Sunday, August 21, 2011

Confederates on the Run

This long weekend has been a great escape.  I drove down to Hohenwald Friday morning, had lunch with my sister-in-law Linda at Big John's (yummy loaded baked potato) then drove into town and parked Seeker near the Willem Tell Platz (the city holds dearly to its Swiss roots) and walked down to the city parking lot to repair one of my geocaches.  Turns out it was just plain missing so I walked back to Seeker and used some supplies in my geocaching bag to creat a new container and log then went back to ground zero and replaced it.  Since I'm leaving town in October and don't anticipate being back before next summer I also put it up for adoption and my buddy Jengoround in Centerville quickly took it on.  What a friend!

Then I went to my second lunch at the Rio Grande, the local Mexican restaurant in town.  Now mind you I had already eaten half that potato at Big John's and the other half was tucked away in Seeker's fridge.  And while I don't ordinarily eat 2 lunches in a day, this was a special gathering.  Two of the Ogg girls were celebrating their birthdays and since I was in town it would have been just plain rude for me not to stop by and join them.  I ordered 2 tamales but could only eat one so I had another take out box to add to the fridge.

After lunch I moved Seeker out to Rockhouse Road at Darlene's house where I did some housekeeping while waiting for Darlene to get off work.  Darlene is my stepdaughter in the legal sense of the word: she is the daughter of my deceased husband.  But she is so much more.  Having grown up with 4 brothers and no sisters I was really pleased when I married Larry and gained a daughter/sister.  You see, since I married an older man my stepdaughter is old enough to be my sister!  In fact, she's only 6 months younger than me.  I guess that seems weird to some folks but me and Darlene like it fine.  We have a lot of common interests and enjoying traveling together.

And this weekend has been great.  We left behind all our responsibilities of work (well, at least she did), grandkids, house chores, the dogs, etc. and just hit the road.  She's been wanting to take a trip in Seeker since I brought her home and she's always wanted to see the Evansville IN library that is supposedly haunted, so off we went after she got home from work.

The road from Hohenwald to Evansville IN is a long and twisting route that passed through lots of small towns and interesting sites: Brushy, Centerville, Bon Aqua (where Gus was born), Dickson, Cumberland Furnance, Ashland City, Clarksville, and several small towns in KY before crossing the Ohio River into Evansville.  The Kentucky leg wasn't too interesting since we took interstate/parkway on that part to make up some time and you really just don't see much on those roads.

We arrived in Evansville at the Vanderburgh 4H Campgrounds right at dark.  We had reserved site #1 but found another rig was already parked there.  In fact, since we hadn't gotten there before dark our site was given to someone else and all the other full hook up sites were taken as well (big car show coming to town) so we had to take one of the sites down near the road with only water and electric.  We were so tired we just didn't care and thought we could sleep anywhere so we took it (and it seemed like a bargain at $16). 

Have you ever tried sleeping on a railroad track?  While we weren't actually on the tracks we were within 100 ft. of the tracks which we really couldn't see through the trees after dark.  The park host did mention that we might have some train noise during the night.  That guy should go on the stand up circuit and get paid for his understatement skills!  Shortly after hooking up the water and electric we went inside and changed into pj's as the first train rattled by.  It was loud but not too bad.  We giggled and made a joke about the "train noise" we had been warned about.  Soon another train passed by, followed within the hour by another, and so on ALL NIGHT!  The southbound tracks were a little further away, but the northbound trains felt like they were coming through the middle of us.  And each time we were warned they were coming by the loud train whistle warning at the track crossing just down the road.  Finally we were both so tired we just slept out of exhaustion.  What a night!

Early Saturday morning we broke camp and headed into Evansville to the Willard Library to do some ghost hunting.  Sadly we didn't see her but we enjoyed the visit to this architectural beauty.  We had to park at the business next door because there was a geneology seminar at the library and the parking lot was packed.  We enjoyed our visit and stopped outside to find a nano cache before hitting the road.  We had seen an interesting cemetery up the road and wanted to go visit.  Oak Hill is one of the oldest burial grounds in the city.  We later learned that the Johnsons of Mead Johnson take their eternal rest there.  But we were in pursuit of Elizabeth Harrison, a queen of the Romany gypsies.  It took a while but we did finally find her (and 3 more caches).  Nothing on the marker mentioned her or her husband's status in the gypsy tribe.  Nor did it mention that her husband died after his son accidentally shot him.  Oh well, we still enjoyed the German lesson as we drove through the grounds reading names like Huffstedt and Schneke.  We did see one Jones, but we don't know how he got in.

Next we drove down to the river front area and found a good place to park Seeker while we prowled the downtown area before meeeting up with some local cachers for a flash mob.  We found the old jail which looks like a mini castle, city hall which is a decadent example of Beaux Arts, the boarded up bus station with a faint shadow of the running hound on the wall, and then pretended to run in fear from Millie the Dinosaur in front of the children's museum.  Around 1:30 we made our way back down to the riverfront to meet up with the flash mob.  There were cachers from 5 different states and the guy voted the "geekiest geocacher" received an award.  We had thought about stopping to see the LST that is docked down the river and covers a lot of Evansville's WWII history, but we were beginning to wear down, so we headed south on highway 41.

After a quick stop for some supplies and munchies at the Walmart in Clarksville, we set up camp at the Clarksville RV Park.  Darlene ate a burger and fries we stopped for at the Burger King and I warmed up my leftovers from Friday's lunches.  Then we changed into swimsuits and headed for the pool.  It felt good to stretch and kick out some of the road weariness for a while, but soon we were just plain tired.  It didn't take us long to get changed into our jammies and headed for bed.  Sometime during the night a couple of storm cells moved through the area but we stayed dry and the large Tiffin parked beside us took most of the wind.  Early this morning we pulled up stakes and drove into Clarksville to do some ancestor research for Darlene on the Ogg side of the family (yes, I drug my trailer hitch a little getting up the drive at the cemetery, but it was for a good cause) and then made our way to Fairview, KY.

The city of Fairview was the birthplace and childhood home of President Jefferson Davis of the Confederacy.  As a member in good standing of the local chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy Darlene really needed to see the memorial there to President Davis, so that was our goal.  It is impressive and the museum was very informative.  We took lots of pictures and hunted a geocache after going to the top of the monument then headed back south on the highway. 

The drive home was filled with backroads, cornfields, tobacco barns, a couple of large bucks running across the road in front of us, an antique car show in Adams, TN that we didn't have time to stop and enjoy, and the home of Robert Penn Warren that we made time to stop for but found it was closed on Sunday.  Oh, and we did stop at the Bell Witch Cave but it was closed due to damages from last night's storm. 

We finally pulled back into Darlene's driveway around 5pm this afternoon where her husband Johnsy was waiting to see what we were bringing for supper (pizza), a little tired but still laughing and having fun.  I miss Larry so much some days, but I am so grateful for the family he left me with.  His sisters are my sisters.  His grandkids (and great grandkids) are my grandkids.  And his daughter is my sister.  And Johnsy is, well, he's my Johnsy, and I am grateful for him too.  I just don't think I can explain that to you, but if you know Johnsy you understand.

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