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Unread 28 Oct 17, 04:52 PM  
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CrispyA
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Join Date: Oct 11
Touring Tennessee Day 18: Land Between the Lakes

We all slept well and breakfast was fine again today. There was a slightly peculiar man at breakfast, in a very woolly cardigan, who had brought his own food with him, which seemed a slightly odd thing to do at a free buffet. Maybe he just really likes a particular brand of cereal?

Today's destination was the Land Between the Lakes, a national recreation area between Lakes Kentucky and Barkley, on the Tennessee/Kentucky border. On the way, we passed through Hopkinsville, which you may remember was my original choice for eclipse viewing. As we drove through, we saw it had renamed itself "Eclipseville" and from the stories of those who had gone there for the event, it was all very crowded and commercialised, so we were glad we hadn't gone there in the end.

It wasn't a long drive and, in fact, we managed to drive right past the visitor centre, and out of the recreation area itself, which was a bit daft! Blushing a little, we turned around and went back over the bridge, paying a little more attention to the signage this time!

At the visitor centre we sat in the shade and had a strange using up lunch of crisps, cheese dip and salsa and cookies. All major food groups covered there. After our highly nutritious lunch, we called at the centre to find a walk to do and fortunately, there was a trail from the visitor centre.

It was a woodland trail and while there wasn't much in the way of views, there were very few other people and so we had the walk to ourselves. Plus it just felt good to be out walking in the open air.

We walked to the first road junction before turning around and heading back, a round trip of around 4 miles.



Back at the visitor centre, Paul was trying to take a family picture with the tall flag in the background. A very helpful woman offered to take one of all of us, and Paul decided to give her some instructions, suggesting that she bend her knees a little get the right angle. Just then the camera started playing up as well, so it was all getting a bit complicated and she must have been wishing she just hadn't bothered. However, she ignored Paul's instructions and took a pretty good picture using her own initiative.



After this, we got a ticket to the Elk and Bison prairie, which is a driving tour around an area where you should *hopefully* see Elk and Bison.

It was quite a nice drive but we hadn't spotted anything and were starting to wonder if they even existed or if the whole thing was just a big con. Then we came around a corner and spotted some movement in the trees on our right, that was probably an elk, so spent a while trying to zoom in with the camera and get a picture. Finally Evan suggested that instead of squinting to our right, we just looked to our left, where there was a whole herd of bison. Doh!

So we got a few pictures of them instead.





After this, we headed on the bridge over Kentucky Lake, to Aurora where we were staying. There wasn't an awful lot to Aurora, although there were at least 3 churches, as tended to be the case in this part of the USA. We drove through, checking out places to eat, and spotted Belews, an old-fashioned ice cream shop. We parked up and got out to eat in the shade, but you could get kerbside service if you wanted. The food was ridiculously cheap and the service very friendly, and we felt as though we had stepped back in time.



After our ice creams, we headed to the Early American Motel to check in. This was one of the cheapest places on our trip and again, it was a throwback to a bygone era - an old fashioned "Mom and Pop" motel with a units that you drive up to and a decent sized pool. The family that owned it were really friendly and gave us some popcorn to have in the room. It was a little cosy but clean and comfortable, with surprisingly fast wifi as well.

We had a nice swim and chilled at the table outside our room for a while after. There was a slightly stressful moment when a teenager was unable to get any hot water in the shower, but this was easily fixed by Dad turning the hot tap on for them. *facepalm*

The food options in Aurora were not plentiful but fortunately, there was a nice looking restaurant just across the road called The Pond. We had catfish and hush puppies, along with beans, coleslaw and fries and it was all fantastic. We all tried different styles of catfish, and my choice, the blackened, was declared the winner. Our server was lovely as well - it was a really good eating experience, and very southern. We were going to miss eating catfish!

On the way out, we had a chat with the extremely friendly owner, who wanted to know where we were from and how we liked Kentucky. He was a boxing fan, so we chatted about the rise and fall of Prince Naseem, who was a local Yorkshire lad, and how much we liked the laid back feel of Kentucky. He advised us that the hillbillies were all in Eastern Kentucky, but that here it was all real slow and real friendly. He also told us how polite he thought the kids were, which was lovely to hear.

After a really lovely evening, we strolled back across the road for a beer and some TV before bed.
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Unread 28 Oct 17, 05:28 PM  
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Melbatb
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Join Date: Dec 13
Another lovely day - how lovely to have the trail to yourself!

The catfish meal sounds delicious! And those prices at the Dairy bar - you can tell you are off the tourist trail!
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Unread 29 Oct 17, 01:51 PM  
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WileyCoyote
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Join Date: Feb 11
Nice day - how to miss a herd of Bison, that's quite funny.
Isnt it fascinating what people want to chat to you about when they know where you are from
Dinner sounds nice ( bit miffed we never tried any hush puppies) and the ice cream place sounds good too - so nice to find local spots.
I think lunch sounded pretty good to me !
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Unread 29 Oct 17, 03:14 PM  
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CrispyA
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Originally Posted by Melbatb View Post
Another lovely day - how lovely to have the trail to yourself!

The catfish meal sounds delicious! And those prices at the Dairy bar - you can tell you are off the tourist trail!
The catfish was fantastic and we couldn't get over those prices - goodness knows how they stay in business!

Originally Posted by WileyCoyote View Post
Nice day - how to miss a herd of Bison, that's quite funny.
Isnt it fascinating what people want to chat to you about when they know where you are from
Dinner sounds nice ( bit miffed we never tried any hush puppies) and the ice cream place sounds good too - so nice to find local spots.
I think lunch sounded pretty good to me !
We did have a good laugh at ourselves about it. The ice cream place was just so lovely - very relaxed and friendly, just like Kentucky itself.
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Unread 29 Oct 17, 08:11 PM  
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RachelM
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Lovely day.
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