Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Damn the day Night Shades & the Torpedos

We started out the day looking for a Jo-Ann's Fabric store to try and find some string to re-string the damn Day/Night shades. I love these things when they work but they sure are a PIA when one of the strings break. Ours break so often that the small ones from start to finish, I can have them done in under an hour but the big six footers always seem to take ten times longer. It's just a pain working on some thing that long and using 4 strings that are twice as long.

By the time we found a Jo-Ann's then did lunch we noticed that we were only about a five minute drive from the town of Farragut, named after Admiral Farragut. Their city hall has a nice little museum in it, about 40% is dedicated to the town and surrounding area, the rest is to the Admiral who was born here.

They have made a few changes since the last time we were here about five years ago.

New in 2010 is the nice little park in front, displaying a statue of the Admiral and a couple of cannons off of two of the ships he commanded.

Entrance to the museum.

I had forgotten about the cigars, but I remember seeing there around the house when I was a kid.  Back when smoking was still proper.

They have quite a few items that belonged to the admiral and a lot more relating to his career.  
Here are a few amazing facts about the Admirals life and career, shortly after his mothers death he was adopted by a family friend Navy Captain David Porter, the Admiral was born James Glasgow Farragut but later changed it to David to honor Porter.  His career and life are pretty much the same since in 1810 he was appointed as a Midshipman on the USS Independence, He was NINE years old.

During the Civil War he captured New Orleans, opening up the Mississippi for the North, but he was most remembered for is the Battle of Mobile Bay where the smoke was so thick he had to climb up the rigging of the USS Hartford in order to see the battle.  It was from here that he shouted out the famous words "Damn the Torpedoes Full Speed Ahead"

Admiral Farragut was the first person in US history to hold the ranks of  Rear Admiral, Vice Admiral and Admiral.  He died in 1870 and is buried in the Bronx, New York.

His desk from the USS Hartford and cash box that he carried throughout his career.

Just something we found interesting.

After about an hour in the museum we talked with the Docent for about ten minutes and asked were the Admirals birth place was in relation to the museum.  He gave us some direction to it but then said 'Good Luck", the property is owned by a developer and was being divided into lots when the historical society stepped in and tried to stop him.  So now it's tied up in court and the gate to the property has been locked since then.  He told us we could drive by but we wouldn't be able to see anything.

It was only four miles so why not take a look, surprise! surprise!!!! when we got there the gate was not only unlocked, it was wide open.  So we pulled in, didn't see anybody around so we walked back to the waters edge and found the foundation of the house he was born in.

Foundation and sketch of his birthplace.

Monument placed by the D.A.R.

A pretty good day, but I never did get those Damn Day/Night shades fixed.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Knoxville Zoo, again

We decided to make a quick stop at the Knoxville Zoo today since it's free with our membership, or at least we thought it was going to be quick. All of the main roads leading into the zoo were closed due to flooding so after 20 minutes of driving around and a phone call we managed to find a small side street that got us to the parking lot. The place was packed today, we had to park about quarter of a mile from the entrance. Fortunately the two exhibits that we wanted to see were pretty close to the entrance so we got to those real quick then just spent about an hour wandering around enjoying the weather and watching the faces on all the little kids.
Just like last year they are still in the middle of re-doing the zoo, so a lot of exhibits are still under construction and the animals are off exhibit, hopefully they will get going and get all this work done in the near future.

This was the main guy we came to see, the Red Panda, Knoxville Zoo is one of the leaders in breeding this little fellow.  This guy was walking around and climbing on things non stop for the 30 minutes that we watch him, I could have stayed there for a lot longer.
This other guy never moved from his deep sleep.

And this one was bonus for us, a white or albino Alligator, in all the zoo's we have visited we have never seen one of this before.  This one comes from a nest that normally produces 2 to 4 whites a year,  because of their color they very rarely make it through their first year.

March Madness, time to watch Michigan upset Duke

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Road Trip

Wandered around some of the back roads until we got to the Lincoln Museum at the Lincoln University in Harrogate, TN. The museum is on the campus and run by the university.  The museum has some unique Lincoln items, but they were setting up a new exhibit on the second floor which meant that half of the museum was closed so it only took about 40 minutes to see the first floor.

The Lincoln Museum, brought to you by Col. Sanders, that's right the KFC guy.

After leaving here we drove up Pinnacle Drive which is part of the Cumberland Gap Nation Park. Vehicles over 20 ft long are NOT allowed on the drive and after about the second hairpin turn you understand why. I think we counted 3017 turns to reach the top, maybe we miss counted but there were a lot. The last few hundred feet you have to walk to get to the Pinnacle Lookout. From up here you get a pretty good view of the countryside.

The City of Middlesboro, KY.  Notice how nice and flat it is, this is because of a meteor strike millions of years ago.  The city was built in the three mile wide crater, one of the few crater cities in the USA.  This also helped form the approach to the Cumberland Gap which allowed settlers to past west.

View of the city of Cumberland from the Pinnacle Lookout.

While walking to the lookout you pass from Kentucky into Virginia.

One foot in Virginia and one in Kentucky, or as John Denver would say, "One foot in Heaven and one foot in Hell"

Click to enlarge- View of Virginia and Tennessee, Kentucky was on the other side.
We found out the what ever goes up must come down, and it was just as exciting coming down the road as it was going up. We drove over to the city of Cumberland and walked around the downtown area.

Remains of an old Iron Furnace, 

Inside looking out.

Small stream behind the Furnace.
Enlarge picture on the right and the little grey speck in the middle of the ridge is Pinnacle Point.

Downtown Cumberland.

After that it was a nice easy drive on back roads back to camp.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

St Patty's Day

We totally forgot all about today being St Patrick's Day, until we pulled into a little cemetery and spotted this stone at the front gate.

Green Beer for everyone

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Coal Mining stuff

Leach Cemetery
We got back to Knoxville Saturday night, Sunday the weather was great but we were to tired to do anything other then sit around and rest. Monday we were ready to go but it rained all day and it's rained most of today. Cabin fever was setting in so we took a few back roads into Clinton to do a some shopping, on the way there came across another small cemetery with a bunch of graves from the Coal Creek/Fraterville Mine Explosion.

Last year we found another little cemetery that had a ton of graves from this explosion.

This cemetery is bigger and there is a large monument with all the names of the victims engraved on it and then the graves themselves are in two circles that surround the monument.

The 2 closer stones are part on the inner circle, the ones in the background are part of the outer circle.
 While we were there a Sheriff's car pulled up behind ours, I had him blocked and went over to tell him I would just be a minute. We got talking and I mention that I was a retired officer and  that I thought it was pretty good that they got back to these little cemeteries to patrol them. That's when he point to a tree about 100 feet away and told us that they found a body hanging from it yesterday around 5pm. Glad it rained yesterday or we might have been the ones to find the body.

 Were going to try and find a map next week to see if we can track down some more mining sites.

A few pictures of the back roads on the way home.

That's Coal Creek on the right, with all the rain everything is running very high.

The blooms are starting to come out.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

S*#@ I found on the internet

Here are a few things that I have found on the internet that are pretty useful, take a look and you might find something you can use.       
There are a couple of programs here, one is HD Daily Journal.
As you can tell from the title it is a daily journal, each entry lets you display four pictures, it has search options and you can download it free and try a full version for 15 days. The cost to buy is 9.95.

Another one on this site is just for Rver's, RV Companion.
This one does so much that I copied the features from the web page.
Browse or use the Advanced Search for over 13,000 camps in the U.S. and Canada.
View extensive details for each camp, including GPS coordinates.
Send email with pictures to family and friends.
Keep maintenance records.
Keep track of what's in your basement compartments.
Fill the Address Book with your family and friends.
Keep a daily journal of your travels with pictures.
Easily keep track of daily expenses during a trip.
Store your favorite photos of each camp and it's local events.
Store unlimited trip photos.
Keep notes for each camp you visit.
Easily access all features by just clicking on a sign board.
Use the handy digital alarm or the calendar, and help is just a click away.
Manually or automatically check for program updates.
Get a map, print directions, weather, TV listings for any camp with one click.
Browse the Web with the built-in web browser.
Write a letter home with the Letter Writer
The Game Center includes 6 games to keep the kids occupied.
Free upgrades for life.

This one also gives you a free 15 day trial and cost $29.95

One of the really helpful items in this program is the basement compartment inventory.
You can enter up to ten basement compartments and list what is in each one, then when you are looking for that small item you can just do a search and it will tell you right where it is. This alone is a great time saver and worth the price of admission.

They are both easy downloads and free to try for 15 days, so give them a look.


Scroll down to Extra POI Editor, this program has a little bit of a learning curve to it but once you get it down you will use it all the time. It allows you to make your own POI files and load them to your Garmin.
I keep this program open when I'm researching a new area that we are going to, and when I find something of interest, site, museum, restaurant, or what ever I place all the info in this program and make a file for that area. Then when we get to that area I use the program below to add it to my custom files on the GPS and were ready to go.
You will need to play with this program for a few hours to get use to it, but after you learn it, it's a breeze.
and get POIloader, this program transfers any or all of your POI files from your computer to your garmin. This one is much quicker to learn.

To find POI files to down load free go to
a little warning on this, the POI files are made up by members and are not always accurate for location, on more then one occasion we have gone on a wild goose chase and been 3 to 5 miles from where we should have been trying to locate a store, but most have been right on.
We use Microsoft's Streets and Trips and these files can be loaded onto the map so you can see where everything is.

DISCLAIMER TIME: I have no association with any of these company's, I just use these programs and thought that you might find them useful.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

March Madness

Our March Madness is loading up the car and driving to the kids house in SE Michigan for the grand-daughters Birthday.  This year it was cold but nice and sunny all the way up there but after that it was all down hill.


This is the grill of our car and thats ICE hanging down.

Ice coated windshield

You can see the dry spot where I was parked, I moved the car back about 15 feet so my daughter could get here car out of the garage.  When I went out later the car had slid down the drive and half way into the street.

Schools were closed so a few of the neighborhood kids went home and got their ice skates on.


Three to four inches of fresh snow.

View out the back door.

No BBQ tonight.

Maybe the rest of the week will work out better.