Tuesday, September 22, 2009


Hello all!! One last update of our adventures. I know it has been a while since the last one. It has been a little harder to find WiFi lately. Before our next big trip I hope we have an air card for our laptop.
We’ve had a great time the last few months, covered a lot of ground (over 8000 miles!) and have seen so many neat sights. We now know where we would like to spend more time next trip, the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and Lake Superior. And...where we never want to go again, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, during the 5 o’clock rush in the rain!!!
We plan to visit the kids and grandkids in Artesia in a few weeks, then spend some time in central Texas at various state parks.

The Natchez Trace Parkway which runs 444 miles from Natchez, Mississippi to Nashville. It was a beautiful drive, with such pretty trees and manicured roadsides.

This photo was taken off one of several tall bridges on the Trace.

The famous Loveless Cafe near Nashville TN. My sister and niece Megan highly recommended the breakfasts there. Kathy said they serve “all things pig” and she wasn’t kidding! They have a smokehouse (on the left of the photo) right next to the cafe, and boy did it smell good! The foyer walls of the cafe are covered in signed photos of C & W stars as well as other famous folks. We had a really good meal with homemade biscuits, bacon, eggs, potatoes and grits (Donnie is the grits fan). After the Loveless we drove over to Franklin and Leipers Fork, TN, two quaint old towns southwest of Nashville. We would have explored more but by then it was beginning to rain. So, maybe on our next trip to TN.

We camped at Montgomery Bell State Park, just west of Nashville. The park is home to the birthplace of the Cumberland Presbyterian church. This is a replica of the log cabin where the church was organized in 1810. My (BJ’s) family goes several generations back as Cumberland Presbyterians. My sister and I were raised in the CP church in Denton, Donnie and I were married there, and we were members until our move to Cloudcroft in 1984. Guess that is why Montgomery Bell S.P. will always be a special place to me.

The CP chapel at the park. The chapel still has church services during the summer and is a popular place for weddings.

The 1880s family grist mill at the Sgt. Alvin C. York State Historical Park in Pall Mall, TN. The park, a memorial to the World War I hero, is part of the original farm that was given to him by the state of Tennessee. Sgt. York became famous due to a firefight against the German Army in France. Using his sharp-shooting skills, he and his squad had taken 25 casualties when the enemy surrendered. He and a few other men then marched 132 prisoners back to allied territory. His bravery earned him the Congressional Medal of Honor as well as over 40 other commendations. Now that we have seen this park, it would be good to watch the old “Sergeant York” movie again. According to my sister Kathy, any movie starring Gary Cooper is a good one!

The grist mill stream and pond. There was also a nice picnic area near the stream.

We camped next in Cumberland Mountain State Park, west of the Smokies. One of our favorite campsites in Tennessee, we stayed here for almost a week. Would have stayed longer but decided to beat the rain and head farther west. Right after we left there was major flooding in central TN.
This is the lake and restaurant in the park. We had a great dinner here one night, a buffet with pulled pork, ribs and lots of “home cooked” stuff to go with it.

One of the parks best known attractions is the Byrd Lake dam and bridge. It was built in 1938 by the CCC.

Family history time... This is the cemetery where my great great grandparents are buried in Spring City, TN. In case you can’t read the dates they are 1842 - 1911 and 1845 - 1912. William was a preacher who rode a mule to surrounding churches. I wasn’t named for Rebecca (my name is spelled Rebekah), but still think it is a neat coincidence!

This is the Applewood Farm Restaurant in Pigeon Forge, TN. Kathy, you were right, the food was great, apple juleps, apple fritters, apple butter, etc. Pigeon Forge is an interesting city with lots of things to see and do.

One day we drove the Cades Cove (11 mile) loop in the national park. Cades Cove was a farming community established in the early 1800s. There are so many neat historic buildings still standing - churches, cabins, barns and mills. This is the Methodist Church built in 1902, replacing the original log structure. It was constructed in 115 days for $115.

Just one of the beautiful views from the loop drive.

The John Oliver cabin built in the early 1820s. It is the oldest log home in Cades Cove.

Here is the camp cook at our site at Look Rock campground in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. We were so lucky to be able to find a space here during the Labor Day weekend and ended up staying almost two weeks as it was a great base for sightseeing around the Smokies. We also met some really great folks, firemen and their families, from nearby Maryville and Alcoa, TN. They were so nice to share veggies from their gardens and some wonderful ribs they cooked for the holiday.

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