Saturday, April 18, 2009

Superman,Paducah,Paris and more

Our time in Nashville is over and we moved on to Pirates Cove near the Land between the Lakes area, we just purchase a TomTom Gps device last week and I'm still learning how to program it. This trip it got us to within two miles of the park and then it put us on a side street that was barely wide enough for the rig, so I guess my learning curve needs a little more bending. I keep calling it a Pom Pom by accident since that was my nickname in high school, this got me thinking about all the different nicknames that you pick up through life.

As a kid, around the house and neighborhood I was always called Jimmie James, in high school it became PomPom, this is because one of the cheer leaders snuck up behind me and smacked me in the head with her PomPom's (get your mind out of the gutter) and screamed Pom Pom as she did it, so that stuck for the rest of my time there. My first real job was working on the Tug boats and barges on the Detroit river, at the end of my first day the boss slapped me on the back and said, we'll see ya in the morning ZIGGY. WOW first day on the job and I got a nickname, I just figured it was after the comic strip since I was so damn funny. A week later we took one for the work boats out to the big barge and after taking a few steps onto the barge I heard the boss yell,Hey Ziggy, I turned around to see what he wanted and he was on his knees scratching the ears of a dog (the company mascot). So until I moved on four years later anytime some one yelled Ziggy the dog and I raced to see what they wanted.

On to the Detroit Police Department, during the academy the instructors had many nicknames for everyone which I won't print. Sometime during the second year that I was assigned to a precinct house I took a position that had been held by an officer (for many years) whose real given name was Jimmie, well with a James replacing a Jimmie you can guess what happen, I was Jimmie for the rest of my career, well most of the time. When the department started hiring women for street patrol and I got to train a few at the precinct. Late in the first year with the women, a few of us where in the kitchen when one of the nice young ladies referred to me as “Asshole”, turns out that I had a secret behind the back nickname, so until I retired I had two nicknames depending on the gender.

Now that I'm retired, old fat and gray, I've gotten another nickname, This one I'm going to keep and take to the grave with me “Grandpa”

Whoa! Got a little sidetracked there, lets see where was I, asshole, police, dog, pompom, TomTom, oh yah we just got into camp at Pirates Cove. This is probably the strangest campground we've been to, when you leave the office and drive down to the camp sites you have to make sure that you don't turn on the the runway, yes runway. There is a very small, narrow runway for single engine planes that is lined with houses which all have a pole barn big enough to use as a hanger, we haven't heard any planes yet but maybe this week end. The park in broken up into about five areas that are all hidden around in the various neighborhoods, we got one that's right on the water. Since everything is spread out, the bathhouse is located in the middle and is a ¼ drive.

We took a little drive today north to Paducah, Kentucky, every time I hear the name Paducah I think of a tough rugged looking dock worker with the stub of a cigar hanging out of the corner of his mouth and a “MOM” tattoo on his arm. Anyway we didn't have any idea of what we would find, turns out that this is one of the cleanest towns we've been in, the historic downtown area and the river front were spotless. They have a large flood wall along the river that is covered with murals that give you a history of the town, we found out some fascinating thing about this town, which you can see in the pictures that follow.

Found another Whispering Giant to add to our collection, we had to walk into the park since it's still closed from all the trees down from the big ice storm in February. This giant is in excellent condition and seems to be well cared for by the city.

Crossed the Ohio River into Metropolis Illinois, DA DA DAAAAAA, DA DA DA DA DA DAAAAA, you guessed it Metropolis home town of SUPERMAN, we'll visit with the man of steel after we tour Fort Massac.

Fort Massac dates back to 1757 and the French-Indian War, at the end of the war the Chickasaws burnt the fort to the ground, this area was used by George Rogers Clark during the Revolutionary War. In 1794 George Washington ordered a new fort to be built at this location, this fort was destroyed by the New Madrid earthquake in 1811. It was rebuilt again in time to see use in the War of 1812 only to be abandoned in 1814, a caretaker was left to watch over the fort but shortly after the military left the caretaker dismantled the fort and sold the wood to the locals to build their homes with. This site again saw service when it was used as a training center for the Civil War until a measles epidemic in 1862 claimed many lives. In 1903 The Daughters of the American Revolution convinced the state to purchase the property and it became Illinois' first State Park, in 1971 a recreation of the 1794 fort was built next to the location of the original so that archaeological digs could continue in the future.

Metropolis, just about everything in this town has something to do with Superman, bathrooms are labeled Clark Kent or Lois Lane, there are cutouts all over town where yoou can have your picture taken with the man of steel, and right in front of the City Hall you will find this.


Day Two at the LBL's

Just a lazy drive down the Trace to the city of Dover and Fort Donaldson, Fort Donaldson was the site of the first major victory by the Union during the Civil War. The South was winning this battle and should have been victorious except for a few blunders made by the politician that had been appointed to General. After making these mistakes he did what any politician would do, he snuck away to a ship waiting on the river and made good his escape while leaving the troops behind. Nathan Bedford Forrest also decided that he was not ready to be taken prisoner, but he mounted up on his horse along with 700 of his cavalrymen and rode out the front gate of the fort, for some reason they were not detected by the Union troops and just rode off to fight another day.

Here's something that Cathy spotted as we were driving through the park.

Although when Cathy and I were dating, I never promised to take her to Paris, today I decided to do just that, Paris Tennessee that is, but once we both saw the Eiffel Tower we decided that Paris was no big deal and we went home to Pirates Cove to watch our beloved Tigers lose another one.

We saw a small sign on a back road that said " B-29 Memorial", well when you see a sign like that you just have to follow the arrow, which we did for about two miles till the road dead ended and we saw another sign that said the same thing but pointing the other way. we decided to split the difference and right around the midway point we spotted a little cemetery back in the woods and sure enough that's where we found this. Click on the Picture and give it a read.
Then scroll down for the rest of the story.

On the night of July 1, 1945 the B-29 was on a training mission and had just finished refueling at Nashville and was flying into a thunderstorm, half the crew was in the front of the ship and the other half was in the rear, Elias, the sole survivor was walking back throught the plane to go to the bathroom. He was in the center of the plane when it took a lightning strike at that point and slit the ship in two.
He was sucked from the aircraft and said that when he came to he was falling in the dark so he yank on his rip cord and drifted to earth, he did see the ship falling in flames. When he hit land, he had no idea where he was at so he just covered up with his parachute and waited for daylight when he was found by some local towns people.
The Army then showed up from nearby Fort Campbell and for security reasons started hushing up the entire story.

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