Three months ago I discovered that the British soccer team that I follow, Tottenham Hotspur, was planning a tour in the US, hitting the cities of Orlando, New York and Nashville. I asked my lovely wife, Cheryl, who plays soccer and follows the rival team called Arsenal, if she would like to go on a road trip in July to see the Spurs play Manchester City in Nashville.
So we got tickets with a block of other Spurs fans in North Carolina and planned our trip.
We drove to Music City via Boone, gazing at the great Blue Ridge Mountains as we made the ride through the US 321 pass. The 500-mile each way trip gave us the opportunity to spend some time together, even though I was listening to podcasts and music while she read, we got to spend quality time together.
On Friday, we drove into Tennessee, through Johnson City and Knoxville, to have lunch a cute little diner in the town of Monterey, where I saw a caboose parked next to their train depot building. Very similar to Apex’s caboose. I’ll post a photo on the show notes page: apexroundup.com/004
Friday night, we sat together, listening to guitar-playing musicians rotate through the stage at the Belcourt Taps in the heart of Nashville. Their musical talent was amazing, but then, this is Nashville, so it’s to be expected that there is no shortage of musical talent in the city.
Saturday we walked the downtown, along Broadway, and even bought ourselves some boots from one of the many specialty stores in the city center.
Saturday afternoon, we made our way across the long pedestrian bridge over the Cumberland River towards the Nissan Stadium, where the NFL Tennessee Titans play.
There were 56,000 people there to see these two British teams battle it out in the late afternoon heat of Tennessee.
Now, let me tell you just how much of a trooper my wife is. As I mentioned, she plays soccer, and one of her teams is called Arsenal. As it turns out, and most of you, I’m sure, don’t know this, but Arsenal and Tottenham, my team, are hated rivals as, not only are they both based in the London metropolitan area, but they are both in North London. In fact, when they play each other, it’s affectionately called “The North London Derby” (don’t ask me why it’s pronounced darby when it’s spelled derby). But she went with me on this weekend to see my Spurs play, and she even wore one of my jerseys. What a team player!
Sitting in the late afternoon sun, it’s great to hear the fan chants going in a way that is so classically European football. And even though we had a couple of overly inebriated guys near us, one of whom spent the entire second half trying not to pass out, while repeating the same rude ugly phrase at one of the players, we were surrounded by Spurs fans who chanted, sang and cheered their team to the end of a disappointing loss to Manchester City.
On the return trip, we drove over the mountain pass, down into the river town of Chattanooga, then west into the Cherokee National Forest of North Carolina. We stopped briefly in the western-most town of Murphy, NC, which, in some ways, is similar to Apex; most notably that it sits on top of a ridge between two small river basins. Apex does this, straddling the high spots between the Cape Fear Basin and the Neuse Basin.
We had lunch in the historic village-town of Cherokee, North Carolina, which boasts a couple of small casinos and a heritage of the Cherokee Indians. The rest of the drive home was a time to recap the whirlwind weekend and cherish our time together. As we pulled into the driveway, a bit road-weary, but happy, I looked at my wife and thought about how blessed I have been this past weekend, to spend time with the one I love.