On The Road
I’m backtracking a little here, but it wouldn’t be right to blog a roadtrip without some mention of the road and what we find thereon.
In the states there are many different types of roads, all driving on the right: Interstates (the big ones); Turnpikes (like Interstates, but you have to pay); US Highways (smaller Interstates); and Rural roads. We’ve been trying to steer clear of the bigger routes just because the smaller ones are more scenic and less manic, though occasionally we’ll do a “speed boost” and jump on I-95 or wherever just to make up some time.
Other road users are generally considerate and non-life-threatening, and driving is a pleasurable experience. the only issue is really around the big cities where two or more Interstates merge — we see accidents at those points every day and you really have to stay alert.
The signs are a little confusing at times, but we have maps. We haven’t found a map that’s really helped us yet, but we’re still looking….
Murfreesboro Civil War Battlefield
One of the nice things while driving is that you’ll suddenly notice, or you’ll remember that “hey! Aren’t we near that place? We could go take a look.” One of these places was Murfreesboro on the way into Nashville.
On December 31st, 1862 — one day before Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclomation — 81,000 men from the Union and the Confederacy here enacted one of the Civil War’s bloodiest battles. The Union was trying to capture the Nashville Turnpike and Murfreesboro. The battle was known as Stones River and in all 23,000 men died in just two days of fighting. Now the site is well maintained by the National Park Service; we were given an explanation of what happened by a friendly park ranger, we toured the museum and battlefields, and it was all free!
Above is “The Battle Of Stone River near Murfreesboro, Tenn.” by Kurz & Allison, 1891. Below, pictures from the site today (including Nick wondering if he could shoot me with a cannon).
The Deep Blue In The Deep South
On the way out of Chattanooga, with a few hours to use, we ducked into the Tennessee Aquarium — the world’s largest freshwater aquarium, though they also have a great range of our salt-water friends too. This wasn’t free, but it was well worth our $20 a head ticket. They had everything: sharks, crocodiles, jellyfish, seahorses and a special exhibit of penguins. I won’t say any more on this, I’ll just put a few of the pictures up.