Holiday in the USA (Part 2)
Once we’d made it to Chicago Midway airport in one piece we went to collect our rental car. We’d ordered a medium-sized car, but got upgraded to a ‘small SUV’. Driving out of the airport was a scary proposition, luckily Peter had volunteered to do that. We sat in the car for about half an hour getting comfortable and plucking up the courage to leave. Neither of us had driven on the right hand side of the road before and we were very nervous. Peter did a great job and even though it was late we managed about three and a half hours driving before stopping at a hotel for the night.
We drove through Indiana, but I can’t make much comment on what that was like because it was pitch black. We did see quite a few grain stores along the side of the road and I believe that the landscape is made up mainly of large corn fields. We collapsed into bed really tired and decided to set our alarm so that we could make breakfast. Unfortunately we hadn’t realised that we had crossed over into a different time zone and woke up an hour too late! The hotel worker was really nice though and gave us a bowl of cereal, some fruit and a muffin. The whole road trip we were driving frequently between Central and Eastern Time, so we ended up very confused.
We drove through Kentucky to Mammoth Cave National Park as one of Peter’s friends had recommended it as a good place to visit. We took a lantern-lit tour of Onyx Cave, which is one of the caves within the National Park. The tour guide was brilliant and I learned lots about the history of the Park and the geology of the caves. There were some pretty cool features in there, but it was difficult to take good photographs in the dim light. This is one of the gypsum formations that looked like a beautiful flower.
Afterwards we went for a walk around one of the short trails. It was just about going dark, so we were nearly alone and got to enjoy the magnificent autumn colours in all their glory.
I was also excited to see some wildlife. We saw a chipmunk, a woodpecker, some vultures and deer. I was particularly excited about the chipmunk, I’ve never seen one, but apparently they’re quite common in the USA. We could have stayed a few days in the National Park, taking more cave tours and walking. Peter’s done some caving in the past, so he was interested in taking some of the more adventurous tours.
When we finally dragged ourselves away we drove down to Nashville. We stopped at a downtown hotel and then headed into the city to experience some of the atmosphere and music. It was a Friday night and it was buzzing. We stopped at a bar that was serving food with the intention of then moving on to a few other places. We ended up just staying there because the music was so good. There was a rockier country band in the food area and a more traditional country band in the main bar, so we spent a couple of hours listening to each. Neither of us are really into country, but it was so entertaining. I think Peter was particularly fascinated by a young female fiddler who was phenomenal. Again, we were tired so called it quits about 1am, but I have a feeling that the party when on way into the early hours. I would definitely go back to Nashville and spend some time getting to know it better.
On Saturday morning we drove through Tennessee to Northern Georgia where we were meeting friends at a festival. When I was researching places to visit I came across the International Museum of Towing and Recovery. It sounded so quirky that we had to visit. We turned up in the middle of the afternoon and were only the third and forth visitors of the day! It was incredibly quirky, but the curator was very friendly, Peter enjoyed looking at the vehicles and mechanisms, and I liked the stories behind all the trucks. There was also a Hall of Fame and a monument to towing and recovery professionals who had died in the line of duty.
Next time I’ll write about our visit to Georgia …