9 September 2016 Louisville Kentucky
It was an inauspicious introduction to downtown Louisville. I found the nearest Walgreens for some supplies and the lady had great trouble in understanding me! She seemed emphatic that I wanted to dye my hair. I resisted stoutly.
Now the reason I am here is for a Chris Stapleton concert tonight. It is being held at Waterfront Park, which appears to be a park on the…er…waterfront. I thought I should do a reconnaissance mission and make sure that tonight’s commute is smooth.
Louisville is right on the Ohio River (Indiana is on the other side) and there are many bridges spanning the water. There is also a myriad of roads, like strands of spaghetti between the river, the bridges and downtown proper. There is plenty of construction going on as well with ramps closed and few signs which add to the chaotic feel, as well as the one-way streets. My trusty GPS had smoke coming out of the back.
I did manage to negotiate all this and then came the really hard part – trying to park the car. There were options involving pay-by-phone and registering as a guest that seemed too much bother for one parking stint. I eventually found a vacant meter that accepted change. The first coin I put in (I thought it was a quarter) only gave me two minutes! I dumped all my coins in (every time I dropped a coin I had to select the bay) and managed to extend my stay for 35 minutes.
I consumed a (not very good) coffee, had a chat with locals about some instructions and made my way back to the car before the meter expired. I drove around again and finally found a spot, for free – a young fellow came up and asked me to move forward as his boss was coming, which I did. Then he let me know that I was now parked over a fire hydrant which is illegal. I drove off again.
I finally managed to find a park with vacancies on the water at a nearby restaurant. There was a parking booth and a boom gate. I pulled up and the guy inside gestured violently and silently with three fingers upraised. Why three fingers, I thought, when two usually conveyed the message? After a few seconds, I realised that he was requesting $3, which I dutifully provided. I parked the car and walked one way along the riverbank, and then doubled back towards Waterfront Park, to check out the scene there. On the way, a cyclist yelled at me for walking on the sidewalk.
It was getting hot and there appeared to be not much going on downtown (it was a Friday). I decided to retreat and rest up for the afternoon.
The drive into the concert that night was pretty hair-raising. Cars were everywhere and there was a daredevil approach to finding car parks. It appeared as though each concert punter had insisted on somehow bringing two cars. I found a more sedate spot about six blocks away and paid $15 for the privilege.
The concert was amazing – read my forthcoming review. The organisation was not. I also met some very rude people.
Going home was another thing. As well as the construction works, the police had closed off a number of roads.
I finally managed to get to my hotel.
Unfortunately, it was still there.