Farm Collector Blogs > Aussie Trek Across America

July 17 to 18: Tennessee

by Ron Bywaters

Tags: road trip, trek across America, tractor drive, Tennessee,

Days 21 and 22

Group 1 : Nashville to Chattanooga

During the short break, George, Anne, Ron and Kerry spent two enjoyable days traveling to and from Chattanooga, Tenn.

This was at the suggestion of Linda Dickerson from Bowling Green, Ky., when we said we were looking for somewhere interesting to go that would not involve too much traveling. The trip down the interstate in Ron and Kerry’s RV was a change from the lesser roads usually traveled with the tractors and made for a fairly quick trip.

First up was a visit to the Tennessee Aquarium, an enormous series of exhibits of river and ocean life, all viewed through different levels in two very cleverly designed buildings. Added to this was a great butterfly garden with many exotic brightly colored butterflies which were not bashful about landing on our clothing, or even on Anne’s ear!

Then, after a night spent at the local RV park, it was off early to a triple ticketed tourism package — Ruby Falls, the Incline Railway and Rock City Gardens. Each of these attractions was very different, but all were thoroughly enjoyable.

The Ruby Falls tour took us down in an elevator 260 feet below the ground, then through an underground cave to the absolutely spectacular underground waterfall. Colored lighting added to the effect of this brilliant cascade of water.

Then after a quick look at the view from Lookout Mountain, it was off to the steepest train trip in the USA — up and down the mountain, with views down to the Chattanooga area.

Third on the ticket was the Rock City Gardens and what a fantastic place to visit. The natural rock of the area has been added to with lush greenery and walkways, culminating with a visit to “Lovers’ Leap,” a truly majestic rock from the top of which seven states of the USA are visible. A huge waterfall flows through the rock face — a really picturesque place. We all thoroughly enjoyed the experiences.

Then it was a quick visit to Nashville on the way back to the RV park and we found the city to be interesting and exciting. Obviously this city has much to offer to the traveler, but after two hectic days, we were satisfied with a walk down the main street.

We all voted this to have been an extremely entertaining and enlightening couple of days.

Group 2 : Memphis, Lynchburg and Nashville

Soon after the trekking group arrived into a pleasant RV park outside Nashville — a few headed south to Memphis.

Graceland, Elvis Presley’s mansion, was on their agenda, including a visit to the Jack Daniel’s Distillery in Lynchburg, Tenn., on the return journey.

Allan and Carolyn’s RV was useful for transporting six people. After a five-hour drive we arrived at our destination, booked into a motel and caught a taxi downtown, enjoyed a delicious Italian meal and then three of the group checked out the night life and entertainment at an Irish bar.

The tour of Graceland was extremely well organized after purchasing tickets we were transported by a 20-seater coach across the road, through the main gates, past beautifully manicured lawns and mature trees. Each group waited opposite the main front doors while the group in front was given a brief welcome and overview.

As soon as we went through the main doors a beautiful chandelier caught our eye and we were ushered to the first room on the right hand side. It’s difficult to describe the home in a few words except to say that even though there is extremely nice furniture and fittings, etc,. it is just like a big, cozy country home.

As well as many mementos on show, there were family photographs and even large teddy bears and artifacts. In one outside room, on every wall, were clustered hundreds of framed record awards, another held all of his concert costumes, and also an area featuring his and Priscilla’s wedding, which included her wedding dress. Another outside area had an ongoing video playing of an interview he had after coming out of the Army he was questioned about the girl he met in Germany and he was being quite coy about the subject!

Right at the back of all the buildings was a large area with stables where his horses had been kept. Then lastly, but by far the most touching of all, was the “memorial garden.” Behind a small, trickling fountain in a semi circle were the graves of Elvis’ mother, father, brother, grandmother and Elvis himself. People were obviously touched by this area and stood in quiet reverence for quite a while.

At least 2,000 people a day pass through Graceland with more on weekends.

Weary and happy we set off east for the quaint little town of Lynchburg, Tenn., for the Jack Daniel’s Distillery we arrived just on closing time but they graciously allowed us in to purchase goodies. With Tennessee being a dry state they don’t have “tastings” of their product at the distillery.

Heading north once more in haste, as we were booked to see a show at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville. Unfortunately we missed most of the show but what we saw was wonderful. Approximately 500 miles were covered during our trip and we were all happy little Vegemites with what we’d seen.

The following day most of the group spent the day in Nashville and we all met in the evening at the “General Jackson” paddle steamer for a delicious dinner and show featuring many of the past and present country singers.

We all enjoyed our break in and around Nashville and have many pleasant memories to take home with us.

See photos and read more on Ron’s website,