Arkansas and Western Tennessee
Feb 22, 2010
|This morning we are getting ready to depart Alamo, Tennessee and head west. But it's not without having one of the best weekends of our trip! Friday we made it as far as Muscle Shoals, Alabama. I have done work with the Tennessee Valley Authority and talked to people here for years. It was about time to see it!
We had traveled Alabama from south to north and want to share a picture that shows you how it looks.
This picture is of Florence, Alabama from the Muscle Shoals side (south) of the river. Yes, there is a town 'in thar' trees. All we saw the whole state was miles of hardwood trees without foliage. Doesn't compare to the Pacific Northwest!
Muscle Shoals is named for an Indian gathering place on the Tennessee River. The TVA built a large flood control dam and system along with a hydro generating plant here.
You can still drive across the dam and it's one of the major highways, albeit a two lane road.
We spent the night in Florence in what has to be one of the nicest city managed parks in the nation. The RV Park was literally on the banks of the Tennessee River. It was our fourth day of complete sunshine but still freezing at night. This region has been hit hard by the recession also. When checking in we could not see where the park was located. When asking for directions the lady just drawled "It's down thar a piece"! I asked again: Where? And she clarified with: "Over yonder, and you will see Billie Bob who will show you where to park." Well, Billie Bob was no where to be found (it what time for vittles, don't you know) but we found a wonderful site.
That evening's rest was peaceful with intermittent moments of engines like motors running. I thought perhaps someone was running a generator and didn't think much more about it and dozed off. In the morning I awoke to another glorious day of sunshine and much to my amazement, as I went out for a walk in the brisk 27 degrees, I notice what all the noise had been about.
There had been barge traffic going by all night! Those of you who have traveled, I'm sure have spent a night next to the railroad tracks. This experience was similar but far more delightful.
As I walked around I was continually reminded of the historical significance on the south. Numerous Civil War sites (like Shilo) and such. At McArthur Park they have some well erected and maintained teepees! You have to figure the natives were restless with the white man's motorized canoes too!
We traveled on to my cousins in Alamo, Tennessee in the western end of the state. They have a 22 acre farm that is absolutely gorgeous! It has about 2 acres of ponds. Think about walking out your back porch, getting into the boat that is right on the edge of the pond and going fishing any time you get the urge!! Well I got the urge! Bass fishing in February?? Had to be nuts! The local bait store cashier looked at me when I asked for worms or minnows for fishing like I had asked for a Christmas ornament on the 4th of July!! And then was informed they don't stock them this time of year. DUH!! Let that not deter a man with a hankering to go fishing in February. The weather was still cold but sunny and I thought the little patches of remaining snow added a macho element of ruggedness to the adventure. My cousin George was game and the boat still was floating so we weighed anchor (2 to 6 feet of water) and set off. The first day George rowed since the electric motor was still in hibernation mode from the arctic winter. The day we arrived was the first day of sunshine in weeks!
So we had two glorious days of visiting and fishing! Oh yes, there is a season but George insisted he controlled the season on his farm. I appreciate his opening the season early for me. How was the fishing? Well you decided.
Here's an example of the plethora of fish that I introduced to my cousin. It seems it had been so long since he's seen one he had forgotten what he was doing in the boat. It did sink in and his fishing skills came rushing back to his mind. With a mighty cast and the delicate touch of a brain surgeon he was able to land a 3 inch fish with a 2 inch lure. I was told this feat could be accomplished by rare few people in Tennessee. It was his experience in the Pacific Northwest that had led him to hone this rare skill. Here' a picture suitable for framing OR as I have threatened, to be placed on YouTube.
We had a wonderful weekend on the farm. The 'cabin fever' of being captive in the house all winter started to disapate. One thing I personally enjoyed was the wonderful home style farm suppers! My cousin's daughter, Laura, made the most amazing corn beef and cabbage I have ever experienced. I could swallow it well and was amazed at the flavor! I guess a month of eating out had taken it's toll on my appetite. This was truly ambosia from the gods!! Of course that was only ONE meal! The family time was so dear to me as we remembered our youth and the fun we had as kids! It was sort of a Mayberry RFD moment!
As I said, this morning we are off towards Texas. We awoke to a grey cloudy day and the reports of snow in Texas. This winter traveling around the US isn't turning out like I had planned. But I'm sure the weather will get better soon. In the meantime we will travel with our tummies full of good nourishment and our souls filled with fond memories of the February in 2010 spent bass fishing in western Tennessee with family I love!
It can't get much better than this!