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one of my goals in life has always been to get to all 50 states. i'm 5 away from accomplishing that goal, and by the end of this year, i'm going to do it. the five i'm currently missing are Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Oregon, and Hawaii.

 

since 3 of the 5 that i'm missing are all right next to each other, i wanted to plan a road trip where i hit all three. and, since i've never been to Fest in Gainesville before, i figured i'd time it up with that and do it all in one shot since i'll be relatively close going to Alabama. it also happens that the 30th anniversary celebration of The Lost Cross House (possibly the oldest/longest running punk house in America) is happening in Carbondale, IL the week before, so the timing for all of this is working out pretty neatly for me. here's my tentative route:

 

Chicago, IL

Carbondale, IL

Memphis, TN

Jackson, MS

New Orleans, LA

Gainesville, FL

Muscle Shoals, AL

Louisville, KY

Chicago, IL

 

i'm not 100% married to going to Jackson, Mississippi. it was just a big city in the state and along the route from Carbondale to New Orleans. i AM, however, 100% open to suggestions if there are cool places to go/cool things to see and do. i'm super into history and sports, and not as much into partying and dance clubs, to give you an idea of the types of suggestions i'd be most receptive to hearing. obviously, i'm into music, too, but i'd rather see the sights/places i can't experience anywhere else than go to a show, especially considering i'll be bookending my trip with two different fests.

 

if you live in any of these areas and want to meet up with me or house me for a night while i'm around, that would be dope. we're looking at the last 10 days of october into the first couple days of November as far as timing goes.

 

any and all help is greatly appreciated!

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the only time I have ever been to Mississippi I drove past a gas tanker truck that drove off the interstate right before a bridge and slam into the bridge wall below and exploding.  most intense thing ever.  I tried to google the story... apparently this happens often?  like... once a year in that state?  so weird.

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I assume Muscle Shoals/Florence AL for Fame and Muscle Shoals Sound? The last record store up there closed a few weeks ago because the owner simply didn't want to run it anymore.

My hometown of Huntsville has the Space and Rocket Center which is really rad....but also a bit expensive. My friends own a record store (Vertical House Records) there that's pretty nice located inside what I would argue is the cultural hub of the city, The Lowe Mill (a converted textile mill). Open Wed-Sat with the artisan market open on Saturdays. Also within the past couple of weeks the smallest record store in the state opened up inside of a converted storage unit....which I've heard actually has a decent selection. Two breweries bought an old middle school a few blocks from the Lowe Mill and are doing collaborative brewing and storage there as well as harboring new food joints such as food fired oven Pizzas and the like.

Birmingham, where I currently live, has three record stores, one of which my buddy owns (Seasick Records)....the other two within walking distance of one another (Charlemagne and Rennaissance Records). We also have the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame, Civil Rights Museum, and an ok Art Museum. The food in this city is better than anywhere else in the state as well as the music. Decent breweries each with their own vibe here as well.

Don't know much about Montgomery (other than I don't particular care for it)....but it is home to the Hank Williams museum, which is kind of rad. The movie Big Fish was mostly filmed there as well.

Geographically, if you're coming north from Florida....you'll hit Montgomery first, then Birmingham, then You'd choose west for Muscle shoals or East for Huntsville.

If you need/want food recommendations in BHam or HVille if you decide to stop I'd be happy to recommend.

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Don't hit Muscle Shoals on a Sunday, most of the town was closed when I went through (included Fame & Sound Studio). Do eat at Champy's Famous Fried Chicken. I also suggest going to the preserve/dam, there is a cool water fall and some nice nature trails.

 

Memphis, if you're into sports (outdoor), the Bass Pro Shop was kind of amazing, and they have a observation deck looking out at Memphis. Definitely do the tour at Sun Studios, that was easily the highlight of Memphis for me. The Gibson Factory tours fill up quickly, we got there at like 10am and it was already full for the day (and next day). Beale Street is like a relaxed version of Bourbon, it's not bad. Food, I suggest Gus's World Famous Hot Chicken.

 

New Orleans wasn't really for me (I don't drink/care for people that are drunk), but the music scene is great, if you can.. see Preservation Hall Jazz Band (or any show at the Hall), that was a great experience. I hit a Saints & Pelicans game while there, the Saints game was definitely cool (the game got them in the playoffs, so it was a elevated atmosphere). Also check out The National World War II Museum. The beignets at Cafe du Monde is my suggestion there.

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New Orleans is great. I recommend going to Frenchman street. Pretty much every venue on that street has amazing live music.

Just spent a week on Frenchman street. 10/10

Easily had the best meals of my entire life in the French Quarter.

Still bummed I found a flyer for a Weedeater/Today is the Day show...5 hours after the show started.

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holy shit you guys, thank you all so much for the amazing (and detailed!) responses. after i made this post last night, i mapped out my route and did some more tentative research, and came up with this basic itinerary:

 

Friday, 10/21

leave Chicago and get to Carbondale, IL in time for the shows that night.

 

Saturday, 10/22

fuck around in Carbondale during the day, more shows that night

 

Sunday, 10/23

leave Carbondale in the morning

drive to Memphis, TN and visit Graceland (never been here before. i'm incredibly well-prepared for how cheesy and ridiculous it's going to be)

drive to Jackson, MS at night and sleep there

 

Monday, 10/24

tour the Medgar Evers home in the morning/early afternoon

drive to New Orleans and get there in the early evening

 

Tuesday, 10/25

do New Orleans-y shit

> Café du Monde for beignets and café au lait

> St. Roch Cemetery #1

> St. Louis Cemetery #1

 

Wednesday, 10/26

more New Orleans-y shit

 

Thursday, 10/27

leave New Orleans in the morning, drive to Mobile, AL

see the USS Alabama, hang there for a short while

drive to Gainesville, get there around 9 pm

 

Friday, 10/28

Fest

 

Saturday, 10/29

Fest

 

Sunday, 10/30

Fest

 

Monday, 10/31

leave Gainesville around noon, drive to Montgomery, AL

walk on the steps of the Capitol Building, then drive to Selma (the reverse route of the marches)

cross the Edmund Pettus Bridge (the site of the conflict of Bloody Sunday)

go to the Brown Chapel A.M.E. Church (where the marches from Selma to Montgomery started)

drive to Birmingham and sleep there

 

Tuesday, 11/1

see where the Barons play because i'm an MJ nerd

maybe grab lunch with Birdwell???

drive up to Sheffield and tour Muscle Shoals Sound Studio

drive to Louisville that night and sleep there

 

Wednesday, 11/2

tour the Louisville Slugger Factory

leave in the late afternoon for Chicago

get home that night

 

 

i know it's pretty jam-packed, but that's the way i like to do road trips. some of these places i might never get back to again, so i try to do as much as possible while i'm there. the long days and amount of driving don't bother me. i'd rather be driving while i'm awake than sitting on a bed in a hotel room thinking about what else i could be seeing!

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Tuesday, 11/1

see where the Barons play because i'm an MJ nerd

maybe grab lunch with Birdwell???

drive up to Sheffield and tour Muscle Shoals Sound Studio

drive to Louisville that night and sleep there

Just a heads-up, the new Barons stadium downtown was only built 3 years ago. The stadium where Jordan played is out in Hoover at the Hoover Met. The field depicted at the beginning of Space Jam is supposed to be Rickwood Field located here in BHam....which is actually the oldest Baseball Park in the world and really really fucking awesome.....but in a sketchy part of town.

If I'm still in town, I'm SO down for food.

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i did my research! built in 1910. pretty awesome history in that park, including Babe Ruth. they let you run the bases when it's open (M-F, 8 am to 4:30 pm). totally doing that.

 

and the Hoover Met, if i can make that happen, i will. since that's actually where he played. but Rickwood Field sounds like the more special of the two if time doesn't allow for both and i have to pick one.

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i did my research! built in 1910. pretty awesome history in that park, including Babe Ruth. they let you run the bases when it's open (M-F, 8 am to 4:30 pm). totally doing that.

and the Hoover Met, if i can make that happen, i will. since that's actually where he played. but Rickwood Field sounds like the more special of the two if time doesn't allow for both and i have to pick one.

Hell! Yes! Dude! They do one game a year there called the Rickwood Classic and it's truly magical....we took an extended lunch break last year and caught 4 or 5 innings

My boss had his birthday there once it's stupid cheap to rent the place out for a few hours and blast around as much as you want.

A local adult softball league rents it out for their "world-series" each year

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RE: Cafe du monde

Lines there are always insane. I went to a little hole in the wall place called Cafe Beignet and my girlfriend said they were better (and bigger) than the ones at Cafe du monde.

I had the place to myself at 4 am once....I was hammered....also their ATM was down so I had to dine n dash.....still feel really bad about it

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RE: Cafe du monde

Lines there are always insane. I went to a little hole in the wall place called Cafe Beignet and my girlfriend said they were better (and bigger) than the ones at Cafe du monde.

 

i've heard this, too. luckily, i don't sleep much (which is why i'm cool packing like 18 hours worth of driving/sightseeing into most days) so i'm sure i'll be able to catch it during one of the non-peak hours over the course of the few days i'm in town.

 

i'm probably going to try other places, as well, but it's one of those things you have to do just to be able to say you did it, ya know? like i recently went ice skating on the rink in Rockefeller Center. was it the best rink i've ever skated on? nah. was it worth $37 in any other scenario? nah. but i did it, and now i can say i did it.

 

or like eating a potato in Idaho. going to Roswell in New Mexico. i've done all of that real 'Americana' shit. most of it is pretty dumb, but that's all part of it haha.

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That whole trip sounds great!

 

Wednesday, 11/2

tour the Louisville Slugger Factory

leave in the late afternoon for Chicago

get home that night

 

After seeing this, I may do that Louisville Slugger Factory tour this upcoming Monday.

I am doing a road trip from Philly to Nashville (seeing a show at at Bluegrass Underground [Cumberland Caverns] in McMinnville) and then heading up to Cincinnati to see opening day Reds vs. Phillies. We will drive through Louisville and that sounds like a good way to spend the morning!

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i've actually heard pretty mixed reviews about the Louisville Slugger Factory, so you might want to do a little bit of research on it before you make that decision! unless you're a super baseball nerd, it might not be the most interesting thing in the world.

 

i used to work for a company that worked very closely with LS though, and i've been to about a dozen other baseball museums across the country, so this one is a must-see for me. i've always wanted to go, just never made a dedicated trip to make it happen.

 

if you're into baseball, though, the two best museums in the country are the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York, and the Negro League Baseball Museum in Kansas City, Missouri. and if you're SUPER ridiculous about baseball, the Shoeless Joe Jackson Museum in Greenville, South Carolina is an incredible visit, too.

 

every year i play an 1860s style baseball game with a team representing the Shoeless Joe museum. we play against a team representing the Ty Cobb Museum (from Royston, Georgia - also a neat museum if you're in the area). each year we alternate who hosts the game. 2015 was our 7th annual game, and it was held in SC. so 2016 will be in Royston, probably some time in September or October but no date has been set yet. if anybody is interested in coming out to see that, it's always a really fun time and i can make a post when we get closer. it's free to watch.

 

here's me hitting a triple in one of the games:

 

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386348_4581655827419_1839494147_n.jpg?oh

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  • 3 weeks later...
  • 2 weeks later...

I've lived in New Orleans for ten years. And pretty much all of the things to do here are mentioned already so that's pretty great. [My] suggestion of things to do here:

Music -

As already expressed, Frenchmen is really cool. But Frenchmen is becoming the cool thing and most locals go here already. That just means it's packed a lot of nights. A really cool place that is lesser known in the Bywater community is Vaughan's. NOLA's patron jazz celeb is this guy named Kermit Ruffins and he plays a show on Thursday nights. But they have music other nights since I think you'll be gone by Thursday (it's usually jazz, it's more brass band which can be soulful or hip hop based more than traditional jazz). Someone also mentioned Preservation Hall and if it's the PJH band playing, it's trad jazz. But it's the best. The venue doesn't sell any food or drink, but it's the best live trad jazz you'll find here. 

There are also a shit ton of local dive bars that will often feature shitty crust punk bands so if that's you're thing, you'll be in hog heaven. Bookmark this page and check it out right before you come: http://noladiy.org/events.php

History - 

NO is one of America's oldest cities. Plenty to do. National WW2 museum is epic but a little pricey. Worth it, though. There's also a small Civil War museum that's really great. It's cheap to get in. Granted, it's obviously going to be lop-sided but it's not like they deny the atrocities of slavery or injustices that took place. Good if you're interested in the Civil War. We have an art museum in City Park that's huge. You can also visit Mardi Gras World and see factories where they make floats and stuff. Oh, there was a battle in the War of 1812 that took place technically after the war ended. Here's some info on that battlefield that you can visit: https://www.nps.gov/jela/chalmette-battlefield.htm

Food -

It's pretty well documented so just Google suggestions. If you're near St. Peter street in the French Quarter, eat at The Gumbo Shop. Best gumbo you can buy at a restaurant. Lots of people love beignets, I hate them. It's just a fried dough with powdered sugar on it. There are plenty of places to get it. Cafe Du Monde is just  the oldest. They also sell coffee with chicory in it. I hate it too. LOL

Record Stores - 

I've written my opinion on it a lot. See where I took over this thread: http://boards.vinylcollective.com/topic/109355-record-stores-in-new-orleans/?hl=+new%20+orleans

Any questions, ask away. This is a cool place to visit. 
 

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