Tuesday, October 9, 2012


I needed a good nights sleep and  I got one, then the next day, after a lazy morning watching a good 3-0 win for United, I went to see some football (American type). :-
The Jacksonville Jaguars v Chicago Bears.

This is something I wanted to do while I’m in America and takes me back to when I was still at school:-  Channel 4 in the UK started to show American Football on TV in the 1980’s and the most memorable game to be shown was ‘Superbowl 20’ in 1986.

I remember it well and the fact that the Chicago Bears won it convincingly. Their two best known players were Walter Payton and William ‘The Fridge’ Perry.  He was a hulk of a man who played defense but would sometimes come on and play offensive too, as he did during the Superbowl, scoring a touchdown in The Bears win. The Bears have been my American Football team ever since and so when I found out that the Bears were playing the Jaguars while I was in Jacksonville, I had to come and see the game.  So on a crazily hot Sunday afternoon, myself and 50,000 other sports fans found ourselves at Everbank Field, where we saw The Bears slaughter the Jaguars 41-3. My first NFL game was a brilliant afternoon.

Before the game

National Anthem


Touchdown bears

Before the game panorama

In UK at ‘real’ football matches the sport itself is the draw, but American Football, with all its advert breaks is so much more. Because of the constant stop/start of the game the crowd are part of the fun and are constantly kept amused by on field games, cheerleaders, praise of military personnel and lots of prize giveaways. The game is the most important part, but is just a big piece of a huge jigsaw of fun which starts a couple of hours before the game even starts. Everyone gathers by te ground and ‘Tailgates’. Basically, they have a huge party in the car park. Barbecues, beers and lots of throwing of footballs being thrown about before everyone enters the stadium.

 The three hour game itself flew by and I loved every minute. From the flypast after the national anthem, to the T shirt firing machine gun and the bloke that won a Porsche by kicking a field goal, Of course the game itself was also really good. Every seat has a good view and the game, when it is played is played fast and hard and is a spectacle in itself. The fact that the Bears slaughtered the Jaguars also helped me to enjoy myself  -although most of the home fans left when the Bears were leading by a mile with 10 minutes still left in the final quarter.
Bears win!!

Red sky and ....

..crazy clouds over Jacksonville

The game finished just after 7pm and it was as if mother-nature was a Jaguars fan as the city was enveloped by black clouds and a stunning lightning display as I walked the couple of miles back to my hotel. A great visual show, with a bright red sky turning a deep grey and then black, before sparking into life with lightning bolts shooting down from the heavens for nearly an hour. It added an amazing end to the fantastic afternoon I had spent watching the football.  

                                                                       The storm after the game

Now, its Monday evening and I have spent the day travelling in order to discover something else from my childhood. Something that doesn’t even exist, apart from in my own tiny fucked up mind!

I’m now on the ‘trail of the lonesome pie’.

Perhaps I should explain just what the hell I am on about:-

Along my journey around the world, there have been numerous times I have visited places that I learned of in awe as a child. Places like New York, Sydney, Ayers Rock, Hong Kong and The Great Wall of China to name a few, were all amazing far far away places.  I never expected to be able to go to any of them as they were too far away. But I am lucky enough to have been to many and plan to visit more in the future. But tomorrow I start another journey in a place that comes from quite a different type of memory – From Black and White movies.

There were only 4 channels in UK for years but there was always something on. Even on Saturday afternoons you could switch on the TV and there on BBC2 would be some old black and white movie. Sometimes it was the comedy genius of Laurel and Hardy. One scene from Laurel and Hardy I will never forget laughing at was when they sang ‘In the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, on the trail of the lonesome pie’. (I know it is PINE, but I always thought it was pie and for me, that is what it will always be!)

They were comedy geniuses and as you can see from the video of the song, the magic does not age. It is still funny. I beg you to watch the attached video and guarantee you will break into a smile at least!!

So that’s where I am tonight. I left Jacksonville early this morning after riding the free Sky train into town and took a Greyhound to Savannah, Georgia. Here I picked up another hire car and then drove non stop for 6 hours heading north. I’m now in the town of Cherokee in North Carolina. It’s a bit like an Indian version of Skegness, with cheap shops and flashy lights everywhere – There is also nobody about – so Im hoping for a clear road and no hold up when I start the drive in the morning.  I just hope that the fog that has descended too, dissappears before the morning!!
Jacksonville Sky train.

Shitty weather

Fog in the hills!!

I am now in a small hotel in a place called Cherokee and ahead of me is The Blue Ridge Parkway – a 469 mile odyssey of a road promising stunning views, crazy bends and steep inclines – all along the Legendary Blue Ridge mountains of Virginia.

I know that on the way a certain song will be bouncing around in my head – You never know, I may finally discover the Lonesome Pie! 

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