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Saturday, April 18, 2015

Misty Mountain Morning in Tennessee



It is sometimes hard to capture an image or view just as the eye see it with a camera.  This morning I was driving down Signal Mountain and the sun had not chased away the morning mist.  The view gave me the impression of an ocean lapping up again coastal islands. You should have been there.  It was amazing.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Constant Vigilance, Hell Froze Over and Pigs Were Flying Around The Parking Lot.

     Today I was sitting in my favorite restaurant where I do most of my writing.  I have been working on my next book.  I am friendly with the staff and they ask and I told them about Constant Vigilance.  I guess it got around that I was a writer and what I have written.  Today someone came up to me with a copy of Constant Vigilance and ask me to sign it for them.  
    Immediately I checked to see if pigs were flying around the parking lot or if Hell had frozen over.  I never would have imagined that I would be approached by a stranger and ask for an autograph.  At least not this early in the process.  I have been working on promoting Constant Vigilance and have had minor success.  The hardest part being a writer in not writing a book, it is selling the book.
     The book has been up on Amazon and Barnes and Noble since September 2014.  It is also up loaded to Smashwords which distribute the book to dozens of Ebook retailers.  You can also go into most brick and mortar book stores and order a print copy if you want.
     It will probably be along time before this happens again.  I must say that it was a nice feeling to meet someone that liked the book and wanted me to sign their copy.    

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Poe's Tavern, Historic Fake, Worthy Of Obscurity

While wandering around the southeast corner of Tennessee I have seen references to a local historical site called Poe's Tavern.  Naturally my mind went to Edgar Allen Poe and I wondered what connection this area had to the famous writer.  I imagined that Poe was traveling through the area and stopped and wrote one of his famous works or something.  

The other days while driving through Soddy-Daisy, I saw a sign that directed travelers to Poe's Tavern.  I stopped trying to figure out how a place could get a name like Soddy-Daisy and turned to check out Poe's Tavern.  I must confess some disappointment.  Poe's Tavern has absolutely nothing to do with Edgar Allen Poe.  And its not actually the real Poe's Tavern.

As the story goes, sometime in the early 1800's a guy name Hasten Poe came to this part of the country.  The previous owners of the land, the Cherokee Nation, had been run off by the government and Poe got a land grant of some 600 acres.  He prospered and became the largest slave owner in the area.  Hasten's tavern became the county seat for Hamilton County when it was formed.  It was also the first court house.

The problem is that Poe's Tavern was torn down in 1911 and it was located somewhere else.  The current Poe's Tavern is a reproduction based on a best guess of what it might have looked like.  Poe's Tavern was disappointing on many levels.  Some guy who was given land stolen from the Cherokee, made a bunch of money on the backs of slave labor gets his name etched in history?  Really.  We can't do better than this.  The only thing that Poe merits is to be forgotten.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Exploring The Chattanooga RV Show

A couple of days ago I  went to the Chattanooga Super RV Show at the Chattanooga Convention Center.  There were two things that struck me about the show.  First, I spent a lot of years living in a major metropolitan area.  A super RV show would have 500 to 1000  RV's on display.  At the Chattanooga show there were maybe 100.  So not too much to look at.

The second thing that struck me was that out of the 100 or so RVs there were only about 10 with motors in them.  The rest were trailers of one sort or another.  I don't have anything against trailer, I  just prefer Class A motorhomes.   The reason that it was an issue for me is that I was there with  a friend who is in the market for a new RV.  I  was hoping to turn my friend to the Class A side of the force.  

My friend is partial to fifth wheels.  I have owned pull behind trailers but never a fifth wheel.  As we inspected the offerings, I  began to  have a new appreciation for fifth wheels.  One model in particular had the bedroom in the rear of the trailer.  Every fifth  wheel that I had seen before this had the bedroom in the front of the trailer in the part that set up  over the truck bed.  I always thought that the bedroom was too close to where the car drove around the campground.  In the rear bedroom models the living room was up over the truck bed.  It was a very appealing design.  

There were a couple of Diesel pushers at the show and I did my best to sway my friend.  The thing is, I lost some of my ardor for Class A's.  I could certainly see myself in a fifth wheel with a rear bedroom 

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Cades Cove, Smokey Mountain National Park

Gristmill
     I finally got the opportunity to take a short trip up to the Smoky Mountain National Park.  It has been a lot of years since my last visit.  I went to a part of the mountains that I had never visited before.  It was on the western side of the range near Nashville.  The place I visited was called Cades Cove.  When I first heard the name I thought I was going to a body of water somewhere.  As it turns out the word "cove" refers to a type of mountain valley.  Cades Cove is a valley in the mountains where the National Park has preserved old home sites from the 1800's.  There is also a working grain mill that you can visit.  The photo above is of the grain mill. 

John Oliver's Cabin - Built 1822
Most of the building are of log construction. My current stay in Chattanooga has rekindled my fascination with log cabins.  There are old log building all around this area.





The Park provides information at each site as to who built and lived in these cabins.  I like examining the construction methods and imagining the day I get to try and build one of these houses myself.  These days you can buy a kit, with all the log pre cut and just assemble the structure.  I want to build one from scratch. 

 Along with the log homes there were a number of out building used in farming.  Some of these were a little strange looking.  I wondered at the reasons for constructing a building with such a wide overhang of the roof. 


 The area is also very popular for hiking.  The valley and surrounding hills are laced with hiking trails.  This bridge is at the beginning of a five mile hike to a popular water fall in the area.  I did not have enough time to take the hike during this visit.  I hope to return when I have a little more time and see the waterfall.  

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Rare Discovery on a Back Country Road in Tennesse

Every car guy dreams of a barn find.  For those of you that are old car challenged, a barn find is some great classic old car that was parked long ago and forgotten only to be discovered by you.  These things happen, but they are rare.  I for one would like to find a 1956 Bel Aire Nomad two door station wagon.  I can dream can't I.  

In the past couple of months I have been exploring the back road of Tennessee. I have seen a lot of old cars tucked away in sheds and barns along these back roads.  The other day I came across this vehicle on the side of the road.  It's not in a barn, but I think it qualifies anyway.  

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.