A Grand Conclusion

20170918_125817_resized_1

What?! How?! When?! T-Hubb was confused for a number of reasons, but mainly about how the end of this most epic of bro trips could be so nigh. And it has been epic. But, before epicness is properly reflected upon there is a final instalment. After leaving the best ranch in the world, Burnt Well, the bros found themselves in Albuquerque where they saw another of their best bros, Jason Aldean, put on a concert of significant good-good levels.

At lunch the next day, trip planning dominated discussion. The bros’ original tail-end trip plans had involved a flying visit to lovely bro friends in California, but unfortunately even the best laid plans sometimes don’t turn out and in this case rescheduling of other trip components took this visit out of reach (see you in Aus in October Sam, Matt and Ellie!).

So, instead, the bros had to plan a new conclusion. T-Hubb was quick to forget that time Dolly Parton in slot machine form took all his money in Metropolis and was gunning for Vegas, but eventually calmed down and realised that unless the great George Strait was in residence, it probably wasn’t the ideal way to finish such a country based extravaganza.  What about the Rockies? T-Hubb again used his good memory to remember that they had already seen Rocky in Philadelphia at the start of the trip and after over 5 weeks, BK didn’t have the strength to correct him.

As BK stared at the map looking for child/T-Hubb friendly attractions with which to fill the last day or two, it dawned on the bros that from Albuquerque, LA was only  an 11 hour drive away….. Why not extend Tyler-the-Jeep’s rental for another few days, avoid a domestic flight and keep on trucking to LAX?!  That way the bros could also stop off at the Grandest of Canyons (even grander than Canyon near Amarillo, they had been told).  Winner, winner, catfish dinner!!

As expected, the Grand Canyon was epic! After securing T-Hubb in his ‘can’t run away from BK over the edge’ harness, the bros descended into a state of awe at this natural masterpiece.  Everything was bigger here than at Canyon TX, even the Nutty’s! (BK lost his mind a little bit, not Luke Bryan level lost his mind but almost, at a close up Nutty encounter.  Since first meeting a Nutty in Central Park NY, these beguiling furry creatures had captivated BK, but sadly so often, until now, the affection was not returned.)

From the Grand Canyon, they hit up the town of Kingman, AZ for a night in a Route 66 old school themed motel (Clark Gable room no less!) and BK enjoyed an actual Catfish Dinner.

From there, things changed pace for the bros as they left the wide open plains behind and could feel the reality of non-country dominated civilisation close in on them the closer they got to LA. All of a sudden there were more cars than pickups! Country FM radio stations were hard to find (thank goodness for the Garth channel on XM!)

End of trip reality really kicked in when Tyler-the-Jeep was returned to his rental parents. The bros had bonded with this not so gutsy, lift kitted or fuel efficient little fellow over the past 4 weeks (20 states and over 5600 miles!!!!!!!) as he became their home away from home. It was a little heart-breaking to see him driven away to be prepared for his next adventure (anthropomorphising inanimate objects is a thing right?!).

Screen Shot 2017-09-23 at 11.01.49 am

So, currently the bros sit in LAX waiting for the big flying Chevy to take them home to their loved ones (one extremely patient husband and a Labrador who has been having such a good time with her lovely grandparents she probably doesn’t even realise her mum-bro has been away).  T-Hubb is a little high on perfume fumes and checking out Victoria’s Secret to make sure it ain’t a secret no-more, but BK hopes he will calm down on the flight. Both bros are a little overwhelmed by how lucky they have been and what an amazing experience this has been. The bro-ship has held strong, and gotten even stronger if that is possible.

To our valued 3.5 readers, we say thanks again for your support and interest. This isn’t quite the end though, this bro adventure would not be complete without a Deni Ute Muster, Echuca-Moama-Line (EML) postscript! Stay tuned : )

 

 

 

 

Burnt Well, a piece of peace

What do you get when you combine the bros with horses, a working New Mexico cattle property and the bestest hospitable ranch family you can imagine?

Complete bliss.

BK and T-Hubb rolled Tyler the Jeep off the black-top and onto a gravel road to Burnt Well Guest Ranch, run by the Chesser family.

20170915_105954_resized

As soon as the bros arrived, they saddled up for a South-Western feast which really left them thinking “hmmm, not enough cheese?” But they didn’t linger long, because straight after lunch it was TIME TO RIDE!

BK got thrown stunning-quarter-horse-mount after stunning-quarter-horse-mount, because he looks so cool calm and collected. T-Hubb only mounted up facing the rump ONE TIME, and this seemed to matter somewhat. What? But anyway, BK was super happy riding around on cow-keen steeds like Chuck, Bob, Newt and Creed (all very BK-compatible names). T-Hubb meanwhile had an absolute ball rushing around on Jonah, Razor, Chester and Raoul. Chester (21) was T-Hubb’s favourite, because that good ole boy was old enough to drink!

The bros were amazed by how sure-footed all the horses were across ground that alternated between rocky-rubble and spongy, porous ground tufted with grass and dotted with holes. They were out in the hot sun all day, checking fences, cattle and rounding some of those little dawgies up! BK learned to just point T-Hubb towards the horizon, away from the cattle, and tell him to go check on the clouds.

They even got to hang out while a few head of heifers were pregnancy tested with a kewl sonogram wand, then branded and ear-tagged. BK took important notes on which heifers were pregnant and in which trimester. T-Hubb got to have a feel of a 7-month gestated calf, and give it a little pat on the noggin. Wowee!

(Ohhhhhhhhhh-boooooooyyyyyyyyyyyy …. the questions BK then had to field! Can you imagine?? – “Where do calves come from? How does the stalk lift them? How do they not crush the cabbage patch?” – and on, and on, and on …)

It’s ok though, every time T-Hubb’s questions became too much, it was time for one meal or another with the delightful Kim and Patricia Chesser, and their son Tye, and sometimes a grand-baby or two. Around beautiful meals of cowboy beans, quesadillas, jalapeno poppers, ribs, steak, baked potatoes, apple pie, cheese cake, brownies, prickly pear lemonade and many more delicious lite’n easy treats, the bros learned a lot about farming in arid New Mexico; roping things (including coyotes and eagles); spying rattle snakes (BK heard and spotted an angry rattly one while he and brave Newt rode past its li’l ole rock home!)

T-Hubb was delighted to learn that one describes getting dressed up in super-cowboy style is described as ‘dressing punchy’. He has asked BK whether when their reflective tree-house phase is over, they can maybe commence a ‘dressin’ punchy’ phase.

After four days of heavenly riding around, the bros reluctantly tore themselves away from another trip highlight. It was a sad moment for many reasons. It’s hard to part from those experiences in life (however brief) that leave you feeling refreshed and re-connected to the things that really matter, like the earth around you, the food you eat, the bed you are lucky enough to rest in, the water you are incredibly lucky to wash with, and what needs to be done to keep an environment like a farm, all in balance.

The end of ranch-time also signalled a dwindling of the road-trip time left for the bros to enjoy.

So where did they head next, to enjoy their last USA Country Music Road Trip week? Find out soon!

 

Busy bros!

Super things; an accidentally dry stop; deer capital of the USA; world’s largest honky tonk; BK’s best boots; Friday Night Lights and a Sailor’s Guide to Earth – coming at ya!

The bros have gotten a bit behind in their travel news, and we know 4.75 of y’all (our numbers are growing) are waiting with baited breath. So follow us for an update!

Metropolis, Illinois

This is where the bros headed to after their good-good times in Kentucky. Sounds like a place you might find some Super Heroes, right?

RIGHT!

The bros stayed in a casino, where they had a wild night playing a Dolly Parton slot machine. T-Hubb blew his large $5 gambling budget immediately, but felt Dolly’s soothing “aww, better luck next time” was quite a nice consolation. BK had a hot-streak on Roulette, but Dolly whittled his winnings back a little, although he still came out ahead. He’ll probably put the winnings towards T-Hubb’s college fund. Moral of the story – don’t gamble y’all.

Wandering around

One of the things the bros have really enjoyed, is taking some time off the road to hike whenever they get the chance. They started this properly after their stay in Corbin, KY, where they wandered around the Cumberland Falls. They’ve seen some beautiful, different forests they may not have told y’all about, but after the hustle and bustle of Metropolis, they took an afternoon to walk in the beautiful Shawnee National Forest, Illinois.

20170905_122106_resized

What a beautiful breather!

Arkansas and Oklahoma

Ok, this next part is a bit of a blur, as the bros were moving fast (but not over the speed limit).

They wended their way from Illinois to overnight in Walnut Ridge, Arkansas, where the bros realised there was no fireball to be found in this dry town. So, they decided on a juice cleanse instead, and rounded out their taco dinner with a wheatgrass shot.

As they headed for Muskogee, OK, home of Merle Haggard’s famous conservative anthem ‘Okie from Muskogee’, the bros dropped in on Marian County Fair, AR, where they had a good chat to the locals.

20170906_134118

After Muskogee, the bros stopped for another hike at Robber’s Cave State Park in Wilburton, OK. The bros walked for miles and saw some pretty white tail deer through the scrub. More nature!!!

20170907_124630

Then came a delightful stay in Antlers, OK. The bros wish they had taken photos of their night here, but they were too in-the-moment to remember. They heard the delightful strains of country fiddle over the way from their motel, and strolled over to find locals having a barbecue over at the local museum and deer park (Antlers claims to be the deer capital of the USA) to raise money for a member of the community who was very unwell. There, the bros were loaded up with plates full of a crispy fried catfish dinner (T-Hubb doesn’t eat the swimming things, so he passed his on to BK) and as much Texas sheet cake as they could fit in their bro tummies. They were wholeheartedly embraced by local hospitality, and a few people filmed them just a little bit to document their strange Australian accents. Turns out, Antlers is in the poorest of Oklahoma’s 77 counties, but as you might expect, very rich in generosity of spirit.

TEXAS!!!!

It’s one of the moments the bros had been hanging our for: to cruise under Texas skies!

First stop was Fort Worth, just close enough to Dallas to feel like the real big smoke. Tyler the Jeep had forgotten there were so many other vee-hicles on the road!

The bros got straight in to living out some dreams:

First stop, FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS at Boswell High to see the home team trounce those other dudes on the field. The cheer leaders! The marching band! The spirit of Coach Taylor was SO LARGE. (Another particular highlight for BK!)

20170908_200349

Next stop, Fort Worth’s Stockyards historic district and Billy Bob’s – the WORLD’S LARGEST HONKY TONK! So many capital letters required!

20170908_235249

It was a little shock to the system to go from the above to the weird, wonderful and hipster of Austin – cool city, but perhaps a few too many spiced chai things after what the bros had become accustomed to? Still, BK and T-Hubb headed to another highlight of their country music calendar to see Sturgill Simpson’s brilliant gig at Austin’s 360 Amphitheatre. Think honeyed, difficult to understand vocals, genius guitar and lots of beards. Wooh!

BK also found the most amazingly RAD cowboy boots in Austin, which we’ll show y’all in a future post. (T-Hubb says ‘legs forever’ – that’s all!)

Free-wheeling

20170911_181412

Where to next? The bros didn’t really know, so they asked George Strait to give them a tip. The answer? Amarillo by morning (afternoon) via Canyon! The bros took off, and drove about 8 hours through more glorious Texas countryside.

In Palo Duro Canyon State Park (just outside Amarillo), the bros saw their first real life rattle snake! Yesssssss! (Not photographed, because it moved off the path real quick, and so did the bros!) And the scenery was just spectacular. They may not make it to the Grand Canyon this trip, but the bros were super stoked to see any canyon at all, and this one was just beautiful.

Amarillo was a special stop for the bros, as George’s classic tune does tend to make T-Hubb weep, and BK maybe gets a lump in his throat? There they are!

This stop was short but real good-good. The bros stopped by the Quarter Horse Hall of Fame, where BK was in heaven, and T-Hubb was in Seven (he likes to copy BK but be different at the same time).

This equine highlight came at the perfect time, because the next post the bros bring you will be about their time at a New Mexico ranch. That’s right! Much more horse ahead. Get ready!

 

 

 

 

L-Day

“Rain makes corn. Corn makes whisky. Whisky makes my baby get a little frisky / Luke Bryan makes BK lose his mind!”

The sodden fringe of Harvey brought the rain to Lexington, Kentucky, at much the same time as the bros arrived. The images above are a special cue for those who know BK to guess that there was a separate storm of emotions going on as BK prepared to see the beloved Luke Bryan LIVE for the first time ever!!! (Good luck keeping up with the strangeness of ‘bro’ personas who are personal friends of Luke, but also heart-stoppingly excited to see him in person … okay?)

But first thing’s first: T-Hubb’s twelveteenth birthday! That’s right, BK made the day real special for him!

20170901_080218_resized

Mmmm, impromptu donut cake!  What a lucky bro!….

… Okay, then the Friday night Luke-Bryan fest rolled around. The bros got their wet-weather gear on, and prepared for displays of emotion from BK which come around only every 70 years. T-Hubb took special note of tears glistening in BK’s face-wells (that’s eyes, remember) when he heard his extra-special favourite LB song, but they’re gonna save that for the private bro album.

What they are going to share are some emotion-descriptions in BK’s own words:

For my bro T-Hubb and I, coming to see our boy LB perform was pretty much the cornerstone of our entire trip!  We booked Luke tickets first, and then the rest of the trip was built around this potential amazement.  In my mind, Luke had become akin to a mythical creature.  But one who existed!  And who we were actually going to see!

The lead up to Luke Day was a little surreal.  It had been so long in the planning that it seemed like one of those things that was always in the future.  Something to look forward to but that never actually happened (you keepin’ up T-Hubb?!).  

But it did happen!  Through the misty haze of Friday night Lexington, he burst on stage and was SO much better than could ever have been imagined!! The voice! The farmer’s tan!  Those notorious spray-on jeans! And as the rain continued to fall, so did the emotions.  As my favourite singer sang my favourite song in the beautiful town of Lexington with my actual best bro by my side and the warm and fuzzy knowledge that there were people back in Aus genuinely so excited for this night of nights to happen (the rest of y’all will be genuinely and understandably wondering at the melodramatic craziness of this whole situation!), it truly surpassed all expectations.  The good-good overflowed and as Luke himself sings, I did not want that night to end.

Ok, enough emotions!

Bourbon tour

… So, you may have noticed the GIANT 25oz cans of Bud Light the bros are gripping in the image above? Well true to its reputation, America really does offer supersized options unheard of in Australia. (Imagine a 25oz can of Bundy Red??!!)

Well, this tall can of light fizzy-good-make-feel-nice was a diverting beer encounter for the bros, but there was more to come.

It being T-Hubb’s birthday, his best-boy Wade, (husband of non alter-ego Claire) had arranged for a surprise Bourbon tour of some classic Kentucky distilleries. Wow Wade! Best birthday present ever!!

So the lucky bros sipped their way from Maker’s Mark to Four Roses and beyond, learning all the while about Kentucky’s beautiful bourbon-friendly limestone-filtered water, its lawless past and the appalling tricks of ‘rectifyers’ who would add water, tobacco spit, prune juice and boot polish to stretch out a barrel of bourbon. Each leg of this bourbon-trail stretched through the beautiful bluegrass country that sustains Kentucky’s world famous race horse…

Kentucky Horse Park

If you thought it sounded like T-Hubb’s birthday couldn’t have been made any more special, you’d be wrong. The completely spoiled twelveteen-year-old got ANOTHER surprise when MawMaw and PawPaw gifted both the bros an entire day at Kentucky’s Horse Park – home to retired Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes winners AND winners of the pacing Triple Crown. Not to mention the beautiful heavy breeds and teensy horse folk that also call the Park home.

Just as BK and T-Hubb thought they would burst with equine contentment, they noticed a Polo match going on just over the road! So of course they strolled across and caught the last three chukkas! What a blissful time in Lexington.

20170903_163359

Where did these lucky bros roll to next, you ask? They’ll tell you in a little bitty!

 

The King, the Grand and the Ole

The bros have quite a packed update for you! From the shaggy green carpet on the walls of Graceland, to our lovingly preserved Nascar suits in Nashville’s Country Music Hall of Fame – it’s been an epic music-chapter in the road-trip story!

You last heard from BK and T-Hubb when they were cruising around Georgia visiting Luke-Bryan’s roots, y’know. Well, then they jumped in Tyler, their jeep-without-the-lift-kit, and headed for … a laundromat …

The bros were enjoying a quick stop in Birmingham, Alabama, when T-Hubb realised that he’d been wearing his underwear inside-out for more than 3 days-apiece. (That’s not his rule, that’s the one BK imposes). So they stopped on the road to Memphis and caught a relaxing hour at a smooth coin-laundry in Jackson. Go bros!

 

 Graceland

Even with clean undies restored, T-Hubb found it real hard to focus once he realised that it was just one sleep (one finger, T-Hubb!) until he would get to bask in the King’s glory and go to GRACELAND!!!!! He was a bit nervous that Elvis wouldn’t be home, but he needn’t have worried … the King was everywhere!! There were excellent jump suit and Elvis-car exhibits, but most of all, there was his actual home. Graceland of course still oozes with the Elvis spirit. It is a little smaller than one might expect of a mansion, but the inside decor more than makes up for this. Think gold, think shag carpet (on the walls too!) Think jungle-room (of course) and a funky kitchen where hundreds of PB&Js got made. T-Hubb did his best to keep from zooming around the whole house in disorderly awe, but mainly, BK effectively restrained him. The bros finished off the day with a hotdog at Minnie May’s totally-way-authentic diner!

The National Civil Rights Museum

If you’ll permit the bros to change pace for a second, their experience visiting the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis was extremely sobering, and absolutely fascinating. This amazingly-curated timeline of the civil rights struggle in the USA, and particularly the South, is difficult to describe. It’s something the bros think everyone should visit if they get the chance.

Nashville, Our House

From sleepy Memphis, to the bright lights of Broadway, where you can get boots at any hour of the day y’all, along with fab live country music!

First stop for the bros was, of course, their own bar: FGL House (also known colloquially as EML House – that Echuca Moama Line y’all!)

Here, the bros had their first ever taste of their delicious concoction which BK and T-Hub scienced themselves: Old Camp Peach Pecan Whisky!!!! Try saying that three-times fast while you have your triple bypass!

Of course it was delicious, and of course the bros tried all the drinks containing this heavenly liquor (kidding MawMaw!)

The Country Music Hall of Fame

… Because, duh, the bros are in it! BK and T-Hubb stopped in here to check on their nifty Nascar suits from the dramatic, emotional film clip to May We All, which they let their little friend Timmy-McGee go in with them.

Look! T-Hubb’s catching up with old mates Brooks and Dunn, and BK is saying hi (!!!!!) to Luke Bryan, also a good-good friend of theirs. Of course Dolly was there, along with Loretta, Shania, Merle, Willie, Conway, and Faith Hill and Timmy McGee had their photos on a door! It was just super.

The Grand Ole Opry

Gary! It’s Gary! The sublime frontman of hardcore country brilliance, RASCAL FLATTS!

It was beyond special to be there in the flesh for this historic country music radio institution. The special-circle of wood from the original Opry stage glistened before the bros’ eyes under the feet of voice-of-an-angel Gary and the legendary Vince Gill.

This is the part where tears spring to T-Hubb’s face-wells (his eyes) and BK reflects in his tree house, on just how lucky they are. The road-trip continues for these glad-hearted bros. They’ll catch you up very soon on their time in Lexington, KY, their close encounter with a country idol, some beautiful hikes, and their winding way through Arkansas and Oklahoma en route to Austin. Coming soon!

The. Florida. Georgia. Line

 

‘Baby you a song!!’ sang T-Hubb over and over again as he hung his head out of the wound-down window of Tyler-the-Jeep as they cruised down a south Georgian highway. BK was just about to get out the Phenergan when, thank goodness, T-Hubb pulled his head back in the window. Why the excitement? Today the EML road trip was gonna hit another high. The bros were goin’ to their spiritual home!!

Home is where the heart is. And where the good-good is, and in this case where a simple line marks the end of one state and the start of the next. For BK from Florida and T-Hubb from Georgia, this line is the source of their band name and the symbolic coming together of their southern musical genius in a harmonious bro country fashion (NB. T-Hubb did not write this bit. BK will explain it to him later)

They crossed it 4 times in total out of sheer excitement! The Florida side of the line is all shiny with free orange juice and advertisements for theme parks galore. The Georgia side advertised Georgian scratch lotto opportunities and peaches. Each bro was utterly content to have gone back to their roots.

At risk of experiencing a serious low after turning Tyler around and away from the line so the road trip could continue, BK punched the small township of Pelham GA into the magic, moving, talking map (GPS T-Hubb! It’s a GPS!) Pelham is small and humble and the perfect quiet stop after a day of epicness. Of the 3 bars to choose from in town, something called the bros to a place called Sylvia’s. Never had the bros met such welcoming, friendly and interested people.

20170824_224005

Post-line depression was not an issue as the night was whiled away with live music, cold beer and new friends. Best night ever!

… Next stop? Alabama!

Given the bros were getting real good at awkwardly pulling over to savour barely definable geographic milestones that relate to country music idols, they decided they couldn’t be in Georgia without stopping by singing legend Luke Bryan’s hometown of Leesburg and visiting his favourite creek (crik) – the Muckalee!

This was particularly hallowed turf for BK, who has long been known for his always-controlled emotional state. The only time it is uncontrolled is when a certain Luke Bryan country-music-opera-sings his way into the picture.

The bros give thanks today for more dreams coming true, and for a comfy stop-over in Birmingham, Alabama.

Next on the incredible journey is … MEMPHIS! T-Hubb gon be losing his mind with a visit to Graceland. BK is going to medicate him if required. Just you wait!

A little south with our biscuit

“Are y’all in town for the life-altering, spiritual experience of the eclipse?” asked everyone in Charleston.

“Nope.” said the stumbling-in bros. “We’re just lucky, we guess.”

BK and T-Hubb have taken Tyler-the-Jeep right into the southern realm, and the first amazing bro-experience they shared was a perfect view of the solar eclipse in historic Charleston. The bros got some ice cream, some cool shades and settled back to watch the moon slide right in front of the sun. (Can you imagine the job BK had explaining this phenom to T-Hubb? It was ALMOST as bad as the ‘where do babies come from’ question of 2004).

To distract T-Hubb, the bros decided to head on out to a fascinating historic plantation (Magnolia) for a lesson in war, slavery and many things too grave for limited-IQ country music bro personas to go into in this blog. However, there were some fantabulous grounds, gardens (full of critters) and of course a petting zoo where T-Hubb and BK both made friends with individually compelling goat friends.

What could possibly top an eclipse AND goat friends, you ask? Well, as the bros headed on down the road to Savannah, BK made an exciting discovery…

Savannah, Georgia is home to a bona-fide Paula Deen restaurant – Lady & Sons. Y’all know Paula Deen, right? The queen of butter-and-oil!! So the bros got in line for the buffet and filled up with more good-good.

In short: Fried chicken, mac & cheese, lasagne, collard greens, Brunswick stew, candied yam, mashed taters, peach cobbler and BUTTER CAKE. (There was more, of course, but the bros opted for the lite’n easy version)  Such was the bros moderation (see Momma! We’re tryin’!) that a friendly patron sidled up and asked BK if they had purchased the sample menu!  No such thing of course, bro appetites just haven’t quite reached Southern Standards despite T-Hubb’s hollow legs (a phrase which also makes him real confused…)

In between dreams of fried chicken (and T-Hubb’s cheese dreams), BK and T-Hubb heard the eerie calling of their spiritual home. The line! The line was calling them home!