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USA Radio
April 28, 2014

On the road again: Kentucky to Tennessee

We left St. Louis early because we had a long morning of driving ahead of us. Our first stop on the road was in Illinois at a little diner for breakfast. We drove through some heavy storms and even heard a tornado warning over the radio. We were scared and excited, too, as we almost wanted to see one. Luckily we didn’t!

Near Kentucky we saw a sign for a town called Metropolis and a giant Superman statue. We had to check it out. Such discoveries are the true beauty of road trips, so we made the unplanned stop. Naturally we posed for pictures with cutouts of Superman and Supergirl.

Half an hour later we were in Paducah, Kentucky and the River Discovery Center, which sits on the Mississippi River. We got the tour and learned how the center strives to teach people about the complexities of the U.S. river system, as well as the history of how boats and other river instruments (like dive suits) have evolved over time.

As we started toward the car there was a cloudburst and we got drenched. Soaking, we drove around the corner to the National Quilt Museum. You might be thinking, why we would be looking at quilts—boring! But the quilts were incredible. The intricacy blew us all away; this museum is definitely worth a visit for some unexpected art.

It was still raining hard outside when we headed to lunch at a Caribbean restaurant. We all agreed that the food was good, but the best part of the meal was posing with the flamingo statues outside when the rain stopped.

About an hour’s drive away is the Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area, where we met two welcoming and wonderful forest rangers. Together we drove through the vast park and went to the Woodlands Nature Station. There we saw a giant snapping turtle. One of our friends from Australia was brave and touched his back leg while the keeper held him. We also saw other cool animals like flying squirrels, possums, a bobcat, a horned owl, a red wolf and wild turkeys—all in their pristine natural habitat. We were pleased to find out that the park is free: there’s no admission fee, and people are encouraged to picnic, play in the water, and even bring their own horse to ride.

We hopped back in the car for some more driving (eight hours on the day!) and headed toward Memphis, Tennessee. Finally we checked into Elvis Presley’s Heartbreak Hotel in Graceland just outside of Memphis. We were all happy to learn there’s a jungle room where they serve breakfast!

Until tomorrow, road-trippers! Time to get some sleep.

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