USA Travel Blog #5

From bears to elvis

Exploring Nashville's Music History

Good morning! We set out from Gatlinburg after a quick breakfast, returning to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park for one last car-trail adventure in hopes of spotting a bear. Luck wasn’t on our side, but while navigating the trail and taking a brief hike off the road, we caught sight of (at least) a bear’s rear end. The hike proved a bit challenging for one of us due to the most terrible shoe soles, nonetheless I went further up the mountain in search of hidden treasures. Surprisingly, I stumbled upon a small cemetery, a reminder of those who didn’t make it in the Great Smoky Mountains. This felt like the right moment return to the road.

After the unexpected detour, we continued our journey for one final visit to Nashville, Tennessee. Upon reaching our hotel (which welcomed us with complimentary cocktails), we explored Broadway, though, in hindsight, we were just too tired for it. Amid the overstimulation of music from every direction, we couldn’t resist stopping at yet another Western shop. We found some souvenirs, and after another quick dinner, we retreated to the comfort of our hotel, ready to bid Nashville farewell for now.

The next day, we embarked on a drive to Memphis, where we needed to get some essential medication. Unfortunately, our hotel experience in Memphis turned out to once again be quite an adventure in itself. The hotel turned out to be situatied in a questionable neighborhood, so we stayed mostly indoors. Upon arrival, we were greeted with brown water from the showers, a hole in one of the bedrooms, and a few uninvited lizard guests. They eventually sought refuge in the wall, leaving us to survive the night with a barricaded door to keep insects at bay.

We had initially booked the room for two nights but decided to request a refund for the second day. Eager to leave Memphis, we hit the road again, heading towards Dallas with a stop in Hot Springs. Before bidding farewell to Memphis, we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to visit Graceland, the iconic home of Elvis Presley.

Graceland offers an immersive journey through Elvis’s history, featuring his beginnings, golden records, guitars, outfits, and an impressive collection of cars and motorcycles. The highlight, though, was getting to step inside two of Elvis’s private jets, a surreal experience that left us thrilled.

Hot Springs National Park

Following the Graceland adventure, we made our way to the Hamilton Lake Apartments in Hot Springs, Arkansas. With the long, exhausting drives across the US taking a bit of its toll. The next days it was time to practice songs for the upcoming studio session and some exploring.

We explored the Hot Springs National Park, known for its hiking trails and historic bathhouses. While the bathhouses boasted beautiful stained glass and a rich history, some sections felt like something out of an insane asylum. We weren’t alone in that sentiment, as other visitors shared similar thoughts. Nevertheless, it provided an interesting glimpse into the history of Hot Springs and its impact on medical care.

In the past, people believed in the healing properties of the hot springs for various ailments, leading to the creation of unique tools and setups in the steam rooms, cabins, showers, and baths within the bathhouses. It was a captivating chapter of history.

After our stay in Hot Springs it was time for several more travel days and a few more unsettling hotel experiences. Eventually we arrived in Dallas, where the real TuskHead fun was about to begin! If you don’t want to miss any of my travel stories, be sure to subscribe to my newsletter!