Falls, ‘poofs and Andrew Jackson: Tennessee

I leave whatever I experienced in Georgia and I go to Tennessee. Near the border I encounter what is calmly referred to as a “cold front”. It drops 40 degrees (Fahrenheit) in the span of two miles and the rain starts. The unending, crashing rain. Fortunately the sky has worn itself out by morning. I still want gallons of water dumped on to me, though, so I’m off to Ruby Falls.

Ruby Falls

Unlike the National Park cave I visited in Kentucky this one has been carved out by nature over 200 million years for tasty, tasty capitalism. This means that when you get to the main attraction, the underground waterfall, you get to enjoy it as nature intended: with music and a light show.

Ruby Falls

The people who work there are fascinating, at least as interesting as the cave itself. I was speaking to one of the employees who started off as a cop who was shot on duty, took early retirement and decided, for a mild career change, to become an episcopal monk before working at Ruby Falls.

Ruby Falls

I head on from Chattanooga to Nashville via Crossville, Tennessee. I’m here to try and visit Horace Burgess’ massive tree house, but The Man (the government, not Horace) has intervened to prevent me. You see, when Jesus tells you to go build a treehouse, he often forgets to mention to check any structure safety guidelines or what have you. So the government has stepped in to make sure no tourists get mangled, even though this construction is Jesus approved. The guy was a carpenter, he knew wood, dammit.

Anyway, onto Nashville. I’m kicking off the musical leg of my misadventure in “Music City”, although the city is particularly associated with country music. To start, then, I head to see the Time Jumpers, with guest Ranger Doug (whose band, Riders in the Sky, performed “Woody’s Roundup” for Toy Story 2), a regular on the legendary Grand Opry Show.

While I’m enjoying the show, there’s a redux of the rain which is, quite literally, freezing:

Freezing Rain

In the morning I head off to The Hermitage, the home of 7th President and assassin-assassin Andrew Jackson. I’ve been a fan of him ever since I saw his hair and since I associate him with the most cash money I ever have in America. Andrew Jackson’s legacy is somewhat troubling, although he aimed to prevent a ruling elite by expanding popular democracy, he is more infamous for the Trail of Tears, which is not a chick-flick marathon, but rather the appalling treatment of the Native Americans.

The Hermitage

In the end, the most important barometer is this: Martin Sheen narrates his film, therefore Andrew Jackson is amazing.

Andrew JacksonAnd he has a smile that could light the world. (Source)

My final evening in Nashville is capped off by seeing The Whiffenpoofs, a Yale a capella group, on their winter tour, in which they travel to the hometowns of the current members and be ridiculously charming.


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