Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Indian,Kentucky and Tennessee

As always click on a picture to enlarge it.

We've left Cincinnati and drove over to a little town in south central Indiana, N Vernon. This is normally corn country but not this year, they haven't had any rain in this area since early spring, we drove through miles and miles and miles of cornfields that were just dried up stalks and a lot of the farmers were already plowing the fields under.

We also made a little detour to locate a cemetery that was the location of where Cathy's ancestor (ROUKE) was captured, after walking the cemetery for about 45 minutes she finally found it.

Drove over to the town of Nashville which artist colony, tourist trap, craft center, give us your money type of town. If you've never been there it is quite an experience and a neat place to spend a few hours. We stopped at a sock store and found out that they have a factory about 10 miles out of town and have a tour everyday at 1pm, so we headed out that way and got there with a minute to spare. A single mom started the company "Barefoot Sock Company", when here son was diagnosed with brain cancer she quit her job as a teacher and started this company so that she could spend more time with her son. What started as a small business in their basement is now a large factory which employees around 500 and runs around the clock producing specialty sock (team logos, college's and anything else you can think of). Her son continued and finishes his last three years of high school and his first year of college before he died.

The tour starts right in her office and then takes you through the factory for about an hour and a half before ending in the gift store, but instead of trying to sell you things everybody on the tour gets to pick out a free pair of socks as a souvenir, we grabbed two pair of M GO BLUE for Suz.

This also covered bridge country, we've never seen so many covered bridges that you can still drive across.

Here's a very weird thing that we found out in the middle of nowhere.

Down to Mammoth Cave for a few days of exploring...NOT, right after registering with the camp office I started to pull across the street to the campground and the brake peddle went right to the floor. The seal in the master cylinder had blown, called a garage in town and they sent a mechanic out, he took everything apart and came back the next day with a new one (they had to overnight it) and installed it right there at the campground. It cost $300 but they didn't add any extra charge for coming out and doing it at the campground, so instead of exploring we just floated around in the hot tub for a couple of days.

Back roads across Kentucky and into Tennessee, after 500 hundred switchback turns, up and down 200 mountains you finally find the town of Pall Mall, home town of Sgt Alvin York, we stopped and walked around his old mill for awhile, after crossing the bridge I missed the turn for the visitors center and you can not turn a motor home that's pulling a car around on these back roads. I really wish I had seen it, Found out later that his son is the ranger at the Nation Historic Homestead located there.

Sgt. Alvin York National Historical Site

We pulled into a club resort just south of Crossville, we're only
here for five days since what is there to do in Crossville, turns out that there is about two weeks of stuff to do here, guess we'll be coming back. Even with out getting any rain for the entire year the waterfalls were still pretty, one of the main ones that we went to last spring is bone dry with out any water going over it at all (Falling Creek Falls). The best one was Burgess Falls State Park, there is a trail along the rim of the canyon that takes you to three different falls, and then you can pick up the service road to walk back on. We also found a very pretty falls at Rock Island State Park.

We drove over to Knoxville to go to McKay's Book Store, this is the biggest and best used book store we've ever found, besides there sister story in Chattanooga. We turned in our collection of books we accumulated over the last few months and got a $58.00 credit, we loaded up on a bunch of new books for our winter reading. Instead of taking I-40 back to Crossville we choice to take Hwy 70, more turns and more mountains, but we did find a nice scenic turn off with a great view of the valley.

A little ways farther down the road we found Ozone Falls, a short trail takes you back to the falls, which is a very small creek so there was hardly any water going over the falls. It has a 120 foot drop and would probably be beautiful during the spring with a full flow of water, rather then take the long long long, steep steep steep trail to the bottom (save that for a spring trip) I just crawled up to the edge and held the camera over the side to see how far down it was.

Baseball & Football today…more later.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Witwell, Tenn

Located in the little Town of Whitwell Tenn. in front of the Whitwell Middle School, just about a mile north on Main St from downtown will get you there. They have an audio tour of the site that explains how this project came about that you can listen to, plan on at least 30 to 45 minutes to see this site.

This project was started by one of the history teachers when teaching about the Holocaust, the number of Jews that were exterminated by the Nazis (6 million) was to much for the students to comprehend, so she decided that they would collect paperclips and attempt to reach 6 million so they would realize how many lives were lost. She picked paperclips because after Norway was conquered and the Jews were forced to where the Star of David, other citizens to show their support and solidarity did it by wearing a paperclip on their outer garment. One thing led to another, a website was started and they ended up collecting over 30 million paperclips, along with more then 30 thousand letters and documents. The paperclips are housed in the Memorial and the documents are in the school library.

The Boxcar is one of the original boxcars that was used by the Third Reich to transport Jews to the Concentration Camps, it held any where from 80 to 150 at a time. It was located in Germany and purchased with donations, with the help of the German government and military along with dozens of US corporations the boxcar was moved from Germany to Whitwell Tennessee and placed on display in front of the school. There are displays in the boxcar and 11 million paper clips.

Outside the boxcar is a separate monument for the children of the Holocaust this also houses 11 million paperclips.

The dimensions of the boxcar, which at times housed up to 150 people, are approximately 26 feet long and 9 feet wide, which works out to about 1-½ square feet per person.

Its thing like this that make traveling the back roads so much better then speeding by on the interstates.

Friday, September 14, 2007


Finally found a great campground in the Cincinnati Area, it's about five miles from the I-75/I-275 exchange. It's in the middle of a wooded area on a large lake and close to everything you could ever want. WE sent up the camp and took off for a drive trying to find a historical road marker that Cathy wanted to see, all she knew was the town it was near. This area of Ohio is one of those places where you can't get there from here. Due to the mts. rivers and streams very few roads ago straight from point A to point B. After doing the best that we could we found the little town and started wandering,
good news we stumbled onto an old cemetery,

The Congress Green Cemetery.

What was great about this is that The ninth President of the United States, W.H. Harrison's tomb is right across the street, the tomb is open so you can walk inside and see and see his vault and that of many of his family. Harrison's before becoming president was a great war hero being connected with the battles of: Falling Timber, Fort Meigs, the Treaty of Greeneville and Tippecanoe (Tippecanoe and Tyler Too). Harrison was the first president to come out of Ohio and only served for one month as president before dying.

While we were trying to find our way back to camp I missed a turn in the small town of Cleaves and a 1/4 of a mile down the road Cathy spotted the marker see was looking for, (Boy I'm Good). I'll let you look at the pictures to explain what happen here and let her point out one of her ancestors. We got back in camp in time to see the TIGERS LOSE and THE LIONS WIN, I think we're in Blizzaro World.

Today we took all surface street from the north side of Cincinnati to the south end and other then a little construction it was a pretty easy drive, it almost seemed faster then taking I-75. The reason for the trip was to see some of the city and visit the President Taft House located in the Auburn Hills area of the city. We drove past the University of Cincinnati, which is huge, not on the same scale as UM, or MSU but at least twice the size of Wayne State. Any way we stopped at the Taft National Historical Site.
This is where he was born and lived till his mid 20's, the house was owned by his family until around 1900 when it was sold, at one point it was converted to an apartment house until the 1940 when the historical association bought it and started the restoration, in 1969 it was deeded over to the National Parks System. The have a nice one room information center with a lot of information about the Taft Family and the President, also a 20 minute film on his life, then a ranger takes you on a 30 minute tour of the house. He takes you through the first floor explaining the history of the house and the family then they do something very unusual, they let you tour the upstairs and basement on your own for as long as you want. Taft by the way was the 27th President of the USA and is the only man to be President and Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court, he only served one term as president but was the Chief Justice from 1921 till he resigned in 1930, one month before his death. We ended up being there for about 2 hours before we headed out to find a new addition to our new feature, America's hidden Diners.

It was about a 30-minute drive through some very high-class neighborhoods and also a few nasty neighborhoods; we just lock the doors and remember what or goal is. In the northern suburb of Glendale we found what we were searching for the "Friendly Stop Diner" This is a small place that sits about 20 people at tables and another 12 at the bar, it was 2pm so there were only a few people there. I had done my research on this place and knew exactly what I wanted, a peppercorn burger and side of onion rings, Cathy opened the menu, saw a salmon burger and that was it we were ready to order. The food was pretty damn good and the prices were cheap, all appetizers between 2-4pm are half price, you could stuff yourself on those alone. When we finish with our meal the waitress appeared and asked if we were planning on desert, normally we don't get deserts, but as I said, I did my research. The same person owns the restaurant across the street, which is only open for dinner and is very very high priced, and it is know for their deserts, well Monday through Wednesday they serve the deserts in this little dinner at lunch. With all this knowledge we ordered the apple cinnamon cheesecake, the waitress told us that they were very large pieces and that we would probably want to split one, which we agreed to. When she walked out with the two plates I thought that she forgot that we were splitting one, when I mentioned it to her she said this is spit in half. This was twice the size of any slice of cheesecake I've ever seen and this was a half order, plus it was almost three inches high, gee I almost forgot all deserts are the same price here $2.00, which made this even better. Cathy insisted that we get a second order to take home with us and after promising the waitress that we would return Wednesday we headed back to camp with our precious cargo. I should keep this one a secret but it is located on the SW corner of Sharon and Congress Ave in Glendale, Ohio, 1.4 miles west of I -75 at exit #15

Cathy just got an Email informing her that she was a runner up in the Michigan Lottery Tigers second Chance Drawing. She or should I say Nick & Suz won: a Prize Package consists of an Authentic Collection Home Jersey, MLB Plaque, MLB WindShirt, Two (2) MLB Baseball Caps, MLB Embroidered Baseball Jacket & Two (2) Stadium Seat Cushions, this totals probably around $600.00 worth of stuff.
and now some more Baseball stuff.

Tuesday Today was our day to tour Downtown Cincinatti, but only after our tour of Covington Kentucky because I made a wrong turn. Once we got back on the right side of the river it was staright to the Great American Ballpark, We got there a little early for the 10:30 tour so we spent some time checking out "PETE the Exhibit" the first floor of the stadiums hall of fame is dedicated to Pete, not Pete Rose because according to MLB they can not use the name Pete Rose if it's connected to baseball. To avoid this they have the "Pete Exhibit", the Charley Lounge (Charley Hustle) and the 4192 Club (the number of hits he had when he broke Ty Cobbs record) but nothing that sez Pete Rose. The stadium tour takes about an hour and a half and you get to go to some restricted places in the park, the dugout, on the field, the press box, locker rooms, owners suite, and all the fancy restuarants that you need $200 ticket to get into. We had a really great guide and had a lot of fun seeing all the hidden places, after the tour they turn you loose in the Hall of Fame. Here you have about another hour of stuff to see and do, there are quite a few hands on exhibits, you can get in their bull pen and try your luck at pitching or step iinto a batting cage to see what a 90mph fastball looks like coming at you. But we save the best for last the have an announcers booth that you go into, close the doors and pick what historical event you want to broadcast, once you pick it it comes up on the screen and with both of use sitting at a mike we broadcast Ken Griffy Jr's 500th homerun. Cathy gave it the Chicago White Sox's flair by yelling "You can put it on the Booooooard" and I did my Harry Kerry by just repeating "HOLY COWS" about 6 times. We were both laughing at how bad we sounded, when we stepped out of the booth one of the workers looked over at us and said hey, you guys sounded pretty good, we both stopped dead and I said something about it being a sound proof room. He just smiled and yelled HOLY COWS, we then found out that there are speakers outside the room so everybody can enjoy it. Another place we can never return to. We took a little walk along the waterfront, their working on it but they have a long way to go to catch up with Chattanooga. No great restaurants today just Buffilo Wild Wings.

Pete doing his famous Head first slide.

Pete's Glove during his rookie year

Cathy in the Press Box

Visitors Dugout

Last ball used in the 1919 World Series with the Chicago BLACK SOX

Jim on the third base line