushered in by a staff member. He told us a bit about the gallery and then informed us there was $10 fee. Bob picked up the tab for both of us and we were then escorted into the gallery were we got quite an interesting and informative introduction to the gallery.

There was quite a mix of artwork and I am certainly no critic. So, I tried to take it all in, keeping an open mind. There were two O'Keefe pieces, The Radiator Building and one which was either Flying or Floating Backbone.

Georgia Totto O'Keeffe (November 15, 1887 – March 6, 1986) was an American artist. Born near Sun Prairie, Wisconsin, O'Keeffe was a major figure in American art from the 1920s. She received widespread recognition for her technical contributions, as well as for challenging the boundaries of modern American artistic style. She is chiefly known for paintings of flowers, rocks, shells, animal bones, and landscapes in which she synthesized abstraction and representation. Her paintings present crisply contoured forms that are replete with subtle tonal transitions of varying colors. She often transformed her subject matter into powerful abstract images.

Georgia O'Keeffe in Abiquiu, New Mexico, photographed by Carl Van Vechten, 1950.

O'Keeffe played a central role in bringing an American art style to Europe at a time when the majority of influence flowed in the opposite direction. This feat enhanced her art-historical importance given that she was one of few women to have gained entry to this level of professional influence. She found artistic inspiration in the rural Southwest, particularly in New Mexico, where she settled late in life.

Source: Wiki Pedia

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The gallery building is a neo-Romanesque structure constructed in 1888 as a church and served as the University Gymnasium from 1903 to 1949. It was rededicated in 1949 to the memory of Carl Van Vechten, a New York critic and art collector who encouraged Georgia O'Keeffe to give Fisk University part of the art collection of her late husband, Alfred Stieglitz.

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This is Cravath Hall which located near the gallery.

The neo-Gothic Cravath Hall, on the campus of Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee was designed as a library by architect Henry Hibbs in 1930. The building's interior was graced with murals by Harlem Renaissance artist Aaron Douglas, which depicted the history of black slavery.

After a period of unfortunate neglect, the building and mural were recently restored by architects Moody-Nolan and preservation consultant Michael Emrick, AIA. Now an administration building, Cravath Hall has been returned to the original masterpiece it was in the 1930s.

Source: Architectue Week © 2005 Artifice, Inc.

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After departing the gallery we headed back towards Bob's place with the idea of doing some grocery shopping. On the way we passed what looked like an old fire station which had been turned into and automotive repair shop.

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Another shop we passed by.

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Here's Bob at the Starbucks located in the Belle Meade Harris Teeter "Your Neighborhood Food Market".

The coffee in the foreground belongs to me and it was my very first cup of coffee at a Starbucks. Wow, I am really pushing the envelope on this trip.

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I ordered a Cafe Mocha.

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This is the escalator which goes to the parking area underneath the store. Fancy.

To give you and idea of the what Belle Meade means to some people - the Krogers there has valet parking.

Although I have no more photos for the rest of the day, it was a busy one.

After shopping we went back to Bob's and spent about an hour trying to figure out why the internet would not connect to either his desktop or my laptop. We finally gave up and headed downtown to 2nd Avenue. Our first stop (after paying 14 bucks to park) was Layla's Bluegrass Inn. The house band "Gypsi Bluegrass" was playing. They are a family band consisting of brother Frank and sisters Lillie Mae, Amber Dawn, and Scarlet.

They were pretty amateurish and we stayed only long enough to finish off our $2.50 cans of PBR.

We then walked up to Mulligan's Irish Pub at 117 2nd Avenue North and had a pint of Guiness, shot the breeze and watched all the people walking up and down the street. The food menu here sounded good, especially the "Corned Beef and Colcannon One of Ireland's most famous dishes - marinated beef brisket accompanied by a hearty portion of Colcannon potatoes (a chunky mashed style mixed with shredded cabbage and butter, spiced with mace). Served with brown gravy and Rye bread".

After we finished our pints we walked about for a bit. The 2nd Avenue area reminded me a little a Bourbon Street, only for rednecks. There were tour busses and bar hawkers and lots of neon and music blaring out of the bars.

We eventually made out way up to Printer's Alley which we found nearly deserted. This is where the raunchier establishments are like Lonnies Western Room and the Brass Stable.

We then made our way across town to the Broadway Brewhouse and Mojo Grill West for some victuals and thirst slakers. I had the "Gringo wings" and Shiner Bock Draft and Bob had a chicken wrap with his Beck's Dark. This was turning into a late nite for me and when we got back to Bob's it was close to 11:00. We both hit the sack so we could get ready for another busy day on the morrow.

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