The year was 2015. After spending four years in the Philadelphia area, I started running out of new places to explore that were within a day’s travel. Finances were never in my favor and work distracted from the fact that I actually had vacation days to use. I started to feel like that was the extent of my adventures. One night, my friend from Texas and I were talking about how Faith No More would be playing near him and we agreed that they are one of the best bands in existence. So he makes me an offer…
Come to Dallas and see Faith No More with me.
Who travels half-way across the United States to see a band? Me.
Warning: This article is mostly a rewrite of a picture gallery, since I rushed through these areas on this trip. I have returned to some of these sites and will have more detailed articles later.
Well, okay, it was really to visit my friend because I never get to see him, but why not add a concert to the agenda? This was going to be one heck of a road trip and my usual hope-for-the-best planning mentality wasn’t going to cut it. After loosely planning a few hotel rooms, it was time to hit the road.
After a grueling drive from work to Virginia on the first night and having some drunk guy throw a soda at my Jeep, it was time to start the trip at Jefferson National Forest. I lacked a good camera at the time, so I wandered around the forest with my LG G2 phone hoping for the best.
Jefferson is fairly typical for an east coast national forest. Peaceful surroundings, scenic creeks and windy mountain roads. Unfortunately, my lack of planning and rushed timetable led to me missing a few things, such as the Blue Ridge Parkway, the ghost town of Lignite and the gorge in Breaks Interstate Park, but I intend to go back someday.
Time to cross into Tennessee. I decided to follow Laurel Creek on state route 91 and it certainly paid off, although I was a little confused why Butt Mountain is a thing.
Eventually I made my way through Mountain City and to South Holston Lake in Cherokee National Forest, but I certainly wasn’t prepared for the windy and dangerous US route 421 through the mountains (more on that in a later article and video).
Coming down from US 421, I made my way up state route 143 and discovered Carver’s Gap and Roan Mountain. I didn’t get any good shots on this run, but I will say it was an experience standing in a cloud for the first time.
The sun was no more, so I hurried down the road to the hotel in Johnson City and caught a few hours of sleep. Next stop was Knoxville, where I stopped at Fort Dickerson Park. A couple of old drunk men were hanging out at the old quarry explaining the history of it. After about three minutes of talking, one of them asked me to marry him, which was both awkward and flattering at the same time.
Interstate 40, as always, was a parking lot. I ended up bolting and taking back roads, which brought me over Center Hill Dam. Of course, this didn’t help either as the dam was under heavy construction. I learned that ACE put it into a high risk state as there were concerns of it collapsing.
Traffic wasn’t great in Nashville either, so I noped right on by and shot straight for Clarksville to visit some family that I hadn’t seen in many years. It was a much needed visit, but I foolishly declined the offer to stay overnight in the interest of making it to Dallas in time. I hit the dark roads and made my way for Jackson.
It was a struggle to stay awake on that drive, which ended up being much longer than I thought. Finally, I pulled into the hotel parking lot after midnight and checked in. Walking back out to grab my second bag, I realized that someone was breaking into the Jeep. Instead of unzipping the window, the guy was trying to cut through the tough window with his key. Foolishly, I jumped right in his face and knocked him away. He threatened me with a non-existent gun and I ended up following him until I grabbed his plate number. The Jackson Police were really cool to meet and talk to. I ended up finding them a plate number, palm print, thumb and index print. I don’t know what ever came of it, but insurance covered the new window.
Morning came and back on the road I went. I stopped by Memphis real quick to check out the pyramid, but there wasn’t enough time to really check out the city.
I made a quick stop in Little Rock (yes I know it’s in Arkansas), but the clock was ticking. I needed to get to Dallas that night and I still had a long way to go.
The sun was down and so was my energy level, but I finally made it to the house. I slept like a baby that night.
I have to say that Dallas is certainly one of the most fun cities I’ve ever been to. We took it easy the first day and checked out the Perot Museum of Nature and Science. It was clear that the museum staff and owners put a lot of time and care into the facility, which made it a joy to visit.
After wandering around for a bit and hanging at some bars, it was time for the main event…Faith No More! They may be getting older, but they killed it on that stage to make one of the best concerts I’ve ever been to. A good mixture of old and new left me pumped for the rest of the night. I can’t even remember where we went for food afterwards, but we were too wrapped up in the show anyway.
I wanted to do some touristy stuff the next day, but my friend had a suggestion…get a real damn camera! After pulling ye olde Amazon price match at Best Buy, I had myself a brand new Nikon D3300, which I’m still using as of 2019. Definitely one of the best investments I’ve made.
After gearing up, we headed to the Sixth Floor Museum, which is the location of John F. Kennedy’s assassination. It’s a bit eerie there, given how they’ve preserved the building and marked all the key points in time on the road itself. Even though the museum represents a tragic event, there are beautiful memorials on-site.
There are a number of hidden gems in the city, including this cabin. The sign reads:
” Most colonists first settled in this Three Forks area of the Trinity River as members of the Peters Colony after 1841. Immigrants from such states as Arkansas, Illinois, Kentucky, Missouri, and Tennessee brought with them a tradition of building log shelters. Land title was granted to settlers who worked at least 15 acres and built a good and comfortable cabin upon it. This region was abundant in oak, juniper (popularly called cedar), walnut, ash, bois d’arc, and elm trees, which furnished sturdy building timbers. John Neely Bryan, a colonist from Tennessee, arrived near this site in late 1841 and built a log cabin in 1842. The area’s first school and church was built of logs at Farmer’s Branch (12 mi. NW) in 1845. J. W. Smith and J. M. Patterson brought goods from Shreveport (184 mi. E) in 1846 for resale at their log store in Dallas. Milled lumber appeared in Dallas buildings by 1849, and bricks were available by 1860. That year a fire destroyed most of the town’s original log cabins. The nearby cabin was built of cedar logs before 1850, possibly by Kentuckian Gideon Pemberton. It was moved from its original site (7.5 mi. E) in 1926 and rebuilt at several locations, including Bryan’s designated courthouse site (1 blk. SW) in 1936, and this block in 1971. Texas Sesquicentennial 1836 – 1986 “
After wandering around for a bit, we decided to head to the Deep Ellum district. I didn’t see all of Dallas, but I must say that this was my favorite spot in the city. The entire district is covered in various forms of art, from painted walls to robotic statues, you can spend an entire day admiring the work these artists have put into their craft. We first stopped in at the Three Links bar for some drinks, which is one of his favorite spots. Mastodon was playing when we walked in, so I can see why. The entire bar is decorated with various rock and heavy metal inspired paintings, chalk art and signs, giving an inspiring and down-to-earth feel. The bartender was not only friendly, but a music enthusiast, making the stay that much more enjoyable. We ended up debating whether Ozzy was better as part of Black Sabbath or on his own, as well as the differences between the Randy and Zakk eras.
There was plenty of sunlight left in the day. Even though the conversation was great, we decided to wander around the district and see as much as we could. Besides the art, there was also a dog park we could visit! Get ready, because here comes a big photo dump.
After running around with the dogs for a while, we realized it was dinner time. There are lots of great places to eat, but we settled on the Twisted Root Burger Company. To this day, I wish they had a location near me, because the Western Burger would destroy the local joints around here. With full bellies, we drove around a bit more and relaxed for the rest of the night. I had a heck of a drive ahead of me and needed the rest.
Stay tuned for part 2! Until then, check out the song of the article: