Sunday, May 17, 2020

Mosaic Monday #80: Road Trip Re-wind

Twin Arches, Oneida, Tennessee
October 8, 2012 - that's Spousal Unit under the arch
I think part of my "job" here at Letting Go of the Bay Leaf is to keep you all entertained.  Hence, I shake it up.  I don't write two hiking posts in a row.  I cover extended vacations in multiple posts, with other subjects in between.  I occasionally interject a post that links to other memes.  So, as I considered potential subjects for this post, it felt like time to re-wind to my old-style paper travel journal.  (I previously penned posts about Belize and Virgin Gorda from that journal.)  It just so happens that the next entry in the journal (so old the binding is coming apart) is a road trip in October 2012.  Let's go!

October 6, 2012 - we left Cleveland on a blue sky fall day, with our teen-aged kids at home alone for an extended period, a first.  Lexington, Kentucky was our initial destination, and after checking in at the Hyatt Regency, a walking tour worked out the kinks from the time in the car.  Triangle Park features the curved fountain picture below, and in the Historic District, we admired the birthplace and childhood home of Mary Todd Lincoln.
Prior to this pandemic, we consumed prodigious amounts of live music, and this trip was no exception.  On Day 1, a $5 cover admitted us to Parlay Social, featuring Jordan English.  Entertaining enough, but not for dancing!

My notes suggest we also popped in to the Horse and Barrel, labeled as an English pub.  In reality, the bar has the "world's largest collection of premium bourbon".  Seems to me it is a Tennessee pub located in Kentucky!!!  I had a Contemporary Old-Fashioned, but noted the following recipe worth sampling: vanilla vodka, pumpkin spice liqueur and Frangelico.  

Kentucky is synonymous with horse racing, so Day 2 found us at Keeneland Race Track.   As you can see in the journal entry at left, our $15 in bets yielded NOTHING!  But it was entertaining to have a "horse in the race".
Number 11 is "Star Video"; our bet to win the first race and it came in last!
From Keeneland, we drove to Huntsville, Tennessee.  For two nights, we would call the Grand Vista Hotel home away from home.  Preston's Steak House in Oneida fed us that night, and we turned in early to be rested for the next day's adventures.

East Rim Overlook - Big South Fork River and
surrounding Cumberland Plateau
On Day 3, we woke to heavy rain - not a promising start.  We headed to the Bandy Creek Ranger Station for a consult.  We paused at the East Rim Overlook - the rain had stopped and mist was rising.  At the station, the ranger noted that they don't recommend running the river below 200 feet, and today it was at 132 feet.  Bummer.  He pointed us to two hikes, and we were on our way!

At the Charit Creek Trailhead, we were greeted immediately by a drenched little dog, with no owner in sight!  Spousal Unit named him Pepper, because he was salted white and black over most of his body.  He happily followed as we took off down the trail.
Click to enlarge!
Our destination was the Twin Arches, but Charit Creek Lodge came first.  Here we found someone who knew "Pepper's" owner - we turned "Pepper" over and congratulated ourselves on a good deed done!

At the time, you could stay at the lodge for $75 a night - dinner and breakfast and no electricity included.   A more recent perusal would suggest that prices have increased about 30%.  Not bad considering that 8 years have passed!  (And now, there are other options on the same property.  Check out I am not being paid for this!)

We enjoyed coffee and home-made banana bread, and made our way uphill to the Twin Arches.

First you cross this bridge, and then it's 1.1 miles uphill to the Twin Arches.

These arches form the largest natural bridge complex in Tennessee and one of the largest known in the world.  The two sandstone arches are situated end-to-end.  The South Arch is the tallest at 103 feet, and you can climb a ladder to get on top and traverse both the South and North Arch!

We took the trail toward Jake's Place, a historic farmstead, and it followed the contour of the rock mass for a long time before descending to a creek bed that ran next to Jake's Place.  We saw no signs of a homestead - only a clearing - a good place for a snack!  A mile later we crossed the ford - helped by some rocks strategically placed by Spousal Unit - and took a short cut up the hill to return to the car.

That night, dinner was at the Rey Azteca, and I was thirsty, if you know what I mean!  I ordered up a margarita, and the chagrined waiter informed me "This is a moist county, not a wet county.  We can't serve margaritas."  A Mexican restaurant without margaritas?  How can it be?

Day 4 dawned foggy and crisp.  Destination? The Honey Creek Loop Trail, described as some of the most rugged and beautiful terrain in Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area.  The literature cautions hikers not to take young children or pets, and highlights a number of hazards, including "travel through boulder fields may require using your hands and knees to climb over and among boulders."  You can read the full text about the trail in the picture to the right.  My hand-written notes?  "It is everything the blurb says."  In one of those very boulder fields, we nearly decided to turn around and go back, just because it was nigh on impossible to locate the "trail".
With hundreds of rhododendrons, I am sure this trail would be
spectacular in the spring
In the picture on the upper left, Spousal Unit is dwarfed by the cliff
We journeyed on to Nashville, and splurged on two nights at the posh, historic Hermitage Hotel.  Our "Romance Package" included champagne and chocolate-covered strawberries and the All-American breakfast for two in the Capitol Grille.

No trip to Nashville is complete without sampling the music scene, and the Hermitage is conveniently located only a few blocks from the honky tonks.  In only our second bar (Big Shotz), we found a band we liked (never got the name of the band although a woman collecting tips called the lead singer Jason Duggins).  And the people watching in Nashville is at least half of the entertainment.  Of note that night was the man and his t-shirt, which said "This beer is making me awesome."

It was a s-l-o-w start to Day 5 (we were out late dancing the night away), but eventually we worked our way 'round to a six-mile run through downtown Nashville.  The Hermitage has thought of everything and had this handy map for runners to follow.
Upon our return to the hotel, we showered in readiness for a 60-minute deep tissue massage.  Pure heaven.  The afternoon took us to Bailey's on Broadway for lunch, a bit of souvenir shopping and more music.  We enjoyed a nap before our 7.30 p.m. dinner reservation at the Capitol Grille.  As you would expect, the meal was excellent.  My favorites were the Sweet Onion Bisque and port with the cheese plate.  Spousal Unit savored a dish simply named "Pork", a very tender porkloin with a bacon flavor.

Then it was back out on the town - this time we focused on venues on Broadway, such as Legends Corner and the Whiskey Bent Saloon.  Several of the venues were filled with Steelers fans, what with a game scheduled for the next day between the Titans and the Steelers.  Some of them were a bit obnoxious for my taste.  Anyway, we were over the moon impressed with the quality of the music we heard - it really does go on all day every day!

Day 6 - sadly bidding adieu to the Hermitage and Nashville, we turned our car toward Land Between the Lakes (LBL), a 170,000-acre outdoorsmen's paradise between Kentucky Lake and Lake Barkley in western Kentucky and Tennessee.  You can read the notes at left about our aborted biking adventure - I am much better on my own two feet!

At our hotel that evening, we opted for a night in, complete with Domino's pizza and wings.  We had hoped to watch the Steelers v. Titans game, but couldn't get the NFL channel.  (The good news is that the Titans beat the Steelers!)

Day 7 started with a leisurely morning, followed by a return to LBL.  More hiking was in store, as shown on the journal page to the right.  LBL features vast forests, open lands and streams.  Adventurers will also discover attractions, camping, trails, wildlife and historical exhibits.  Families enjoy the diverse educational facilities such as the Woodlands Nature Station and the Homeplace 1850s.

Back at our hotel, our thoughts turned to coffee and antiquing.  Just down the hill we discovered a wonderfully quaint corner of Grand Rivers, Kentucky.  A wedding chapel, cute little boutiques, and Anna's Garden CafĂ©, which had the tallest meringue pies we had ever seen.  With our coffee, Spousal Unit managed to inhale one of the monster Coconut Meringue slices; I took the more moderate route of a chess bar.
We had dinner at Cactus Jack's Southwestern Grill, and my notes say it was pretty average.  But not all was lost, as apparently I won the Scrabble game that night!

My entry for Day 8 starts with "Kayaking in Pisgah Bay", but there are no further details.  Google tells me that Pisgah Bay is a sheltered cove on Kentucky Lake, and is also home to the Kentucky Lake Drag Boat Races.  OK.

Our next stop was the Brown Hotel in Louisville, Kentucky.  Another historic property, it opened in 1923 following a $4 million dollar investment by J. Graham Brown, millionaire lumberman and capitalist.  Perhaps it was the comparison to the Hermitage that did it.  Or maybe the experience relative to the price.  Or both - in any case, my notes suggest that we would not repeat our stay.

The next day we returned to Cleveland!
On the other hand, we thoroughly enjoyed our dinner at Doc Crow's, and the live music at Stevie Ray's.  "V-Groove" played a wide variety of music, good for dancing.  (If you haven't figured it out by now, "good for dancing" is the quality measure we employ for a musical group.)  You could say that ended the trip on a positive "note"!

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  1. Yes, Angie ... that's entertainment reading the interesting post. So many things you share with us, so I have part of your life and your Corona Management, to break the painful isolation. Oh, I'm not complaining... I' m well, that's the most important.

    Stay healthy and well.

    Happy MosaicMonday

  2. ...Twin Arches is amazing, the natural world sure is beautiful. Take care Angie and thanks for hosting.

  3. Wow Angie what an adventuresome trip. I love reading about your journeys. So much fun and educational to boot.
    Dawn aka Spatulas On Parade

  4. Thank you Angie for sharing your wonderful 2012 trip - a great time was had! Thank you too for your 80th Mosaic Monday. Keep on keeping well. (there is a mosaic in my post).

  5. Travel journals are my favorite. It's good to write things down because if you are anything like me you'll forget those great details down the road. I'm still in the process of fixing up several of my previous posts with photos hijacked from Photobucket. Your adventures are definitely worth noting. :)

  6. You do entertain us and we get to go to places we've never been and probably never will see thanks to you!

  7. That sounds like a wonderful trip, travel journals are a great way to remember where you have been and what you have done. It is great to see places I will probably never get to as Brian says.

  8. It is always entertaining to read your journals of your travels, Angie. Gosh, you get around. Love reading about your adventures and the places you kick off those hiking boots of yours and stay for a while. Some fancy places there. Fabulous photos....especially the first one of that magnificent tree; such a beauty.

  9. When we lived in New York City we traveled often down south, often searching out Civil War History as well as scenic sites and fun amusement parks fro our children. Tennessee was one of our favorite states to visit, I enjoyed reading about your trip and seeing all these beautiful spots in nature--the east coast is so full of trees! I've always felt ny blog is a travel journal of sorts.

  10. I do enjoy the variety of experiences you share with us. And I loved this trip as we really enjoyed our time in Kentucky. Fun to compare memories .... in fact it’s really good to *have* those memories during this time, when each week does seem to be a little bit the same as the one before )). I must learn to scan old photos ., definitely it’s gonna be time for a memory post soon.

  11. Hello, Angie,

    What a great trip, the hikes you took sound similar to places hubby and I visited in Tennessee and Kentucky. I tend to prefer nature walks over a city tour. Beautiful parks and views! But, we do enjoy all the food and restaurants. The pie looks yummy. Great memories and beautiful photos. Thanks for hosting. Enjoy your day, wishing you a happy new week!

  12. I have to say, you two fit a lot into your trips! lol We haven't been to Kentucky for a few years. Might need to take the trip especially for the Meringue pie!!

  13. What a great place to spend time! And I've always kept a journal on trips we've made too. I love that you share so many trips and hikes on your blog and never get tired of reading about them. Thanks for sharing and for hosting! Hugs, Diane

  14. Always a pleasure to tag along with you on these virtual trips, Angie!

  15. Your journals remind me of our journals when we travel, Angie. It's always a pleasure to look back through them and relive the wonderful times we had away.

  16. Happy mosaic Monday. Have a good week


  17. What a great trip you had! Traveling journals are wonderful to look back on.. Always brings back those memories. Thanks for always sharing your adventures.

  18. Hi again Angie, I thought I'd left a comment earlier today but can't see It now. Really enjoyed reading about your trip, I felt as if I was right there with you.
    Happy MM what's left of it!
    Maggie @ turning the page.

  19. That looks like a fun trail with all the crossings. It reminds me of the hikes we encounter in Central America sometimes. Plus, mile high dessert! Yum.

  20. Now that's what I call a vacation of wonder and wandering, Angie. You've brought a little wanderlust out of me. I'm going to think about trips the Husband and I could make when this all is safe and sound. The contemporary old-fashioned recipe is interesting. I do like frangelico. I plan on making cheese enchiladas today, perhaps a margarita is in order. Salud!

  21. I love the little pictures, maps and other bits and pieces in your travel journal. I think I should be doing that too. So much more interesting than mine! Thanks for sharing your trael memories. And have a great week.

  22. Sounds like an interesting trip. My sister lives in western Kentucky now and goes to LBL fairly often.

  23. I wish I kept my travel journals up properly. They travel with me but never get completed. You did a good job of documenting your 2012 trip. All of the outdoor activities and historical places are right up my alley. But what does a "moist" county mean? Beer and wine, but no liquor?

  24. Dear Angie - Cheers to the 80th Mosaic Monday. Thank you for taking care of the meme and entertaining us all every Monday. As a Japanese, I often forget “Kentucky” is the state name due to KFC. This 2012 journey is full of adventures and looks tough but you proved you were tougher. I could join you from the comfort of my living room as always. Nice to know Pepper could get back to his owner. Have happy days ahead.


  25. What an enjoyable post! I take a journal on our trips too and when I forgot mine when we went to Ireland the first thing I did was get one! Otherwise I can't remember where I've been or what I did! Thank you!

  26. How gorgeous! You live in a beautiful area.

  27. Lovely places that you visited, everything that you want.

  28. Begs the question. How can it be an English pub without Newcastle Brown Ale, or maybe Guinness and Scotch? And no PG Tips for teetotallers like me I’ll bet.

    I must say Angie that your notes are very detailed and your memory excellent to cover all of those varied days, places and journeys. Nashville is so famous worldwide, a place I would love to visit and take in the Country and the Rock scenes but none of this modern rubbish.

    Yes, I admit to liking some of that stuff that’s seen as "old hat", “square” and for wrinklies. It’s me to a T.

  29. Great photos and fond memories you have ~ thanks ^_^

    Be Well, Be Safe,
    A ShutterBug Explores,
    aka (A Creative Harbor)

  30. Thanks for such a wonderful adventure and sharing your beautiful photos.
    Take care and stay safe!

  31. What a fun trip to take! Memories of trips are wonderful, aren't they? I don't quite know the difference between a moist county and a wet county, though - and a Mexican restaurant without Margaritas is interesting. Lots to see and do on your Kentucky getaway.

  32. Lovely times! Let's hope for more in the future. The weather has been great down here and I have flowers blooming. You take care. Kit


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