Nashville, TN (6/10 – 6/11)
This was the day I had been waiting for since I first signed up and realized we would be going through Nashville. Although I had only been there once in the past for an afternoon, Nashville was already one of my favorite cities in America. I was thrilled to have the chance to spend two days there – and my excited was beyond words when I found out that CMA Music Fest would be happening the same weekend. Amazingly enough, one of the other riders, Jeff, was able to get 6 tickets to CMA Fest donated from a local radio station. (Huge thanks to Big 98!) The group of us who went to the concert all rode together and really hustled the whole way there. Getting to go to the show was amazing. It was at LP Field, the Titans home field, and we got to see the Mavericks, Dierks Bentley, Rascal Flatts, Steel Magnolia, Alan Jackson, Scotty McCreery and Martina McBride. We also got to see a lot of live music on Broadway afterwards, which was just perfect. Between the two nights we were there, we got to check out some Nashville favorites like Legends, Tootsie’s, Honky Tonk, the Stage and Tequila Cowboy. The atmosphere in Nashville is simply electric. Absolutely loved it!
We spent our rest day on the 11th working on our bikes and resting up. We had lunch at a 2011 alumni’s house, and got to go swimming too, which was a lot of fun. It’s pretty cool how much the alumni still drive the 4K and stay involved, I think that’s truly telling of the type of experience it is. Wish I lived somewhere where I could host riders in the future! The evening we had an incredible catered dinner with the congregation of Hillsboro Presbyterian Church, where we discovered the local twist on southern sweet tea: fruit tea… delicious. Jeff and I also got the chance to talk more with the groundskeeper, who we had met the first afternoon. I have no idea how we started discussing it, but it turned out that was one of the Lost Boys of Sudan. For someone who’s spent a lot of time studying international relations and social justice, this was pretty incredible experience. He was truly an inspirational person, who had a lot of positive things to say about life, despite the horrible things he had experienced. He told us all about the history of the conflict, of being an orphan roaming the desert, a child soldier, of being separated from his family nearly his entire life. His experiences could only be described as hellish, yet he was standing in front of us telling his story proudly. There was an incredible sense of hope in his words – that no matter how bad today is, perseverance and faith can get you through to a better tomorrow.
** I’ll update this with more pictures later when I upload pictures off my camera **