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Any tourism/travel advice for Tennessee, Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois?

Decatur Guy
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I'm considering a "Heartland" road trip in mid-August that combines the fun of semi-aimless, semi-purposeful wandering along with possibly connecting with some escorts along the way. I like hot weather, so no need to warn me about the potentially hot temps.


The starting point would be Atlanta. The end point would be Chicago. I would have up to nine days to do this, though I'd probably limit it to seven days or so. Though I've been to Europe and to the West Coast, I've seen little of this region.


Here are a couple things I already have in mind if I decide to go and head in this direction:


* Nashville -- generally checking it out and looking for a good evening of live music, probably in place off the beaten path.

* Mammoth Caves in Kentucky.


Here are things I like a lot on a road trip and for vacationing in general:


* Walking/hiking in state and national parks, alongside rivers, mountains/hills

* Scenic drives

* Quirky or quaint towns and cities. College towns.

* Walking around in bigger cities

* Good art museums

* Historical sites

* Destination dining (not fancy restaurants, but great diners/drive-ins/dives kind of places)


The escorts I'd like to see are in Nashville (I know about the sting warnings. I've seen this guy before so he'd know I'm cool), Louisville, Peoria (gee, I wonder who that might be?) and Chicago, so my wanderings would roughly follow along that line.


But this would be as much or more about the travel than about the escorts. I won't be setting appointments except a day ahead, so if I miss out because I waited until the last minute, then I miss out.


So, any thoughts/tips/suggestions about interesting things to take in would be much appreciated. In general, I'm leaning toward the rural/small town thing, but city suggestions very much welcome too.


For lodging, I'll just be on the lookout for decent motels, nothing fancy. Any suggestions for interesting lodging also appreciated.


Finally, any suggestions for working guys in these areas appreciated. I have some ideas in mind, but given how I'll be doing this, back-ups also a good idea. This is the opposite of my NYC trip, where I had an appointment nailed down months ahead of time.

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I really like this type of road trip, too....and, except for art museums, I really like your "to do" list, also....


was in Chicago very recently after Part 1 there last fall....had to go back to finish my "to see and do" list....very, very definitely recommend the very popular architectural boat tour run by the CAF (though the other companies are probably fine, the CAF is the one to do it with)....though touristy, see "The Bean" and the Crown Fountain in Millennium Park (if a hot day, wait for the squirt of water from the mouths (you'll know what I mean when there))....ride the L trains around the Loop and then stand under a track and watch overhead (classic Chicago)....rent a bike and ride the bike route along the lakeshore (again, classic Chicago).....lots, lots more to do....what a city....






have met with Mark Kane a couple times in Chicago....though quiet and a good bit discreet, his masculinity, looks, and real-looking in-shape body win me over....fully interactive....as usual, communicate thoroughly....also met with well-regarded Raul Manzo for, among other things, a great walking tour of old Chicago neighborhoods....your preferences may vary....


I also like to visit Civil War battlefields, undiscovered/ungentrified historic neighborhoods, old unchanged cafes and breakfast joints, all that.....should be ton of that along your route....


I may think of more and will add....

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You might consider visiting Andrew Jackson's house The Hermitage just north and east of Nashville: http://www.thehermitage.com/visit/


the Indianapolis Museum of Art is pretty good, especially look at the French Pointillist collection, one of the best in the US, La Grande Jatte escaped to chicago only by dint of a second marriage.


Roadside America is great for tracking down the oddball site anywhere in the USA. Here's KY (the state, not the lubricant) http://www.roadsideamerica.com/location/ky/all

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That's a lot of ground to cover in 7 days. Any of the museums (Indianapolis or The Hermitage, as mentioned), is worth the better part of a day. The museums in Chicago likewise.


Just a word about downstate Illinois: drive through Indiana instead. You won't miss anything. Really.

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I have enjoyed doing the Kentucky Bourbon Trail if that kind of things meets your fancy.




I would also recommend the 21C hotel in Louisville even if you are not staying there you should go see it. Combination Hotel and Art Museum.




their bathrooms in the lobby are definitely interesting:





I have had some success with escorts (home and visiting) in Indianapolis and the strip club, the unicorn club, can be hit or miss.




I would save alot of time for Chicago. Great City!

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I grew up in Indianapolis and it is a great city to live in. If you take in the Hermitage in Nashville, then you could take in the Benjamin Harrison home in Indy on your way to the Indianapolis Museum of Art. (Harrison Home is not a long visit.)


If the Art Museum in Indy isn't of your taste, Indy also has the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art. Quite impressive.




If you are sports fan, two other recommended stops would the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum




and the NCAA Hall of Champions.



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...Just a word about downstate Illinois: drive through Indiana instead. You won't miss anything. Really.


When I first read the post I thought "Here's a suggestion for downstate Illinois: avoid it."


In fairness, Springfield, Illinois has plenty of Abraham Lincoln related sights as well the Dana-Thomas house, which was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. Moving on to Chicago, in addition to the architecture, museums, shopping, and dining, there are plenty of urban hikes through interesting neighborhoods as well as through some of the larger parks. If you plan to explore some of the historic parks, I would suggest sticking with Grant (downtown) and Lincoln (North Side) which are both along Lake Michigan. Many of the other historic parks are located in neighborhoods that have seen better times.Garfield Park Conservatory on the West Side is worth a visit. Although the surrounding neighborhood is not the safest, there is a Green Line "L" (rapid transit) station nearby.


Someone mentioned Cloud Gate (a/k/a "The Bean"), which is absolutely stunning. Although it is a must-see, you can't miss the Modern Wing of the Art Institute. Even if modern art isn't your thing, the building is absolutely gorgeous. You can walk across Monroe Drive on the skybridge, take the escalator downstairs into he lobby and look around before you enter the paid area. To the north of Cloud Gate is the Pritzker Pavillion, which is an outdoor music venue. It is interesting to look at even outside of the music season. The former Marshall Field's store (now, ugh, Macy*s) is also a must-see. The atrium between the State Street and Wabash Avenue sides is beautiful, but the Tiffany dome in the "old" atrium is really something to see. Field's is located on the block surrounded by State, Washington, Wabash, and Randolph. Just south at State and Madison is the former Carson, Pirie, Scott store, which will be a Target by the time you visit. The rotunda is something to see. Just south of Carson's is the Palmer House hotel, another architectural showpiece. If you walk west of State Street into the financial district you will see dozens of architectural gems too numerous to mention.


The Willis (formerly Sears) Tower is located about a half-mile west at Jackson and Wacker. The observatory now has a glass-enclosed platform where you can walk out over the edge of the building. Personally, I prefer the view from the John Hancock Building on Michigan Avenue on the Near North Side. Skip the observation deck and get a drink at the cocktail lounge on the 95th (maybe 96th) floor. I always go during the day and then again at night.


There are many more things to do in Chicago, but they are too numerous to mention here. One thing NOT to do is call it "Chi-town." Almost as popular among residents as calling San Francisco "Frisco."

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I grew up in Indianapolis and it is a great city to live in. If you take in the Hermitage in Nashville, then you could take in the Benjamin Harrison home in Indy on your way to the Indianapolis Museum of Art. (Harrison Home is not a long visit.)



The Harrison home for me was very quick. I drove by. :)

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