This morning I woke up freezing in a van in the woods of Kentucky, this afternoon I traveled 250 feet underground, and tonight I find myself sipping cocktails in a froo-froo Nashville eatery and sleeping in a tiny house in a stranger’s backyard.
Today was stressful. I am quickly realizing that living out of a camper is not entirely going to be the madcap idyll I envisioned. Nothing is ever where I need it to be, nothing stays organized for long, nothing is easy to access. I have yet to be able to make the sink in the van work, and I’m not entirely sure the mini-fridge is actually cooling things, but I’ve so overpacked my schedule I don’t have time to properly address either. Managing Annie 24/7 is a challenge. If I am out of the van she needs to be out of the van. If I tie her up on the left side where the picnic table is and then move to the right side to unload supplies she BARKBARKS. If I tie her to the right rear view mirror and then move to the back of the van to make cereal with questionable milk she BARKBARKS. If I go to the restroom or shower, I take her with me and tie her up. If I leave her in the van I have to make sure all food is secured, her water is accessible, and the climate is controlled. Every time I leave the van-even just for a rest stop, there are about ten different things I have to remember to do or bring. All while my brain is trying to process the amazing new things I am seeing and experiencing and plotting out the next day ahead. AND THE EIGHT BRAND NEW PAIRS OF UNDERWEAR I BOUGHT FOR THE TRIP ARE ALL TWO SIZES TOO BIG! It’s the time of my life, and it’s only day three, so I am sure eventually I will develop a routine, but today. . . it was a challenge.
The day began with a typical dilemma. Showers at the Mammoth Cave Campground aren’t free – to use them, you have to purchase tokens from the convenience store. Conveniently, the store closed at 5 pm and I did not arrive yesterday until almost 7 pm. The store would not reopen until 9 am and the cave tour I was planning to take began at 9:30 am. By the time the tour was over I would need to be hitting the road again. So a quick brush of the teeth in the non-functioning van sink and that was to be it for personal hygiene.
Naturally, the tour I most wanted to take was completely booked and when I asked if they could squeeze in just one more person, the ranger informed me it was booked by 115 school kids, so perhaps I’d prefer to take a pass. I would and did. I spent the next two hours in a dark dank hole, led by a tour guide with a hearing problem. Like an actual medically diagnosed one, not just me being a wiseass. Dude was great, knew his stuff, and had a kick ass Kentucky drawl, but seriously, he missed half the questions, and some of the ones he heard he misunderstood. I gave up after three attempts. But it was still pretty fascinating down there.
After I emerged from my trip to the bowels of the earth, I rescued a shivering Annie from the still freezing van and we took a hike along some of the trails.
Not long after, we put grey overcast Kentucky in our rearview mirror and were Nashville bound! First stop, the full scale replica of the Parthenon in Centennial Park . . . where it promptly started to drizzle! NO! Not THAT kind of drizzle!
Cold, tired, and increasingly filthy, we checked in to our lodging for the night-an adorable tiny house parked in someone’s backyard!
A quick tiny shower and I was refreshed enough to attempt the equivalent of a Music City Miracle-same day tickets to The Bluebird Café. Alas, the Honkytonk Heavens showed me no favor-denied.
I drowned my sorrows the only way one truly can: rum and octopus.
Tomorrow: exploring Music City.