Graceland: Asheville, North Carolina
After many a day at many a Days Inn, it came as quite a relief to spend a few days at Cassie's aunt's house in Asheville, North Carolina. Their house, perched among the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains, provided us with an extremely well - received change from the highway side motel windows that we've become so accustomed to. Our lovely friend Saree came out from Chicago for the remainder of our trip back to New York, and it seems pretty safe to say that adding a third member to our party did a lot to bring some real-world sanity back to the two of us. As a trio, we discovered Sliding Rock-an amazing natural water slide and swimming hole at the base of some pretty majestic falls. Though it was hard to say goodbye to the home cooking and satelite TV, we packed up the Jeep to head for Summersville, West Virginia. Stay tuned to see if the town lives up to its alluring moniker!
C & C
Bonaroo. Our good friends in the band, Dawes allowed us to tag along with them to this four day music festival held in Manchester, Tennesee. After two weeks on the road, the grimey nature of parking-lot camping proved to be a little too much for these L.A. girls-at-heart to handle. We stuck it out just long enough to see the boys play, and their hour long set made it all worth it. We even managed to sneak in a little photo shoot with them in some of the Urban gear we picked out at the Austin store. Despite the blazing sun and patchouli-filled air, we managed to make the best of our time by hanging with the Dawes boys. Their record has been a road trip essential, so it was great to sing along to the songs that we normally hear from the Jeep’s busted speakers.
C and C
Graceland: Nashville, Tennessee
As major fanatics of the Silver Jews, visiting Nashville was mandatory for the two of us. After having “Tennessee” on constant rotation in the Jeep, it was an almost surreal experience to arrive in the city. We were lucky enough to have a friend recommend a place to us where we ate the most delicious snickerdoodle cookies of all time. After becoming familiar with the desert terrain of the southwest, we were almost awestricken by the verdant lushness of the city. We managed to find a hike in Percy Warner Park, which despite the effects of the recent flood, allowed us to work our way up the hill and even spot an owl along the way. Nashville, you’re a ten in our book.
C and C
Graceland: Memphis, Tennessee
Graceland!!! After a couple hundred miles, we finally reached the mecca of our pilgrimage, Elvis’s legendary abode in Memphis, Tennessee. The kitschy Southern Versailles lived up to all of the predictions that we rattled off in the car on our way there. We spent the whole day exploring the Graceland mansion, as well as many of the Elvis related tourist attractions. We couldn’t help but make a stop at the famous Sun Records, a host to Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins, Roy Orbison, and the king himself – in order to try and get the right amount of inspiration in to Clara for her band Grand Rapids. While we were only halfway through our trip, Graceland was an indubitable high point.
Cassie and Clara
Graceland: Montgomery, Alabama
We had to go slightly out of the way to visit the city-of-choice of our singer-of-choice: Hank Williams. Montgomery, Alabama is the perfect destination for any country music fan. The town seems also dedicated to Luke the Drifter himself. Driving to dinner, we happened upon William’s grave, which was purely magical in the Alabamian sunset. The next morning we made a stop at the Hank Williams museum, which had just the perfect amount of heirlooms and hokey hospitality. On our way out of the city, we finished off our country day with a dip in a highway-side lake and a couple of roadside, farm fresh peaches. Also, have you ever tried a boiled peanut? Delectable! Tennessee here we come!
C n' C
Graceland: New Orleans, Louisiana
Our first stop in New Orleans had us drinking mint juleps at The Columns Hotel. In the Garden District of the city, the view from the palatial porch was filled with magnolia trees and the romantic Victorian architecture of St. Charles Avenue. As the sun set on New Orleans, though, we had to swallow our pride for a stroll down Bourbon Street to see what all the fuss was about. The sugary-sweet "hand grenade" drinks, which we couldn't help to try, haunted us the next day on our two hour tour of Honey Island Swamps. Despite the torrential rainstorm, the sky cleared just in time for us to witness gators and wild boars eating marshmallows from the side of our boat. From the bourgeois to the Bayou, and everything in between, it's safe to say we got a pretty well rounded view of New Orleans.
See you in Alabama!
C and C
Graceland: Baton Rouge, Louisana
The downpour in Baton Rouge, Louisiana certainly beat the ones in New York that often kept us locked in our apartments. Having only a couple hours in the city, we decided to face the storm and cruise local thrift stores and historical residential areas. We drove through the Garden District to look at our dream homes, all with wrap around porches of course. As we continued through the town, we decided to peer into an unassuming mini-mall, only to discover one of the coolest vintage stores
we've been to in ages. By the end of the day we realized the rain only added to Baton Rouge's southern charm. Plus, it was only an hour drive to New Orleans..Stay Tuned
C and C
Graceland: Livingston, Texas
On our way out of Texas towards Louisana, we happened upon the tiny lakeside town of Livingston, where we decided would be the perfect location for our last place in our new favorite state. It was difficult to find, but when we came to the dead end of the windy dirt road the view of the lake was well worth it. It was quite a difference from the desert terrain of Marfa and the city life of Austin, but it proved the richness of the Lonestar State. Willie, Waylon and the crew had it all right!
C and C
Graceland: The Playlist
Cassie and Clara's Road Trip Playlist:
"Highwayman" by Johnny Cash with Willie Nelson
"Diamond Dancer (Live)" by Bill Callahan
"(Let Me Be Your) Teddy Bear" by Elvis Presley
"Lovesick Blues" by Hank Williams
"Country Freaks" by Catchers
"Blue Kentucky Girl (Single Version)" by Loretta Lynn & Conway Twitty
"Country Death Song" by Violent Femmes
"I Gotta Get Piss Drunk (Willie Nelson & George Jones)" by Merle Haggard
"We Could Be Looking for the Same Thing" by Silver Jews
"King of the Road"by Roger Miller
"Unsatisfied" by The Replacements
"Tennessee Saturday Night" by Red Foley
"Summer Babe" by Pavement
"If You've Got The Money I've Got The Time" by Lefty Frizell
"Feel The Pain" by Dinosaur Jr.
"Something On Your Mind" by Karen Dalton
"When My Time Comes" by Dawes
"Crazy Feeling" by Lou Reed
"The Big Country" by Talking Heads
Graceland: Austin, Texas
After seven hot hours, two severe farmer's tans and about five drive-through Starbucks we were finally able to Waltz Across Texas
. We pulled up to Hotel San Jose
just in the brink of time for our sanity. After too many questionable hotel rooms, that were just a bit to close to the interstate, we were elated to spend two days relaxing with poolside drinks and (finally) clean sheets at the San Jose. We were lucky to have a friend from the area who took us to a bunch of local spots, such as Barton Springs, a huge natural swimming pool in the middle of the city. We also had amazing thrifting adventures in the neighborhood surrounding the hotel. Basically, our stay in Austin was the perfect antidote for our delirium and only further secured our Texan obsession.
C and C
Graceland: Marfa by Day
There's no way to explain how we feel about Marfa, Texas. Driving on the windy one lane Texas road deep into the hills listening to the Silver Jews
, where all we could see were huge clouds and blue skies, we had no idea that we were about to encounter a town equal parts art-collective, boutique vacation haven and Southern hospitality. All we knew from Marfa is that it was a favorite of James Dean
himself—and when we finally found the tiny town, it was clear why. Marfa far surpassed any sort of romanticized visions of the south we had. We spent the night in a renovated Airstream trailer at the El Cosmico
, which only further fulfilled our James Dean pursuit.
C and C
Graceland: Marfa by Night
Thanks to a recommendation from El Cosmico
, we ended up at Padre's
, the local honky-tonk in Marfa. Full of old pin-ball machines, a well stocked jukebox and $2 Lone Star Beers, this bar made us feel like we fit right in shooting pool and listening to country western music. We found our way to the back patio which gave us a perfect view of the millions of stars in the Texas desert. After a couple Lone Stars, we were happy to go home for the night- comfortable with the decision that we would soon be taking up residence in this awesome town.
C and C
Graceland: Lordsburg, New Mexico
To be honest, we chose Lordsburg, New Mexico simply as a place to sleep between Arizona and Texas. We had psyched ourselves out for ghosts, potential murderers, and if we were really lucky, a Goodwill. However, we were pleased to find that Lordsburg is a town perfectly preserved in a 1950s time warp. It is also maybe the safest town we've ever been in; Clara got pulled over for going 45 in a 35 zone within 10 minutes of our arrival. Among the plentiful desert landscape in Lordsburg are small family run businesses filled with roadside treasures. Also, before we even got to our destination, we stopped off in Bumble Bee County to find homemade beef jerky, massive cacti and a pony named Comet. New Mexico, you proved us wrong!
C and C
Graceland: The Grand Canyon
Welcome to the Grand Canyon! We learned a few things on our 10 hour drive from L.A. to Arizona. Firstly, one can and will get sunburned through the windshield. Also, an American roadtrip = American snacks: Cool Ranch Doritos, Gatorade and Sour Patch Kids were our only sustenance for a pretty long stretch. Most importantly though, the view of the Grand Canyon will definitely cure any road trip delirium. The landscape is breathtakingly beautiful. It's also windy; Clara lost her sunglasses
within the first two minutes. We're off to New Mexico next. Here's a song
that'll keep us going through the desert roads.
xo Cassie and Clara
From Los Angeles
Graceland: Are You Ready for the Country?
We're gearing up for our road trip from Los Angeles to New York via the Great American South. Follow us for the next three weeks as we go through the Grand Canyon, a WigWam village in Kentucky, the Bonnarroo music festival in Tennessee, and the ultimate destination: Graceland. We'll be thrifting, sight-seeing, sippin' mint juleps on wrap-around porches, but—most importantly—photographing every spot along the way. Before we finished packing, we stopped in an Urban Outfitters today to pick up a couple road trip essentials. We're hitting the road today, so stay tuned!—xo Cassie and Clara
From Los Angeles
Graceland: Meet Cassie and Clara
Cassie Coane (left) and Clara Balzary (one of our former About a Girls) are lifelong friends, and that friendship's about to be tested! This Thursday, they're setting out to drive Cassie's—admittedly junky—car from Los Angeles to New York, making plenty of stops along the way. Since we're insanely jealous of their adventure, we're going to live vicariously as they live-blog their trip from all the destinations, big and small, they hit as they make their way across the country. Stay tuned—it's bound to be good times for all.