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American Road Trip

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by sir humphrey, Mar 9, 2015.

  1. sir humphrey

    sir humphrey Friend of Leo's

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    I've got permission from the bosses (my family) and have now arranged to take a break from real life next year and do my dream American road trip.

    All I know so far is I'm taking at least a month, I'm starting in Chicago and finishing in Austin and I'm taking my guitar.

    My plan is to make a musical pilgrimage to all the places that the music I love comes from, following the blues trail down the Mississippi and stopping off in Nashville, Memphis and anywhere I can sit in with a band, get schooled by frighteningly good musicians and/or listen to great bands.

    Anyone have any suggestions about where to go, what to see, where to play and where to go listen? Help me make up an itinerary.

    Also - I'm taking three months off in total, so flexible as to when I can go, but is there a best time?
     
  2. Wallo Tweed

    Wallo Tweed Friend of Leo's

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    I can't help you as far as where to go,but I think you are being realistic in your estimation of time vs distance.
    If you've never been here, it is a big place. Friendly also.
     
  3. sir humphrey

    sir humphrey Friend of Leo's

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    Oh I know - but I like driving ;-)
     
  4. Wallo Tweed

    Wallo Tweed Friend of Leo's

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    Maybe you could fit some old route 66 into your trip.
     
  5. Wallo Tweed

    Wallo Tweed Friend of Leo's

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    Now that I think about it, that would be a great road trip.
     
  6. Broadmoor74

    Broadmoor74 Tele-Meister

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    Might as well keep going to New Orleans.
     
  7. sir humphrey

    sir humphrey Friend of Leo's

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    Good idea!
     
  8. sir humphrey

    sir humphrey Friend of Leo's

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    Yeah, that's definitely on the itinerary.
     
  9. Wallo Tweed

    Wallo Tweed Friend of Leo's

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    Keep us posted.
     
  10. rze99

    rze99 Poster Extraordinaire

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    Keep us posted. been the States many may times... always working, workign working....except I have family in CT so been there and NYC/State and the region on hols. Once got to holiday in Chicago and enjoyed the blues clubs: not as high standard of playing as I expected but still great fun. Always fancied a long ole road trip....
     
  11. dsutton24

    dsutton24 Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Reminds me of the English couple I met in the Denver airport around 1980. They'd started on the west coast, then decided to fly home after two weeks on the road. "We've vastly underestimated the size of your country!"

    Chicago to New Orleans is easily 1000 miles as the crow flies, most of that is through corn fields. The Mississippi is 150 miles west of Chicago, there's not anything, music wise, along the Mississippi until you hit Saint Louis 300 miles south. If you detour east toward Louisville, Nashville, Memphis,(none of which is anywhere near the Mississippi), etc. add about 200 miles. New Orleans to Austin is 500 miles, more or less.

    I don't know anything about Austin, but the other cities I mentioned are really good places to get into trouble if you've got ideas about trying to find the gritty local stuff people seem to romanticize about.

    Figure $200 - $300 a day for travel, food and lodging in a decent hotel in most places. More if you're wanting to drink or eat really well. You'll spend $200+ a night for a decent room in downtown Chicago or New Orleans. Better deals can be had, but it takes some research or help from local guys.

    Getting an opportunity to sit in with working musicians is going to be just about impossible. It's hard for established musicians to do this, and an amateur that nobody knows is not likely to get a chance. Bear in mind the places you want to visit have tremendous numbers of very talented musicians that are working day jobs just to survive. Finding a jam with some fellow TDPRI'ers or an open mike thing could happen, though.

    Timing is difficult. In the summer months the middle part of the country is hot and humid, the south is more so, and the Gulf coast can be biblically hot. Winter brings snow and ice in the northern states, of course. April - June or September - November are usually pretty temperate in these areas.

    I know a big factor is the cost of transatlantic air fare, and that's probably a big factor in trying to do as much as you can. I'd suggest picking two or three destinations close to each other and cutting the trip back to a couple of weeks. You can always come back, we're open year 'round.
     
  12. fatcat

    fatcat Friend of Leo's

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    Welcome to Mississippi..... In advance.

    Thursday night is open mic night at Ground Zero in Clarksdale.

    They have rooms for rent upstairs, but are a bit pricey.

    Hand-full of good clubs in that town.
     
  13. trev333

    trev333 Telefied Ad Free Member

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    sage advise from the Sasquatch...;)

    the US is rather large...... the only scratch I made was from Seattle to Ensenada and back to the OC...along the west coast over a month or so..

    after a while I remember thinking.. wow!.. if you got on an RV/Harley and rode off to check out the rest of the US to "check out" America... it would take you the rest of your life, probably...... in one way or another...;)

    the thing that stood out for me... was the individual good spirit/generousity of the people I met along the way... I've never slept in a Hotel/Motel on any night in the US, I stayed with it's people in their houses/floors/ garages, .......... by pure chance on my part......often under protest of being well able to afford/stay 5*.... not while you're with us you don't, friend... you know how much you'll be skinned for that, no way....

    It's hard to remember what I actually saw of a touristy note while I was there..I'm sure there must be some?. the giant Redwoods were one....

    ... I'll never forget being there.. I'll never forget those Americans that showed me their true hearts...
     
  14. phaedrus

    phaedrus Tele-Meister

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    dsutton24 hot a lot of important points.

    Do consider weather and the time of year. Also, maybe consider less cities, or add more time.

    Austin is a fantastic music town, but Texas gets VERY hot in the summer. I'm a local and I hate it. Chicago is a cool town, but get very cold in the winter.

    In Austin, SXSW is starting in a week, but honestly, I'd skip it.

    ACL Fest in October is way better. aclfestival.com In May we've got psych fest, there's Fun Fun Fun fest, Spamarama, etc. Fun/music festivals almost every month of the year.

    Sitting in with some bands? Gonna be tough, but open mic nights are all around. Although it might be hard to find the info.

    Most metro areas in the US have an alternative/entertainment newspaper, typically comes out on Thursdays.

    In Austin, it's called the Chronicle. austinchronicle.com

    Find out what this paper is in each of the cities you are interested in, it will have all the open mic info, bands, clubs, etc.

    You could also try some ads on Craigslist to find people to jam with. cityname.craigslist.org
     
  15. Guitarteach

    Guitarteach Doctor of Teleocity

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    Try to get out west and see some of the insanely amazing national parks. Sequoia, Arches, Yosemite, Yellowstone, Death Valley, Joshua tree, Grand Canyon & Crater Lake if you can too. Incredible landscapes if you get the time of year right. You can get terrible winters in the north and it can be too hot in the summer - April, May and Seotember, October good. National Parks can be horribly crowded in Summer.

    There is probably as much folklore as reality when it comes to the music as seen in films. It's there to be found locally though. A good friend is a singer in bands in the Atlanta area and I've usually found good music in bars pretty much everywhere popular and with lots of local flavour, esp. If you don't mind acting the tourist. In Las Vegas there are some talented bar bands. Found decent local music scenes in San Diego (good start/end point for a 3-4 week journey), Dallas, Austin & San Antonio too. You can find bluegrass in the Appalachians in the touristy areas and local musicians in most towns. Nashville is the only big music place I've not really been to yet, but I am advised its good.

    I've done quite a number of big road trips in the USA around my work there; Chicago to New York & Washington thought the Appalachians to Atlanta. San Diego up through the Rockies to Yellowstone and Seattle and back through San Francisco. Houston through New Orleans and along the Florida Panhandle to Orlando & Miami. Loads in the deserts around Tucson, Flagstaff. Vegas and up to Denver where I have friends.

    The middle is big and can seem largely empty but a favourite thing of mine is just driving 500-600 miles a day with the radio on to get across the bigger gaps and prairies. Out west you will have no end of amazing things to look at if you like driving. It feels more compact in the more populated East coast too.

    I'm interested in this thread as I'll probably have another big trip there in the next year or two and there are still lots of places to see.
     
  16. papa32203

    papa32203 Tele-Afflicted

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    The Mississippi is 150 miles west of Chicago, there's not anything, music wise, along the Mississippi until you hit Saint Louis 300 miles south. If you detour east toward Louisville, Nashville, Memphis,(none of which is anywhere near the Mississippi)


    Uh, excuse me, sir, I was just wondering. But, what is that big-*ssed river right next to Memphis called?

    Muddy Waters' cabin is right down the Blues Trail from Memphis. Just follow that little stream (whatever it's called....)

    Hey Clarksdale! Whatup brotha?!
     
  17. phaedrus

    phaedrus Tele-Meister

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    Oh yeah, and check hotels.com for deals.
     
  18. drmcclainphd

    drmcclainphd Tele-Afflicted

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  19. Middleman

    Middleman Friend of Leo's

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    My older son and I are planning San Francisco to New Jersey on old highway 50 in 2016. I wish you the best of luck and adventure.
     
  20. ScatMan

    ScatMan Friend of Leo's

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    Before you come to TexasLand, you may want to contact the long-time TDPRI forum members and working musos that live here to see if they want to hook you up when you get into town (they may not see this thread and post here).
     
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