Traveling west towards Nashville on April 8 was the most miserable driving we encountered so far. The rain was steady and sometimes torrential and gusty winds adding to the difficulty of driving, even though we were mostly on Interstates. However the weather cleared as we got to Nashville and because of an early start and the shift back to Central from Eastern time we arrived just a bit after noon.
We left the trailer at an RV dealer to replace the tongue jack that had been disabled when the trailer came off earlier in Georgia. We went to downtown Nashville and had lunch at the Ryman Theater, the original home of the Grand Ole Opry, which is now housed in a giant complex on the edge of the city. We got our minor country music fix in a honky tonk bar, but spent most of the afternoon at the Frist Art Museum (#38) (https://fristartmuseum.org/), which had a major exhibit of French Impressionistic artists from the Mellon collection in their Art Deco former U.S. Post Office Building. There was also an exhibit of the photos of Dorothea Lange, who documented the conditions of the poor in the Depression. In the evening we enjoyed the hot tub at the KOA campground, the first time we have been able to do that on this trip.
On Tuesday we first went to Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage (#39) (https://thehermitage.com) where we toured his mansion and grounds and learned more about his impact on the American presidency. (We’ve also been listening to an audio book “Jacksonland” written by Steve Inskeep about Jackson and his Cherokee nemesis John Ross.)
Although we had planned to spend a second night in Nashville, we instead headed north to Mammoth Cave National Park (#40) (https://www.nps.gov/maca), the largest cave system in the world. Larry went on one of the shorter cave tours, while Cynthia enjoyed a walk in the sunshine above. An interesting aspect of the Mammoth Cave System (and others in the area) is that they are fed by the Kentucky “Sinkhole Plain” in which the surface is dotted with many sinkholes where water percolates down into the cave system.
We enjoyed staying at the National Park campground at Mammoth, as there were only five other campers in the 100-site campground. A warm, pleasant evening with the stars and the new moon along with gentle evening sounds of crickets and frogs were a nice accompaniment to our campfire, the first one we have managed on this trip.
In the morning, we headed north for a brief visit to Abraham Lincoln’s Birthplace National Historic Park (#41) (https://www.nps.gov/abli) near Hodgdon, KY. We visited the memorial containing his “symbolic” cabin (not definitely the one he was born in, but similar) and the “sinking spring” which provided them a constant source of water. This is another example of a sinkhole in this area. After that short visit we resumed heading west and ended our day near Henderson, KY on the Ohio River.