We woke up happy about the lack of roaches. After getting coffee and a bite to eat at a gas station coffee shop, we headed to Radnor Lake State Park for a hike before the day got too hot. Everyone else had the same idea and the park was super packed. The trails were nice but had a weird no running policy, that no one seemed to be paying attention to.
Before it got too hot we headed to downtown Nashville to get lunch. The cafe we went to had coconut milk-based superfood bowls that were surprisingly frozen? It may have been hot out but these were too cold. They were good, just unexpected. We headed over to Centennial Park to check out the Parthenon Museum. It was originally built to be a temporary exposition hall during the centennial celebration of Tennessee statehood. The replica was made from plaster and wood and was suppose to be torn down after the celebration, however, it received protection from the celebration’s leadership and was preserved as a city park. Currently it hosts an art exhibit populated by artwork from James Cowan’s collection. There was a whole story about why he chose to donate his artwork; it was boring and not important.
We walked around the park and riverfront for a bit, trying to find an old fort Kaila had a vague recollection of but the heat was getting to us at this point. It was close enough to dinner time and we were thirsty so we headed downtown to find drinks and food. It was early enough for happy hour so we started scouring Google Maps. We grabbed a local beer at a busy restaurant and then found a place across the street that looked good. The restaurant hadn’t opened for dinner yet but the bar was serving already. There were maybe 8 seats at the bar and we took the last two. We had another nice chat with the bartender and a couple of locals, asking if it’s always this crazy down Main Street. We walked the whole length and it rivals Bourbon Street’s reputation. A lot of bars have rooftop patios so we decided to seek one out as the last stop for the night. There was live music on each floor and thankfully the top floor was a bit quieter than the first. We grabbed a couple of drinks and staked out a corner spot on the rooftop patio, admiring the views.
The next day we were headed to St. Louis! It was going to be our last night and we were planning to camp on the west side at a KOA. Kirk wanted to drive through the Land Between the Lakes, which was a neat National Recreation Area on the border of Tennessee and Kentucky. The visitors center had a museum about the settler history of the area. We drove through hoping to find somewhere to get out and hike a bit but every trailhead needed a permit to access. We didn’t know what getting a permit entailed or where to get one so we headed to a day use beach to eat lunch. By this time Kaila was over it and Kirk was disappointed. We continued our drive to St. Louis talking about the possibility of driving all the way home that night.
Since we were going to be in St. Louis, we both really wanted to go up the Arch. Neither of us had been up it before and it was definitely worth it. The elevator pod things were like a space pod from the original Star Trek. Once we got to the top it was very crowded and there were tiny little windows at about (Kaila’s) chest height to see out of. After admiring the views we headed back to the car, worn out and frustrated with people. Instead of camping we headed home to see our kittens.