“I’m in for the road trip,” I told my daughter on the phone the next day.
“Awesome!” she said.
“There’s one condition,” I responded playfully. “I’d like to stop in Nashville for a few days. I’ve never been and think it’d be fun.”
Music was woven into the fabric of our family. I had been a DJ for a decade after college, and my daughter played three instruments. Visiting Nashville would become part of our musical DNA.
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Maggie flew back to Connecticut in early April to help pack her car. We agreed to share driving duties, and be on the road no more than eight hours a day — in daylight. I ordered a TripTik from AAA, an old-school, 8 ½-by-5-inch spiral-bound booklet made up of 61 pages of paper maps, customized for our journey. According to the booklet, the trip would be four legs, 1,847.8 miles total, taking 27 hours and 52 minutes of travel time.
“Ridiculous,” my daughter said dryly, catching sight of the old-fashioned booklet.
We left early morning, choosing the scenic route on a highway that ran alongside the Blue Ridge Parkway. Vast rolling green hills were dotted by black cows. The dogwoods planted alongside the road in Virginia and Tennessee were singing in full April splendor, their welcoming pink blooms tilting in the gentle breeze and pointing south toward our destination. And there were crosses, all sizes and colors, the Bible Belt’s symbol of continuing hope.
Two days later, we arrived in Nashville around supper time. Maggie spied a tattoo shop while we walked down Second Avenue.