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Driving/Eating from L.A. to Nashville, via I-40

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We're giving up on L.A. and moving to Nashville next week - so we're looking for any/all non-glamorous suggestions on or near I-40. Since we're allowing 4-5 days for the trip, we're not in a tearing hurry, but I suspect we won't be looking too fabulously presentable overall, and anyway will be way more interested in eating, looking around and chatting with people than in getting dressed up. Any suggestions for lodging, friendly dives, oddities, food festivals or local specialties to keep an eye out for along the way also gratefully received! Thanks, will report back.

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  1. If you are taking the 40, you cannot miss the Canyon de Chelly. It is a remarkably beautiful place about 1.5 hours away from the Grand Canyon. In fact, you can hit both canyons in the same day, and then drive to Flagstaff and stay the night. Or do the 8 hour drive from LA to Flagstaff, spend the night, hit the canyons the next day, then stay in Gallup, NM. It is worth the trip and will be the most interesting thing you see along the way. http://www.nps.gov/cach/

    In Flagstaff, there's a local brewery called Beaver Street Brewery that has good pizzas and sandwiches and good to great beers. http://www.beaverstreetbrewery.com/me...

    1. Well, I can't help you with places along the way, but I can help you if you want any suggestions for Nashville once you get settled! I lived in San Diego and made the trek across the country about 5 years ago, but via a route a bit more south than yours. Enjoy the drive and welcome to Nashville!

      1. I second sparkplug, let me know if you need Nashville guidance when you get here.

        The Blue Plate in Memphis is delicious, beautiful breakfast biscuits. There are a couple locations, the one on Poplar is the cutest.

        2 Replies
        1. re: delaneymae

          Thanks to sparkplug & you - can either of you suggest a good bar-with-food and/or a breakfast place in the general vicinity of Old Hickory (our new actual Nashville-area neighborhood)? I'm not sure which end of the day we'll be pulling into town during, but I know we won't feel much like cooking for the first day or so...

          1. re: moejuste

            I wish I could be of more help, but I don't really know the Old Hickory area that well. One spot that I can recommend that shouldn't be far from your new place is Chef's Market in Goodlettesville. http://www.chefsmarket.com/
            I guess the best way to describe it is an upscale meat & three. My boyfriend and I both love to stop in when we are up that way. You really can't go wrong with anything on the menu.

        2. Another suggesttion I'll make it to drive straight through Oklahoma. That's a good day to just get in as many hours on the road as you can. Points of interest are too far afield from I- 40.

          1. Lots of good restaurants in Memphis- Encore, Automatic Slim's, Sawadii, Bluefin, Wang's China Bistro. You'll have to get a little off 40, though. To get to the Old Hickory area, you have to go right through downtown Nashville (well, you don't have to if you go around on 440, but there aren't any good restaurants there!) There are some good places on 2nd- the entertainment district along the river. There's a barbecue place (can't remember the name, but a friend had her son's wedding rehearsal dinner there) and a good Japanese place.