Day 58 - Nashville, TN to Mammoth Cave National Park

Maggie said 'y'all' recently.  Not in a copying our Southern hosts sort of way, but more like in an 'it slipped into a regular sentence' sort of way.  We have been down here for a while now, time to keep heading north...

We have been in a groove for close to a week where we do a long drive, get into a town, see some of it in the evening, see some more the next morning and then repeat that cycle again.  Today was the last of these sort of days, seeing some more of Nashville in the morning before we travel to our last National Park.

Kim and I were discussing how Nashville probably generated as many tips as any place from friendly folks following along.  Seems like this will have to be on our re-visit list when we have more time.  If you have time to see one major sight in Nashville, however, (especially on a trip focused on absorbing as much Americana as possible), it seemed to us that the Grand Ole Opry was the obvious stop.  

Timing and money didn't lend itself to an actual evening show, so we signed up for their Backstage Tour.  Between the four of us, we came in with a waaaaay below average knowledge of Country music, so it was much more 'educational' than us coming as fans.  There were many times when the tour guide and other folks on the tour were dropping names and exchanging knowing nods about people who were recognized on the walls and dressing rooms.  We just looked at each other, smiled and kept our mouths shut so no one would say 'You don't know who Trace Adkins is?!?!'.  We now know what 'THE CIRCLE' is, we have some idea of Roy Acuff's place in Country lore, and we know it's a big deal when you get asked to be a part of The Opry.  We actually didn't know that people got asked to be a part of the thing, or that there was a thing to be a part of!  Overall, we certainly have a better appreciation for another puzzle piece in the great jigsaw of American music and pop culture.  Cool tour. 

After the Opry, we had time for one more quick stop, and we wanted a treat, so we took a tip and swung by the Nashville Goo Goo Clusters.  I had heard of but never tried one of these candy deals.  Hey, it was really good.  Didn't blow my mind, but a nice way to try one more quick bite of Nashville.

Then, off to our last NP, Mammoth Cave.  It was about a 90 minute drive from Nashville.  A topic of discussion on the way there was how anything less than 2-3 hours is now not really a 'drive' to us.  We are hardened road warriors.

The cave tours are scheduled for tomorrow, but we did some nice hiking around the park after dinner.  It's a gem.  Rolling modest hills, leafy green oaks, fireflies and a few other summer bugs.  Yes, we are starting to get close to home.

- Jim

We're Country.  Who knew.

Backstage at The Opry.  This was the Marty Stuart dressing room.  I don't know who he is, but I liked his style.

This is a mural painted by Archie Campbell.  It's a beauty.  I didn't know who he was until they said he was on Hee Haw.  I know me some Hee Haw.  You met another and *pffft* you was gone...

On stage.  In a weird way the house reminded me a lot of Radio City.  Compare/contrast.

'The Circle'.  It's apparently a big deal.  It has it's own hashtag and Country singers get all teary when they get to sing on it.  I get it.  Cool.