Our last camping trip. We are in Hershey, Pennsylvania to attend our granddaughter’s wedding. Since we are helping with the wedding, no time to sightsee, or even to eat a Hershey bar.
We have been traveling for 4.9 years full time. It has actually been 5 years and 8 months, but we did not count the time in our driveway over the years and not actually traveling.
Our original plan was to travel a minimum of 5 years to justify the cost of a new RV as opposed to a used one. Our thoughts were to reevaluate after 5 years and hopefully continue until our health forced us to stop. However, with the China Virus closing some State borders to us and sites, like museums and other public places being closed, our travel destinations have become limited. We have travelled to 37 states including Alaska, 3 Canadian Providences and 1 Canadian Territory. We were going to Hawaii, but they haven’t finished the bridge. We have been to the Arctic Circle and back.
Our plan after giving up RVings was to move into a retirement community, like Oak Crest as both our parents did, to conveniently live out the remainder of our lives. My mother actually signed us up on the wait list 10 years ago. Barbara wasn’t too wild about Oak Crest, and we have been leisurely looking at other facilities.
We returned to Maryland last December for my father’s 100th birthday (he past the following month). We couldn’t leave Maryland because of the virus, so we spent some time looking at old age homes. We had a list of requirements that the home must possess. While touring a facility in Hunt Valley, Maryland, we were informed that they had 30 people on their wait list (they had to wait for others to die to make room). While showing us one of the display units, we realized that the unit had everything on our list. It was perfect. In making inquires on availability, we were, to our surprise, told it was immediately available. The previous owners recently passed (died) and the unit was offered to the 30 people on the wait listed, who were not interested in this unit. We took it on the spot.The next day one of the 30 people on the wait list changed their mind and said they wanted that unit, but were told “sorry, it was now taken.”
So, as of September 20, 2021 we will be living in an old age ghetto. We are selling the Sphinx if you are interested.
Cambridge, Ohio to Hershey, Pennsylvania: 115.6 miles
4 hours 7 minutes
“Hartselle, Alabama, was founded in 1870 with the arrival of the South and North Alabama Railroad. It takes its name from George Hartsell, one of the railroad’s owners. The post office opened in 1873. It was formally incorporated on March 1, 1875. Most of the oldest buildings were destroyed by fire in 1916.”
Since we are camping in Hartselle only tonight, and not unhooking the truck from the Sphinx, I am not able to walk the town and talk to the townspeople about their history. I am therefore relying on the above quote from Wikipedia.
It has been my experience that the information on Wikipedia differs from what the locals tell me, which is why I do not rely on it much.
Okay, Okay, I couldn’t resist. How many noticed that the city name has an extra “e” at the end? My curiosity got the best of me, so I did some research (It’s amazing what you can do with some time and a computer). The answer was in an obscure booklet by David Burleson, “Hartsell before the ‘E“, who wrote that George Hartsell was born May 7, 1802 in North Carolina and married Delany Morgan in 1822. They moved here in 1834 and were the first real settlers of the property that wound up being incorporated in the city of Hartselle. After starting with 40 acres, they eventually owned as much as 800 acres.
George Hartsell’s property became one of the places in the county “where people came together,” Burleson writes, and by 1853 George Hartsell’s home was used as a gathering and voting place. The general area eventually was referred to as Hartsell’s — even though Scott L. Rountree and John Brown Stuart had more to do with developing what became the downtown business center of the future Hartselle. “George didn’t really found the town; he was just the namesake.” The city was founded in 1870 and was officially incorporated by the state as Hartsell’s in 1875. Around 1891 the federal government dropped the use of apostrophes in place names, and that made the name “Hartsells” show up on official documents, even though residents had started replacing the s on the end with an e. By 1920, the spelling Hartselle had become accepted for the city. So, a bureaucrat in the federal government decided to not use apostrophes, and that changed a city’s name.
TIDBIT OF INFORMATION: President Benjamin Harrison signed executive order 28 on September 4, 1890, establishing the Board on Geographical Names. “To this Board shall be referred all unsettled questions concerning geographic names. The decisions of the Board are to be accepted by federal departments as the standard authority for such matters.” Decisions of the board were accepted as binding by all departments and agencies of the federal government.
An interesting note: Burleson’s booklet indicates Hartsell was a merchant and businessman, with no mention of him as an owner of the South and North Alabama Railroad. A search of the railroad does not list Hartsell as an investor. I think Wikipedia is wrong again.
Sorry, no pictures, unless you want to see the view outside my window of another RV.
Montgomery, Alabama to Hartselle, Alabama: 158.9 miles
3 hours 14 minutes
We are staying at a very nice KOA campground in Candler, North Carolina. Candler is a grease spot on the map. It consists of this campground, a truck stop, and a Dollar General. No town, no streets or buildings, no visitor center or chamber of commerce. Nobody knows where the name came from or when the area was settled. The campground is right on interstate 40, and I mean right on the highway. Because of the heavy truck traffic, guests complain about the noise. Their solution, offer free ear plugs.
The closet town is Canton. Canton, North Carolina is located in the Smoky Mountains about 20 miles west of Asheville, and 5 miles from our campsite. The Pigeon River flows right through the middle of this small town.
The first inhabitants of the area to be Canton were the Cherokee Indians. Europeans didn’t arrive here until after the American Revolution, about 1780, after gaining title to the land from the Cherokee (voluntary, of course).
As some of you know from my previous blogs, I am fascinated on how towns and cities got their name. To find the answer about Canton, N.C. I went to the The Canton Area Historical Museum.
The original purpose for this building was to house the Canton Library. Constructed in 1954, the library remained there until 1990 when the library was moved to a new location and this building became the home of the Canton Area History Museum.
I interrupted the clerk who was about to type a document.
I was informed that Canton was founded in 1889 as “Buford”. Later that same year the name was changed to “Vinson”. The name was changed to “Pigeon Ford” in 1891, because it was at this point the Pigeon River was at it’s lowest, which allowed horses and wagons to cross, or ford the river.
In this photo, the first railroad bridge, constructed in 1892 can be seen.
A wrought iron truss bridge was erected across the Pigeon River, at the site of the above crossing, around July of 1892,
it remained there until demolished in 1962, and replaced with this bridge.
The recognition plaque bearing the bridge company’s name was saved and is currently on display at the Canton Historical Museum, where I took the below photograph.
“The Town of Pigeon River” was not a popular name and did not sit easy with many of the local businessmen and dignitaries, especially the railroad ticket agent, C. S. Mingus, who went by the name Cash.
Further, the town was being confused by other locations named Pigeon. The town leaders met in 1892 and heated arguments ensued as to a new name. Finally, in frustration, Cash Mingus stormed out of the meeting and walked a couple of blocks to the bridge that crossed the Pigeon River, saw this sign, and declared, that would be the name of the town.
In January, 1893 the General Assembly of North Carolina officially change the name of the Town of Pigeon River to the one that persists to this day—the Town of Canton.
And, now you know the whole story.
Along the banks of this scenic river lies Evergreen Packaging, a long-standing paper mill that now produces Starbucks cups, among other things.
The Colonial Theater was built in 1932 and renovated in 1992 and again in 2006 giving the town a multi-use facility with state of the art film, video & sound equipment. It regularly hosts concerts, plays, festivals, weddings, and conferences. It is now dark because of the China Virus.
Technical Stuff: Salem, Virginia to Candler, North Carolina: 239.9 miles
4 hours 46 minutes
Diesel: $ 2.96