Sunday, February 22, 2015

Pickle Barrel In Chattanooga Is a Unique Experience With a Tasty Burger

Hiking trails and scenic wonders are not the only things I search for in my spare time.  I am always looking for a good Cheeseburger.  I heard that there was a unique bar and grill in downtown Chattanooga called the Pickle Barrel.  The story goes that the place was started by a bunch of hippies 30 or so years ago and that they got run out of town for some reason. 

The Grill got picked up by the current owner and he has been operating it ever since.  It is truly a unique experience.  The Pickle Barrel is at the narrow end of a flat iron building.  So the place is shaped like a slice of pie.  Over the years various people have inscribed their marks in the wood furnishing and structural elements.  At some point the owners applied a finish to these signatures and they have become a permanent part of the landscape.  Everywhere you look is visually interesting.  The best part of the experience was the burger.  It was great.  

  The deck on the second floor looks like an amazing place to spend a late summer afternoon or evening.  I suspect that the patrons of the bar are mostly students from the local University.  While I was having lunch I noticed that the Bar provides live entertainment on occasion.

I was at the bar in February and the trees were bare of leaves.  I hope to return in the summer months and sit on the upper deck and watch the world go by.  Sounds like the sweet life to me.  If you are spending a little time in Chattanooga, you should put the Pickle Barrel on your list of places to visit.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Mabbit Springs, Signal Mountain Tennessee

Just recently I took another hike in the Chattanooga area.  This one was on Signal Mountain.  The place is called Mabbit Springs.  The walk starts deep in a Signal Mountain neighborhood where you pick up a trail that leads you to a overlook at the site of a water fall.  Near the beginning of the trail there is a sign that explains some of the history of the Area.  Apparently a man named Mabbit moved to the area in the 1800 and purchased 400 acres because he believed that the waters from the spring would help his ailing son. 

The trail is well defined and follows the creek from the spring until it join another and continues down to the site of the water fall.  

 I went on the hike in the first part of February and the trees were bare of their leaves.  I plan to return to the area in the summer and experience the area with it full complement of foliage. 

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Red Clay State Park Tennessee, Trail of Tears Cherokee

Cherokee Government Meeting House
Typical Cherokee period Farm House
I am spending some time in southeastern Tennessee and while I am here I am taking in some of the sights.  I like history and have always been interested in the American Indian story.  Part of that story is the manner in which the American Indians were treated by the federal government.  In the early 1800's the Cherokee owned and occupied large areas in Tennessee, Georgia and North Carolina.  After 1838 they were completely dispossessed of their land.  The exodus and journey to their new home is referred to at the Trail of Tears.  Part of this story took place at Red Clay in Tennessee.  The traditional center of Cherokee government had been in Georgia.  The State made laws that made it illegal for the Cherokee to meet in any kind of government body for any purpose other than signing away the rights to their land.  So they moved the government to Red Clay.  This site is now a State Park.  There is a visitors center that tries to tell the story of the Cherokee's time at Red Clay.  There are exhibits that include replicas of the governmental meeting house, a typical Cherokee farm and sleeping houses.  

Hiking Trail Sign
Located at the site is a walking trail that are an easy one hour trek through a wooded area at the park.  From a historical point of view there is nothing to see on the hike.  It is still a nice walk.  There is a spring on the property that is called Red Clay Spring.  It is next to where the Meeting house was located and a creek runs off into the meadow beyond the site. 
 There is also a creek on the hike through the woods.  I find creeks and other water ways to be soothing and can loose track of time sitting of the bank watching the water flow by.  I din't get the name of the creek.

I like log cabins and find their construction methods interesting.  I enjoyed studying how these homes were built.  It is interesting how the ends of the logs were dovetailed together to hold the structure fast.  The chinking is modern.  I have no idea what they used in the 1830's.  The park is a pleasant half day trip.  The visitors center has a short film and many exhibits that discuss the eviction of the Cherokee from their homelands.  Also included is  information on the nature of the Cherokee government.  I was unaware that the Cherokee were a democratic people and that they had adopted a constitution.  I must admit that I feel a little remiss in never taking the time to learn more about the story of the Trail of Tears.  It certainly was not one of the finer moments of our American History.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

A Must Have Temperature Gauge For All RVers

     I have discovered that being handy is quite an assets to possess.  I began my career of being handy working on cars.  A long time ago when they were expensive I got an infrared laser point thermometer for working on cars.  I would use it for any number of things.  If my car was running ruff, I would get the thermometer out and check the temperature of the exhaust manifold for each cylinder.  The temperature would all be about the same if the cylinders were all firing the same.  If one was low, then I had a problem with that cylinder.  When I started RVing, I did other things like check tire temperatures.  A hot tire could mean low air pressure and a potential blowout.   


I also began using it for other things.  I would check the temperature of the water coming out of the water heater.   I even used it when I cooked on the grill.  There are really all kinds of uses for one of these.   The reason I bring all this up is that these thermometers have come down in price.  Many years ago I paid $70 for mine.  Now you can get one for about $20.  At that price it just makes sense to have one for your RV.  While you are stopped for fuel, you can walk around your rig and check the tire temperature to see if anything is overheating.  It works out to be a quick and simple way of preventing blow outs.  

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Preparing For Breakdown, An RVer Needs To Look Ahead. Rescue Tape

There is absolutely no doubt about it. When I start out on a trip, I plan for the breakdown.  Its not that I have a lemon of an RV.  It is 55 years old.  But even if it were new, a breakdown could still happen.  I carry a full set of tools, but tools only get you so far.  If a radiator hose bust, I certainly could take it off.  I still would be stuck until I got another hose.  I cannot carry every possible part that might break.  One of the things that I do carry is self-fusing silicon tape.  This stuff is amazing and I would not leave home without it.  The most obvious use is to seal a broken hose.  It can be used for other things, such as electrical wire repair.  The brand that I carry is Rescue Tape.  It comes in a number of colors and works amazingly well.  I could tell you how strong it is or how many psi it will withstand.  All that probably would not mean much to you.  What would mean a lot it when you bust a radiator hose, you wrap this stuff around it and it makes it so your RV can be driven.  This stuff is insurance against being stuck and losing time and money while getting the RV repaired.  

While I was up in Yellowstone this past summer working at a RV park, we had regular reports of someone busting a waterline inside their motor home.    I lent out my tape on more than one occasion.  Instead of having to go without running water, these RVers got right back to their vacations.  Anyway, you get the idea.  You don't have to click on the link here and go to Amazon to get you some.  But if you do, I will get a small referral fee.  Just a few cents.   Either way, get yourself some.

motor home break down repair emergency road side assistance do it yourself diy help on the road service, rv repair , rv maintenance, 

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Cumberland Trail, North Chickamauga Creek Gorge Chattanooga Tennessee

I my continued effort to explore the nooks and crannies of the Chattanooga area, I stumbled upon the Cumberland Trail.  In this area the trail goes through the Chickamauga Creek Gorge. I understand that there was once a project to create a 300 mile long trail system across the State of Tennessee.
The trail head is located just a short distance from the city of Chattanooga.  I was on the trail in late January on a cold and rainy day.  The leaves were off the trees.  This allows a good view of the gorge and the creek that runs through it.

There are a number of options for hiking in the area.  We started out on a trail that followed the creek up the gorge. It is called the Hogskin Loop Trail.  The walking was easy on the first part of the trail.  The waterway was called a creek but river would just as well apply. 

The water was probably a little higher that usual due to the rainy weather over the last couple of days.  The creek water was crystal clear even though there had been a recent rain.

The trail began an accent up the side of the mountain.  The trail is clearly marked by white blocks painted on the trees along the way.  The tail ascends the side of the mountain until it reached a closed road that once lead to a coal mine.   The trail continues along the road to the closed mine and then a little further.

The remain of a foundation associated with the coal mine can still be seen.

There are numerous water falls and cascades all along the trail.  We did not spend the entire day hiking in the area.  We spent three hours up and back on the Hogskin trail.  This included a stop to enjoy lunch.  I can imagine going back to this area over and over to explore all the various trails.  It also looks like it would be good fishing.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Tapping into the imagination that creates my dreams

     I don't know about you, but I have the most outlandish dreams.  In my waking hours, my imagination is never as inventive as in my dreams.  Not all of my dreams are welcome.  Bad dreams do occur and fortunately they are not that frequent.  Mostly my dreams are strange and unusual.  In my waking hours, I never think like that.  Since these are my dreams, I know that I created them and therefor I am capable of thinking them up.
     I try and write them down, but for some reason I often forget them before I can collect myself in the morning.  If I do not get right up and sit down and record the dream I will forget it.  I have always written.  Recently I published a book and put it up online for sale.  It is nowhere near as creative or strange as the dreams that populate my sleep.  
   I wonder if there is a way to create a link between my sleep imagination and my waking hours.  If I could tap into this creative reservoir, I could come up with some very interesting stories.  There was a time when I could think about something and tell myself what to dream about.  Everyone says that dreams are a window into your subconscious mind.  The question then becomes, do I really want to open a direct link to my subconscious mind.  I'm going to have to think about that for a while.  Maybe I will even dream about it.