Paste just ran a story about a guy who planned his vacation around visiting the country's best record stores. He visited record stores in Nashville, Memphis, New Orleans, and Atlanta. Okay, that doesn't really qualify as "the country," but it still sounds like a cool vacation to me. I hear there may be some other interesting sites in some of these cities as well.
Throw in some blues stops as we head through the Mississippi Delta, skip Atlanta (nothing against Atlanta, but I've already been there too many times), and you've got the dream vacation that I've actually pondered for many years now. The trick is convincing at least one other person that this is a dream vacation. At this point, nobody's buying. For some reason, spending six to eight hours per day in a record store doesn't appeal to anyone else in my family. Want to come?
I do have my qualms, by the way. By this point the whole cradle of American music has become so polished and commodified and tourist-accessible that it's probably like visiting the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas instead of Venice itself. You think they're playing slide guitar with a broken beer bottle at B.B. King's Blues Club on Beale St. in Memphis? Still, I'd be willing to take a gamble on locating that unknown roadhouse outside of West Helena, Arkansas. Who wants to follow the blues highway?