Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Don't Go to Tennessee

We are still at Two Rivers Landing RV Resort with about six others. Sevierville, Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg Tennessee are empty of tourists. We drove through each town today. There are some people around Sevierville but as you drive south toward Gatlinburg, there are fewer and fewer cars and people. Sevierville is less tourist with more stores such as grocery and drug stores so those are still open. Fast food is open and some restaurants are doing carryout. The Smokey Mountain National Park is closed off including road access. 

We drove through Gatlinburg and never stopped except for a few red lights. We saw one T-shirt shop, two cabin rental offices, maybe two restaurants with carryout and one gas station still open. All hotels are empty. It does look like a ghost town except the buildings look normal. No one is walking about. The Moonshine stores are even closed! If you have been here, you know how it usually is with traffic and people everywhere.

Pigeon Forge

Friday, March 20, 2020

The VIRUS and Where We Are

The coronavirus has stopped about everything and that's what should be happening. Part of our planned trip this spring included Williamsburg Virginia, Third President Thomas Jefferson's Monticello home, Appomattox Civil War Battlefield and Andy Griffith's hometown Mt Airy, North Carolina. Well, after three days at Williamsburg, stores closing and the virus growing, we decided to cancel the other stops and headed to Two Rivers Landing RV Resort in Tennessee. Many RV parks, State Parks and Federal Parks have closed so our choice was limited. We can not go north to Indiana since the parks we use there have closed. We are staying in Tennessee until ???

We started in Indiana on December 1st and made all the other stops. Stop #13 was gaffney South Carolina, the Freightliner service center, for annual chassis maintenance. We made it to #15 then skipped #16 thru #20. Stop #22 is our current location. 

We were able to find many grocery items at the Aldi's store this morning. We are trying a Kroger pickup Sunday morning, if they can fill our order. We have limited space in the motorhome refrigerator so we can not stock up too much. Dry goods are in boxes and the rest can stay in the Jeep. Many people are out and traffic is almost normal but we are staying at the motorhome except groceries and a trip to the local Jeep Dealer.

Speaking of the Jeep, we were south on I-81 almost to I-40 and the right rear tire blew on the Jeep. Our tire monitoring system did not tell me so luckily a car pulled along side and started waving and pointing. If we had not stopped I assume the car would have been on fire before much longer. I don't know how far we drove before we stopped. Changing a tire on I-81 with trucks three feet away passing by at 75 mph was not much fun. Apparently the tire blew out and sheared the valve stem off which held the tire sensor so there was no alarm in the motorhome. The tires were new in November and have about 3000 miles on them, no idea why it blew out. That incident cost $1100.00 today at the Rocky Top Chrysler-Jeep Dealer about three miles from us. The damage was the ripped out wheel well liner and damaged rear bumper vinyl trim and of course tire tire. Luckily the wheel was OK or that would have been another $250.00. We have towed vehicles since 2006 and this is the first time for a blown tire. I hope it's the last time.

Luck me, it was the right rear. If it was the left, we would have called the police for help. The edge of the interstate is at the left edge of the car. There was just enough room
to pull off the pavement. That's me on the ground trying to get the small jack in place. Mary was on watch duty in case a truck or car was coming at me so I could
try to jump into the ditch.

Monday, March 9, 2020

Jekyll Island Georgia

We took a drive to Jekyll Island which is just east of the RV park we are in near Brunswick Georgia. It's a drive through several miles of marsh land and across a bridge onto the island. The island is about four miles long with a road around the outside of the island. There are five hundred sixty eight permanent residents on the island. The rest of the island activities are for tourists, mainly motels and beach areas. The original part of town has a few of the old homes with names like Goodyear. The island was an exclusive hunting club for families like Rockefeller, Morgan, Vanderbilt, Pulitzer, and Baker. The modern motels and large convention center are on the Atlantic side and probably very busy during the summer. There is a campground at the north end of the island, a bit too small for our forty foot motorhome. This time of year was not busy so we could see the island without the crowds.

Thi link explains more about the island.

Entry fee is $8.00 and used to maintain the island.

The bridge over the water to the island. The drive from the entrance through the marshland to the bridge is about five miles. This view is from the island.

Driving around the island.

Lots of old Live Oak trees on the island and on the mainland.

Beach access at one of the parking lots.

Plenty of beach access on the Atlantic side with lots of parking for visitors.

Too cold for swimmers, about 65 degrees with a 25 mph wind from the north.

The island has a turtle rehab lab. These dunes are protected for
the turtles laying their eggs.

The Goodyear Cottage

The Moss Cottage

Sunday, March 8, 2020

Fort Pickens Gulf Island National Seashore

We were at Pensacola Florida last week for three days, heading from Texas to Georgia. We took a day to see the Gulf Island National Seashore, operated by the National Park Service. Fort Pickens is at the end of the narrow island, at the entrance to Pensacola Bay. The Bay is also access to Pensacola Navy Base where the Blue Angels fly from during the summer. Just east of the RV park is Eglin Air Force Base, the largest base in the world. We did not see any planes flying while we were there and the Navy Museum is closed since the shooting incident so no access to the museum, our third try this year.

These links explain in more detail than I have room for here:

Fort Pickens was a large military base, operated by the Army. It was used in the Spanish-American War, the Civil War, World War I and World War II. Select the Link above for the full history.

The next photo explains the destruction of this corner of the fort.

There were a huge number of canon in the fort. Soldiers soon went deaf after firing these in the enclosed areas of the fort.

The canon was forced backwards by the blast and soldiers had to reload and
hand move it forward with a long pole placed into the holes in the wheel
to move it forward to the firing position.

Electrically triggered mines were put inn the bay and operated from the fort. This
passage leads to a tunnel out to the water. Batteries in this area fired the mines.

The mines were stored in this area.

More canon were located here. They could rotate about
120 degrees on the granite stone.

This was a surprise to learn that Apache Indian Geronimo was relocated to the fort after he surrendered to the army. He was here for a while, separated from family members. I read about him in history and knew he was moved east, I just did not know it was here.

Rain water was collected in two cistern to supply water to the fort.

This explains the "reverse arch" that supported the heavy brick structures since the ground was mostly sand.

A picture of the entrance to Pensacola Bay.

Really big canon above the arches of the fort. A clear view of the bay.
It was never fired at a ship.

The huge cisterns are at the far end of these arches.

All fine white sand.

Gulf Of Mexico.

Heading back to Santa Rose Island.