Saturday, May 21, 2016

Kentucky - Eddyville


Left Tennessee for Kentucky on May 12, 2016. We stopped at R.P. Williams Repair shop on the way, they put in the new sensor and we still don't have a speedometer and the ABS light is still on. So once again back to square one. Next plan is a place in Louisville, which is where we go from here.
The rest of the drive was in and out of rain, so hard at times we couldn't see very well. When we arrived at the campground it cleared enough to set up. 

We stayed at Outback RV Resort. It is very well kept with mostly full time and seasonal residents. The sites are long enough for an RV, tow dolly and parking the car, all asphalt and gravel, with full hook ups.  A little on the narrow side but not to bad. The laundry room and bathrooms were very clean. The cost was $35 a night with our Good Sam discount.

Paducah is where the Kentucky, Peter Toth Indian is located, so after setting up we ventured out to find him. He calls George Noble Park home. At 35-feet tall he is pretty impressive. He was hand chiseled from a local 56,000 pound red oak in 1985, to honor the Chickasaw Indians. It is the 50th carving on the Trail of the Whispering Giants. His name, Wacinton means to have understanding. 

There is a nice river front area with a walking path and places to sit and picnic. The park is bordered by a beautiful mural wall depicting the history of the area. 

The Paleo Indians, often called Big Game Hunters lived in this area near the end of the last Ice Age, about 13,000 years ago. 

Indians of the Archaic Traditions were here around 3,000 years ago and were the first to begin domestication of plants and to live in permanent villages and build cemeteries.

After the flood in 1937, the worst disaster in the U.S. up to that time, more problems came in 1938. This time in the form of ice. The Ohio River froze solid, clear to Illinois. After cautiously testing the ice, cars, bikes, and skaters made there way onto it. All barge traffic stopped at this once bustling port, until the river thawed. 
On October 18, 1950 the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission approved the site of the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant, a new facility in the nation's rapidly growing nuclear production complexes. It brought sudden change to the community. Local population doubled as the construction work force arrived. Retail sales rose from $44 million in 1950 to $94 million in 1953, and school enrollment rose from 8,000 to 12,000 in the same time frame.

The Trail of Tears crosses nine states and is the trail that was traveled by Indian Tribes being forced to move west to Indian Territory, now known as Oklahoma. 
In the 1600's about 25,000 Cherokee lived on lands stretching from the Ohio River to northern Georgia. European diseases devastated the Cherokee throughout the 1700's and by 1819 Americans' unquenchable thirst for land had all but depleted Cherokee lands, it was down to 10% of their original territory. But they continued to survive, they adopted many of the political and economic features of the U.S. and shaped a stable and prosperous life, one envied by their white neighbors. 
In 1803 Thomas Jefferson was the first president to publicly support removal of the Indians and for the next 25 years eastern tribes were forced west. 
In 1830, after Andrew Jackson became President, Congress passed the Indian Removal Act, providing "for an exchange of lands with the Indians residing in any of the states or territories, and for their removal west of the Mississippi River." The state of Georgia, passed laws prohibiting the Cherokee from conducting tribal business, testifying against whites, and mining for gold. 
The Cherokee Nation had raised leaders well versed in the U.S. legal system who fought back. In Worcester v. Georgia the US Supreme Court ruled in 1832 that the Cherokee held sovereign land rights. President Jackson openly dismissed the ruling. The tribes were running out of options. 
Once the Removal Act was passed government agents descended on the Indian villages and one by one the tribes were removed. 
The Choctaw, the first to be coerced in signing the removal treaty, were moved out in 1831. The Muscogee Creeks, many in chains were moved in 1836. The Chickasaw were taken away by the end of 1837. After fierce resistance and great losses in the Seminole Wars, some 4000 Seminoles were deported from Florida in 1842. 
The Cherokee resisted removal in hopes their leaders could sway American political opinion. 20 tribal leaders acting outside the Cherokee government, signed the Treaty of New Echota in 1835, making the conditions for removal set. In exchange for $5 million the tribe would relocate to Indian Territory. Even though the majority of Cherokee protested the agreement, in May 1836 Congress made it law. They had two years to voluntarily move. Most refused to recognize the treaty. In the spring of 1838, 7,000 soldiers under General Scott moved the Cherokee families into "round-up" camps. They were then loaded onto flatboats to travel the Tennessee, Ohio, Mississippi and Arkansas rivers to Indian Territory. The first boat made it in 13 days, the next two groups were plagued with fatalities as diseases raged through the cramped, poorly-supplied boats. 
Chief John Ross petitioned General Scott to let the Cherokee control their own removal. Detachments of about 1,000 each were organized and they traveled by foot, horse, and wagon for 800 miles, taking 8 months to reach Indian Territory. Prearranged supply points were not stocked as they should have been. Of the approximate 15,000 forced from their homes, many hundreds died in the camps, on the boats or on the journey. The Cherokee Nation remained alive, in the spirits of the people. Today the Cherokee and other removed tribes survive as vigorous Indian nations. 
The Trail of Tears story is one of racial injustice, intolerance, and suffering. But it is also a story of survival, of a people thriving in the present while remembering the past, not only in Oklahoma, but in the homelands of southern Appalachia. 
The Trail of Tears Commemorative Park is in Hopkinsville, KY. This is one of the  few documented sites where camp was made along the trail. It was used in 1838 and 39. There is a small log cabin with display cases of Indian artifacts and on the first full weekend after Labor Day they hold a PowWow on site. 

The statue is a memorial to the trail and was given to the people of Kentucky in October 1988 by the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians and the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma in appreciation of their remembrance of the 150th anniversary of the tragic "Trial of Tears"

The grounds are also the burial site for two Cherokee Chiefs who died here, Fly Smith and Whitepath
Once again we left feeling like there could have been more, more displays, and more information.
After losing two sightseeing days at the last stop we needed to travel back into Tennessee to go to Nashville. We drove through the downtown area with a stop at Antique and Architecture, which is a really cool place. It is housed in the old Marathon Automobile Building. 

The hallways are lined with old equipment and the walls are filled with pictures of old cars and the area from years back. There are lots of shops with a variety of items, art galleries, coffee shops, eateries and a winery. 
You could spend a whole day here.

Crazy busy Broadway Street

In every city there is the contrast of old and new

Old cemeteries are a favorite of Nancy's. Some of the graves in the Nashville City Cemetery date back to the early 1800's. There are many Civil War soliders buried here along with other prominent Nashville people. 
Flat headstones and footstones date back hundreds
of years and are some of the oldest in the cemetery
What was really neat about this place, is they have large "books" that tell you information about some of the people who are buried here, also about the different types of vaults, and tombstones and the meanings of the markings on them. We spent so much time here we didn't get to some of the other things we had planned! 
Box Tombs or False Crypts are distinguished by
the sarcophagus appearance. They are only symbolic -
the coffin is below the crypt. 

Table stones were inscribed with the departed's name

Cenotaphs are erected in memory of an individual who is buried in another location. Obelisks were common in the 1840's and 50's and were seen as patriotic. 
The Cenotaph on the right honors John Sevier, Tennessee's first
governor, who is buried in Knoxville. 

Vaults, both under and above ground are traditionally used for family remains. As much as Nancy loves cemeteries there is no way she would go down these stairs! 

Then there are the unconventional ones. A small table top with a couple in an embrace and an old tree stump with an anchor. 

Left: Three rings = the Trinity. Right: Weeping Willow Tree
was the most popular image up to 1860
and represents mourning
and sadness

The thing we found most interesting was the explanation of the markings on the headstones. We have seen some these markings in other cemeteries but never knew what they all meant.

Clasped Hands - farewell and devotion of departed
Crown and Cross mean everlasting life
Finger pointing means soul has gone to heaven

Flowers are a symbol of Christ and a shortness of life

Angels are a sign of rebirth, resurrection and protection

Off to Louisville and family next. 

Till we meet again...

Happy Trails to You!

Tips and things we have learned along the way.
~ Waste not want not
We have re-purposed many things over the last year. Drapes from our house have been cut down and used in the RV, baskets have been altered for a new use. Old rugs are now used outside to protect our knees when setting up or taking down. 
Now we have re-purposed our old memory-foam kitchen rug. It was showing its age. So we brought in a new one.
The old was cut down to use on the stairs coming into the RV. We have tried other rugs and nothing stays put. This will make it much more comfortable and easy to clean. 

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Tennessee - Lawrenceburg


May 5, 2016 was the day we moved to Lawrenceburg, TN. The morning moving day routine was humming along quite nicely until we discovered our brake lights weren't working. Had to change out a fuse and of course the fuses are not labeled so it was a game of pick and choose to find the right one! The drive had a little rain but mostly just cloudy skies and very little traffic.

We stayed at the Powder Horn Campground. It is an interesting place and we certainly felt like we were in southern Tennessee! There are a number of permanent residents and most are kept up fairly well, but there are a few that are not. The sites are very narrow, but long enough for our RV and car. Our site was shaded but many are not. It was $130.00 for the week for full hook-ups. There are also cabins to rent. They have a small store with a number of Confederate and hand-crafted items. There is also a church on site, but it doesn't seem anyone attends.  Two pit-bulls live on site, one is just a puppy, but the owner of the other one likes to tell you how much his hates other dogs! Stayed as far away from that trailer as possible. 
Shiloh National Military Park preserves the Shiloh and Corinth battlefields of the American Civil War. One of the first major battles of the war took place here over a two day period, April 6 and 7, 1862.  The park was established in 1894. In 1904 Basil Wilson Duke was appointed commissioner to handle requests of local farmers to do something with the park, as they were tired of their pigs rooting up the remains of soldiers that had fallen during battle. The park is close to 3,000 acres and has 20 monuments along a driving tour.  

This memorial honors the South's "Lost Cause" on the Shiloh battlefield.

In the picture on the left a Cavalryman spreads his hand in frustration, the rear figure represents the Confederate officer corps, his head bowed because of his failure to bring victory. 
The center picture is "Defeated Victory". The Confederacy (center) surrenders the laurel wreath of victory to Death (on her right) and Night (on her left). Death took the Confederate commander-in-chief, while Night brought Union reinforcements.
In the picture on the right an Infantryman snatched up the Confederate flag in defiance of the U.S. Army and an Artilleryman calmly gazes through the smoke of battle. 

A mock up of what the area looked like
We went in search of the Shiloh Indian Mounds, which is how we found the military park. We didn't know the mounds were a part of it. A little disappointed in the mounds. Not really developed as much as it could be, but the info signs were interesting. 
The village was on a high bluff overlooking the Tennessee River.
The village was encircled by a wooden palisade, and enclosed by two steep ravines. It consisted of more than 100 daub houses. It was probably the center of the chiefdom that occupied a 20 mile stretch of the river with six other smaller villages. There were seven mounds, six were used for places of importance, temples, meeting houses, or homes of village leaders. One was also used as burial grounds. The mounds were towards the outside of the village, with the center being flat and where the houses were built and the farming was done. The westernmost mound was used after the Battle of Shiloh to bury fallen soldiers from the 28th Illinois Infantry. The bodies were later reinterned in the National Cemetery.  
The Mississippians, who lived here were not nomadic hunter-gatherers like their ancestors. They were farmers, and their lifestyle was based on corn. All the information about them is based on Archaeological discoveries. Pieces of pottery, stone tools, mica tools and jewelry and other artifacts have allowed them to develop a story of everyday life here at the mounds. 
- Based on evidence from the fence line, this community must have been peaceful most of the time. 
- The discovery of small stone disks in various places in the settlement shows this group played a game called Chunkey, a small round stone was rolled and contestants threw a spear to where they thought it would stop. One stone that was found was made of coquina shells, only found in Florida, so it was either obtained in trade with people from that area or those who dealt with them. 
- Families lived in clusters of small dwellings. Parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles all lived close. Clan members were related through the female line; males and females belonged to the kin group of their mothers. Men held the prominent public leadership posts, but homelife revolved around the women.
Mielikki had a grand time running and 
chasing squirrels, she got a 
little covered in seed pods!

Between 1100 and 1300, this town was one of the largest and most impressive communities along the entire river. This was one of the few places in the eastern US where the surface remains of prehistoric houses are still visible. There is no written record left by the people who lived here, so, many questions remain. Archaeological evidence shows the town was abandoned for some unknown reason several hundred years before the arrival of the first European settlers. There is no evidence they left abruptly or were forced out. It is believed that this site and another in Savannah, TN were actually built much earlier, about 2000 years ago. 

Selmer is on the Rockabilly Highway. The 55-mile stretch of Highway 45 between Jackson, TN and the Mississippi state line, was officially named Rockabilly Highway on March 26, 2008. A number of the towns along the way hold music festivals throughout the year. 

The two murals were painted by Nashville artist Brian Tull. 

We didn't realize that Tennessee has such a large Amish community. It is in Ethridge, just north of Lawrenceburg. It wasn't really what we expected, nothing like any others we have been to. The Amish Welcome Center was a flea market, and the block around it was nothing but flea markets as well. Wandering through them was fun and entertaining, although we only saw one Amish person. At the welcome center you can get a map that shows you where other Amish stores are for things like, candy, furniture, quilts and such. We did stop at one for some Amish cheese.

Muscle Shoals, AL, played a key role in historic land disputes between Native Americans and early settlers in the late 1700's and early 1800's. In 1921 Henry Ford, accompanied by Thomas Edison, came here with the idea to develop the area into a large city. "I will employ one million workers at Muscle Shoals and I will build a city 75 miles long" Ford said. Once this was known real estate speculators started buying up land and selling it off in 25-foot parcels that people were buying sight unseen, and putting in sidewalks and street lights. While Ford's plan didn't turn Muscle Shoals into a huge city, it did lay the foundation for the city. Of course what the city is known best for is its music. 
We did a drive by of the Fame Recording Studio, where it all started. Unfortunately, we got there just after it closed. 
Many big names have recorded their music here since the 1960's, Percy Sledge, Aretha Franklin, Wilson Pickett, Bob Dylan, and the Rolling Stones to name a few. 

There are two large metal rock 'n' roll sculptures in the area by artist Audwin McGee.

Helen Keller was born just down the road in Tuscumbia. We didn't do the house tour as it was in the 80's and we couldn't leave puppy in the car, but we were able to get a picture of the house. Helen Keller was born at Ivy Green on June 27, 1880. She spent her life working to improve the lives of people with blindness and other disabilities. She was a co-founder of the ACLU in 1920. She died on June 1, 1968, just weeks before her 88th birthday. 

To get to and from Muscle Shoals you cross the Tennessee River at Florence, AL. Florence was Nancy's moms name. We stopped at the Singing River Brewery and had a Mother's Day beer in memory of Nancy's mom. She loved beer so it seemed appropriate. What makes it even better is that the Wilson Dam is on the eastern edge of Florence, Nancy's maiden name. 

Huzzah! The Tennessee Renaissance Festival was so much fun. We have only been to the one in Michigan and it has been a number of years since we attended that one. We enjoyed the jousting and a human chess game, had yummy food and laughed so hard at the Da Vinci Brothers show. 

On our drive in we saw a castle up on a ridge and looked it up on line to see what it was. We then discovered that this was the first weekend of the festival, held on the property of the castle. Tours of a portion of the castle are included in the ticket price. 

Castle Gwynn is the dream home of Mike Freeman. He started dreaming of living in a castle in high school. 

The first tower was started in 1980, it is five stories high and the first-floor kitchen is the crowning glory. It took Master mason Kenneth Canady two years and 14,000 bricks to make the 60 arches that are in this tower. 

The arches in the ceiling of the great hall
hold statues of Batman, Darth Vador and a knight. 
The 2nd tower was started in 1985 and holds the great hall. It has a large fireplace, and is home to one of the resident knights and his loyal steed. Work continues on the castle to this day, a never ending project. 

Rutledge Falls is in Tullahoma, TN. The falls are on private property but it is open to the public. A short walk from the street brings you to a spot where you can view the top of the falls.
A little rock climbing is required to get down to the waters edge.
 At the top of the falls is a lone statue, called Lady of the Falls. As Mielikki's name, translated from Finnish means Lady of the Forest, we had to go and see her. This was not always her name. She is the only surviving statue of three that were once on the grounds of the Tennessee Capitol building during the Civil War and for many years after. The statures were named Morning, Noon and Night. Lady of the Falls was once called Night. The owner of the property the falls is on found the statues stored at the Ellington Agricultural Center in Nashville, where they had been moved to when the capitol building grounds were renovated. He asked for one of them and was given Night and moved her to Rutledge Falls around 1958, and she has been called The Lady of the Falls since.
The area is beautiful, so peaceful and full of lush green trees and ferns. It is also home to some snakes, we came across one enjoying the sunny day.

Tullahoma is home to Arnold's Air Force Base, all of the poles at every stoplight corner have jets on them, painted in all different colors and patterns. 

On the way to the falls we passed through Lynchburg, home to Jack Daniels Whiskey. So of course we had to stop. We didn't do the whole tour, as it was almost 2 hours long and we had the dog with us and water falls to explore.

We did go into the visitor center which has nice displays that take you through the 150 year history and the process of making the whiskey. They have a small store where you can purchase bottled whiskey, but they do not have any swag there. No glasses, shirts, or any of the other fun stuff that we found on the Bourbon Trail in Kentucky. 

You have to go a couple of miles down the road to the Lynchburg Hardware Store to find all of that. Seemed a little strange to us, but it is a cool place and there are a number of other shops including the Moon Pie General Store!  
We lost two days of sightseeing on this trip. One was spent at R.P. Williams Repair shop, as the ABS light and service engine light came on in the RV while driving in. They ordered a part but it missed both delivery trucks and we went home with out it fixed. Went back the morning we drove to Kentucky and they put the new sensor in but it didn't fix the problem! So back to square one and looking for a new place to take it. 
Second day we spent at Urgent Care Centers. Both of us got bit by a tick and it was embedded into our skin. We pulled them out but wanted to make sure we got it all and that we were fine. The One-Stop Medical Center in Pulaski did a fine job for Nancy, checked the site, drew blood for lab work and gave her an anti-botic. After waiting over 3-hours at the VA Urgent Care for Les, the Dr. barely looked at the site and said keep an eye on it and come back if it gets really red. Gee thanks Doc. 

The road that the campground was on is part of the original Trail of Tears. As we have traveled across the south we have seen many of these signs. The trail remembers and commemorates the survival of the Cherokee people, who were forced to leave their homelands to live in Indian Territory, now Oklahoma. They traveled by foot, horse, wagon and steamboat in 1838-1839. They faced extremely harsh conditions and many died along the trail. At our next stop in Eddyville, KY we will explore it a little more. 

Till we meet again...

Happy Trails to You! 

Tips and things we have learned along the way. 
~ Window re-do makes all the difference
After a year on the road and looking at the same boring colors, Nancy's creative urge could not be resisted any longer. She really wants to paint all the walls but settled for some pop of color on the windows. Covering the window frame was fairly easy and the whole project was less than $30. 
It all started when we pulled the TV out of the bedroom. It never even got plug in the whole year, and was using some valuable storage space. We bought a yard of colorful fabric to make a curtain to hide the storage bins we put in that space. 
Boring before - the brown drape is a black out one made
from the drapes in our house

As always one thing leads to another! 

A yard of fabric was the perfect width for our window, another yard of coordinating fabric and some buttons updated the pillows. 

A number of how-to directions tell you to remove the window frame, which honestly just sounded like a lot of work! 
Here's how we did it. 
1. Measure and cut the fabric to the width and length needed. For the top of the frame we added an extra 6-inches to the length so we could tuck it up inside without having to sew it down and 2-inches to the width for tucking. For the sides we added an extra 3-inches to the width to tuck along the edges and to wrap around the front and 2-inches to the length for wrapping. 
1. Raw edges were sewn down, this step could be done with iron on tape. 
2. The sewn edges were tucked behind the frame with a flat knife and then pulled through from the inside. 
3. Using an upholstery needle we tacked the fabric down on the inside so it wouldn't shift. 
A few hours of work and we were pleased with the results.