US Road Trip Travelog: 17th February 2005

Walking into Nashville
Walking into Nashville

It's all good news at the BestOne service place as all the car needed was a new thermostat, radiator cap and a whole lot of coolant. I now have a choice. I can either:

  1. Drive the Riviera the hundred yards back to my motel and then go and explore Nashville.

  2. Drive some miles out of town to a transmission repair shop and ask them to have a look at the Riviera. I'm fairly sure that one of the reasons it overheated is that the engine - all 6.6 litres of it - is working a bit too hard to haul the car around. The only culprit here can be a fault with the automatic gearbox.

I bite the bullet and drive out to Coleman Taylor Transmissions. I know that if the transmission needs rebuilding it will be very expensive and time-consuming - the '63 Riviera used a complex (but wonderful to drive) Dynaflow transmission. When they take it out for a test drive I'm fearing the worst and, sure enough, it is the worst. The transmission slips and will need rebuilding, minimum cost $2000 and it'll take at least a week.

It may seem like an odd thing to do, to get the transmission rebuilt at this point when it is actually still working, but I'd done a bit or research beforehand and knew that if it needed doing it would cost money and take time. Now being stranded in Nashville is, let's face it, no hardship. Being stuck it Buttf**k Arkansas, however, might be a very different matter. I also know that if I just drive around waiting for it to break then that'll take some of the enjoyment from the driving. The reason I've chosen Coleman Taylor to do the work, even though it might be more expensive than a local place, is that like Goodyear they have branches all over should problems arise under warranty at a later date.

Having left the car there, I now need to get back into Nashville. Having waited an hour and a half for a bus which never turns up I go back into Coleman Taylor and the manager Roger "33 years in transmissions" Woods, who I'd dealt with earlier, drives me back in his gigantic pickup truck. It's a revelation to see the world from up here, and I can soon see why the drivers go around as if they're impervious to harm. It's the perfect vehicle for a nation beset by insecurities. Discuss.

2nd Avenue, Nashville
2nd Avenue, Nashville

Having sat by the side of that road waiting for the non-existent bus for quite a while, I'm relieved to be back in Nashville. I have some sorrows (well, a busted transmission anyway) to drown, and it could just be that I'm in the right town for that.

Tootsie's Orchid Lounge
Tootsie's Orchid Lounge

In the early afternoon it's fairly quiet in Tootsie's, which is famous for discovering up-and-coming stars. The band are in fairly laid-back 'tuning up' mode, and that's just fine with me. A few hours later I go get something to eat then retreat to my motel for a while. Later in the evening I return to Broadway and listen in on bands at the Second Fiddle and a place further down the road that seems to sell cowboy boots during the day then turn into a bar and music venue at night. A late dinner of spaghetti and meat balls and a cab ride back to the motel followed by 10 hours of sleep. Excellent.

US Road Trip Travelog: 18th February 2005 >

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