Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Nashville - Northern Terminus of the NTP

After leaving the mechanic shop on Wednesday morning, I drove the final fifty miles of the Natchez Trace Parkway. There were a few historical spots in those last miles that were interesting and worthwhile.

I found a site at Montgomery Ball State Park campground west of Nashville.

I drove into the city on Thursday to see some sights in the Country Music capital of the world. First stop, Country Music Hall of Fame. The senior price for admission to the museum was $23.95. You are allowed to take no-flash pictures of anything inside the museum, but unfortunately, almost everything is displayed behind glass with low lighting, which makes it very difficult to get any good shots without glare. Some of the best pieces are positioned in such a way that you cannot frame them nicely in a photo. Johnny Cash’s Black suit that he wore when performing at Folsom Prison was in a corner, and glare from other exhibits covered part of the shot.

From there, I walked over to the Ryman Auditorium. They also wanted $25 for admission. Since I only had 30 minutes left on my parking pass, I decided not to go inside, but instead walked back to my car. There was too much construction going on downtown and I figured it would be another $25 admission to the Grand Ole Opry, so instead of driving to it, I just headed back to camp. I’ll visit Nashville another time, maybe with Alice and Glenda, and we will take in more sights then.

Friday morning, I packed up camp and moved up to Kentucky Dam State Park where I got a space for two nights. On Saturday, I drove to Paducah to visit with my childhood friend. Denice has a progressive disease and is quite ill, but she invited me to come by. I visited with her by her bedside for about two hours. Her sister Sharion, who helps her husband care for her at home, was also there, and we all got caught up on family news.

Back at camp that evening, I made my plans to turn west and head home.

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Battery Woes

Before getting on the road Tuesday morning, I decided to check my generator. The weather had turned cool enough that I planned to dry camp in Meriwether Lewis Campground, so I wanted to make sure everything was good. Imagine my chagrin when the gennie would not start! After texting with my brothers we determined I likely had battery problems. As I was checking the connectors and water levels, one of the cables actually came loose, revealing a very corroded break. That definitely seemed to be the culprit.

I decided not to deal with it today, but to keep moving north.

I stopped at a small rustic RV Park just off the Trace near Hohenwald. The surrounding woods provided a nice place for Hanna and me to walk.

The next morning I drove straight to a mechanic shop where they fixed the broken battery cable. That seemed to resolve the issues with providing battery power to Minnie, but my generator still would not start. I didn’t want to waste more time and spend any more money on it while out of town, so just decided to camp with hookups the rest of the way home. Then I can take the RV in to a specialized shop in Mesa and have them deal with it and a few other issues at once over the winter.

I will complete the Parkway today and start making my way home.

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Corinth Civil War Interpretive Center

My brother Dale hiked the Appalachian Trail in 2012, and hooked up with Woody and Cynthia Harrell (trail names X and N Trovert) about halfway through their trek north. As we followed their trail blogs, our family at home felt like we came to know the Harrells well. My brother Daryl also got to do some backpacking with them that year and the next. I finally got a chance to meet them in person when Cynthia ran the Phoenix marathon a few years later.

I knew the NTP passes close to the Harrells home in Corinth, MS, so we got in touch to make plans for lunch or dinner. While we were texting, I asked about the Civil War Center in Corinth, and if it would be a worthwhile trip from my campground about 40 miles away. Cynthia exclaimed that Woody had designed it and everything in it! She asked if I'd like a personal grand tour. Would I!!

The Center is in a beautiful setting, which sadly is the site of the Corinth Battle in October 1862. The museum building sits on a hill, and there are Civil War artifacts and memorials all over the grounds. It happened to be the 175th anniversary of the battle, so there were additional events going on. We had just enough time to explore a couple of rooms inside before making our way out to the edge of the hill to watch a re-enactment of the cannon firing.

Can you make out Woody's thumbprint and WH initials
 in the bottom corner of the bronze memorial?

Following, Woody explained the history of some of the grave markers, and then described his crown jewel - the Stream of American History. He spent weeks designing the water feature in the courtyard, which provides a detailed representation of the birth and growth of our nation, then the rise of sectionalism and other momentous events, and finally the continuing legacy of the American Civil War.

I thoroughly enjoyed my visit to the Interpretive Center and the tour by Woody. After we had seen all the highlights, we left and went to the Harrell's favorite Mexican restaurant, where we caught up on family news. Shortly thereafter, it was time to make my way back to my lonely puppy waiting for me in Minnie.

Monday, October 7, 2019


On Thursday, I left Hanna in the air conditioned motor home and went into Tupelo. I drove to the Tupelo National Battlefield, but could not find a parking lot nor any information other than one lone memorial monument and a cannon in the middle of a grassy square, so considered my “visit” complete and drove on to Elvis Presley’s birthplace.

The house that Elvis was born and lived in is in its original location, and a museum has been built nearby. The church building he attended as a boy was moved to the site. There are several exhibits around the outside grounds. The Presley family moved from Tupelo to Memphis when Elvis was 13, looking for a better life.

They charge three separate fees to enter the house, church and museum, but seniors get a “three for two” discount. 

Elvis at 13
Replica of the 1939 Plymouth the family left Tupelo in
From there, I made my way back to the Trace where I drove to the Parkway Visitor’s Center and Headquarters. This is a typical, nice NPS style VC with exhibits about the history of the area, the Natchez Trace, and the establishment of the Parkway.

I returned home to a happy puppy and a quiet evening. The next morning, we left the campground about 10:00, as we only had ~50 miles to our next camp at Piney Grove (ACoE) Campground. On the way north along the Trace, we stopped at a couple of points of interest.

Piney Grove is a large very nice campground, that was only about half full by Friday afternoon, and I found a nice site near the lake.