So we had arrived at the wrong Jackson, not only at the wrong one but probably at the most secluded Jackson in the USA – And there are many; Although not as many as there are Martin Luther King jnr Highways – Of which there are several billion.
Jackson became pretty much a sorting out day, we did the laundry, planned the next few stages of the journey and relaxed by the pool soaking up the Tennessee lifestyle and weather.
The next morning we set off for one of my favourite places in the whole world – Lynchburg Tennessee, the home of Jack Daniels.
Lynchburg is pretty much the typical old Tennessee town. It is literally a square set around the city hall in the centre. The building are all still in original old style wild west look. The town pretty much existed and now exists for the Jack Daniels distillery. The Distillery itself is the original place JD’s was first distilled over a hundred years ago and is the only JD distillery in the world. Every drop of JD comes from that distillery.
Free entry for all, the tour of the distillery takes on every step of the process and is done in a true Tennessee style. The guides all wear straw hats and low slung dungerees, they have worked their years and their fathers before them etc… The whole feel is of a family run business which still works by the age old traditions that made the whiskey famous over a century ago. As part of the tour you visit Jack’s actual office. In that office is a large black safe. Basically what happened was that one day Jack came to the office early and tried to enter the safe. He could not remember the code so he kicked the safe in anger. He broke his toe and didn’t bother seeing a doc. When he did bother he had gangerine and to cut a long story short that was what killed him. So naturally – Charlie and I kicked the safe that killed Jack Damiels! The tour took about 90 minutes and was excellent. Since Lynchburg is in a dry county – Which means no alcohol is allowed then all we could have at the end of the tour was fresh lemonade. However there is a store which sells only 3 different bottles of Jack Daniels Whiskey. Each bottle is exclusively sold by the distillery and is not sold anywhere else in the world. Only a certain number of each bottle is sold. So I bought one, it cost $35 and there is about 1litre, I plan to save it for the kids until my youngest (Jack) reaches 18. So in 16 years the kids will be able to share it.
Our next stop was Chattanooga, still in Tennessee Chattanooga is nestled deep within the forests and mountains. Aptly named ‘Lookout Mountain’ the world famous mountain is the host to many activities from caving, to waterfalls to – well, looking out from the mountain. Sadly I would have had to remortgage my house, sell my car and work for a few decades to afford some of the activities so was miffed. Not that I couldn’t afford but as an example it would have been $100 to spend a day at the aquarium. An amount I simply refused to pay. Now, we had actually planned to spend 2 days in Chattanooga and then head North with a few stops up toward Washington DC and finally New York city via Niagara Falls in Buffalo. This was changed.
I was laid in bed on the morning of the first day and I could hear the gushing of water every few minutes. It wasn’t long before I realized that every time someone in Tennessee flushed their toilet it was connected to the cistern in my room. So I decided to head down for the Continental Breakfast – The only thing continental about it was the sign ‘continental breakfast’ In fact, I am certain I could have called trading standards that the hotel was trying to pass off a slice of toast as a Continental Breakfast.
Walking back to the room an idea came to me. I am certain a light bulb appeared above my head and went ‘ting’ I decided I was going to sack off the East Coast of the USA and go spend a week in Orlando, Florida. The sat nav assured me it was just less than 600 miles. About 30 minutes later we were packed up in the car heading South toward Atlanta and then the I-75 all the way down until we almost hit Tampa. A total of about 9hrs later and we were in Orlando.
It was about 9pm and we literally checked in and then hit Old Town. I always stay in Kissimmee when in Orlando, simply because I love the place and everything there is to do. Our hotel is pretty much a 10 min walk from Old Town which for me is perfect for a few beers and a good laugh. By 10pm Charlie had his usual Tattoo in that ink that lasts about a month, by 11pm Abi had a braid in her hair, come midnight we were sat watching the classic cars cruise by and by 10am the next morning I was wondering how the heck we ended up back at the hotel and why the tables were littered with Burger King boxes.
Since Orlando is a place I have visited extensively and a place I feel I can advise on I will update the blog next with Orlando……
(Thanks for hanging in there, I know the blog has been toned right down since we arrived in the USA but I have been exhausted!)