Saturday, March 21, 2009

Graves, Castles and stuff

Did a little wandering around the area on some back roads today and found the Silverdale Confederate Cemetery, it's only about 150 feet of off I-75 but if you don't know where to look it's a hard one to find. There are 155 graves here and they were originally marked with wooden markers but over the years they have rotted out stolen or gone missing in one way or another, so now there are 155 unmarked graves located here.

A few miles south of Chattanooga on a back road and we found this marker along side the railroad tracks. This is how far Andrews Raiders made it with the steam engine “The General” when they tried stealing it during the Civil War.

Click on any picture to enlarge

Time for a genealogy road trip over the mountain to the city of Winchester, Tennessee some of Cathy's ancestors settled in this area and she wants to spend the day in the basement of the county court house looking at old land records. This means that I get to run around town trying to find something to do, I found something really great.

The Old Jail Museum of Winchester, this is the third time that I've tried to visit this place and it's always been closed, but as I pulled up today there were cars in the parking lot and the front door was open. Turns out that it was all the volunteers doing the spring cleaning so they could open the museum next month, I told them this was my third try and that I would try again next year. As I was starting the car to leave one of the ladies knocked on the window and said that if I didn't mind the dust or stepping over a few thing I was welcome to walk through the museum. So for the next three hours Bo (one of the volunteers) and I wandered around the museum, Bo was born and raised in Winchester an knew the history front and back so I got a really good tour. I found out that Dinah Shore's family owned the department store downtown on the square and that she wasn't a blond until she left Winchester, that Franklin County at the start of the Civil War wanted to join the Confederacy but Tennessee was neutral, so they seceded from the state and that Andrew Jackson was a Circuit Court Judge here.

Ruth another volunteer who is 88 years old, told me that her mother was the school teacher in the one room school house, before the county built a school system, and that a couple of times she had over 100 kids in the school house and that her Grandfather rode with Nathan Bedford Forrest during the Civil War. Another interesting story she told was of a German lady the migrated here from Germany, married and raised here family on their farm, When WW II started since she was born in Germany, she was placed under house arrest for the duration of the War, she was 85 years old when the war started.

Bo gave me a few things to look for in the area so after I picked up Cathy we headed for the back roads, The first thing we found was the Falls Mill but is was closing time so well do this one another time. Across the highway and down about five miles of back roads we found the grave site of Polly Crockett, wife of Davie, they were in this area for a short period after he returned from the Creek Wars when she died.
Back in town we found the Hundred Oak Castle, which was badly damaged by a fire and is in the process of being restored, we could only get close enough for a distant picture of the south tower. Link to pictures before the fire.

Driving from Winchester to Monteagle this is the view of the Sir Franklin Templeton Library, (the wall street guy) he was also from Winchester.

We took old US 41 home and found a State Park just south of Tracy City that had about 200 of these old Civil War era coke ovens.

Another 15 miles or so and we found Foster Falls, there were about 5 couples loading up there backpacks and getting ready to hike down into the canyon for a night of camping, it's going down to the low 30's tonight, I'll take the motor home and heater.

We figure that next year we're going to have to spend a week or two in this area just to see everything, including the 16000 acre campus of the University of the South, built right after the Civil War, they tried to build it during the war but those Dam Yankees kept burning it down.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Books and Battles

One of the reasons we love Tennessee is McKay's Used Book store, they have stores in Chattanooga, Knoxville and Nashville. We've been known to drive out of our way to stop at one of the stores. The trick we found is that as we travel around we stop at a lot of Salvation Army and Goodwill stores to pick up our books for 50 cents to a dollar, once we read them we put them in a box and save them for trade in. The first time we stopped at McKay's , about five years ago, we had about 50 paperbacks, you drop them off at the trade in counter when you go in and the give you a numbered receipt. When you see your number on the board you go back and they exchange the receipt for either cash or a voucher to purchase books with (the voucher is worth more then double the cash), the first voucher we got was for about $55.00. The vouchers are good forever and at any store and if you end up with more then one they will combine them for you, our last voucher was for over $89.00. We'll use most of that before we leave here stock piling books, then we save everything again until we get to the next one. We've probably gotten over $700 worth of books from them over the years and never spent a penny out of pocket, other then 50 cents or a dollar per book at the flea markets and such. If you love books like we do be prepared to spend at least an hour there, probably more because they are huge stores.

Today we went for a little drive along Missionary Ridge, this is the site of one of the major battles in this area during the Civil War, it's a very narrow winding road that as the name sez follows the ridge from one end to the other. It's a beautiful drive with some fantastic homes and very few places to park. The neat thing is that since the battle took place here and it's a National Park Service area there are monuments, markers, statues and signs everywhere along the street, which means in everybody's front yard. With so few parking areas it's very hard to stop and see them or get pictures. The NPS tried to place any canons exactly as they would have been during the battle, we passed one house that had two canons in the front yard, one on each side of the walk and pointed right at the front door, makes getting the morning paper a little strange.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Detour to Michigan

Well we made it to Michigan and back, I would say that we made it through the cold weather up there but it was 14 degrees when we left Chattanooga and it was 38 degrees when we got to Michigan.

Our grand daughter Rachel had her 10th birthday party and it was a big success, she got everything that a ten year old girl needs, tons of American Girl stuff and a new PINK Schwinn Mountain Bike. The day we got the new bike the temperature had dropped back down into the teens and she was a little peeved at us because we wouldn't go bike riding with her.

Our prize was that we had ordered 9 boxes of Girl Scout cookies and they were waiting for us in a box in the hall except by the time we got to them there were a few boxes missing. Rach sold the most in her troop and gets some kind of prize for that, I think maybe the fact that her dad took the order forms with him to his Jennie Craig meeting might have helped put her over the top.

Rachel woke up early on her birthday around 4:00am, not because of excitement but to heave her guts out. So she got to spend the next three days home on the couch with grandma & grandpa, don't know how sick she really was the second two days but she did get to spend them with us.

The ten days seemed to fly by and we were on our way back to Chattanooga, wasn't a bad drive until we got south of Lexington, then we hit some snow flurries which turned to rain, and it didn't stop all the way to Chattanooga and then it still didn't stop, not for three days. It's going to be sunny and warmer for the rest of the week now so hopefully we'll get out and do something to avoid going stir crazy.

We spotted a new restaurant today, at least for us, Five Guys Burgers and Fries, and decided to give it a try. Wow, this was one of the best burgers we can remember having and the fries were the best, absolutely the best. If you spot one give it a try, we're hoping to spot another one later this week.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Our drive across Alabama

We left the Gulf Shores area and did a little drive up to Montgomery. We had planned on visiting the Confederate White House, but just like the last time we were here they are still working on the restoration, it's suppose to be open around the end of March. So the only thing we managed to accomplish was to find just about the best restaurant in Montgomery. Martin's Family Restaurant, it's located at Carter Hill Rd and Narrow Lane Rd, at the east end of a little strip mall on the south side of the street. They offer a meat and three, with about 4 different meats and 8 to 10 veggies, they start you out with a basket of the best corn bread biscuits that we've ever had and then they give you three times as much food as you can eat. Everybody told us to save room for pie but that would have been impossible, even for us. What I noticed was everybody ate about ½ their lunch, then a little bit of their dessert and the rest went home with them for dinner. We had the fried chicken and none of it made it out the door as a matter of fact we had a hard time making it out the door after all that food.

Next stop Scottsboro, home of the Unclaimed Baggage Store, you can get anything from ear buds for your Ipod to a 42 inches flat screen TV, Scottsboro is also famous for their tomato pie, but we had a big lunch when we got into camp so we past on it this time.

The drive up here was interesting, just as we got into Birmingham a monster thunder storm moved in with some really strong winds, we were on I-59 and and the traffic that was moving and not sitting on the should was only doing about 25 M.P.H. We were lucky and it cleared up right before we started crossing the mountain ridge on the back roads, by the time we pulled into Parnell Creek Campground the sun was out but the temperature had dropped about 20 degrees.

When we woke up Sunday to get ready for our drive to Chattanooga we looked out the window and there was an inch and a half of SNOW on the car and motor home, the last time there was this much snow on the motor home was our second day of full timing when we had to over night in Kentucky and that was 1997.

Now we have one day to get everything ready to leave the rig and drive the car up to Michigan for Rachel's big double digit birthday, that's 10 for you public school educated kids. Well be there for 8 to 10 days then hopefully when we get back down here it will have warmed up some, it's going down to 20 tonight.