Friday, July 31, 2009

Another Long Day, Part ?????

Tuscaloosa, Alabama

Weather: low 73 degrees, high 89 degrees, rain early, then mostly cloudy

The high temperature was only 89 degrees today, but the humidity made it feel like 109. At least to me it did. I was all over town running errands, getting in and out of the truck, and the humidity made it seem like real work.

We started early and ended late again, like at 2100 hours. The results, at least to me, are getting better every day. With the weekend coming up, our workload should slow down a little bit. Of course, I already have a long list of things to do to get caught up from what I have been ignoring this week. Still, it'll be different stuff, and the pace should not be as fast.

It was late when we got home, and the campground hosts told us that they had been busy checking people in all day. The hosts were a little concerned that there were some large groups tent camping. That type of group tends to be a little louder and most of the time they have dogs that bark. The hosts told us to just shoot the noise makers if it got too noisy. Of course, we wouldn't do that. If there is a problem, I'm sure it'll be taken care of.

We had to wait to get in while a big motor home in front of us finished registering. The people had not been here before, so they didn't know where anything was. In addition, it was dark, so they were going to have to set up without the daylight. Sure, flashlights help, but it's difficult to see tree limbs, etc. We don't like to set up after dark, and do everything we can to not have to do it.

Does anyone my age remember when the kids started back to school from summer break? In my case, we always started a day or two before Labor Day, or the day after Labor Day. At the end of the school year, we were out before June 1. Has anyone noticed that the public schools seem to start earlier each year and let out for summer break later each year? My daughter Lori, who is a middle school science teacher, says it's because of several reasons. The school year has probably been lengthened by a few days, teacher in-service days have been added, weather days have been added, a spring break is taken now, and on and on and on. Is it my imagination, but do these extra days seem to not be helping with test scores?

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Abilene, Texas: ABTEX

Not all wander are lost.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Very Good Day

Tuscaloosa, Alabama

Weather: low 72 degrees, high 87 degrees, partly cloudy early, mostly cloudy in the afternoon with showers

We had another long day working on Terri's stuff. The day started at 0730 hours and the work didn't end until 2100 hours. It was a very good day as far as results go, and we think tomorrow will be even better. At this time, it looks as though the hard pace we're on will continue through next Tuesday, and then life will be much easier. Maybe we can even do some RV stuff.

The COE campground we're in closes the gate at 2200 hours, so we stopped soon enough to get home. The drive out to the campground is about ten miles through some wooded countryside and fields. There are a lot of deer present, so we have to be extra careful at night to make sure we don't hit one. The road is full of curves and hills, so I have to constantly be aware of what's ahead. Luckily, it's not that difficult to see a deer at night, so we usually have time to avoid them. I think the biggest hazard comes from a deer running into the side of the truck. There's not much I can do about that.

I apologize for the short posts with little or no adventures. We hope to do better soon.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Denver, Colorado: Convention City

Not all who wander are lost.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Rap Music

Tuscaloosa, Alabama

Weather: low 70 degrees, high 86 degrees, mostly cloudy skies

The rain that started late yesterday afternoon continued through the night. At least there was not any severe weather associated with this system. It still looks as though the rain will continue intermittently until the weekend.

We worked on Terri's business again today, and spent most of the day in Vestavia Hills, located a few miles south of downtown Birmingham. At least I didn't have to go into Birmingham, which made me feel good. The day started early and we didn't get back to the campground until almost 2200 hours. A long day for us, but a lot of good stuff was completed.

I don't know about anyone else, but some of this stuff that is passing for music these days grates on my ears. To give an example, I had to stop at a store on the way home tonight. A group of young people was playing some loud rap music, which is alleged to be an art form. I'm not sure I hear the art in it. Why does most of this music sound so angry? Why does it speak of law enforcement in such negative tones? Why are women so disrespected? Why is there so much violence in the music? A lot of people like this noise that passes for music, and many people have gotten rich from it. I don't get it.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Savannah, Georgia: Garden City

Not all who wander are lost.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Back To The Streets Of Birmingham

Tuscaloosa, Alabama

Weather: low 70 degrees, high 86 degrees, cloudy, rain showers late in the afternoon and into the night

We continued helping Terri today. I wish I could elaborate on what we have been doing in more detail, but there are privacy issues involved for Terri.

Carolyn has been staying with Thomas while Terri and I take care of her business. She and I spent until 1300 hours on the business, broke for lunch, and then I had to go back to Birmingham while she continued with the business in Tuscaloosa. After yesterday's trip to Birmingham, I was hopeful it would be awhile before I had to make that trip again. No such luck, and the trip wasn't any better. Rough roads, heavy traffic, stop lights galore. The only good thing is that I knew where I was going, so I didn't have to be on the watch for every step of the directions I had.

I returned to Tuscaloosa by 1700 hours and we continued Terri's business until 1840 hours. We get to start again tomorrow, which should be a little easier. At this time, it looks like this business will be finished in about another week.

Looking ahead and expecting it to be a little late when we finished today, I stopped on the way back from Birmingham and picked up a pizza for supper. Thank goodness for pre-planning.

The weather forecast shows rain for the rest of the week, with 4-5 inches total expected. A good thing about the rain is it is helping to keep the temperature down somewhat. Carolyn is keeping an eye on the weather tonight so we don't get caught unawares if severe weather comes up. Living in an RV, we stay informed about what the weather is doing. We don't want to get caught in severe weather in the RV, so we usually find shelter that is more substantial. In this campground, that would be the shower house. In addition to watching the TV for the weather updates, we use our weather radio. The radio is a great tool that we would be lost without. Speaking of weather radios, has anyone ever noticed how stilted the announcer giving the weather sounds?

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Atlanta, Georgia: Hotlanta

Not all who wander are lost.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Streets Of Birmingham

Tuscaloosa, Alabama

Weather: low 70 degrees, high 87 degrees, mostly clear skies

Even though we have been through Birmingham many times, we have never spent much time there. The town seems too busy for our comfort level, the roads are rough, and it seems hard to find your way around. In other words, we didn't need the aggravation. Well, today I got a close and personal look at downtown Birmingham. Part of the assistance we're giving Terri involved me going from Vestavia, located about 10 miles south of Birmingham, to downtown. Once I got downtown, I had to go through the medical center area and the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB).

Having spent some time in the downtown area today, I noted a few things that reinforced why I don't like going there.

There is a lot of pedestrian traffic associated with the medical center, UAB, and local businesses. You have to be especially careful watching for people darting across the middle of blocks.

There is a traffic light at every street, and none of them are synchronized. That means you have to stop at every street and wait for the light. I had to drive something like 28 blocks, so think about how long that took.

Many of the street signs are missing or hidden. What do you think that does to a person who is not familiar with the area?

The transit buses are large and take up more than their share of the road. It's a good thing I was driving Terri's car.

I could keep going about the traffic and streets, but I think the reader can get an idea of why I don't like downtown Birmingham. I have to do the same trip again in a couple of days, and I'm not looking forward to it.

In other news, The work on Terri's stuff is going well, and we hope to be finished in a week or so. We talked to our other daughter Lori, who lives in Texas. Everything is going well with her family, and they plan to go to Florida on vacation in about three days. She wants to show her family where she spent her early years, and see the relatives still living in Ocala.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Las Vegas, Nevada: City Of Wonder

Not all who wander are lost.

Sunday, July 26, 2009


Tuscaloosa, Alabama

Weather: low 68 degrees, high 89 degrees, mostly clear skies

Over the years, my tastes in movies has changed. I can remember when I was younger, like still not an adult, and I loved to go to the Saturday matinee at the Ritz Theater in Ocala, Florida. For a quarter - that's right, $.25, I could get into the movie and buy popcorn and a Coke. There would be two movies, cartoons, a serial, the news, and previews. The movies were usually cowboy shoot 'em ups and comedies. It was a great way to spend a Saturday afternoon.

As I grew older, I still enjoyed going to the movies. It didn't matter what was playing, but I preferred the ones in color. Then I was married and had a family, so the trips to the movies became less frequent, but still occurred. In addition, the types of movies we saw changed because we had young ones we took with us. With the passing of time, I found that I didn't have as much time to go to the movies. In addition, cable TV came along with all the movies that they showed.

Now that I'm older, I find that I seldom go to a movie theater, preferring instead to stay at home and watch a video. Movie theaters seem to be so expensive anymore, and there are so many people who act as though they're sitting in their living rooms. Talking, cell phones ringing, continually getting up and moving around. Why pay for that when you can get it at home?

As I said, we prefer to watch a video at home. Last night, we watched a good one starring Tom Selleck. He is one of our favorite actors, and he did an excellent job in Night Passage, a movie based on a book written by Robert B. Parker. The character of Jesse Stone seems to fit Tom Selleck like a glove. If anyone is looking for a video to watch, we enjoyed this one.

We were looking forward to today, anticipating a day of rest, and we were not disappointed. We left home for a short time, and the rest of the time was spent reading, napping, watching TV, surfing the Internet, etc. I worked on trying to set up the satellite dish for a short time, but had no success. The trees are so thick on this camping site that I never received a signal. I tried every possible location, but didn't get a signal. Of course, it's like Carolyn said. We're going to be so busy the next week or so that we won't be watching much TV anyway. Maybe when things slow down a little, I 'll talk to campground management about moving to a site better suited for satellite reception.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Hot Springs, Arkansas: Hometown Of Bill Clinton

Not all who wander are lost.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Chinese Food For Supper

Tuscaloosa, Alabama

Weather: low 65 degrees, high 91 degrees, mostly clear skies

Since we've been back in Tuscaloosa, it feels as though the temperature is a little more moderate, compared to what it was when we left almost four weeks ago. The highest since we've been back 91 degrees with light breezes, compared with close to 100 before we left. These lower temperatures are more bearable, and I hope they continue. At least as long as we're here.

We had another good day helping Terri with her projects. Part of the day's work took place in Tuscaloosa, while over half of it required a trip to Birmingham. The trip to Birmingham was extremely successful, but we have to go back Monday to finish that part of the project.

After getting back from Birmingham, we decided that supper would be takeout from a Chinese restaurant near Terri's apartment. We had eaten there one time in the past, and I'm not sure why we had not been back there. We had Mongolian Beef and Sesame Chicken, along with fried rice, Chicken Lo Mein, and of course, fortune cookies. Oh, we also had spring rolls. It was all very tasty, and there was plenty left. Thomas will take care of that for us.

Tomorrow is expected to be a day of rest for us, and we're looking forward to it. The last few days have been very busy, and we're tired. Now, let's see if I can sleep until 0600 hours in the morning.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Vestavia Hills, Alabama: What A Great Place To Live, Work, And Do Business

Not all who wander are lost.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Busy Day

Tuscaloosa, Alabama

Weather: low 65 degrees, high 89 degrees, mostly clear skies

I mentioned in yesterday's post that we made a quick trip back to Tuscaloosa to give Terri some help on some issues she is working on. As a result, we hit the ground running this morning. After I finished my morning walk, we had breakfast and started working. The work didn't seem to let up until well after dark. We feel good about what was accomplished, and tomorrow should be another good day. We'll take Sunday off and hit it again Monday and the rest of the week. By next weekend, we should have everything well in hand.

With what's going on, there may be less adventures for a few days. I still plan to post every day, and will try to keep the blog as interesting as possible. Having said that, remember the heirloom tomatoes we found in Somerset, Kentucky? Marsha, one of the readers, recognized one of the tomatoes, and identified the one on the left as a German Queen. How about that? She and her mother have grown them in the past, and said they were wonderful.
Thanks for the information, Marsha.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Dothan, Alabama: The Circle City

Not all who wander are lost.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Back In Alabama

Tuscaloosa, Alabama

Weather: low 65 degrees in Somerset, Kentucky, high 86 degrees in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, partly cloudy skies

We left Somerset, Kentucky about 0900 hours this morning on our way to a COE campground just south of Glasgow, Kentucky. The drive was only planned to be about 90 miles, and we thought we would be parked and set up by noon. Well, the best laid plans of men and mice....

About the time we pulled into the campground, we received a call from Terri requesting our help on some important personal business. We left Glasgow about noon, and pulled into Deerlick Creek COE Park at 2000 hours. What a hard drive! Normally, we don't like to drive more than 200 miles a day, and the fewer miles, the better. Obviously, this was not a day to our liking. I don't have much to say about the trip, other than it was hard and long.

Right now, we are wore out. Maybe I can do a better post tomorrow.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - St. Petersburg, Florida: St. Pete

Not all who wander are lost.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Rainy Day

Somerset, Kentucky

Weather: low 64 degrees, high 70 degrees, cloudy and rainy all day

The wet weather put a damper on some of our plans for sightseeing today. The rain started about 0700 hours, and rained intermittently all day. It never rained hard, but it was the type of rain that is good for soaking the ground. The most surprising thing about the weather today was the high temperature of 70 degrees. Here it is July 22, and we're seeing a high of 70 degrees. We love it.

After breakfast, we took a drive north on US 27 to see what was up that way. In two words, not much. Once we felt we had gone far enough north, we found a back road to take us back to the RV. That's when the real fun started, because we took a road that is narrow, twisty, winding, up, and down. Just the kind of road that is not good for Carolyn. For some reason, the road did not cause her any problems today, and she was able to enjoy the beauty of the countryside we were passing through.

It seemed we passed a little country church every couple miles, along with tobacco, corn, and soybean fields. Cattle raising seems to be big in this area, and there were a lot of hay fields. Many of the people must use wood for heat, because we saw a lot of woodpiles, along with wood already cut and stacked for winter.

By the time we made it back home, we were ready for some meditation and rest. A little road trip in the rain turned into a very nice outing through beautiful country. Tomorrow, we plan to move on to the west toward Glasgow and Bowling Green. More adventures to follow.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - London, Kentucky: Home Of The World Chicken Festival

Not all who wander are lost.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

We Found Them!

Somerset, Kentucky

Weather: low 56 degrees, high 81 degrees, partly cloudy skies

We were out and about by 0930 hours, and imagine our surprise when we found heirloom tomatoes at the first stop we made. As a comparison, I placed two of the puny tomatoes at the left upper corner we bought at the grocery store last week. The other three tomatoes were bought today. What a difference in appearance, size, and most importantly, taste. We sliced and ate the big red one for supper tonight. Bliss!! I wish I knew what the names of these are.

We drove into the downtown business area of Somerset, and it is like many of the older towns we pass through. The streets are narrow, parking is scarce, and most of the offices are government or lawyer offices. The picture is of the Pulaski County Courthouse.

The primary shopping strip is along US 27, which runs north and south. As I said yesterday, there must be every fast food restaurant known to man represented here. There are about 30 stop lights along this stretch of highway, and none of them are synchronized. If you're in a hurry, this is not a road to be on. The low water of the lake is hurting tourism here, so I can imagine that traffic is much worse when the water is back up. They use a unique method of identifying where something is. Each stoplight has a number. If a local person is asked where something is, the light number is used to identify where to go. For example, the WalMart Mall is located at light number 13. Sonny's Bar-B-Que is located at light 6. Pretty easy, when you think about it.

Before we went home, we decided to tour the site of the Civil War battle at Mill Springs. This battle took place during January, 1862, and was the first significant victory of the war for Union forces. Eastern Kentucky was firmly in Union hands as a result, and most Confederate forces left the state. The reason most people don't know about this battle is that it was overshadowed by the much bigger Battle of Shiloh in April of 1862.

The first stop at the battleground was a welcome center, where we toured a museum of Civil War artifacts and watched a video about the battle. Then we drove through the actual battleground, stopping to view the lay of the land and trying to visualize the way the battle was fought and soldiers were moved around. Very interesting.

What more could we ask for - good tomatoes, beautiful country, interesting history.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Burnside, Kentucky: Birthplace Of The Boy Scouts Of America

Not all who wander are lost.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Moving Day

Somerset, Kentucky

Weather: low 56 degrees in Heiskell, Tennessee, high 79 degrees in Somerset, Kentucky, partly cloudy skies

We left the Escapees Raccoon Valley RV Park about 0930 this morning, looking for adventure in places we haven't been to. Our route led us north on I-75, and by noon, we were parked and set up at the Fishing Point COE campground, just outside Somerset, Kentucky. This picture is of our campsite for the next few days.

As we drove north on I-75, we passed through some beautiful mountainous terrain, climbing as high as 2300 feet. Okay, so that height probably doesn't qualify as a mountain, but it'll do for us until we can get into some real mountains. We crossed into Kentucky about 45 miles up the road, and then started going downhill until we were at about 900 feet in elevation. We are in exploration heaven!! So much to see, so little time to see it.

At London (Kentucky, not England) we turned west on Kentucky 80 to Somerset, a prosperous town of about 12,000 people. I think they have every fast food restaurant known to man in this town, apparently to serve all the tourists who come here. According to information I read, tourists bring in at least $150 million dollars to this area. More than 1.5 million people visit here every year, so it looks like we will have plenty to see and do.

We found the campground with no problems at all, even without a GPS unit. The only problem is that the water depth is down 20-30 feet because of repairs that are being done on Wolf Dam, which holds the water of the lake in place. When the water is at it's normal depth, it comes right up to our campsite. This is one large lake, with a surface area of about 50,000 acres when it is full, and extending about 100 miles down the Cumberland River. This is a fisherman's paradise. The COE has several campgrounds here, as does the state.

We (I mean Carolyn) usually doesn't cook supper when we move. As we were traveling, we noticed a sign for Sonny's Bar-B-Que. Aha, we said, supper is served! I know we said after the last fiasco with bar-b-que in Crossville that we were not eating any more bar-b-que until we got back to Texas. Little did we know that we would find a Sonny's. And it was excellent, with some leftover for lunch tomorrow - or supper.

We didn't know anything about Somerset before coming here. We're glad we came, and are looking forward to seeing what the area has.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Somerset, Kentucky: Welcome Home

Not all who wander are lost.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Preps For Moving On

Heiskell, Tennessee

Weather: low 56 degrees, high 76 degrees, partly cloudy skies

We watched the British Open this morning as Tom Watson had the British Open championship in his grasp, but allowed it to slip away by missing a putt on the last hole. In the four hole playoff that followed with Stuart Cink, he was unable to rekindle the magic that had kept him in or near the lead the last four days. He did well, and showed those younger players that the old folks still have game. Good try, Tom.

We plan to move up the road tomorrow, but haven't decided where we'll land. Our route will be up I-75 into Kentucky, and we'll probably stop at the welcome center to make a decision on where to go. There are some Corps of Engineers parks on Lake Cumberland, so we'll probably end up in one of these. The lake is 65,000 acres in size, so it should be big enough for us to find a space.

Since we plan to move tomorrow, we did some of our pre-travel chores today. I dumped the holding tanks, straightened the basement, washed our laundry, and filled up the truck with fuel. Carolyn did the things she does, such as putting everything in it's place for travel, and cleaning out the refrigerator. We don't expect to be in a hurry, and won't leave here before 0900 or 1000 hours.

Most of the time, we are in the central time zone. Over the years, we have gotten used to all the daily routines of our lives being based on that time. Eating, sleeping, watching television, etc. Since we have been here near Knoxville, we decided to stay on central time, so our clocks have not been changed. One thing we like a lot about central time is that prime time television starts at 1900 hours, instead of 2000 hours. The prime time viewing is finished by 2200 hours, and if there is something we want to watch, we know that the latest it will be on is 2200 hours, rather than 2300 hours like it is in eastern time. Sometimes, it's hard to stay awake until 2300 hours.

If everything goes well, the next post should be from Kentucky, a new state for us with the RV.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Atlanta, Georgia: The Big A

Not all who wander are lost.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Oliver Springs, Tennessee

Heiskell, Tennessee

Weather: low 57 degrees, high 75 degrees, partly cloudy

Note the temperatures for the day. Amazing!!

This cool weather is invigorating, resulting in good sleep and early rising. Of course, we usually get up early, so the early rising is not a surprise. However, the cooler weather makes you feel better. It looks as though it will continue for another week or so.

We went out looking for heirloom tomatoes today, but had no success in finding any. Taking it one step further, we didn't find any place that was selling home raised vegetables. It was still fun, however, going out and driving in places we hadn't been to before. If we didn't know better, we would think we were in the mountains. Beautiful hills that many would call mountains, winding roads (not good for Carolyn), outstanding views across the hills, and then throw in the nice weather. What more could we ask for?

In our quest for the vegetables, we drove up Tennessee 25W to Lake City, where we took a county road that was one of the curvy and undulating roads we have been on here. If I had known what I was getting into, I wouldn't have gone that way because of Carolyn's vertigo. She handled it well, and eventually we came to another county road that led us to Tennessee 61 in Oliver Springs. This little town looks like a good place to live.

The picture above is looking west across part of Oliver Springs toward Walden Ridge, the eastern edge of the Cumberland Plateau.

This next picture is of some of the windmills that TVA has installed here to generate wind power. I'm not sure how much power these things generate, but the wind doesn't blow here like it does in Texas.

By the time we got back home, I was ready to watch some golf, but it was already finished for the day. To our surprise, Tom Watson, the old timer in the field, is still leading. Here's hoping he can hold it together tomorrow and win.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Jamestown, Tennessee: Jimtown

Not all who wander are lost.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Heirloom Tomatoes

Heiskell, Tennessee

Weather: low 70 degrees, high 86 degrees, partly cloudy skies

The British Open golf tournament is being held this week in (where else) England. Actually, in Scotland. We watched some of it yesterday, and more today. A big surprise is that Tom Watson, 59 years old, is tied for the lead. An even bigger surprise is that Tiger Woods, the best player in the universe until this week, seems to have lost his game over the Atlantic. He missed the cut, and will not be playing the next two days. I think I'll pull for Tom Watson. Maybe he can score one for the old folks.

After we got tired of watching golf, we took care of some housekeeping chores. Dusting, vacuuming, mopping, wiping down everything reachable, cleaning the air conditioner filter..... All of that took until mid-afternoon, when I took the floor rugs to the laundromat and washed them. When I got back home, all that work had me tired, so I decided to do some meditation. Ahhh, that helped.

Late in the evening, I cleaned up the outside of the truck. The rain of the past week has made it dirty, but it looks like the rain is over for a few days. At least we hope so.

We like to buy vegetables fresh from the field. That means we're always looking for little roadside vegetable stands where the farmers are selling their produce. We like the heirloom tomatoes, which have more flavor than the store bought tomatoes. We thought we would be able to find some here in Tennessee, but haven't had any luck so far. Look at the picture and note how different looking the heirloom tomatoes are. If you go by looks, you might never try these tomatoes. Go by the taste, and it'll spoil you for any other tomato. There's no comparison. Tomorrow, we're going to go out again and try to find then again. Wish us luck.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Nashville, Tennessee: The Protestant Vatican

Not all who wander are lost.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Blue Grass Music

Heiskell, Tennessee

Weather: low 67 degrees, high 87 degrees, partly cloudy skies

We had the mother of all light and noise shows last night after midnight when a tremendous storm passed through the area. Lightning, thunder, flashes, noise. The surprise in all of this is that the rain was not bad. Most people who know Carolyn know that she has problems with this type of weather. Her anxiety levels are high when it's ongoing. This time, she seemed to sleep through it. I don't know how, since the commotion woke me up.

The RV park we're in has several social activities throughout the week, as well as a social hour every afternoon. Ice cream socials, pot lucks, blue grass music gatherings, etc. Tonight was the night for blue grass music. I have always been a fan of live music, especially blue grass. I went to the club house and listened in as some of the park residents and outsiders played a mixture of blue grass and older country music. There are some talented folks here, and it's nice to see them show off their talents. Most of the musicians are older (like in gray or white haired), but there were a couple of younger players there. When I say younger, I mean 13 years old. I think it's great to see young people getting involved in the music of the mountains.

We went for a ride north of here on I-75 to exit 152, where we turned off and drove through countryside that looked very much like the mountains. High hills covered with trees, streams running down the hillsides, and hardly any houses. This would be a great place to go and see the leaves change in the fall.

Have you ever noticed when we're watching a movie that involves riding horses, the characters always seem to be able to jump on and ride away? I've wondered if that's the way it really was. Well, guess what? no, it wasn't like that at all. This picture is of horse mounting steps, and was taken at the Museum of Appalachia last Saturday. Some more knowledge we can probably do without.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Memphis, Tennessee: Birth Place Of Rock, ’n Roll

Not all who wander are lost.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The Body Farm

Heiskell, Tennessee

Weather: low 67 degrees, high 86 degrees, partly to mostly cloudy skies, showers in the late afternoon

Last week when we were driving over to Oak Ridge to check out the area, we caught a glimpse of a sign and facility that caused us to do a double check with each other. Carolyn asked me if I saw what she did. I said if you saw the same thing as me, I think we just passed The Body Farm.

Kay Scarpetta, a best-selling author of mystery novels, wrote a best selling book titled The Body Farm, featuring the Forensics Anthropology Research Facility of the University of Tennessee. The Farm is a facility that performs research on human remains and their manner of death. This science is usually used by law enforcement to determine time and manner of death. In broad terms, a bunch of human bodies are placed in the woods and the results of their decomposition are studied. Criminals may be brought to justice based on the results, but innocence may also be proven. I like to tour museums and other facilities to see how things work, but I think I'll pass on a tour of this place.

When we buy a car or truck, we usually expect to keep it for several years after it's paid for. In 1976, we bought a car that we kept for 13 years. The next one was kept for three years until computer problems made it unreasonable to trust it on the road. Our next vehicle was a truck that I kept for 15 years, and finally sold it to my friend Tim. The last I heard, he was still driving it. When we decided to start our RVing life, we bought our current truck in June of 2002. That means we've had the truck now for more than seven years, and it runs like a champ. It uses no oil between changes, gets over 20 miles per gallon without the RV and 11-14 miles per gallon with the RV.

So, how are we able to keep vehicles that long? We have always made sure our cars and trucks are maintained as the owners' manuals recommend. The oil is changed at the intervals suggested with a quality product, the fluid levels are checked frequently, and we keep the inside and outside of the vehicles cleaned and waxed to protect the upholstery and paint. Another reason we're able to keep vehicles as long as we do is because we don't abuse them by driving them too hard. We never drive with jack rabbit starts, excessive speeds, and abrupt braking and jerking.

We were getting close to the mileage recommended for the transmission to be serviced. I called around the area and found a shop that had an opening on their schedule for today, and they were only about 12 miles away. I took the truck in, and about an hour later, drove out with a freshly serviced transmission. The manager of the shop told me that their examination of the transmission did not find any problems, and to continue doing whatever we were to extend it's life. At this time, the truck has a little over 119,000 miles.

Oh, by the way. We came up here to find cooler weather. As of today, the warmest temperature we have seen is 86 degrees, and that was today. The next week is forecast to be several degrees cooler. Yes!!

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Nashville, Tennessee: Nash Vegas

Not all who wander are lost.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Backup Computer Crashed

Heiskell, Tennessee

Weather: low 60 degrees, high 86 degrees, mostly clear skies

When we got up this morning, it didn't take much for us to convince ourselves that we didn't want to move on down the road today. In fact, I would be surprised if we move before next Monday. We came up this way to find some cooler weather, and so far, our plan has worked. Tomorrow is supposed to be the warmest day since we've been here. After that, nothing but cool weather for the next week.

The only time I went anywhere today was to go to the WalMart Mall to pick up a few groceries. While there, I looked at the GPS units, but didn't see what I was looking for. Of course, I'm not sure what I'm looking at when I look at the units. I've never used a GPS unit before. Could it be I'm resisting taking on more technology?

Speaking of technology, our old HP computer which we bought back in 2003, crashed again last week. The HP is our backup computer for the time when the new one doesn't work. The new one is doing fine so far, but it's probably only a matter of time before it crashes. Today, I did a quick recovery to get the old one going again. Now, if there was ever a statement that was misleading, it's quick recovery for a computer. After two hours working on the old computer, I had it operational again, but only a small portion of what we needed on it was completed. At least it's doing fine now. Care to take odds on how long it keeps working? Eventually, we'll have to buy another backup computer.

When the rainstorm hit this area on Sunday, some of the roads in the park were washed out by the torrential downfall. Not washed out in the sense that they were not drivable, but deep ruts were washed in the rocks and gravel. Today, park management had a couple of dump truck loads of gravel brought in for repairs. A tractor with a box blade was used to spread and smooth out the gravel and fill in the washed out areas. By mid-afternoon, everything was filled in and repaired. This is a busy park, and if the damage had not been quickly repaired, more damage might have resulted.

We'll probably get out and do something tomorrow. I can only stand so much inactivity.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Norris, Tennessee: A National Historic City

Not all who wander are lost.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Jefferson City, Tennessee

Heiskell, Tennessee

Weather: low 70 degrees, high 84 degrees, mostly cloudy skies until late in the afternoon, then mostly clear

Yesterday's rain continued until well into the am hours before daylight. Today, a few sprinkles were all we saw. It's a good thing it didn't rain any more. This area is soaked. The RV park has a swimming pool that was overrun by the high water. The water looks like a bunch of hogs have been wallowing in it. The campground has a real job ahead of them cleaning up the water in the pool.

This is a picture of Cherokee Dam, holding back the waters of Cherokee Reservoir, a TVA lake near Jefferson City. The reservoir has a surface area of nearly 29,000 acres and a shoreline of nearly 400 miles.

After a late start this morning, we decided to take a drive to the east of Knoxville toward Jefferson City. As with most places we go, the destination was not the attraction so much as the journey was. We enjoy seeing new country and vistas, and today was no different. Our trip led us through open fields, hills, wooded areas, and even what many would call mountains. In the higher areas, the roads were up, down, twisting, around and around to the point that Carolyn said she couldn't take much more because her vertigo started acting up.

With getting turned around and not reading the map correctly, we eventually made it to our destination. It looks more and more like a GPS unit is in our future. Jefferson City is a town of about 7800 people, located in Jefferson County. The area was first named Mossy Creek back in 1788, and then renamed Jefferson City in 1901. There are several old houses in the town dating back to the 1800s. The downtown area seems to be withering on the vine, with most of the growth taking place east of town along Tennessee 11-E.

When we left Jefferson City, we drove west on 11-E toward Knoxville. It didn't take us long to realize that taking the interstate back to the RV would be the most direct and quickest way home. I stopped in New Market and bought diesel for $2.229 per gallon so the tank could be topped off in case we decide to move on tomorrow. We were home by 1500 hours and the rest of the day was spent taking it easy. We're still not sure when we'll leave here.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Jefferson City, Tennessee: From The Banks Of Mossy Creek

Not all who wander are lost.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Day Of Rest

Heiskell, Tennessee

Weather: low 72 degrees, high 86 degrees, partly cloudy skies

Late this afternoon, a Texas-type rainstorm passed through this area. A real gully washer, a frog strangler.... I haven't seen it rain this hard in quite some time. A flash flood watch has been posted for the area. This would not have been good weather to be traveling in. It looks like it will continue raining until well into the morning.

We had discussed going out to eat tonight, but the bad weather convinced us we should stay at home. The hot dogs we had instead were pretty good. It's nice to have food for a fallback.

We've been fairly busy the last few days, so we decided to take it easy today. Having said that, we still took a ride over to Maynardville, whose main claim to fame is that Roy Acuff and Carl Perkins, legendary country music performers, were born there. Chet Atkins and Kenny Chesney were born just down the road in the little town of Luttrell. Obviously, the area has been a cradle for the development of outstanding talent. Unfortunately, there's not much else to draw us to that area.

We're starting to discuss where we will be going next. East or north? It'll probably be one of those decisions where we just pick a direction and go. Maybe when we get down the road an hour or two, we'll find what we're looking for.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Maynardville, Tennessee: Birthplace of Roy Acuff

Not all who wander are lost.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Museum of Appalachia

Heiskell, Tennessee

Weather: low 65 degrees, high 86 degrees, partly cloudy skies

These are peacocks at the Museum of Appalachia.

Today we went up the road a few miles to visit the Museum of Appalachia. This is an attraction that was built to show how people lived in the mountains when all the modern conveniences of today were not available. The museum consists of many exhibits spread out over 65 acres of fields, old cabins, corn cribs, smoke houses, school houses, churches, and other buildings.

In case you haven't figured it out, Carolyn likes for me to take pictures of the different animals we find.

The Museum of Appalachia was the result of a suggestion from the founder's grandfather that he build a museum to show off the old-timey things that had been used to survive by the mountain people over hundreds of years. All of the log cabins and other buildings are authentic, with most of them being moved to the museum from their original sites.

For example, Mark Twain's family lived in Fentress County before Mark was born, and their cabin was moved to the museum from there. Obviously, some maintenance and repairs had to be done to some of the buildings, but most of them look as though they could still be lived in. Of course, living in these old cabins would be much tougher than what we live in today.

When the museum was developed, it was intended to make the cabins look as though the families had just gone down to the spring to get the day's water supply. In other words, as though they were being lived in. I think the museum succeeded. Most of the houses are fully furnished with authentic furniture and other furnishings. One thing that stood out to us was the small sizes of the houses. It's amazing how circumstances dictate the way we live.

We didn't know what to expect when we went to the museum, but can recommend this
worthwhile museum to all. Of all the museums we have visited, the only one that we liked better was the Buffalo Bill Museum in Cody, Wyoming. That's saying something.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Knoxville, Tennessee: Knox Vegas

Not all who wander are lost.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Norris Dam

Heiskell, Tennessee

Weather: low 63 degrees, high 86 degrees, partly cloudy, scattered showers

The morning was spent washing laundry, changing the bed linens, dusting, vacuuming, and all the other little things we do to keep the RV shipshape and trim. Unfortunately, this work doesn't happen during the night while we're asleep, and we've not been able to master that little trick of wrinkling our noses to make things happen.

After resting from the exertions of housework, we decided to take a little ride north of us toward Clinton and a few points beyond. What a great little trip this turned out to be. The first thing we decided to do was take US 441 north, which led us to the little town of Norris. This town was built by TVA in the mid-1930s to provide housing for workers building the Norris Dam, just north of town. When we first turned onto US 441, I thought we had taken the wrong road. Not so. Almost immediately, we were inside the city limits of Norris, a town of about 1600 people, based on the English garden city model. TVA's intent was to build a town that would serve as a model for other communities. The town was the first use of green belts in the US. What surprised us was the beauty of the little town and most of the houses being smaller than what is being built now. Is it possible we could learn from that? Do we need huge houses with rooms that are unused most of the time? Very nice little town.

Passing through Norris, we chanced upon Norris Dam, built by TVA 1933 to 1936. The dam backs up a lake of 34,000 acres with 800 miles of shoreline. The dam was created to control flooding and generate hydro-electric power. We stopped to check out the dam and lake, and I had a great conversation with a TVA retiree working as a volunteer at the dam's visitor center. Billy has a total of 61 years as a full-time worker and volunteer. Isn't that something in these days when workers are considered disposable?

The rest of the trip was spent traveling through the little towns of Lake City, Caryville, and La Follette. The best part of this part of the trip was that we were driving in valleys surrounded by mountains. Very scenic drive. We were surprised by how busy La Follette was for the size of the town. I don't know what's driving their success, but I'm sure they're thankful. In that town, I bought diesel for $2.249 per gallon, the cheapest I've seen in several months.

Tomorrow, we're going to the Museum of Appalachia. It will be interesting to see how many things they have that we knew about when we were growing up.

I received an e-mail from Jerry, a friend in Texas. The e-mail was about the words that we used for common place things in the old days (like when we were younger). One word in the e-mail was supper, which has been replaced by dinner. I can remember when dinner was the noon meal. Supper was the evening meal for us and still is. That started me thinking about the other meal of the day, and what took it's place. Do you remember breakfast? Does anyone still eat breakfast besides us? Everyone seems to be in such a hurry that they don't have time to eat the most important meal of the day.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - La Follette, Tennessee: Gateway To Norris Lake

Not all who wander are lost.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

I Don't Know How To Tell You This......

Heiskell, Tennessee

Weather: low 63 degrees, high 85 degrees, partly cloudy skies, showers in the afternoon

My brother Terrell and his wife Kathy are moving from Texas to Maryville, Tennessee by the end of the year. In preparation for the move, they have bought a house just south of Maryville and off US 129. This highway is a route that will take travelers into the mountains. Since we are staying fairly close to the area, we decided to drive down and see where the house was located and make sure everything was okay, since no one is living in the house. That is, supposedly no one was living in the house. Terrell and Kathy, I don't know how to tell you this, but.......(just kidding, guys)

The traffic on I-75 was fairly heavy, but nothing to hold us up. Once we turned off on US 129, the traffic was less, and I was able to enjoy the drive along the Tennessee River and Fort Loudoun Lake. The river and lake were on my right side, while we could see glimpses of the mountains to the east. The first town after leaving Knoxville was Alcoa, which is named after the aluminum company. Alcoa has a large aluminum smelting plant here, and is probably one of the biggest employers in the area. Lynn Swann, former pro football wide receiver, is from here. In addition, the main airport for Knoxville is located in Alcoa.

Sam Houston's School House in Maryville.

Almost immediately after leaving Alcoa, we were in Maryville, a town of about 25,000 people. Since the town was settled in 1795, there is a lot of history. One of my favorite little tidbits is that Sam Houston, hero of the Texas Revolution, moved to Maryville in 1808 when he was 15 years old. He was a school teacher there before he began his career as a soldier and politician.

We found a Backyard Burgers, our favorite hamburger restaurant in Maryville. That was a little surprising, since all of them that we had seen recently were closed, probably because of the economy. It was a little early for supper, so we didn't stop. It gives us a little hope that we will find others down the road.

We found the house, located in a nice neighborhood on the way to the mountains. It will be nice to have someone to visit up here when we're looking for cooler weather. We pulled into the driveway to turn around, and noticed that the temperature was 81 degrees at noon. How about that?

On our way home, we stopped at Sam's Club to pick up a couple of things we needed. While we were in the store, a heavy rain shower passed over. Luckily, the rain stopped before we went out. After getting home, a shower went through the area and helped cool the temperature down from 86 degrees to about 75. Ahhhh. Just right.

I don't have anything planned for tomorrow yet, but I'm sure we'll come up with something.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Alcoa, Tennessee: Home Of Pat Summit, University Of Tennessee’s Women’s Basketball Coach

Not all who wander are lost.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Clinton, Tennessee

Heiskell, Tennessee

Weather: low 62 degrees, high 84 degrees, mostly sunny skies

This is a picture of Market Street in Clinton, Tennessee, located about six miles north of us. I had to get this picture off the Internet, since I couldn't find a place to park to get a good picture.

We decided to catch up on some rest and chores around the RV today, instead of getting out and gallivanting around the countryside. Gallivanting - how's that for a new word? Sometimes, that's what we do feels like. It's great fun.

This is a picture of the Ritz Theatre, located in Clinton, Tennessee. This brings back memories of the movie theatres I visited as a boy on Saturday afternoons.

We haven't bought many groceries for awhile, so a trip to the WalMart Mall was in order. We drove a few miles north on I-75 to exit 122, where the nearest Mall is located. About an hour later, that little chore was finished. As we were waiting at the stop light to get out of the parking lot, we decided to take a different route back to the RV. No, we weren't going gallivanting. In our travels yesterday, we began to get a feel for where the different roads go in this area. We had a map with us, so if we got turned around, it wouldn't be too hard to figure out where we were. No asking directions, no GPS. Just do it the old fashioned way.

We turned west on Tennessee 61, which took us to the historic little town of Clinton. This is a town of about 10,000 people, and is located along the Clinch River. It was originally named Burrville after Aaron Burr, the vice president in Thomas Jefferson's first term as president. Burr was involved in a duel with Alexander Hamilton, the first Secretary of the Treasury of the United States. Hamilton died as a result of the duel. A consequence of the duel was that in 1809, the town was renamed Clinton in honor of George Clinton, the vice president in Jefferson's second term as president.

Like many of the little towns we pass through, this one seems to be doing fairly well. There were some closed businesses, but overall, they seem to be doing okay. Of course, business can always be better.

Finishing our exploration of Clinton, we turned to the south on Tennessee 25 and took it down to Tennessee 170 and back to the RV. It wasn't a very long excursion, but enough for today.

In the afternoon, we washed some laundry, and I put our sewer hose out. I found a foreign movie with English subtitles at the club house which we watched. Not the best movie we have seen, but not the worse, either. The rest of the day was spent vegging out, reading, watching TV, surfing the net, etc.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Knoxville, Tennessee: The Streaking Capital Of The World

Not all who wander are lost.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Oak Ridge, Tennessee

Heiskell, Tennessee

Weather: low 62 degrees, high 84 degrees, clear skies, low humidity, slight breeze

If the area was trying to have good weather for some special event, they couldn't have done better than today. This was one of those days we call Chamber of Commerce weather. Now, if we could have several more just like it.....

This picture is of a sculpture composed of metal salvaged from the wreckage of the World Trade Center. It was located in front of the American Museum of Science and Energy in Oak Ridge.

After my morning walk and breakfast, we decided to drive over to Oak Ridge to check out the area. The Oak Ridge area was a key part in the effort to develop atomic weapons during World War II, and continues to be an important part of the US nuclear weapons program, as well as the civilian nuclear power program. In addition, much medical and industrial research is performed here.

Based on the importance of the Oak Ridge area to nuclear research, we didn't know what to expect in the way of a town. One thing we did expect was a larger town than what we found. Oak Ridge has about 30,000 residents, which is well below the 80,000 that lived there during the war. When the area was picked for the town and research facilities in the 1940s, it was farm land, with few people living there. The government requisitioned the land, paying an average of $45 per acre. In some cases, the people were only given two weeks to vacate homes that had been in their families for a hundred years or more.

A secret project was launched to build the town and facilities to develop nuclear materials for the atomic bombs. As many as 80,000 people worked on the project at one time, and most of them didn't know what they were building until the two atomic bombs were dropped on Japan. The area was so secret that it didn't appear on maps until well after the war was over.

Our impression of Oak Ridge is that it is a beautiful town with wide streets, well kept homes and parks, and thriving businesses. It is located in a valley with fairly steep hills on all sides.

This is a model of the atom, located in front of the museum we visited today.

While in Oak Ridge, we visited the American Museum of Science and Energy. Walking up to the museum, we noticed a large number of solar panels arrayed on the building. There were several hundred of the panels, and TVA claims that the panels would provide enough electricity for one or two homes a year. Folks, that statement right there gives a prime example of why solar and wind power will never be a significant contributor to the nation's energy needs. All those solar panels, and they were not sure if they would power two homes. That's not to say that there are not uses for these devices. The problem is that American homes use so much energy that it takes more than the average person can afford to install these types of devices. Besides that, what happens when the sun doesn't shine or the wind doesn't blow?

As we went through the museum, we enjoyed the history of how Oak Ridge was developed and some of the things that were developed there. In addition, we enjoyed the exhibit on civilian nuclear power, since we are both retired from that industry. Most of the rest of the museum was devoted to other forms of energy, including coal. Of special interest to the many kids were the hands-on exhibits.

A good day and a good adventure.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Oak Ridge, Tennessee: The Atomic City

Not all who wander are lost.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Moved North Of Knoxville

Knoxville, Tennessee

Weather: low 66 degrees in Crossville, Tennessee, high 82 degrees in Knoxville, Tennessee, partly cloudy skies

Yesterday as we were out and about, we saw a bird that caught our attention. Grabbing for the camera, I was about to snap a picture when the bird flew away. When we arrived home, we checked the book on birds that Scott and Chriselda gave us. Since we didn't get a picture, I went on the Internet and found this one. The bird is an American Goldfinch. Beautiful, and the first one we have seen. Thanks again to Scott and Chriselda for the book.

As often happens, we didn't decide whether to move today until we woke up and talked about it. Many times, we'll go with an impulse and move on. That's what happened this morning. We enjoyed our time in Crossville, but the wandering bug bit us again, so we moved on. At this time, we're parked in the Escapees Raccoon Valley RV Park, located just north of Knoxville. We plan to be here for about a week, which should give us the time to see a lot of the area.

Today's move was one of the shorter ones we have done. It was only about 75 minutes of total driving, and we were parked and set up before lunchtime, even with the loss of an hour as we moved from the central time zone to the eastern time zone. After resting from that strenuous move, we went to lunch at Mickey D's. Then we went home and I set up the satellite dish and the rest of the day was spent recovering from a very tiring day. I'm kidding about it being very tiring. Every day should be this easy.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Knoxville, Tennessee: The Marble City

Not all who wander are lost.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Dayton, Tennessee

Crossville, Tennessee

Weather: low 66 degrees, high 76 degrees, cloudy skies, heavy rain late in the afternoon

This is the Rhea County courthouse, located in Dayton, Tennessee. More on our visit to Dayton later in this post.

Heavy rain showers passed through the area late last night, then again late this afternoon. At least the rainy weather held off long enough for people to enjoy their holiday and the fireworks. And it helped keep the temperatures low, which is why we came up here.

We took another road trip today, going south on Tennessee 68 to Spring City, where we picked up US 27 to Dayton. Then we drove west on Tennessee 30 to Pikeville to US 127 which we drove north on and back to Crossville. That sounds like a lot of driving, but it really wasn't. In addition, the scenery along the way was beautiful, and it seemed as though it took little time to drive between the different places. We drove through high hills, beautiful little valleys, interesting little towns, farm land, woods, and just plain old beautiful country. The worse part of the trip was that we had to go over a couple of mountains, which didn't help Carolyn's vertigo.

The highlight of our trip was the visit to Dayton, where the famous Scopes Trial was held as a publicity stunt by the town's leaders. For those who don't know about the trial, this was a trial that brought a teacher before the court for teaching evolution in the local high school. William Jennings Bryan was the prosecutor and Clarence Darrow was defense attorney. The trial is credited with starting a decline in the teaching of evolution that was not reversed until the 1960s. An oddity of the aftermath of the trial is that William Jennings Bryan died five days after the trial ended. It's too bad that Dayton is remembered for this trial because the area has a lot to offer without that bit of bizarre history.

When we left Dayton, we drove west over Walden Ridge, which means we went up a steep road, then drove down a steep road to get to US 127. That part of the trip caused Carolyn some problems. Once we got to the top of the mountain and started down, we could see glimpses of the beautiful Sequatchie Valley, where Pikeville is located. From Pikeville, it was a fairly easy drive back to Crossville and the RV.

In the afternoon, we watched golf on TV and did some reading. After supper, I dumped our holding tanks. We have to decide tomorrow whether we'll stay here a few more days or move on to new places. Stay tuned to find out.

More later, be safe.

Today's town - Dayton, Tennessee: Home Of The Tennessee Strawberry Festival

Not all who wander are lost.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Happy 4th Of July

Crossville, Tennessee

Weather: low 56 degrees, high 80 degrees, mostly cloudy skies

Today is the 233rd birthday of the Declaration of Independence. Even though we have many problems in our country, I wouldn't want to live anywhere else. How many people are trying to get out of the US? It seems everyone is trying to get in. Happy Birthday, America.

We did a little brainstorming (that didn't take long) on what to do for the holiday. The decision was made to take a ride north on Tennessee 127 to the little town of Jamestown. Why go there? Well, it was a place we haven't been to on a road we haven't traveled. Enough reason for us. It turned out to be a good decision, as the route led through some beautiful rolling countryside dotted with farms and woods. About 35 miles up the road, we entered Jamestown, which was established in 1828 on the site of an old Cherokee Indian village.

This is a picture of the Fentress County Courthouse, located in Jamestown. The town is rather small, having less than 2,000 residents in the last census. Even though the town is that small, they have some interesting history, including the fact that John Clemens, father of Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain) lived here before moving his family to Missouri. Alvin C. York, Medal of Honor winner in World War 1, was born, raised, and died in Fentress County. He established the Alvin C. York Agricultural Institute, a high school in Jamestown.

We continued north on Tennessee 127 when we left Jamestown, looking for Pall Mall, where Alvin York lived and is buried. Little did we know the kind of road that Tennessee 127 would become. About three miles outside Jamestown, we encountered signs that cautioned us about steep down grades, land slides, and falling rocks. The signs were not kidding. For just a moment, I thought we were back out west in the real mountains. The state appears to be building a new road to replace this bad section, but it will probably take 2-3 more years. Eventually, we made it to the bottom and soon after, saw the sign that directed us to the Alvin York memorial, located in the Wolf River Cemetery. It was easy to find the memorial, since it really stands out. Standing there and reading the words on the memorial, I could see how Alvin was content to spend his life in that peaceful little valley.

It was late in the afternoon by the time we returned to the RV. We were not with family today, but we can't think of a better way to celebrate the holiday than to relive some history and remember the life of an American hero on the 4th of July.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Jamestown, Tennessee: Hometown Of Roger Crouch, Astronaut

Not all who wander are lost.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Visit To Book Store

Crossville, Tennessee

Weather: low 59 degrees, high 76 degrees, partly cloudy

This is a picture of our site at the RV park where we're staying while in Crossville, Tennessee.

After a leisurely start to the morning (it feels good to be able to write that), we visited a used book store in Crossville. As I have mentioned before, we like to read. Whenever possible, we use public libraries to check out books and DVDs. Since we don't have that option here, we decided to see what we could find at the used book store. What a pleasant surprise we found when we walked inside. Thousands of books for sale, including the types we like most. With a quick walk through the store, we found several we haven't read before, which we bought. An interesting thing to us was that the hard cover books were not any more expensive than the paper backs. The most we paid per book was $1.00, which is a bargain. I can see us going back there.

The visit to the book store wore us out (joke), so we returned home to rest. In the afternoon, I checked out some of the other RV parks in the area. Only one of them holds any interest for me after looking at where they were and what they had to offer. We'll check out a couple more tomorrow, including Cumberland Mountain State Park.

I was talking to one of the camp hosts today about the weather, and he said that the weather is the coolest he has ever seen for July 4. We're just glad to see some weather that's not stifling, like it was in Tuscaloosa. We could stand this all year.

The Palace Theatre has been called The Jewel of Main Street in Crossville. It opened in November of 1938, and was closed in 1978 when a new twin theatre opened. After it closed, it slowly deteriorated until a group of people began pushing for the facility to be renovated in recognition of it's architecture and place in Crossville's history. At this time, the theatre is used for concerts and classic movies, as well as other events.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Cookeville, Tennessee: Cookevegas

Not all who wander are lost.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Wedding Anniversary

Crossville, Tennessee

Weather: low 61 degrees, high 76 degrees, partly cloudy skies

We are celebrating our wedding anniversary today. On this date in 1963, we were married in Ocala, Florida. That works out to 46 years of marriage. Like most newlyweds when we were married, we had dreams and plans that we hoped to be able to attain. I think we can say that our plans and dreams have been exceeded. Over the course of our years together, we had two beautiful daughters that gave us three grandchildren. We have enjoyed relatively good health, with some minor problems that we were to recover from. We had the foresight to make financial planning a part of our budget process. As a result, we can enjoy life as we see fit, instead of depending on the government to support us.

There have been some mistakes made and bumps along the way, but overall, we feel that we have had a good life. Add in a marriage that truly was made in heaven, and what more could we ask for. We're looking forward to whatever the future holds for us.

This is a picture of the White County, Tennessee, Courthouse, located in Sparta. This area is well known for it's bluegrass music.

When I asked Carolyn what she would like to do to celebrate our anniversary, she said she would like to go to The Olive Garden. Since there's not one of those here in Crossville, I looked on the Internet and found one in Cookeville, about 40 miles west of here. Late in the afternoon, we headed that way, taking US 70 west. This trip allowed us to see some of the countryside west of us, as well as Sparta, a town about halfway to Cookeville. Sparta is a nice little town, but it seems that the downtown area is being deserted. Most of the businesses have moved to the west end of town.

When we arrived in Cookeville, we had to look for the restaurant. Since we expected it to be close to I-40, we looked along the frontage road, and there it was. I have to say that the experience of eating at the Olive Garden was very good. The server we had did an excellent job, our appetizer was very good, as were the salad and bread sticks. I chose chicken parmigiana for my entree, while Carolyn had chicken scampi. Again, outstanding. It had been awhile since we had eaten at Olive Garden, and now I ask myself why we waited so long.

We took I-40 back to Crossville and the RV, again enjoying the beautiful countryside. The rest of the evening was spent watching favorites on television and reading. Probably not an exciting evening for a lot of people, but just what we wanted.

Now, on with the next 46 years.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Sparta, Tennessee: Bluegrass, USA

Not all who wander are lost.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Crab Orchard, Tennessee

Crossville, Tennessee

Weather: low 61 degrees, high 79 degrees, partly cloudy skies

A rain storm passed through the area late last night, producing a light and noise show with thunder and lightning along with the rain. When the rain came, Carolyn woke up and started rooting for the cover because she was cold. Is there a better indication that we have not seen weather this cool for awhile?

Remember what I wrote about the bar-b-que restaurant we tried last night? That it was not good at all, and we wouldn't be going there again? When I woke up this morning, my stomach was giving me fits, and I felt so bad I barely managed to do my morning walk. When I got home from the walk, I lazed around for a couple of hours, hoping I would start feeling better, but It didn't work. Finally, I gave up the fight and went back to bed. About 1500 hours, I started feeling better, so we decided to take a ride to the east on US 70 to see what was happening in that area.

The route taken was a good choice, since traffic was light and we were able to drive slowly and enjoy the beautiful countryside. The first little town we passed through was Crab Orchard, which was settled because it is located in a natural gap in the Crab Orchard Mountains. The gap allowed for easier travel between eastern and western parts of Tennessee. There is a lot of history associated with the area, especially with battles between the Indians and settlers. Crab Orchard's main claim to fame at this time is a unique type of sandstone used for building materials.

Along our travel path, we kept seeing several mountain laurels. We thought they had stopped blooming by now, but apparently the conditions are good for more blooms.

The next area of interest we saw was Ozone, which was named to reflect the excellent air quality of the area. This is the home of Ozone Falls State Natural Area, established to protect 110-feet tall Ozone Falls and its gorge. I didn't take the time to hike to the falls, choosing to save that adventure for a day when I feel better.

By the time we finished looking around Ozone, it was time to head back to the RV. Tomorrow is a special day for us, and I want to make sure I'm over the stomach problems of today.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - La Porte, Texas: Long Paper

Not all who wander are lost.