Saturday, October 6, 2007

(34) Lexington to Nashville Tennessee

Mary Todd Lincoln Home, Lexington KY

Boone’s Station KY

White Hall, Gen Clay KY

Mammoth Cave KY

Nashville TN

Before leaving the Richmond Ky area, I had time to visit a couple more sites. Unfortunately most of the historic homes in this area don’t permit pictures to be taken inside. A real bummer for someone like me, who loves to take pictures.

The Mary Todd Lincoln home is the first home preserved for a 1st Lady of a President right in the heart of Lexington Ky. The guide was very careful to put Mary Todd in the best of light. To the point one would think she was a “modern woman”. Having been outspoken, educated, spoke both English and French fluently and could argue politics with the best of men. It was only near the end of the tour that there was mention of her being sent to an nut house. Still well worth learning about a very misunderstood person. Oh and being able to touch the same stair railing that Abraham Lincoln touched is about as close as I’ll ever get to such a great historical person. Whew, I get chilled just thinking about it.

Not far from my campground is White Hall, General Clay’s mansion. Gen Clay was a mentor of Abe Lincolns and a staunch abolitionist and writer of an anti-slavery paper. Kentucky being a middle state had families torn apart over the slavery issue. Mary Todd’s family was split down the middle and she herself was totally against slavery even before meeting Abe. Unfortunately, she was shunned by both the North and south, both thinking she was a spy and traitor. His home, White Hall has been totally restored. History is everywhere around here.

I also had the neat experience of being able to walk around one of those great farms in the area, with their tobacco barns and cut hay fields. It was at Boone’s Station. It’s now a state park and is where Daniel Boone and family established a settlement. Most of the traces of that settlement are buried, along with some of the Daniels family members. It was one of those warm balmy days, the sun shining, but not too hot. No one was around when I got to the Station, so I just walked around, along the edge of the fields, up the sloping hill to the back end of the farm, through the mostly unmarked grave sites of Edward and Samuel Boone, his wife Sarah and their son Thomas, brothers of Daniel Boone and few others who were killed during the Revolutionary war and Lick battle. Life was not easy for the new explorers of our country. I even got to see up close a tobacco field and walk inside the tobacco barn, with the tobacco leaves drying upside down before going to market. A mild hint of tobacco smell as the leaves dried. And yes Kentucky still lets folks smoke just about everywhere. That takes a bit of getting used too if you’ve lived in a state with smoking bans.

I finally got back on the road and headed west along the Kentucky Parkway before heading south on 65. It’s now a free drive, as they stopped charging tolls! How cool, a state that has actually retired their tolls on the road after the road was paid for. Imagine. It’s actually possible.

I decided to stay right in Mammoth Cave National Park. I got a campsite for $17, no hook-ups, so I’m back to using my solar panels. I had plenty of power last night to watch TV and read a book. The power barely went down with the use of a couple of lights and the TV last night. Lots of trees, but there’s enough sunlight hitting the panels to charge the batteries for one more night.

I took one of the many tours into Mammoth cave, just to get a feeling for the place. It’s the largest cave system in the world. Didn’t know that. Huge vast rooms that were once carved out by an underground river, millions of years ago.

One hundred miles down the road and I’ve arrived at my next campsite, Nashville Country Rv park. It’s on the outskirts of Nashville and will be my home base while exploring the city. Besides, the park has a “little Opry” night on Thursdays so I don’t even have to go out at night if I don’t want to too hear some good country music.

Now if you’ve been following my adventures, you know I love to hear live music. So I paid the $8.00 for a BBQ dinner and the free music in the park. A few sprinkles at the beginning of the evening hardly dampened anyone’s mood. As the evening became darker and the little outdoor stage was lit up, a couple of musicians began to entertain us. A 16 year old girl, as thin as a rail, belted out the first couple sets of music. But the evening really kicked up a notch when Tommy Ross came on stage. He’s a middle ages dad from the Ozarks who works as a store manager at Ace Hardware during the day and fulfills his love of music at night. His mom and dad, who I met are his groupies and have even gotten an RV to be able to follow their son around as he performs.

Sitting out on the lawn, everything dark beyond the light of the stage, Tommy began to sing one of his own songs about a truck driver having to leave his family once again to go out on the road. Off behind the stage and up the hill, behind a bank of trees, large semi-trucks with their night lights shining, driving along the highway were a reminder of those men that Tommy was singing about. A few late arrivals in the campground slowly drove past us behind the stage, their big rig Rv’s lit up like the moving homes they are, finally settling in for the night after a long day on the road.

Tommy Ross sang a lot of the old county standards, he knows over 400 songs, a few of his own that he’s written, and he even threw in Jimmy Buffet’s Margarita Ville, which I was hoping he would sing. Bringing me back to my Florida roots I love so much. A pretty good evening, considering I only had to walk about 20 feet from my campsite to enjoy it! Didn’t have to cook or clean the dishes. Life is good.

Lots more to come from Nashville….

No comments: