On the way to Franklin we stopped in Lynchburg to visit the Jack Daniels Tennessee Whiskey Distillery. Highest selling American whiskey, Jack Daniels is distilled in a dry county, is the only liquor allowed to be sold in the county and only allowed to be sold in their gift shop.
Birth records were seldom kept in the 1800’s so the exact date of Jack’s birth is not known but it is celebrated as September 1850. He died in 1911 and was believed to be somewhere between 61 and 66 years of age.
Youngest of his mother’s ten children, when Jack’s mother died his father remarried and had several more bringing the total to thirteen. Jack’s father died in the Civil War and Jack despised his step-mother so he ran away from home when he was in his teens. Taken in by a local preacher and moonshine distiller named Dan Call, Jack began learning the distilling trade as a teenager from Call and Call’s slave Nearest Green, who stayed on with Call after his emancipation. In 1875, after receiving an inheritance from this father’s estate, Jack founded a legally registered distilling business with Call. When Call quit for religious reasons, Jack took over the distillery and in 1884 he purchased the hollow and land where the distillery is now located.
By the 1880s Jack Daniel’s was one of fifteen distilleries operating in Moore County, and the second-most productive. 1897 he introduced his square-shaped bottles, the shape of the bottle intended to convey a sense of fairness and integrity.
Jack died in 1911 from blood poisoning. It is often told that the infection began in one of his toes which was injured early one morning at work. Kicking his safe in anger because he could not get it open was the tale told until his modern biographer stated that the story is not true.
Jack Daniels was an amazing man. He dressed in perfectly tailored clothes topped with a dapper hat that became his trademark. Being short in stature but commanding respect for his fair and honest dealings, his apparel was his way of presenting a professional appearance to the world.
John and I did the tasting tour and concluded that the tour was indeed very interesting, but neither of us cared for the taste of whiskey. Back on the road again with LilyPad directed toward Nashville Tennessee.
Arriving in Nashville, my first impression of the Nashville Fair Grounds, where we will spend the next two nights, was not one of shock but certainly one giving off an uncomfortable vibe. With much trepidation we drove up and backed into a spot. Up on a hill and across from the actual fair grounds, its presences was entirely unimpressive. To be exact, it is a big parking lot with a plug and a faucet mounted on posts at the back of the spaces and a hole near the post for your sewer hose. Yes, we have stayed in worse, the Vegas Elks “prison compound” quickly jumps to mind but this makes it to the top five of “Oh crap! John, what were you thinking?”
Train tracks with after-hour trains surround the area with their “here I come” warnings going off at approximately 11 p.m., 1a.m. and 3 a.m. Annoying blinking blue/red/white/yellow lights were flashing off a huge black 40 foot motorhome that is staged as an extra holding tank for the main poky downtown and is parked squarely in the middle of the sites. Surrounded by police cars, it sits in anticipation of the nightly arrests. A young lady was handcuffed and sitting on a chair outside the motorhome accompanied by a uniformed policeman as we drove up. What a pleasant surprise…free live nightly entertainment! I put my “we don’t call 911” sign up in the window, turned on the TV to stifle the outside noise and we all settled down for the night.
Next morning we walked around the Nashville Flea Market, touted to be one of the top 10 in the country. After an hour of walking, it certainly gave the impression of earning that claim to fame. We had a relaxing lunch with my cousin in downtown Franklin, did our grocery shopping, laundry and packed up for our next double over-niter at Payne Campground, Allatoona Lake, Acworth Georgia.
Break of day exit from the fairgrounds, we pulled into Payne Campground early afternoon and, aren’t we lucky, “it’s always something” and “you can’t fix stupid” hit simultaneously! Our coolant sensor is showing high voltage and needs repair at our next stop as does the transmission pump on Ribbit. Our campground host convinced John that LilyPad would fit around a hairpin turn into what they called a 100 foot long campsite. John bullheadedly spent almost an hour trying, pulling up and back to make it around the turn, me holding back the branches of the tree that were scraping against our sides while the motorhome pushed up against my back. Once again, stuck between a rock and a hard place. John cut back the branches and we switched drivers, me deciding to back out and pull in, backwards, down the wrong way, squeezing into our narrow spot.
Slides out, we relaxed and enjoyed gazing out at the lake. A shot of my moonshine in hand, I sipped to unwind from the ordeal and to sooth my voice from the explicits I yelled in the direction of the no-brainer host that convinced John “you can make it, no problem”. The site narrowly fit LilyPad and Ribbit and was many yards shy of 100 feet in length.
Lunch at City Cellar Restaurant in Cartersville Georgia. We are first timers eating shrimp and grits. They were passable but the fried green tomatoes were crisp, full of tomato flavor and awesome. Our waitress said the inside of the Cellar reminds her of the Cheers set and she sometimes shouts out “Norm” just for fun.
We walked around the small town, into a few shops, through town center and back to the car for the ride home. One of the shops was a late 1800’s hardware store with all the original shelving and rolling ladder. The quality handcrafted work that went into building the shelving and bins in the store was amazing and the antiques were reasonably priced. And me without a house to stuff full of pretty antique things!
The Mellow Mushroom across the street was surprising to see as I didn’t realize that it was a chain. Sad that the one in Texas is closing as we enjoyed eating their pizza and people watching in the “keep it weird” town of Austin.
Back to our serene slice of Allatoona Lake to get ready for dinner with a dear friend and her daughter. Trying Shrimp and Grits again, this time they were creamy and flavorful, two thumbs up! Back to LilyPad to pack up and prep for making the journey to Raleigh South Carolina for repairs and visiting family.
Arriving at Cunningham’s in Spartinburg South Carolina early evening, we read the reviews and understood it was populated by mostly long term residents. The friendly manager came by when we called after hours. He offered apologies for the constant spike in the power. Not many park managers would bother to help one-nighters after hours. We switched to 30 amp and shall survive the inability to turn on major appliances all at the same time for this one overnight. Quiet and restful all the way to morning.
Again with the early up and on the road, our transmission pump warning sound loudly buzzing in our ears for the first hour of the trip. Poor Ribbit had to run with its engine on while we rolled until we get it fixed…again.
With a cloud of dust mushrooming around us, we pulled into our next pause for repairs, Raleigh North Carolina State Fairgrounds and RV Park. The area was located just in back of the Hunt Horse Complex and gave way to another “it’s a small world”.
Neither John nor I had ever heard of Cowboy Mounted Shooters. While in The Woodlands, we called a man who was advertising on Workers On Wheels for a couple to farm-sit in Willis, TX. Told him where we had just volunteered and found out he was friends with Ginger, the lady John worked for at Barrington Living History Farm in Washington on the Brazos, TX. The couple’s sport of choice was traveling with their horses as Cowboy Mounted Shooters. After arriving at the fairgrounds site, we noticed that Double L Bar Cowboy Mounted Shooters was producing an event for Cowboy Mounted Shooters this Friday and Saturday night. The sport is fun to watch and one that any age can participate. The adults used blanks to shoot out the balloons, the kids just shot with their pointer finger. Not the best pictures from John’s cell phone camera.
Another crack of dawn rise to drive LilyPad and Ribbit to the repair shop…anyone beginning to see a pattern here? People think I am kidding when I say, “it is always something” but it is a fact of full-time life in a motorhome, it is always something.
Back to the fairgrounds for the night, returning in the morning to install the overnighted parts. Rain, rain, rain, then clearing just as the repairs are complete.
Dinner at an amazing vegan restaurant while the rain turned the dusty pollen filled air into a beautiful crystal clear backdrop for a rainbow.
A nice overnight rest, visit with family part of the day and packing it all up to leave in the morning for Washington D. C. and Cherry Hill Park RV.