Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Rugby, Tennessee

One of the nice things about Escapees RV Parks is that they tend to have a Social Hour where fellow RV’ers discuss local attractions, the good and the not so good, other places and how to get there. There is usually a map or two out on the table and someone who has been there and is willing to give you directions, as well as their opinion on what it is like and the advantages and disadvantages.

This is how we found out about the historic village of Rugby, Tennessee and decided to go out and see what it was all about. To our good fortune, there was a big gravel truck behind us and we ended up going past Rugby to a ‘Y’ in the road just to get away from him.

R. M. Brooks Gen. Mdse. sat there in the crook of ‘Y’ and (to my mind) was more interesting and gave us a better insight into the local history than we got in ‘the historic village of Rugby.’

Even though the fellow who ran the place (and for the life of me, I can’t remember his name – it wasn’t Brooks cuz the store was started by his wife’s grand daddy - twice removed) looked the part of the old store keeper he obviously had something to do with the goings on of the village (we overheard his cell phone conversation). He told us about the history of the place starting when his wife’s great grand daddy opened the store for the miners and then they expanded it for the road construction gang.

He talked about how they built onto the old store and collected all the stuff he had there. There seemed to be a story for each piece.

The pot-belly stove was lit and sat in the middle of the store. He told us how he could get it all red and ‘just-a-jumping’ in the winter when he burned coal in it to keep the store warm.

The store carried locally cured hams, local

preserves (with the R. M. Brooks label) and more odds and ends than you can imagine.

The village, itself, was founded as a colony for the ‘second sons’ of the British peerage families. It has a number of historic structures that are either restored or replicated. The old Episcopalian Church was constructed in the 1800’s and has been used continuously for public worship since 1887.

We're off to the Cumberland Gap before we're off to Alabama!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Museum of the Appalachia

The Museum is a 65 acre exhibition of the way folks of the Appalachian Mountains worked, played and survived over the years. Settlement of this region stretches back into the late 1700’s.

For over four decades, one man, John Rice Irwin, has collected buildings relics and
remnants of their unique and colourful ways of life – many stretching back into his own family history.

There are between 30 and 40 buildings – cabins, barns, an old school house, workshops, smokehouses, church and the like.

They are set out along a village-like path that surrounds a big farm-yard where most of the animals hang out.

A couple of the buildings house treasures belonging to local ‘heroes’, some unusual hand-made musical instruments, folk art and an extensive Native artifact collection –everything in the collection is authentic and the notes on all the exhibits are hand written.

Mark Twain family cabin

The Big Tater Valley Schoolhouse was moved from nearby Big Tater Valley
on Bull Run Creek between
Union and Grainger Counties, and is completely furnished in the manner of an early mountain school.

Musical Instruments

Folk Art


Sunday, October 21, 2007

Quick Update

What I never thought about when I started blogging was that you have to be on-line to create the posting as well as upload it. Right now we have access for a very limited period of time so I’m going to update quickly and probably continue on the Web Site so I can work on it when we don’t have access.

Well, we made it to Tennessee. We're just north of Knoxville in an Escapees RV Park call Raccoon Valley RV Park and thinking about staying here for a couple of weeks.
This is a new way for us to travel – we don’t usually move this much or this often and it take some getting used to.

Before we would travel for a time, then stay put for a while. The only times we stayed in one place for any length of time on this trip were in Halifax and then in Little Narrows and even then it was only for a week or so.

We stayed a couple of nights with a couple I had worked with in
Calgary (Bob & Diane) at their newly built place just outside of Antigonish.
What a beautiful place they built in a spectacular setting.

Going across the Causeway onto
Cape Breton had a strange but very familiar feel - it was almost like going home, but not? Hard to explain!

The more things change - the more they stay the same?
Not Cape Breton - there seemed to be so little change except maybe for the people who were teenagers when we left and they now have grown children of their own.
Many old friends have died and others have gone away but there were still ever so many who we remembered and who remembered us.

We chose NOT to go out the old place but visited one of Theresa and Johnny daughters who lives in their old house (The first house in on our road).

We toured the Cabot Trail but the leaves lacked the brilliance I remembered. The folks around there agreed that the colours were not as vivid. I think we were about a week too early.

I left all the copies of 'Jacob's Tails' we had with Louise (she owns the general store at Little Narrows) except for one I've brought with me. When we left, she had two left.

It was the wrong time of year to promote ‘Jacob’s Tails . . .’ Every place I talked to wanted copies (consignment, of course) but they would be closing down for the season right after Thanksgiving and did not want any extra stock, right now but almost every one wanted copies in the spring. So I'm going to send a box down to Louise in Little Narrows and she will take care of distributing them for me.

As we moved back onto the Mainland and into
New Brunswick, there was more change in the leaves and the colours became more intense.

We had a wonderful visit with Suzanne and Howard (Ann Marie's sister) in
St. John but it was raining pretty hard and we decided to move on.
We went from
St. John into Maine and toured around Acadia National Park on Desert Mountain Island near Bar Harbor - beautiful, but touristy, touristy, touristy - it was just about as bad as Banff - BUT - the leaves had started their transformation and were just glorious.
New Hampshire, Vermont, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania literally flashed by - all I really remember is a zillion-billion semi-trailer trucks whizzing by and watching red tail lights as we were boxed in on all sides by big white trailers or trees you couldn't see above, below or around.
Super highways have never been my favourite and this was no exception.

We finally slowed down in
Virginia and spent a couple of days around Lexington and toured the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Coming into
Tennessee is like a breath of fresh air. Partly because it has turned out to be another lesson in Natural beauty, partly because the weather is so agreeable (high 20’s C daytime) and partly because we have agreed to stay put for a couple of weeks.
We seem to be out of the threat of cold and icy weather - (although they experienced a few tornadoes just west of here last week) and Fred can calm down and relax.
Getting on the right roads going the right directions has been the topics of many heated and loud discussions in the past few days.

We're using WiFi Satellite that doesn't support SKYPE very well and we haven't been able to set up the International Long distance function on the cell phone we got.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Change in Plans!

Yes, we actually did make some plans for after we left Quebec. We would do our visiting in New Brunswick – after Cape Breton and the mainland Nova Scotia – on our way to Maine. So we went right through New Brunswick only stopping for the night. All this because we thought we might meet up with the repaired computer after October 4th.

One phone call – that’s all it took to turn our plans absolutely upside down! Bob let us know that the old computer was irrepairable and would be replaced!! AND the new laptop was chosen (up-grade from the old one – which it had to be because they don’t make that one any more) and was being shipped to our friends in Halifax by Purolator.

(Plans for us tend to be things that constantly change - we should just stop making them!) Off to Halifax and the South Shore area and what a delightful divergence!!

We set up at an RV park on the road to Peggy’s Cove and spent almost two weeks visiting, touring and promoting ‘Jacob’s Tails’. Patti & Bob are wonderful guides. Our first stop was a ‘Words-on-the-Street’ event in Halifax – a huge gathering of book stores and individual authors doing readings. They are all selling their wares. The tremendous challenge of promoting and selling a book is creeping in like a bomb!! This was not the right place – they were all too busy but I did collect some good information and possible contacts.

I managed to leave a couple of copies on consignment with one bookstore vender there and then when we went out to Mahone Bay, another store took 6 copies.

I never thought about the consignment process before. Another example of my drive to control – it must be like sending children off to places unknown and wondering if they will succeed or if they will end up coming back again and again. It takes a lot of books, good record-keeping, and a good sized bank-roll to leave copies on consignment.

Everywhere we went seemed to be one Kodak moment after another – Peggy’s Cove; Mahone Bay; Lunenburg; all places in-between; and now Antigonish, Cape Breton and into Maine – all just fascinating and breathtaking. We are spending so much time touring that there is little time left to write or do the Photo Journal or find WiFi connections. We are enjoying ourselves so much.

Here are a few shots from the South Shore area of Nova Scotia; Cape Breton and Maine. I’ll try to say less and BLOG more often so you can follow our journey.

Classic Peggy’s Cove shot

Mahone Bay during the Scare Crow Festival


Blue Nose II and friend

Places In-Between

Fishing Boats:

Ducks on Queensland Beach:

We left this area and Halifax shortly after the new computer arrived to head up to Antigonish and Cape Breton.