Day 4: “Athens of the South”
Thursday: We started the day a little slower than the others and didn’t get out the door until mid-morning. We had plans to drive from St. Louis, Missouri up to Carthage, Illinois for a short detour to see the Carthage Jail. It is a historic building known for being the location of the death of Joseph Smith, the first president and founder of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. As members of this church, we were excited to visit the jail and see the historic area. Again, my parents left earlier than us in “Budget” so we could all get there at about the same time. Since we were so slow getting out that morning, and they made great time, they got to the jail before we even left the hotel!
It was a good thing too, because when they pulled up, they were told that Carthage Jail was unexpectedly closed that day. A water pipe had burst and flooded the building! They didn’t know how long it would take to clean up or when they would open again. It was a bust, and my parents had driven almost two hours for nothing! But it worked out and they caught up to us eventually.
After going to Carthage, we had planned on getting to Nashville, Tennessee, so we just started that way first thing. We had about 4 hours and 300 miles to go, and the scenery was gorgeous! Hills and rolling roads enclosed by lush, green trees for miles and miles. I had never seen so many trees in my life!
As we were driving through the Southwest corner of Kentucky, I get a phone call from my mom, informing us that they were stopped in a little town called Eddyville, Kentucky. We hadn’t caught up to them yet, amazingly enough, but apparently a tire had blown on the moving truck trailer carrying our 4Runner!
My dad was driving and hadn’t even noticed, until he was pulled over by a State Trooper! Apparently, someone had seen the tire blow and called the police. The trooper was close by and was able to catch up to my parents and pull them over to let them know the tire was blown. He recommended them to a place in Eddyville, and they made it there. We were all worried this was going to take forever and set them back hours, but they pulled up, had the tire switched out, and got back on the road before Troy, the kids, and I had even gotten to where they were! So fast! And, my mom couldn’t say enough about how friendly and helpful everyone was! Southern hospitality at its finest!
They didn’t stop in Nashville after that and drove straight through to Chattanooga, Tennessee, our ending destination for the day, to check into the hotel and take it easy after their eventful day!
But, we stopped in Nashville! There were a couple of things I wanted to see, the first of which was The Grand Ole Opry.
We didn’t spend much time here, but we were able to walk around the grounds and take a peek inside. The giant guitars were a hit with the kids, and Little Miss was finding leaves and flowers to collect. I would have loved to take the backstage tour, but the kids would not have enjoyed that, and we still had driving to do. I don’t think Troy really understood why I had such a desire to see the Grand Ole Opry House, but he put up with my country fangirl moment and acted interested. Such a good man!
Our second stop was Centennial Park, home to the Parthenon.
Yup, you read that right! The Parthenon! I was dying to see it since the moment it had popped up on my Google Maps. The kids had fallen asleep during the drive from The Grand Ole Opry to here so, with no objections from Troy, I hopped out of the car and took a quick walk around the Parthenon.
I have never been to Athens, Greece to see the real Parthenon (it is on my bucket list!), but now Troy says I don’t have to (we’ll see about that one). The one in Nashville is a full-size replica of the original. It was impressive! I really wanted to go inside, but that requires paying for a tour, so I had to settle for just the outside.
After driving through Centennial Park and seeing the Parthenon, Troy had one request; to drive through the campus at Vanderbilt University. We drove past the Hawkins Field baseball stadium and the football field at Vanderbilt Stadium.
There is so much you can see and do in Nashville, but, alas, we had to keep going. We continued for two more hours until we reached Chattanooga, Tennessee.
This was a MUST stop! My dad has traveled to Chattanooga for years for work, and had found this store while on business. He has talked this store up since I can remember so I had to see it for myself, and let me tell you! McKay’s Bookstore does not disappoint!! If you love books you HAVE to visit McKay’s!
We could have spent hours here, but they were closing, and we hadn’t eaten dinner yet, so kids were hungry. It was probably all for the best though, because had I stayed longer I would have bought more books than I already did!
We ate dinner at Cracker Barrel, and we all indulged in some good, ol’ fashioned, home-cooked food. And, apparently we were all in the mood for breakfast, because there was no shortage of bacon, pancakes, grits, and biscuits. The kids LOVE breakfast foods, so this was the perfect place to eat.
We were so close to our final destination! One more day of driving! Day 5: The Lewis’s take Greenwood