After Chattanooga it was on the road again with some grotty weather – it was raining heavily and very windy. We drove on up to Nashville but, again, we didn’t arrive until it was getting dark. Could have made it in faster time had we stayed on the Freeways, but we don’t care to do that any more than we have to.
We also made a tourist stop en route in the town of Lynchburg. Any of you who are whiskey drinkers may know this to be the source of all that Jack Daniel’s out there. Neither of us drinks whiskey, but we thought it might be quite interesting – it was! Thoroughly enjoyed the tour through the distillery – looking at the must in the fermentation tank should be enough to put anyone off drinking that stuff, but sniffing the air when the guide wafted the lids on the filtration tank (towards the end of the process) almost made me want to try some. You can’t – Lynchburg is, and has been for decades – a totally dry town. You cannot taste the whiskey that is made at this distillery in Lynchburg, believe it or not. (They gave us lemonade at the end of the tour – go figure!)
Anyway, eventually arriving in Nashville, we figured we were a little smarter by now and, knowing there’s a ‘Camper World’ here we made straight for it (with Maggie’s assistance) hoping there would be a nice campground there, too. There wasn’t. That didn’t stop us, however – not your intrepid, die-hard boon-dockers. We scoped out the Camper World premises, picked ourselves a nice spot, then went to have dinner. Went to a place called John A’s that offered live music with dinner. It was – almost. The place was nearly deserted and, when the band struck up, we could hear why. We’d finished dinner by the time they started but the waitress urged us to linger a bit longer. We did – but for just three numbers.
After a pretty good sleep parked cosily alongside the ‘Camper World’ store we went inside the store (nice bathrooms) and found that they did not, either, have the parts we were looking for for the stove.
So then we went on down the road (we were on Opryland Drive) and went first to see the Gaylord Opryland Hotel (which had been a recommendation by a friend). Unbelievable! The property is 57 acres and the hotel seems to cover much of it. You get a map to find your way around it. It’s mostly under massive high glass roofs with lakes and houses and lush foliage. There are so many parts to it, it was like being at Disneyland. I don’t think my pictures will really do it justice, but they’ll give a better idea than anything I can write.
Our next stop, of course, was to see the Grand Ole Opry building. Well, pardners, it ain’t so ‘Ole’. In fact, we were disappointed to see that it’s a very modern looking building, but we did go through the Museum attached to it and even we non-Country and Western types found it very interesting.
It was about 78° and sunny on leaving Nashville, and I set our destination on the GPS to be St Louis, MI. Now – I’m sure any American would know that MI is NOT the abbreviation for Missouri – right? I asked Bruce, “do we know for sure that MI is Missouri”? Neither of us knew for sure. Anyway, it became clear, about 20 miles down the road, that Maggie was persistently attempting to take us North East instead of North West. I was looking at maps and trying to get her to head northwest using different interim destinations but, no way, she wanted to keep getting us back in a north-easterly direction. Bruce was getting ‘perturbed’ and asking why we weren’t on the I 24 and I was basically, “I dunno”. Anyway, FINALLY I found the information I needed and that was that there is a St Louis in Michigan (which is MI) and Missouri’s abbreviation is MO. How would I know? So, after changing Maggie’s directions, we finally were heading in the right direction.
That is, until I blew it again! We were looking for a Rest Area and I was looking at maps and said there was one coming up at the next exit from the freeway we were on. There was. Unfortunately, it was on the left side which would have meant turning left after exiting the freeway and going over the freeway bridge. We didn’t – we turned right and we had to go East 16 miles along the Kentucky Freeway before Bruce (amidst various choice epithets) was able to get us turned around and going back in the opposite direction again – a total of 32 miles. I reminded him, naturally, that going 32 miles out of your way in a truck is not as bad as being led 25 miles out of your way on a bicycle (refer back to start of bike trip in Laos)………. Oh well.
Then it started to rain again – and I mean, really rain. The temperature dropped almost instantly from our balmy 78° to only 65° and it was hard to see on the highway. We were on a highway to make some time, and the traffic was horrendous, too. Then, right in front of us a van pulling what looked like a horse trailer was cut off by another vehicle and the trailer started fish-tailing all over the road. It barely avoid side-swiping the vehicle traveling alongside him but the driver must have known what he was doing and he managed to get it under control again. It looked terrifying – I’m sure he must have wanted to change his underwear or at least have a smoke after that!
We cut our planned mileage short due to the severity of the winds and rain and parked at a mall in Evansville right beside a Panera bakery again, thinking we’d get a good internet signal. It actually wasn’t a bad night’s sleep after all the traffic died off when the stores closed. Honestly, you’d never know there’s been any hint of a recession with the armies of people heading for the malls.