Monday, May 27, 2013

Obey River with friends

Obey River is a wonderful Corps of Engineers campground on Dale Hollow Lake in NE Tennessee. I met up with some friends there for a week of fun and excitement...

This is Sarah's site. She and Carol had great waterfront sites which we used for launching our kayaks.
 Left to right: Sandra and Dick (friends of Carol's from TN), BJ from Illionois, Carol from NC, and Sarah from Alabama.
 Sarah and Tina from Ohio. We all have our dogs with us too: Nicky, Remi, and Stuart.
 BJ with Toby, Carol with Maggie.
 Tina and I took the kayaks out a few times.
 All that excitement wore Thistle out.
 Toby looks on as BJ tries out a kayak.
 Stuart and Remi got to ride together with Tina.
 One day we rented a pontoon boat so we could all get out on the lake. See the beautiful blue sky and calm water? What a difference a couple of hours can make....
After the boat ride we were all relaxing (dozing) in our rigs when a line of storms came through suddenly, packing 50 to 70 mph wind gusts. There was no warning and we all ran out to secure our awnings. This picture was taken well after the danger passed, but you can still see the waves coming over the shore into Carol and Sarah's sites.
This picture was taken the next day of the damage to Carol's awning which broke with the first gust. Dick got it all duck-taped together so she could drive it somewhere to be repaired. Sarah's awning is electric, so all she had to do was push a button....I may upgrade.
 White duck tape holding Carol's awning together.
My awning and I won the battle with the wind with the help of my friends who came running, but not without a little collateral damage. Thanks for helping, Tina and BJ. BJ's RV door blew shut and locked during the melee, so she had to wait several hours for road service to let her back in.
The storm passed, and the sunset was beautiful.
The other excitement was having to call the sheriff at 10 p.m. People came and dropped off their camper for the holiday weekend. After they left an alarm went off in their trailer. Turned out to be a propane leak which we could smell when the card game was over and everyone started back to their rigs. The officer turned off the propane at the tanks and forced open a window, then left them a note. Sarah said the alarm went off after about another hour. I just took out my hearing aids.
But a beautiful new day dawned...Left to right: Sarah's, Carol's, BJ's, and Tina's rigs.
So we went out in our cars to do a little exploring...
Sarah is related to Cordell Hull. He served as Secretary of State under President Franklin D. Roosevelt, and is credited for establishing the United Nations, for which he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
We also visited the home of World War I hero, Alvin York.
York's request for exemption on religious grounds was denied, and he went on to serve. 
The event that made him famous.
After the war, he returned to his family home in Pall Mall, TN.
The people of Tennessee wanted to reward him for his heroism with a gift of land and this house...
 But that's not exactly how it ended up. York was left in debt.
So he worked hard to pay the bills. He built and operated this general store.
 And operated this mill....both across the road from the house and farm.
He used money he received from the movie rights to build a school and a Bible College. He mortgaged the house again to pay the teachers. He wanted to help the people in the area to improve their circumstances. 
 He named his children patriotic names like Betsy Ross, Thomas Jefferson, and Andrew Jackson.
His grave beside the church where he taught Sunday School.
This scripture is circled in his Bible, and also inscribed on his headstone.
The others moved on to visit another friend farther west, but Carol stayed on to wait for awning parts to arrive. I had planned to stay through Memorial Day weekend before continuing north. So Carol and I have been touring the backroads checking out historical sites like this one:

 Brothers against brothers...
The site of the 1st battle for Kentucky was at Mill Springs. It is a National Historic Site. This is the Visitor Center and grounds of one of the first National Cemeteries which was begun to bury the Union dead from this battle.
Mill Springs National Cemetery, one of the original 12 national cemeteries created by Congress, opened in 1867 and still accepts interments.
There is a driving tour of the battlefield. The Confederate General Zollicoffer was killed at the start of the battle.
 The site of the battle.
 Confederate dead were hastily buried in a mass grave at the battle site.
Later efforts were made to identify those killed and individual headstones were erected nearby the mass grave.
Site of the Confederate field hospital (All that is left are the foundation stones). The mortally wounded were abandoned here when the Confederates were forced to retreat. Their bodies were buried in front of the barn.
 A chimney is all that remains of the house used as General Zollicoffer's headquarters.
The Confederates escaped by using the ferry at night to cross the river. It took several trips, and they burned the ferry when they finished.
 The river at Mill Springs.
We ate out at the Dixie Cafe a few times in Byrdstown. They have good homemade food...(this is Coconut pie)
 And Bluegrass music on the weekends.
Carol and I took another excursion on the Big South Fork Scenic Railway.
The train will take us to the Blue Heron Coal Mine Community, preserved by the National Park System.
Dogs are allowed to ride the train too. Thistle is all set, like he's been doing this all his life. My eye is still black and blue, but I can't see it.
 Maggie and Carol ready to ride.
The mill pond for the lumber mill, and the buildings are the diesel and steam engine shops. They are restoring one of the steam engines to use for this tour in the future.
 We pass close to the colorful rock walls of the gorge.
 Through a dark tunnel.
 Along the river.
 Past another coal mining town.
 Barthell Coal Camp
 Big South Fork of the Cumberland River
 Thistle is taking it all in...
 A ranger greets us at Blue Heron Coal Mining Community an explains about the ghost town.
Instead of building replicas of all the buildings, they built "ghost" structures and displayed photos, and recordings of the voices of those who lived and worked here tell the story.
 A diorama of the village is on display in the visitor center.
 The "Tipple" is the only original structure that remains.
 Its hoppers sorted coal by size into various waiting train cars.
 The Bathhouse ghost was built over the remains of the original.
 Photo and ghost of one of the houses.
 There were four mines here. The entrance of one has been preserved for display. The ranger gives a talk.
 Inside the mine.
 Looking back out the mine entrance.
 It was all very tiring, so the train ride back wasn't nearly as exciting.


  1. Great post. Sounds like you and Carol as well as the pups had a fantastic time. Those are some shiners. Cook T-Shirt too.

  2. Oh my goodness! So sorry to see your black eyes. Hope no serious damage was done. I loved this blog post. You have such a fun time checking out so many places. The train ride that allows dogs was a complete surprise to me. I've been to Dale Hollow several times camping but never saw any of these places. Wonder if you have ever been to Defeated Creek - another nice Corps of Engineer park in Carthage TN.

    Was surprised that Carol had an automatic awning. We have the same motorhome (I thought) and it has a manual awning. We have had both and Roger and I prefer manual.

    Wondering if any of your group will be heading to Syracuse for the rally. We leave Florida on June 1 with stops in Philadelphia, Lancaster and Hershey. I just noticed that no meals are provided at the rally - at least 3 meals were provided at the Daytona rally.

    I just love how Thistle has adapted so well to your lifestyle. Maybe he could enter the pet contest in Syracuse.

    1. It is Sarah that has an electric awning, not Carol. Carol's was damaged by the first big wind gust. My awning arm hit my nose...thought it was broken, but just badly bruised.

  3. Thanks for correcting me. Tennessee (our previous home) is really bad about high winds coming up quickly. Once we counted 8 awning ripped off in a campground - luckily Roger and two others held ours down by hand since the wind came up too fast to put it up.