I spent the past two days in Nashville with Dodge -- ooops, I mean Ram -- getting the lowdown on the 2013 Ram 1500. I learned much about this vastly improved truck; unfortunately, I can't share any of it with you.
The Ram folks were very explicit about no one breaking the ride-and-drive embargo, which is something like August 18th. I didn't pay much attention to the embargo announcement; I'm not doing a breaking story on it.
I would, however, like to be able to tell you about the new stuff under its hood, but I can't. I'd also like to tell you all of the areas in which it will be best in class, but I can't do that either. I don't think I would even be allowed to tell you how many times the name "Ram" or the Ram logo appears in, on, under and around the truck, even if I knew the answer. The Ram boys didn't know either, but are supposed to be researching it for me. "A lot," one of them said in response to my question. Are those guys good or what?
I can't even show you a photo of the new truck -- despite the fact that only a committed Ram geek will notice much difference between the 2012 and 2013. In lieu of a photo of the 2013 Ram, here's a photo of an old Dodge truck. It looks nothing like the 2013 Ram. I think I'm allowed to tell you that.
I can tell you that the roads we drove outside of Nashville, were killer. They are the sort of roads designed to test the mettle of agile two-seat sports cars. I had a great time on the drive and that wouldn't have been the case had the truck not been up to the task.
Because I can't share details of the Ram 1500 or provide my driving impressions due to that pesky embargo, you will have to settle for some impressions of Nashville.
Ram put us up at The Hermitage Hotel on Sixth Avenue downtown. It's only about four blocks off of Broadway, Nashville's premier live music avenue.
The Hermitage has been around for over 100 years, but a new owner totally gutted and renovated it a few years ago. It's now a 5 Star hotel. Nice rooms, friendly and attentive employees and an ideal location.
Ram set up a hospitality suite for us where I was introduced to a beer I've never had before: Hap & Harry's Lynchburg Tennessee Lager. Either Hap or Harry -- can't remember which -- was a Daniels of some stripe. I couldn't determine if Jack Daniels has a direct affiliation with this beer, but it was pretty darn good.
After dinner on our first night, four of us moseyed down to Broadway for a little local flavor. We hit a couple of joints: Roberts Western World and Tootsie's Orchid Lounge.
We saw John England and the Western Swingers at Roberts Western World. Sort of Asleep at the Wheel meets Bob Wills. It was good stuff.
We saw two different bands on the downstairs stage at Tootsie's, but because Tootsie's has such a half-assed Web site, I can't tell you either of their names. What I can tell you is, they were both good. We only heard one song from the first group. After 20 minutes of tear down and setup, the second band tore the joint up. The lead singer performed on top of the bar -- strolling up and down it -- for the entire set we watched.
We all fell in love with the fiddle player -- a blonde hottie -- who was celebrating her 24th birthday that very day.
Three of us -- with me in the middle -- were sitting on stools on one side of a high-top; our fourth was sitting at a stool for the high-top next to us. As the clock struck 1 a.m., we were talking about leaving. Suddenly two rather fetching-looking women approached us. One of them walked by the guy on the end and up to me. Her friend stayed on the far side of my buddy.
"We just had to ask you guys what you do," she cooed.
We were the only guys in the joint wearing sport coats.
The words, "I'm an astronaut," had no sooner escaped my lips than all hell broke loose. Two guys at the bar right next to our table got into it. Well, actually one of them got into it and the other just got it.
Within 10 seconds or so, one of them had popped the other guy on the head five or six times with a beer bottle. The guy on the receiving end was staggering around in a daze with blood going everywhere. Eventually the bouncers sprang into action and hustled the hurt guy out the front door, and dragged the aggressor out the back.
The young lady who was no doubt dazzled by thoughts of my experience in space, basically wound up in my lap and the other scrunched up against me. This couldn't have turned out better for me had I paid that shit-kicker 20 bucks to dance on the other guy's head.
Sadly I couldn't take advantage of my unexpected good fortune because our handler hustled us out the door.
I glanced longingly back at the young lady who I am convinced wanted to hear all about my daring deeds as an intergalactic traveler.
Timing is everything.