Day 5: December 26, 2010
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With the bags packed and ready to checkout, it became apparent that one of the twins was missing. It's the girl. Could there have been an oily haired riverboat gambler involved?

I opted for the convenience and relative safety of the expressway and headed toward Nashville on I-24. I's not easy to see but a rockslide has deposited a pile of rocks at the left side of the road in that first picture. Even though no rocks are, at least currently, on the roadway, the left lane has been closed off. Without falling rocks, it looks kind of pretty.

The expressway got me to Nashville much quicker than I'm used to and the hour time change (Nashville is in the Central Zone) meant I was driving by the Broadway Honky Tonks before 11:00 on a Sunday morning. They didn't appear very active. As I continued southwest on Broadway, I noticed a sign for Belle Meade Plantation and thought "Why not?" The answer, of course, is that it's too frigging cold but I wasn't thinking all that clearly. The street that starts as Broadway changes names a few times but passes right by Belle Meade about five miles from Tootsie's and it is signed as US-70 all the way.

I'd driven by the place before and intended to visit someday but I think I had really envisioned it as something for the summer. Compensation for today's below freezing temperature was the picturesque snow and the Christmas decorations inside the house. You'll have to take my word for the latter, as no interior photos are permitted, but you can see the former for yourself. The interior really is quite interesting and a guide in period dress tells Belle Meade's story and answers questions. One of the best questions came from the only child in our group; a girl of, I'm guessing, about eight. The guide told how an early owner had two wives and that just one of the first wife's four children lived to be an adult and just two of the second wife's nine children did. Someone asked how they died and, while the specific reasons aren't known, the guide listed the most likely causes and named several common diseases of the period. The girls hand went up. The guide finished her answer and answered the question of another adult who had been waiting then turned to the young girl. "Are there still some disease in here?" she asked. History can be personal.

The third picture is of the family mausoleum that was built in 1839. The big house dates from 1853. The fourth picture is of the dairy and a slave cabin. Four original slave cabins were burned by vandals in the 1970s and this "duplex" was moved from another location. Inside the cabin, panels tell something about slavery at Belle Meade. There were 130 some slaves on the plantation at the time of emancipation.

Belle Meade's fame and fortune came from breeding horses. Several of the plantation's studs were famous in their day but the best known may be Bonnie Scotland who came from England, spent some time in Ohio, and arrived at Belle Meade in 1872 at the age of 19. That's about 58 to you and me. His descendents include Seabiscuit, Secretariat, and Barbaro and even I've heard of them. Fine stables and a fine carriage house go with fine horses and these, built in 1892, fit that description. There are even some fine carriages and a pretty cool sleigh. I'm thinking Bonnie Blue Butler might have ridden in one of the vehicles in the last picture.

Then I did the unthinkable. I left Nashville without hearing a single guitar. I missed the Honky Tonks when I was here in September but on that visit I did spend a musical evening at the Bluebird Cafe. Today I drove back down Broadway and, failing to find a convenient parking place, drove on. Construction projects have many on street spots and even parts of some streets temporarily out of service. And, for unknown reasons, a large number of the meters remaining were covered with "Reserved" or "No Parking" bags. I've since learned that there was a Predators hockey match scheduled for 6:00 so that might have had something to do with it. Whatever the reason, the shrunken parking availability, helped to move me on out of downtown.

Heading north on I-65, I noticed, for the first time I can recall, an exit sign that mentioned "Historic Thomas Drugstore and Soda Fountain" or something to that affect. I swung off the expressway and found the drugstore about three miles away. It was closed but a glimpse of the interior made my intention to return very solid.

There were two good reasons for stopping at the National Corvette Museum today. One was that I thought it might get the remaining twin's mind off of his recent loses. You'll notice that Dad is no longer with us. Shortly after this morning's family photo was taken, he had a horrible fall and broke his neck. Every effort was made to save him but it was hopeless. Even though it looks rather gruesome, I've been assured that he felt no pain.

The second reason for the stop is that I intend to sell the Corvette come Spring and I doubt I'll renew my membership in the museum. This could be my last "free" visit.

Changes in the permanent display areas since my last visit were minor but I really did enjoy the Camaros in the area for temporary displays. The car with the open hood is a 1969 450 HP Yenko. Next is a 1971 car that John Schnatter sold in 1983 to help save his father's business. After founding and making a few bucks with Papa John's Pizza, he launched a search for his old car. In 2009, John repurchased his "baby" for a mere $247,200 more than he had sold it for. My personal favorite was the red 1968 Super Sport.

I've been by this diner near Cave City, Kentucky, several times and I've never seen it open. After reading in a trip report of someone eating here not long ago, I thought I'd take a look. I wasn't the least bit surprised and was barely disappointed to find it closed.

I'm home but it looks like the boy may have just stayed with those Camaros. In any case, he didn't make it all the way here. Might as well have another beer, lady. It's just you and me now.

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