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Day 1: On The Road to SXSW

We decided to take the Southern route to Texas. This is the first big road trip for Meredith and me and first major music festival, so our excitement and nervousness has been through the roof. Planning has been overwhelming for the last couple of weeks. It’s one thing if you’re just planning for SXSW. It’s another if you have a huge sampler release show to plan, and the week before that a sampler to release. Add to all of that, the website got hacked along with 30,000 other sites last week and things have just been crazy. I had planned to do a couple of SXSW previews, but there just weren’t enough hours in the day.

So far everything has been falling into place on our trip. We picked up our rental car at GSP at 9 AM. Our plan was to have the car packed up and be on the road by 10 AM, and that ended up working out perfectly. We’ve got a sweet 2012 Ford Focus hatchback for the drive and it has all kinds of awesome features, like bluetooth sync and all that jazz. It feels kind of like a space ship at night. We both drive 2000’s era Honda’s so these features are a good time.

Before we knew it we were flying through Atlanta and on down to Mobile. We were making fine time, but since we were prepared for such a long drive, it really seemed like time was flying by. It was easy driving and I hope that the drive home will be just as easy, although I have a feeling now that it will be miserable.

We stopped for dinner in Baton Rouge, the capital city of Louisiana and the home of the LSU Tigers. We ate dinner at a place called Chimes East and it was exactly what we were looking for. A local place, with plenty of flair, home town feeling, great food, and a more than solid beer selection. What we saw of Baton Rouge was amazing and I kind of fell in love with the city. It felt a lot like Charleston, but minus the tourists. Let’s say, less stuffy. We had to order the homemade Boudin Balls, that were really, really good. We weren’t sure what they were though, well we kind of did, but not the exact ingredients. They are pretty much just fried hash and rice balls and they were delish.

Right before we got to the restaurant, I had booked a hotel room on my phone. Priceline app is amazing, by the way. Days Inn in Lake Charles, Louisiana. Seemed nice enough right? What you see of Lake Charles at night is not the best first impression of a city. Chemical Plants with glowing orange lights brighten the night sky, while you drive over small rusted bridges that you feel like you can reach out the window and touch the side. It’s narrow and pretty creepy. Other than the lights of the chemical plant, casinos light up the night. Our hotel was kind of scary, I’m not going to lie. I got in my sleeping bag on top of the bed, we slept, we checked out and all is fine.

Oh, about 30 miles out of Lake Charles we got in the top 5 most insane rain storms I’ve ever been in. I’m talking like that scene in Forrest Gump where he was in Vietnam bad. People were pulled over everywhere, but Meredith braved the storm and we hugged the center line and drove 25 mph through that storm like the bold badasses we are.

Now we’re in Starbucks, 5 hours from Austin and we’re about to hit the road again.

Be bold, stay beautiful South Carolina. Appreciate our state. I just watched a guy let a door slam on someone with their hands full. In South Carolina, kids are taught to hold doors as soon as they can stand up on their own two feet.

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