One of my goals has been to ride every one of Nashville’s bus routes from end to end. Well, it’s been more of a vague idea than something I’ve actively pursued, but anyway it’s something I’ll try to do. The route numbers go up to 96, but some of the routes have been eliminated, like unlucky number 13, and rather than recycle them they’ve just been left blank, but that’s another story. Recently I took a trip on the number 50 route because I thought I’d start more or less halfway and it was also convenient.
After a couple of turns out of the downtown station the number 50 bus drives a straight east-west line down Charlotte Avenue all the way to a Wal Mart. When I got on it was crowded and I figured almost everyone would be riding all the way to the end of the line, and yet there’s quite a bit along the way. The first thing I noticed as we were just barely out of downtown was a Krystal on one side of the street and the Fattoush Cafe on the other side. Then there’s a long stretch of not much, and then a Red Cross Blood Donation Center and, on the opposite side of the street, where there’s been an abandoned school building for decades, there’s now a Starbucks, which is kind of weird. I’m not used to seeing a Starbucks standing alone in the middle of an otherwise empty block.
Past where Charlotte passes under I-440 there’s Bro’s Cajun Cuisine and then things start to pick up a little closer to Murphy Road, where the ill-fated number 13 bus used to run. A few years ago someone on an internet message board where I hung out asked, “What’s fun to do in Nashville?” and I was surprised to realize several things I recommended were in clustered together on or near Charlotte Avenue. There’s a funky little consignment store called Cool Stuff, Weird Things, right next to Headquarters, my personal favorite coffee shop, and across the street is the Richland Park Library where there’s a small farmer’s market every Saturday. Since the person who asked was into comic books there’s The Great Escape. And also Bobbie’s Dairy Dip if you want an authentic ’50’s burger and milkshake–authentic because it’s been around that long.
A few more people disembarked after we crossed White Bridge Road, and that’s when a variety of restaurants pop up: Middle Eastern, Indian, Mexican, Vietnamese, a Chinese place that offers dim sum on Sundays, and a little place that promises Peruvian cuisine–I made a note of that for later.
Because the number 50 is an express bus it only stops at selected points, unlike the regular buses that’ll stop pretty much anywhere. Maybe that’s why most of the people on the bus, even the ones getting off at points in between, slept. One of the two guys who rode all the way to the end with me was snoring when we pulled into the Wal Mart parking lot. I guess he’s a regular rider.
That antique store looks great–I wonder how much an Elvis statue goes for in Nashville!?
It’s funny but I’ve never checked the price of the Elvis statue. They actually have at least a couple for sale. The only thing I’ve ever bought at that store is some vintage postcards.
I drive that route all the time. I am surprised you left out the large, pink plaster elephant at the used car lot. I love that Cool Weird Things shop, but the metal sign they have out front that is spelled “Wierd” makes me twitchy every time I see it. Bobbie’s is the shiznit. I love it. My dog’s kennel is just past that WalMart, and we donate at that Red Cross. I like that part of town.
I wanted to get a picture of the large pink plaster elephant but didn’t quite manage it. I’ll save that for another post–I even noticed recently that they repainted it. It is overall a pretty nice part of town. Hopefully all the new apartments going in won’t ruin it.
Well, it’s not every Cracker Barrel in the U.S. but it would still be quite the feat.
I heard about that couple that ate at every Cracker Barrel and that is pretty impressive. I know they got all kinds of merchandise. I have no idea what the Nashville bus service would give me for riding every route. Maybe a free copy of the system map.
Thanks for taking us everywhere, Chris.
It’s when you come along that makes it special.
I feel like I know the Nashville bus system better the the one near me! I think I may take a bus ride soon just for the hell of it (and it will be hell on the bumpy rural roads!) And maybe write about it,
I look forward to reading about your busing experience.