Thursday, 11 May 2017

In Nashville... Day Six

I spent most of the morning of my last day in Nashville touring around Bridgestone's bus and truck tyre factory at LaVergne; it was roughly a 35-minute coach ride along the Interstate.

There was something very pleasant about the tyre factory, and it has a lot to do with the smell of rubber that filled the air wherever we went in the plant. It was wonderful and, in a way, calming. The plant was fairly quiet too because some of the lines were undergoing PM, that's plant maintenance, so the whole experience was almost surreal in a way, especially the safety video we had to watch prior to putting on protective shoes and eyeware, not forgetting (as I almost did) earplugs, although we didn't need the plugs that often.
Bridgestone LaVergne, Nashville TN.

Apart from the sense of calm brought about by the pleasant smell of the rubber, another interesting aspect of the plant was the robotics and these strange little rounded shapes that moved around the factory under their own steam, guided by laser scanners. They had a certain robotic cuteness about them that I think everybody on the tour appreciated. At one point there was a screen on which one could see where in the plant the robots were headed. 

One of the reasons I like the smell of rubber has plenty to do with my love of bike shops where the overriding scent is that of the tyres and it always reminds of being a kid and my dad buying me a new bike. I hasten to add that I'm not some kind of gimpy pervert. I mean, I like the smell of a freshly creosoted fence too, or the waft of hops from a pub doorway, both of which I find comforting for some reason. Perhaps they all harbour distant childhood memories.

The tour lasted until noon, roughly, and after that I was a free man, which is just as well as I've got to be out of here first thing in the morning in order to catch my flight from Nashville to Dallas and then Dallas to London; it's not going to be pleasant, I can tell you. In fact, I'm going to check out the BA website to see if I can get a better seat the aisle, preferably something similar to my outward trip when I was getting the best of both worlds, namely a window seat but also plenty of legroom thanks to being on the Exit row. But coming out was a jumbo, I'm not sure what the plane is on the return leg of the journey. We'll see what transpires.

Steps from Demonbreun lead to The Gulch
I went back to the Gulch for lunch at City Fire where I opted for salmon with spinach, a couple of beers and once again I was tempted into dessert, not by the waiting staff but by my own need to chill and relax. I had an Americano too and chewed the fat with one of the staff who hailed from Birmingham, Alabama, and was an artist by trade. She seemed to earn good money at City Fire and liked living in Nashville, Tennessee, rather than her home state, although she originally came from Vermont, which is up north close to the border with Canada.

My dessert was a kind of apple strudel, but I'd prefer to describe it as an apple mess. I'm still amazed how the Americans take something healthy – in this case apples – and then make it unhealthy. They even manage to take something unhealthy (ice cream) and make it even unhealthier by covering it in caramel sauce. I still finished it, but that might have been because I didn't have a big breakfast (who am I kidding?). And besides, last night in 'The Pub', also part of The Gulch, I only had salmon with rice and brocolli, not exactly high fat, although again I had that awful dessert with another huge blob of ice cream. Yesterday was excusable as I hadn't had any lunch, but there was no excuse today other than I wanted somewhere to chill that was off the street so I could read more of my book, Hotels of North America by Rick Moody.

On Demonbreun heading downtown...
After what amounted to a late lunch I wandered about in the heat, stopping for another Americano in a coffee shop across the street. I ordered a banana too in an effort to convince myself that I was in control and I was health-conscious, although it was highly tempting to have chosen a huge cinnamon whirl, but I managed to resist. 

There are good shops here for women, but they're pretty pricey so I left them alone, even if one was offering 30% off advertised prices. Eventually I moseyed on back to the hotel and sat by the pool for a short while reading Hotels of North America by Rick Moody. And now here I am again, on the lap top, in the room, contemplating all sorts of things, like when am I going to pack, will I even bother with dinner bearing in mind my late lunch and should I really bother about going on-line to check out a better seat for the Dallas to London leg of my journey? I'll probably do the latter and then I might even take a last swim in the pool if the warm weather here has warmed it up a bit since my dip on Sunday.

I took another look at the Thompson hotel, this time checking out the rooftop bar. It's not that hot. I know I said it was cool in a previous post, but I might revise my opinion of it; it's certainly got nothing on the Ace Hotel, Portland, Oregon. I'd like to say the rooftop bar offered great views of Nashville, but it doesn't, and if I'm honest I began to see the join, so to speak. I left disillusioned and continued to mosey around, eventually returning to the Best Western Plus.

Postscript: Should I stay or should I go?
It's 2007hrs and I'm still in my hotel room wondering what to do. I'll admit to feeling mildly depressed, probably at the thought of the mammoth flight I must undertake tomorrow night and the journey that begins early in the morning with a taxi to Nashville Airport and a flight to Dallas from where my transatlantic 'adventure' begins. I'm sitting here now wondering whether or not to go out and have a drink and something to eat. Something says don't bother, something else says go out and yet another voice says stay in, watch CNN and hit the sack. They're all rather tempting options in their own way and to be honest I don't think I could stay in all night, here in my hotel room with nothing but the television to keep me company. There's always Del Frisco's Grille, but can I really be bothered to hike all the way there, across the interstate and, well, I'll go down to the front desk and see how I feel.

I write a lot of hotel and restaurant reviews on Trip Advisor, which can be read by clicking here.

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