Sunday, September 25, 2016

2016-30 Knoxville Tennessee

Early morning, French Broad River

Knoxville Tennessee

Norris Dam to Knoxville and Douglas Dam, MAP

Campground:  Tailwater Campground, Douglas Dam.  $20 Senior rate.  Saved about $7, another Government campground run by a concessionaire… no longer honors the half off senior rate.  Nice sites next to the French Broad River below the dam.  30 amp electric/water.  Dump station available.  3 PBS Tv stations, weak 4g Verizon signal.  Note: just a couple years ago the Senior rate was $11 and it’s still listed on the Gov. website as that.

Douglas Dam Tailwater campground

Before I left the Norris Dam area, I drove back into the small town of Clinton Tennessee where they have all those antique shops.  I went back to the shop where I’d purchased the “camp” pillow.  Come to find out, the owner is a real-estate agent and ended up purchasing 10 of the building in town before it became the go to town for all those antique shops.  He now rents them all out except for the one he owns and runs.  He and his wife deal mainly with new items that have a country vintage flair to them.  Like the pillows made out of flour sacks, and the metal 3 dimensional signs spelling out Tennessee.  He’s obviously done quite well for himself and has built a small town into the success it is today.

Clinton Tennessee, lots of Vintage shops

A few stores down from this shop is another Antique/vintage shop.  When I walked in, I saw a few things I liked and as usual took a few pictures with my camera.  The owner came from behind a partition in the back of the shop and asked what I was doing in a rather hostile manner.  I said I was just browsing around.  He said nothing and went into the back again.  Near the front of his store, I noticed some neat old shutters that I thought would make a nice composition for a shot so once again I took out my camera to take a few more pictures.  The owner appeared quickly  and once again asked a couple times in a harsh tone, “what are you doing”.  I explained I was a photographer and hoped he didn’t mind my taking a few shots of the unique pile of shutters.  Come to find out 20+ years earlier someone had done the same thing and then went to the police and said he had stolen items in his shop.  I told him I understood and that I was a full time Rv-er and liked to take pictures of everything I saw.  Assuring him I was not trying to do anything that would harm him.

park setting to parking lot in back of shops

outside the nice shop I purchased the "camp" pillow 

owner of this shop described in the story 

After a brief discussion trying to make him feel better, I mentioned that I really liked the little town and all the shops (not particularly his or his attitude but I didn’t tell him that of course).  He went on to say things like “Oh it’s nice enough if you just come for a day visit and leave”.  “Look around, but don’t remain more than a day, you’ll be alright” .  “This town is too narrow minded for the average person, so don’t think about staying”.  Geez, what a creepy feeling I got from this shop owner who obviously didn’t like where he had ended up.

Come to think of it, when I was at the other shop where I had purchased the “camp” pillow, I had mentioned to the owner that I had sent out a bunch of pictures on Face book and that lots of my FB friends had commented on the two silver mannequins, one of a bare butt and the other of a women’s boobs.  The shop owner said, yah, you’d understand if you knew the owner of that shop as he had issues and was probably trying to send a message to the town what they could do, so to speak .  So I guess you could say, there’s more going on behind closed doors in this nice little town that you’d ever expect and there are many more layers than the average tourist is usually aware of.

shop owner apparently making a statement to the town.... opps

My last day at Norris Dam I of course did laundry once again and even did a second task in one day. I know, I know, I usually try to only do one task a day, but the roof of the camper has been under trees for that last two weeks.  Leaves have been falling on the roof and a day of rain helped to stain the top of the camper and I needed to get up there and wash the white back into the PVC roof.  Got most of the stains out, but it looks like I’m going to have to give it a second washing once I reach Florida.

a real home town laundromat, sit awhile and enjoy

Distance Traveled:  

37 miles to Rv repair/Knoxville. 

20 miles to campsite/Douglas Dam.  

Traffic wasn’t too bad along I-75 to hwy 640 to I-40.  It was rush hour in the Knoxville area, but not crazy like much larger cities.  That and I was heading towards Knoxville then out of town on the east side going away from city traffic.  Never thrilled about traveling in heavy traffic but it didn’t last long and the speed limit was around 55 through the congested area making for as comfortable of a drive as could be expected.

Arriving at Tennessee Rv Sales and Service around 8:30 am.  They checked me in and I gave them the info on previous work on the large slide out unit that was accomplished by the Rv road service technician awhile back.  The adjustment took about two hours and cost $260.00.  All the cost was for labor.  Normally I would have been able to do the adjustment myself but since the slide had been somewhat out of kilter, I felt it better to have some professionals do the work.  After all, I wouldn’t want to attempt adjusting the slides myself only to have it once again fail on me and not be able to close the slide.  Leaving me stuck at a campsite somewhere.

Just a note to my Rv friends:  if you need service in the Knoxville area, they might be able to get you in, though I had to wait over two weeks for an appointment.  Service department has the skilled technicians to do most jobs.  The Rv parts store is very expensive so wouldn’t make any plans on getting Rv supplies here.  Kind of expected that anyway as it’s a very upscale building and someone has to pay for that hey….

Built for the Worlds Fair in Knoxville
in the 80's

Knoxville Tn.  My campsite is nicely situated between Knoxville, Sevierville and Pigeon Forge.  (approx 15-30 minutes to each location).  Having already visited the latter two towns, I decided to drive into Knoxville especially for the “Blue Plate Special” in the Visitor Center.  What an awesome concept for a town to combine their public radio station, WDVX 89.9 fm, inside of their visitor center.  The radio station is noted in the area for playing lots of folk, country, blues music and supporting local musicians.  The visitor center has a stage and of course the radio station that airs “live blue plate special performances” every day at noon.  I attended today’s music performed by two groups.  The second set led by two guitar players (and singing on some songs) were the highlight of the noon day show.  One guy was from New York and the other from New Zealand.  Some of the best guitar players I’ve heard in quite some time.  You can listen to this great Knoxville radio station at:  (click on the link) and enjoy the great music from this region of the country.

originally from New York on left and New Zealand on right
the highlight to my Knoxville visit

a young act only together for a couple of months
excellent guitar playing and soulful sound

Knoxville has a very nice compact and easy to walk central core around the French Market area.  Parking either via metered parking street side or I recommend use one of the many parking garages.  Cost:  approx. $1 per hour.  I’ll probably go back a second time in the next couple of days.  I really like this town.  It’s clean, vibrant, lots of shops and restaurants, historic buildings including a couple museums and even a fort and zoo.  

downtown Knoxville, I'll definitely
visit this vibrant town again.
Hopefully along with visiting my friends Betty and Dave 

Knoxville convention center

old YMCA building

French Market area, great walking, shops and restaurants

Farmers Market

great mix of new and older buildings

many converted to apartments and condos

While in Sevierville I found a jewelry store that could resize a couple of rings I had purchased out west from the Zuni Tribe.  Both rings were too large so after finally getting them downsized, I’m able to wear them and enjoy two beautiful reminders of my many visits out west.

Sevierville Library
Sevierville TN is where Dolly Parton grew up.  It’s a nice town with a large old courthouse in the center of town.  I headed to their stunning new library to get online so I could start my MIT college course “World History of Architecture” since my internet connection at the campground is a bit spotty.  While there, my laptop decided to mess up while trying to download the latest version of Windows 10.

I temporarily lost all of my bookmarks, links to photos etc.  but it’s all back online once again after it completed the final downloading process 24 hours later.  I was able to watch a couple of hours of class lectures online.  Wish they would let me download the book, but it’s only free if I view it online.

My good friends Lorraine and Dave are in the area, but we are missing each other due to scheduled conflicts, guess we’ll see each other back in Florida this winter.

Next destination, Alabama


Clinton Tennessee

Knoxville Tennessee

Friday, September 16, 2016

2016-29 Norris Dam Tennessee (2nd week)


Norris Dam Tennessee, 2nd week

Norris Dam, even a couple floating houses

Campground:  See previous week

“Have a Blessed Day”

That’s a phrase you will hear most often when traveling throughout the south.  After conversing with so many folks throughout Kentucky and Tennessee they almost always end by saying, “Have a Blessed Day”.  What a warm and kind way to end a conversation.
Museum of Appalachia,
celebrating the people

Museum of the Appalachia

Having traveled through this area in the past, I’d almost forgotten that I’d already visited the Museum of Appalachia.  I’m glad I went back for a second tour and took a bit more time reading many of the stories that went with each object on display.  I loved the story of how the song “Tennessee Waltz” was written and then sung by numerous singers including the songs writers, Redd Stewart and Pee Wee King written in 1946.  They were touring with their band the Golden West Cowboys heading to the Grand Ole Opry.  Bill Monroe had just come out with the song The Kentucky Waltz and it gave Stewart and King the idea to write the Tennessee Waltz.  When they brought it to their publisher, he made only one change, "O the Tennessee waltz, O the Tennessee Waltz," to "I remember the night and the Tennessee Waltz."  The song did well on the country charts but when Patti Page released the song on the B side of a record with a Christmas song, “Boogie Woogie Santa Clause” it went through the roof.  Patti’s version had a full orchestra and became the number one seller on the Country, R&B, and Pop charts.  So to be able to view the displays on the writer, singer and learn it’s history brings it to life once again.  It’s been recorded by over 500 artists. And it even became a number one song in Sweden.  How about that

lots of historic buildings on the museum grounds
check out the pictures link at the bottom of this blog

Entrance to Museum of Appalachia

Indian Stone Head, very rare find

how Dolly got her start

 Another story buried in one of the displays about Cas Walker, a colorful entrepreneur who among many other professions had a radio show.  Dolly Parton gives Cas credit for introducing her to his audience.  He said, “ I put her on one of my radio programs when she was 9 years old to see how she would do, and she went over like a house-a-fire.”

One of the most unusual and rarest of Indian artifacts was tucked in a corner of one of the museums multi-story buildings.  It’s of a carved stone head found near the courthouse in Sevierville Tennessee in the 1970’s.  It’s believed to be 1400-1500 AD.  Unusual in that only a few other artifacts are similar in design and come only from the Tennessee area.

A wonderful display of dulcimers and other folk music instruments are one display.  I particularly like the sound of a dulcimer.  My good friend Deloris plays one so beautifully.  And my friend Nancy in Kentucky invited me one time a while back to hear her group play the dulcimer.  Quite an experience to hear 20+ people in perfect harmony.

Reflections on a Low Carb Diet

I was reflecting back on my Low-carb journey that I’ve now been on for about two years now.  As you may know, I had to go on it due to a diagnosis of pre-diabetes.  After being placed on the medication “metformin” for a year, I was able to get off of it by following a fairly strict low carb diet.  Now I could have remained on the medication and continued to eat a fairly normal diet, but instead decided to go with the low carb regiment.

That has included the elimination of most all pasta, bread, potatoes, cereals and sugary deserts.  Not necessarily an easy thing to do for the average person.  I have found a few substitutes that permit me to have some items on occasion that are lower carb like some breads and an oatmeal both made with flaxseed added.  I even found an ice-cream that is actually called “Smart-Carb” and tastes really rich and creamy.

new low carb breads are
available at most big Grocery stores

These all in one salads are available in
both the deli section and produce section
they make a great dinner for me

I don’t read the food labels for fat content or calories anymore, just how many carbs are in each serving.  I try to limit it to less than 20 grams of carbs per serving.  You would think that one would watch their fat intake to loose weight, but I’ve discovered that actually it’s carbs that turn into sugar that is then stored as fat in our bodies if it’s not used right away.  Even though I may have a salad dressing or such with lots of calories, if it has no carbs I’m good with it.  To the point that I’ve lost close to 30 lbs over the past two years, lowered by blood pressure and now take much less medication to keep it under control along with getting off of the diabetes medication .

I read an article that derided the medical profession for not encouraging more people with weight problems and diabetes to go on a low carb diet.  Most all the studies now show that a low carb diet is very beneficial for most folks.  I’m sure glad It has worked for me.

this is my favorite low carb desert

One note to the reader.  It was not all that easy to give up all those food groups that have lots of carbs.  I can tell you though it’s a lot faster going through a grocery store.  You can’t imagine the number of isles I’m able to bypass because everything in them is carb city.  And I still read all the labels hoping to find that perfect new food item that will fit my low carb lifestyle.

My morning River Walk:

Of course part of a good healthy regiment includes exercise and today I took a wonderful 2 mile loop trail along the Clinch River below the Norris Dam.  The fog was thick over the river when I started out my walk and I wasn’t sure I’d get any good pictures.  As it turned out, there were many wildflowers in bloom and the trail had a magical quality to it with the fog and mist surrounding me.  As it began to burn off with the sun, streams of light created wonderful shafts of light through the tall Walnut trees along the river.  I even got a few nice shots of the fog along the river.  So I not only had a great walk, I think I got some great pictures to remember it by. What do you think?

A wonderful morning river walk

a 2 mile loop walk along the river

nice gravel paths


man fishing

this section is right next to the river

what an inspiring walk

timing is everything when taking
pictures of fog that quickly burns off in the morning


Museum of Appalachia

More photos of the Norris Dam River Walk

Norris Dam