Southeast USA Day 8

Our last day in the South dawned in Franklin, TN at the uber-swank Residence Inn. We took it easy in the morning, despite having a lot to do today, but since we arrived at the hotel late last night due to the long drive from Atlanta, we needed the slow start. It also helped that this Residence Inn had a later breakfast schedule than the others. We finally loaded up the Santa Fe and headed into historic Franklin. We were not sure what we were going to see, but Mom had gathered some brochures to steer us around.

After driving though downtown, we first stopped at the Carter House. No, it is not where our 39th president was from, but rather an important historical location for the 1864 Battle of Franklin during the Civil War. It turns out, the Carter House was right near the battle lines between the Federal and Confederate forces and the house itself was hit with thousands of bullets. You can still see some of the holes in the wood of the house as well as some of the out buildings on the property. We decided against taking the guided tour as we were pressed for time, but it was nice to walk around the property.

Next stop was the Carnton Plantation and Battlefield. It took us some time to get there since we missed the sign for the turnoff. Fortunately, it is a beautiful area with lots of nice big homes and ranches so we did not mind too much. Carnton was also at the center of the Battle of Franklin – a place where nearly 10,000 people died. The Plantation is also the site of a Confederate Cemetery. The owner of the house, John McGavock set aside land after the Civil War after discovering the poor condition of the Confederate graves. While we were there, they were setting up for a wedding in the back of the house so we took our photos of the house and the grounds before heading down the road. It was my first visit to a Civil War site and I was glad that I finally was able to be somewhere that had so much history.

Completely shifting gears, we headed towards the Loveless Cafe made famous by the Food Network. True to word, when we arrived, the place had over an hour wait for lunch. We were starting to get pressed for time to get to the airport, so we decided to head to Krystal Burgers for lunch. Heading down the road back into Nashville proper, we were having a difficult time finding a Krystal and our adventures took us on side streets near Vanderbilt University. I must say as much as I love UC Davis, these Eastern schools always have a different feel about them. Maybe it is all the rabid college football fans that are around the area. Finally, we gave up searching for Krystal and headed to the airport.

We had about an hour to get to the gate for boarding, but thankfully BNA is a smaller airport and it was not very busy. We checked in our bags (arrrgh – stupid American and it’s $20 baggage fee!) and made it through security with about 10 minutes to spare before boarding. I decided to grab a last minute Burger King fix to take on the plane, so I raced down the terminal to get it. By the time I got back to the gate, Mom and Gary and their preferred status were already on the plane, leaving me to wait until Boarding Group 6 was called. Once on board, I chowed down on my BK and was ready to leave.

The flight to Dallas went smoothly and Mom and I discussed a few things about our forthcoming trip to Argentina. It was only a 90 minute flight so before we knew it we were on the ground in Dallas. Mom and Gary had to rush to make their connection in another area of the terminal so we said our goodbyes and went our separate ways. I headed down to my gate where I proceeded to wait and wait and wait for my flight. We were about 45-mintues late leaving due to a mechanical problem in the galley, and right before we boarded, the paramedics were called for a passenger. There was a conspicuous empty row of seats once we were on board, so I hope all turns out OK.

On the aircraft, I had two overexcited, overweight musician types to my left and behind me I had this man who had a 10 month old kitten that was sedated as his carry-on. Actually, I think the kitten had its own seat on the plane. It meowed on and off through the flight, and thankfully the musicians slept for most of the flight. I got to watch two episodes of New Europe on the flight and I was impressed with some of the visuals that Michael and his team got, especially towards the end of episode two in Turkey.

I was finally on the ground at SNA after three grueling hours. Daniel came and picked me up and after a brief stop at Del Taco, we arrived back at my apartment. This trip was certainly a lot of fun, and I loved so many things about it: new states, meeting new people, Dollywood, the western part of North Carolina, and much more!

Stay tuned for further adventures!