As you may have picked up from other sources, a screen failure in my month-old laptop prevented updates in the second half of the trip. Hopefully getting it repaired won’t be too stressful. Having returned I only have access to around half my photos at the moment, so a full gallery may take a little time. I have put a fairly comprehensive set of smaller images up on Facebook.

SkyliftSo what happened once we reached Tennessee? Aside from hanging out in our 3-floor, 5-bedroom cabin the mountains, we went on several hikes, explored the nearby town of Gatlinburg, and embarked on a couple of longer road trips to Nashville and Kentucky. Nashville included a bizarre recreation of the Parthenon and the country music spectacle of the Grand Ole Opry which featured some fantastic performances and was quite an experience. Kentucky was primarily for the Mammoth Cave (although an obligatory stop at the original KFC was a given). While the huge caves are a beautiful sight, the way the place is run makes it difficult to recommend. A strict no-bag policy will confound photographers who wish to carry multiple lenses, and the whole tour felt rather rushed, being generally picture unfriendly. Alternative tours such as an introduction to caving might be better options.

Karleigh blowing bubblesA couple of nights in, we decided to dust off the outdoor hot tub and spent several hours soaking, drinking beer and chatting. Jenna’s unforgivably early departure clearly required retaliatory action. Knowing that the simplest punishments tend to be the most effective, she inherited the nickname, radio callsign, and every conceivable conversational reference to “Quitter” for the remainder of the trip. She finally escaped the title only after staying up with me until 3am on our last night together, as we shared photos and watched several hours of British comedy.