Nashville to Washington DC - USA
Sep 13, 2014
|When we left you it was Saturday 6th September and we we're exploring Nashville. We drove into the city centre and visited the Johnny Cash museum which was very enjoyable with various memorabilia and video footage of the majority of his career.
In the afternoon we visited Centennial park and the Parthenon which is a full-scale replica of the original Parthenon in Athens. It was built in 1897 as part of the Tennessee Centennial Exposition.
In the evening we went to the Grand Ole Opry which is a live show and radio programme that has been running since 1925. It provides a wide selection of country music during the two and half hours the show is broadcast.
It was a packed theatre and a great evening, all the acts were top quality and no one stayed on stage longer than two songs.
On Sunday we left Nashville and crossed over briefly into North Carolina and then into South Carolina ( Our 13th and 14th States) to reunite with David, another of our American friends who we met during our travels in New Zealand.
In the evening we met Kathryn, David's lady friend and spent some time reminiscing about our New Zealand trip.
On Monday, David and Kathryn took us to a battlefield where the British were beaten by the American forces (again!) this was during the battle for independence at Cowpens, South Carolina.
This was a simple case of a brash English officer underestimating the ability of the American commander and attacking a defensive position after having marched his troops through the night and attacking without much thought.
We then went to a local BMW assembly plant to see a small museum. Helen found a car she would like (photo).
There was also a motorbike that won the Paris to Dakar race (photo). While we were there we were lucky enough to get an unexpected tour of the factory floor, along with about twelve others. This tour was fascinating as we were led through the semi automated car plant. We started where the bare freshly painted chassis entered the factory along a conveyor from another building and watched as the car's were fully assembled to order and finally driven off as BMW sports utility vehicle's which in our building were either the X3 or X4 models. (Not allowed to take photographs)
On Tuesday, David drove us to Caesars head state park where we went for a 9 mile hike. We walked through forest trails to a waterfall and suspension bridge. This would have been a circular walk but a storm had washed some of the trails away.
On our return to David's home he managed to persuade Helen to take a ride on the back of his treasured Honda trike.
Kathryn had to work but joined us later for a farewell meal in a local Mexican restaurant.
On Wednesday morning we said our goodbyes to David and headed north, driving into Virginia (Our 15th State) and the small town of Staunton on the edge of Shenandoah National park.
We had a great time meeting Kathryn and staying with David and we are looking forward to him visiting England and coming to stay with us.
On Thursday we drove into the National park on the skyline drive which is 105 miles of road running through the mountainous wooded Virginian ridge line. We were lucky to spot a small black Bear as we drove along. We hiked a small part of the 2,200 mile Appalachian trail before climbing to Hawksbill peak the highest point in the park at 4,051 feet. The weather forecast was for thunderstorms in the afternoon so we descended from the park as the clouds began building.
On Friday we returned to Shenandoah National park and hiked from the ridge down to some waterfalls. On the way we saw black bears! a final tick as we leave the American wilderness.
There were six in total consisting of two groups of a mother and her two cubs. (The photograph is roughly what we saw, it isn't ours.) As this was our last hike of the whole trip we photographed our boots to remind ourselves of how wonderful they have been, before bidding them farewell and throwing them in the bin.
We finished the day with a drive to the outskirts of Washington DC where we spent the night.
It's Saturday 13th September and today we returned our hire car and headed into the city. We went to Arlington cemetery which is absolutely massive and visited President John Fitzgerald Kennedy's (JFK) grave before paying our respects at the tomb for the unknown soldier's. This tomb was very impressive with "The old guard" as its honour or Sentinel guard.
We're in Washington DC for a couple of days before we head to New York our last city in the USA and the final stage of our around the world trip.