Of Antiques and Underground Waterfalls

Ever since we extended our assignment, I’ve stopped doing my weekly Travel Nurse updates (if you were kind enough to notice). We’ve kinda “assimilated” into our new temporary home by this time so it is back to usual blogging business. I figured I’ll just do thirteen weeks of Travel Nurse updates for every new assignment that we have, although some contracts can be as short as eight weeks or as long as four months! But thirteen weeks is our magic number, after that I get antsy and ready to move back home or to another place. The beauty of travel nursing.

Anyway, let me tell you about our overnight trip to Nashville, Tennessee.

Let me tell you first that I am not a country music fan. I know of Kenny Rogers, Dolly Parton, Carrie Underwood, Tim McGraw and Faith Hill and maybe a few others. And wait, there’s Taylor Swift! But didn’t she switch over to pop music now? Whatever. At least I know that Nashville is country music headquarters and that the Grand Ole Opry is located there. That is as far as my knowledge about Nashville goes. And, I certainly mean no disrespect for country music here but I just happen to have other musical preferences.

But here was where I was wrong. I thought Nashville was only country music. Nope. This was the place where singers and songwriters started, converged and eventually discovered. Most bars have free live music even during weekdays. Welcome to Music City USA!

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Notice the guitar pick?

So as with any upcoming trip, I did my research about the place in general, things to see and places to eat, basically a “what to do in Nashville in a day” kinda list. It also helped that we booked a room with AirBnB because the hosts are always generally very helpful with recommendations around the area since they are locals themselves. Before we got to Nashville, our host already texted me a short list of where to go for breakfast and dinner.

Yahoo maps estimated our total travel time to be close to six hours so naturally, with all the toilet and gas stops on the way, we expected to get there in six hours or more. I drove for the first two and a half hours while my hubby took a quick nap as he worked 12 hours the night before.

Let me tell you that we had no idea Nashville is in the Central Time Zone. When we found out that our GPS estimated our travel time to be four hours only, we got all excited and thought Yahoo maps just had a different and longer route. We later found out about the time difference, over a cup of coffee, when I looked at my phone and it showed two different time zones! I had a weather app with the time as part of my display screen and a smaller one on the upper right where the wifi and battery icons are. My hubby’s phone and Fitbit watch showed an hour in advance as my weather app time. So in our confusion as to what the real time was (we easily could have asked someone nearby but there wasn’t), we turned off my phone to reset it and changed the time settings to automatic time zone. No wonder our GPS and Yahoo maps didn’t match. Mystery solved.

Let me tell you that my husband is a HUGE American Pickers fan. And when I told him that I found out that they have a second Antique Archaeology shop in Nashville, he was just begging to go. Since we got there in good time, our next stop after coffee (after dropping our bags of course) was to head to the antique shop. It was conveniently located close to downtown  in an old car factory.

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Let me tell you that I am no antique expert but I just love the look and feel of old stuff. I have two antique lamps at home that I randomly bought at antique shops and I just love them! But, aren’t they just so so pricey?

Here are some items and pieces that Mike and Frank have picked and collected over the years. Some were for sale, some were a part of their collection. Most of the bigger items were over a thousand dollars! We ended up buying cool “Antique Archaeology” t-shirts.

Let me tell you the real reason we were in Nashville was to visit an old friend from Florida. She was also a travel nurse who had an assignment there. We met for dinner and drinks and bar-hopped our way until it was time enough to go home (read: drunk enough). Since I was the designated driver, I stayed sober which was really smart of us because on our last stop before driving out of the parking lot, we got stopped by cops doing a “welfare check”. Now, I have never been stopped by the police before ever and that just about spooked me out! When I saw those flashing blue lights behind me as I was backing out, I thought we were in biiig trouble. Thank God we weren’t! Didn’t even check my driver’s license.

Let me tell you that the next day we spontaneously decided to cut our trip short. After breakfast, we drove around downtown looking for things to do, sure, I had my handy dandy list with me, but we just weren’t quite sure if we really wanted to do them. Pay for parking, pay for entrance and we only have a couple of hours left before meeting up with our friend for lunch? We had a lackluster feeling about the whole touristy thing that day and tall city buildings didn’t interest us and so we called our friend and told her we would be heading back to Asheville earlier instead and that it was great seeing her last night.

Let me tell you that along the way we decided to check out Ruby Falls. I’ve been wanting to go to Ruby Falls for years and since we were “sort of” in the area, we might as well. “Sort of” because Chattanooga, where the falls was located was about two hours away south of Nashville and is the opposite direction of where home was. Nevertheless, we proceeded with this detour.

Ruby Falls is a 145 foot high underground waterfall located 1,120 feet deep inside Lookout Mountain. It was discovered in 1928 by Leo Lambert and his team of excavators. He named the falls after his wife.

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The guided tour took about two hours. Taking an elevator down to the bowels of the earth, we navigated through stalactites and stalagmites, wondered at underground streams and various cave formations. It was truly otherworldly!

But it can get claustrophobic when you are underground for so long and you then yearn for fresh air and open skies. We were ready to go back up.

Let me tell you that this cave tour was pretty educational. I admit it was quite touristy but having a good well-informed tour guide makes all the difference. It also helped that he used to be an engineer and an avid spelunker. But then again, I never knew there was a difference between a cave and a cavern.

Would you care to guess the difference?

So, what do you think?

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