New Market, Virginia

Day 1000

     Today is the 1,000th day of our travels in the Sphinx.

     We will be returning to our house in Maryland tomorrow to celebrate our great granddaughter’s 1st birthday.

     We have pulled the Sphinx: 38,242.8 miles

     We have travelled another 40,000 miles sightseeing in the truck.

     The daily cost of our adventure is $99.14. That includes campground fees, diesel, food, propane, restaurants, attraction fees, mobile phones and internet. It does not include all the trinkets and souvenirs Barbara buys. 

     This is my 561st blog post of our adventures

Technical Stuff: Llama Farm, Tennessee to New Market, Va: 307.7 miles

5 hours 48 minutes

11.2 MPG

Diesel: $2.86

Llama Farm, Green County, Tennessee

Day 999

     Today our campsite is a llama farm in Green County, Tennessee (aren’t they the animals with a head at each end?)  

     The farm is about 3 miles from where Davy Crockett was born. He was not born on a mountaintop.

     Jerry & Carolyn, the owners, have raised llamas for over 20 years.  They purchased a dilapidated 50 year-old mobile home park next to their farm and “re-purposed” it into a quaint little 31-site campground.

     The campground is part of a 22-acre llama farm which is home to over 40 llamas and various other livestock including miniature donkeys and goats.

     Jerry was a high school principal for over 18 years and retired June 2017 to open the campground in October 2017.  Carolyn is a local artist and continues to be a high school art teacher. Carolyn periodically teaches spinning class using wool of the llamas.

Technical Stuff: Nashville, TN to Llama Farm, Green County, TN: 259.7 miles

5 hours 13 minutes

10.7 MPG

Diesel: $2.86

The Battle of Franklin, Tennessee, November 30, 1864

Day 998

     Theodrick Carter, Tod to his friends, was born March 24, 1840 in this house built by his father in 1830, Fountain Carter, located in Franklin, Tennessee.

     The name “Theodrick” had been in the Carter family since 1676. He was an exceptionally bright child who had an ear for music and was well versed in Greek, Latin, history, poetry and the Classics, skills that allowed him to study the law at a very young age.

     By the beginning of the Civil War, he had garnered a reputation as a “brilliant young lawyer,” his practice was located on Third Avenue South, not far from his home.

     When the Civil War broke out, Tod, like his brothers, enlisted in the Army of The Confederate States of America. On May 1, 1862, Tod Carter was promoted to the rank of captain and appointed assistant quartermaster. He began writing as a correspondent for the newly created Chattanooga Daily Rebel, under the byline “Mint Julep.” After surviving numerous battles Capt. Carter was captured during the Battle of Missionary Ridge on November 25, 1863, just east of Chattanooga, Tennessee.

     Capt. Carter was transported as a prisoner of war, first to Louisville, Kentucky, then on to Johnson’s Island, a Confederate officer’s prison camp near Sandusky, Ohio. (We were there, see Day 90.) In February, he was being transported to Baltimore, Maryland when he managed to jump from the transport train and escape. He was immediately pursued, but through his cunning he eventually made his way through enemy territory back to Tennessee and his Confederate company, which he rejoined. 

     On November 30, 1864, the Union forces under Maj. Gen. John M. Schofield were retreating to Nashville to join up with other Union forces in Sherman’s “March to the Sea”. The Confederate Army of Tennessee, of which Tod Carter was quartermaster, was deployed to stop them. 

     Gen. Cox, of the Union Army, believing that the Carter family farm, Tod’s birthplace, and the hill on which the house was located, “was the key to a strong defense,” took command of Fountain Carter’s home at 4:30 a.m. on the morning of the battle. The Battle of Franklin was a 5 hour battle that started that evening at 4 p.m. The Union Army of 27,000 men verses the Confederate Army of 27,000 men.

     Although Capt. Carter’s duties as assistant quartermaster exempted him from engaging in battle, he vowed, “No power on earth could keep him out of the fight.” So it would be. At 5 p.m., he mounted his horse, drew his sword, extended his arm and led the charge shouting, “I am almost home! Come with me boys!” Just 525 feet from his home, a volley of nine bullets felled the young captain, mortally wounded, but not dead, he laid on the battle field, along with 10,000 other soldiers, until found by his family just after midnight. 

     Capt. Carter was carried to his boyhood home and taken inside. Two days later, on December 2, 1864, 24-year old Capt. Tod Carter, the “brilliant young lawyer” died in the room just across from the one where he was born.

     54,000 soldiers firing on the battlefield that surrounded Carter’s home left much evidence in the form of bullet holes in all the buildings. 

     This building, which at the time served as the farm office, was not occupied at the time of the battle.

     The bullet holes are most evident from inside the building. 

Strolling Nashville, Tennessee

Day 996

The tallest building in Nashville today is the Batman Building.

The party goes on day and night.

Here, Barbara is trying to get a group to sing:

I don’t thing they will make it to the Circle.

Stopped in Ernest Tubb’s record shop, yes they still were selling records, when I was surprised to see a tribute to Spec.4 James T. Davis.

Davis was in the same type of unit I was in the Army, Army Security Agency, and was the first soldier killed in the Vietnam War on December 22, 1961.

One of the great things about Nashville, you can walk into any bar

or restaurant

and see live music, with no cover charge.

Barbara said I should get a close up

I don’t think that is what she had in mind

The House that Jack Built, Lynchburg, Tennessee

Day 995

     Jasper Newton Daniel was born September 5, 1847 in Lynchburg, Tennessee, a small town founded in 1801.

     At the age of nine (oh, they grow up so fast) he left home to strike out on his own. He ended up at the home of Dan Call, a preacher at a nearby Lutheran church and the owner of a general store. There, Reverend Call also happened to sell whiskey that he distilled himself. Jasper showed an interest in learning to distill whiskey and was paired up with a slave, Nathan Green, who was a master distiller. Nathan was born into slavery and emancipated after the Civil War. He continued with Reverend Call as a freeman. 

     Jasper learned his craft well. A short distance from the Call property was a spring in a cave, where the water temperature was a constant 56 degrees. Perfect water for whisky. The property was purchased and Jack began his distillery.

     We toured the distillery. Barbara took the wet tour and I the dry.

     Jack Daniel’s is a Tennessee Whiskey as opposed to a Bourbon because the whiskey goes through a charcoal mellowing process while it is still moonshine. Then it heads to the barrel to age, just like Bourbon.

    I didn’t have to taste the whiskey, as between smelling the fermentation and the charcoal mellowing, I was high.

     This safe killed Jack Daniels.

     One morning in 1906, Jack arrived at his office before anybody else. He tried to access the company safe, but had a terrible time remembering the code. After a few frustrating minutes, he kicked the safe as hard as he could. He badly bruised his left foot and immediately began to walk with a limp. The limp only grew worse with time, and he later discovered the injury had led to blood poisoning. Then came gangrene, then amputation, and then death.

     Let’s not forget, we are in the South.

The New, Grand Ole Opry, Nashville, Tennessee

Day 994

     When we were previously in Nashville, Tennessee, we attended the Grand Ole Opry at The Ryman Theater. Today we attended the Grand Ole Opry at it’s current location, The Grand Ole Opry House, about 12 miles from Nashville center. The new facility saw it’s first show on Saturday, March 16, 1974, and was built to accommodate a larger audience, from 2,000 seats at the Ryman to 4,000 seats here. 

     The show is hosted by Eddie Stubbs, born November 25, 1961 in Gaithersburg, Maryland. For 24 years Stubbs has been the announcer for WSM radio and The Grand Ole Opry.

     Today’s performers included Raiders in the Sky

     Jeannie Seely

     and Ricky Skaggs

     Prior to the show, we toured the backstage of the Grand Ole Opry House. We saw the dressing rooms of the stars of the Opry.

     Just the other day Dolly Parton sat here:

     Got that picture in your head?

     To carry on the tradition of the show’s run at the Ryman, a six-foot circle of oak was cut from the corner of the Ryman’s stage and inlaid into center stage at the new venue. Artists on stage stand on the circle as they performed.

     It is the dream of all the hopefuls in Nashville to “make it to the circle”.

Nashville, Tennessee, Again

Day 990

     It has been a year since our trip to Alaska and the Arctic Circle. This year, part of our group are touring the Canadian Maritimes. The rest, since we are from all over the country, decided to meet for a reunion in a central place, and we chose Nashville, Tennessee. We did a lot when we were here before, see days 217, 218, 219220, 221222, and Day 223.

     One of the great things about Nashville, there are entertainers, mostly singers, everywhere. Even the campground we are staying has nightly free entertainment. After we set up the Sphinx, we walked to the outside pavilion and watch “Pork” sing. This guy could really handle a guitar. 

Technical Stuff: Calera, Alabama to Nashville, TN: 232.1 miles

4 hours 38 minutes

9.7 MPG

Diesel: $2.70

Calera, Alabama

Day 988

     The city of Calera, Alabama, was incorporated in 1887, and named after the Spanish word for “quarry” for all of the limestone deposits located in the area.

     We are here because it is halfway between Pensacola, Florida and Nashville, Tennessee, our next destination. We are staying at the City’s campground, which is on a small lake. 

Technical Stuff: Pensacola, Florida to Calera, Alabama: 233.0 miles

5 hours 3 minutes

10.7 MPG

Diesel: $2.60

Pensacola Lighthouse, Florida

Day 985

     I haven’t blogged about lighthouses in a while. The Pensacola Lighthouse was built in 1859, and is located on the Naval Air Station, Pensacola, Florida.

     At 191 feet we climbed 177 steps to get to the top.

     Tidbit of Information: Who says lightning doesn’t strike twice in the same place? The Pensacola Lighthouse was zapped in 1874 and then struck again the following year. Nature took another swipe at the lighthouse on August 31, 1886, when a rare earthquake shook the tower.

     The top of the tower offers stunning views of Pensacola Pass (where Pensacola Bay meets the Gulf of Mexico).

The Blue Angels, Pensacola, Florida

Day 984

     What comes to mind when you say “Pensacola, Florida”? The Blue Angels flight exhibition team of course.

     We went to the Naval Air Station in Pensacola to watch the Blue Angels.

     At the end of World War II, the Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, had a vision to create a flight exhibition team in order to raise the public’s interest in naval aviation and boost Navy morale. Nimitz ordered the establishment of the Navy Flight Exhibition Team on April 24, 1946.

     The team of top pilots performed its first flight demonstration on June 15, 1946. The team was introduced as the “Blue Angels” at the Omaha, Nebraska air show in July of the same year.

     The first of 26 Blue Angel pilot fatalities occurred 106 days after their first demonstration, on September 29, 1946, when Pilot Lt. j.g. Ross Robinson failed to recover from a dive while performing a maneuver at the Naval Air Station, Jacksonville, Florida.

     The Angels use the McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 Hornet, which has been their plane of choice since 1986. Each plane costs 21 million dollars. 

Pensacola, Florida, Reunion

Day 981

     We are back in Pensacola, Florida (see Day 819), for Barbara’s family reunion. We drove the Sphinx here and just parked it in the driveway, as we joined 21 other people in this beach house that sleeps 30.

     This is a view of the Sphinx you haven’t seen before

     A walk over the dunes to the Gulf of Mexico, and into the Gulf we went. 

     Water nice and warm.

Technical Stuff: Mobile, Alabama to Pensacola, Fl.: 85.8 miles

3 hours 52 minutes

9.6 MPG

Diesel $2.60