Monday, October 29, 2007


Shade! "Where is that dog?" "Happy; get away!" "Good Boy Douglas". I brought my kids down here to the ruins for a morning romp. I needed to rest up after a vigerous motorcycle ride with Kevin yesterday. We rode three hundred miles in the country side that lies North and West of Oakridge, Tennessee. After about two hours into the ride we took note to the fact that my rear tire was nearly bald and Kevin's battery in his BMW was almost stone dead. After a carefull evaluation of the situation we decided what the heck, and kept going without a second thought. This was not a very professional course of action for the situation but then neither of us call ourselves professional at much of anything. So why should we act responsible and professional about this? Guess you had to be there. We rode West out of Oakridge, TN toward Dale Hollow lake. The roads were specifically designed for motorcycles. Every road we took was flawlessly engineered for motorcycle tires to travel over. A couple of stops that impressed me were Dale Hollow State Park and Dam, The greatest BBQ place I have ever eaten at and the Tomkinsville Ferry. Yep, a ferry. Look at the pictures. It appears to be just a floating barge with a steel deck powered by an enclosed metal box attached to the right side. Very antiquish looking. It was free too. I love things like that. We left the ferry and drove up into Kentucky for a few miles and dropped back into TN and home. My rear tire is toast. We stopped in Oak Ridge to say good by and Kevin's bike barely started with his dead battery. It's amazing we got back at all. (Look at the BBQ place. I took pictures of the road signs for map identification. This place is absolutely the finest BarBQ in the world) It's Monday now and I'm laying on the leaves under an enormous tree watching my guys having fun. It will be another week until they can get out again and I want them to enjoy this fine Fall day. Enjoy Fall!!!!!!!! A picture from the parking lot at Dale Hollow Dam. I am always impressed by dams. They are awsome! Sometimes they are scary......Don't forget; you can click once on the pictures to get a full screen view.
This is a pretty little pull off in Dale Hollow State Park. We just pulled in for a breather. Gorgeous day!
"Hey Kevin!" "Where we going?" "Don't know Gary". "Do ya care?" "Nope!" "Why don't ya shut off your bike Kevin?"
A shore line on Dale Hollow Lake. Note the water level has dropped. A recent drop in water has been accomplished as can be seen by the still damp shoreline.
This is only one of several corners all in a row. I giggled as I pushed the bug bike through these curves. Absolutely the finest road I've been on in months. The Smokies have nothing on these North Tennessee roads. Hope the tourists don't find about all these great Northern hills
I pulled off on this corner and took some shots of Kevin as he came on around the corner. Lots of leaves on the road and an extremely short, tight curve. Kevin negotiates it in his usual professional manner.
Ok now. Drop whatever you are doing and get in the car, on the motorcycle or in the boat and drive on over to this place. You have never, ever tasted Bar-B-Q anything like this place got. Endless menue. If it can be put in you're mouth; they can Bar-B-Q it. I even photographed the road signs out in front of the building so you can find it on the map. Oh my! Mouth's watering!
Oh Boy!
And here we are on the Tomkinsville Ferry


How beautiful they are! Shade's glossy black coat contrasted against the fall leaves and blue water. The muscles ripple under her beautiful coat. Douglas appears elegant in his golden color; the breeze ruffles the long hair on the sides of his body. His stature is significantly bold; his presence dominent on the Fall landscape. Together they appear magnificent in the Autumn sun. Each is a symbol of natural strength and power. They are vitality and endurance. They are simply---------------------------GRAND

Saturday, October 27, 2007


If you've been following along in this blog; you know that I adopted Shade, the Black Lab, to a family East of here. After she left I felt terrible. Read the articles a couple entries below. I got a call early this week from Shade's new home and they indicated to me that Shade wasn't working out due to reasons I won't go into here. They are fine folks and it had nothing to do with that at all. So Shade is back with Douglas, Happy, Sigh and me. The team is once again complete. I have been working for seven strait days and today, Saturday, I loaded up the guys and drove to the Ruins.'' I am really blessed to have these dog friends. They are beautiful to watch and amazing to observe how they play and "work" together. Douglas and Shade swim as one. They are happiest in the water. On land, Douglas is the dominant figure, but in the water they share freedom and are equals. I threw the heavy stick into the water over and over. Douglas and the Shady Lady would race for it. Then they would share the stick for the return swim to the shore. That's usually when Happy would appear to steal the stick from them. These two dogs are similar in the water but at the same time very different in their application of power and speed. "They both are extremely powerful!" Douglas is all grace. He bounds effortlessly through the shallows and seems to automatically float. His body appears to make no movement when swimming. His golden hair is gorgeous when wet. He glides about as if propelled by some silent engine beneath the water's surface. Shade, however, smashes through the shallow water, leaping as if jumping over log after log until she crashes into the deeper water. She does everything in some spectacular fashion. Once swimming, she assumes that gorgeous form that only Black Lab's can have. She is a black onyx of silent movement. Her head is held high above the water; her powerful legs and feet push her muscular, shiny black body through a liquid mirror. These two friends are pure pleasure to be with. They are so happy! It's plain to see it. Their faces show it. Their eyes come alive when the truck reaches the ruins. They are what they are, they are pure. They are innocent. They are joy. And they have asked that I care for them. I'm honored by that. Let me introduce or reintroduce you to the dog portion of my family. This is very old gentle Sigh. Everyone is a rescue dog. This is the main man! Douglas is my boy! Shade aka Shady Lady Happy Gorgeous! Elegance in motion Happy's on the scene The stick thief appeareth.... All they ask of me is to gently hold their muzzle 's in the palm of my hand and say a soft word or two and touch their heads with my finger tips. And they give me all this joy! Teem Work The Shady Lady Nothing gentle about entering the water

Thursday, October 18, 2007


I parked the Bug high above the Ocoee River and climbed on down to the water. There is some water in the photo but only because a small dam has been created to hold just this much. The following picture is the rest of the river. Normally rough, white water pours through this canyon creating great challenges for Kayaking. If it doesn't rain soon, there won't be any water anywhere in Tennessee. There is definitely a drought. But at least one can see what the bottom of the Ocoee looks like. Bet you stayed up many nights wondering about it........
The photo's below show an amazing (what I thought was a railroad bridge) spanning a cut between two mountains withing the Ocoee Gorge. As I rode the Bug along the Ocoee River through the Ocoee Gorge, I noticed what looked like a railroad line high up on the side of the mountain. Very high up. When the track approached a cut, or valley, on the mountain side; a roof and wall were built around the track to protect it from land slides, boulders and falling trees. It reminded me of some ancient citadel high up on some mountain top in a mystical era. Actually the enclosures are not unlike the ones covering railroad tracks out in Colorado's Wolf Creek Pass. They are amazing structures! (However, I was wrong). It is an enormous flume that carries water from the Ocoee to TVA power generators. I was corrected by a reader who works in the area. Read on: Just wanted to clarify the story about the tracks and structure you saw. That is not a railroad track but a flume. When the water is not in the river bed it runs inside that structure which is also an amazing thought. The water and flume are at an almost level run through the dropping gorge to the end of the Ocoee River. There it is piped straight down into the powerhouse to generate electricity. It does have a track above the flume (look at your pictures closely). That is used by employees of TVA to monitor and repair the flume. Whitewater rafting began on the Ocoee back in the mid seventies when TVA had so many holes in the flume they were loosing too much water (and $$). As a matter of fact the "bridge" photo you took was one spot where a huge hole allowed a constant waterfall type spill to shoot out of the side. They closed the flume for several years for repairs and returned the water to the river during that period. Rafting became more and more popular and so (after much debate and arm twisting) TVA struck an agreement with rafting companies to sell the water to the rafting companies for release on certain days. A significant portion of the fees paid to outfitters helps pay for the water they release and can't use to generate power. The flume is one of the only such structures left in the country. Most now operate with underground pipes or tunnels. One of those tunels was recently in the news colapsing and killing several workers doing repairs.
The Ocoee River empties into Ocoee Lake; a primarily pristine lake with little development on its banks.
This is Copper Country. Mule teams pulled wagon's full of copper ore from the surrounding towns of Duck Town, Reliance and Copperhill to smelting operations in Cleveland, Tennessee. It was a booming industry until Japan appeared with cheap steel. By the end of the 1950's it was all history. Japan had an enormous impact on local industry here in Tennessee as well as huge industrial cities such as Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
The Bug is a devilish, demonic looking little mosquito. But it is proving to be a magic carpet ride to places a larger motorcycle can not go.
I always had an affinity for old buildings. I love the character they exhibit. This building is very old. Its old, old. Well, it is extremely old. But look at it closely. Click on it and enlarge it. No master craftsman concocted it. No architect designed it. No one went to college to learn how to make it. Tennessee know how made it. Oh, its a little rough. But it stands as a monument to diversity and do it yourselfism. Love it!
Live can be tuff in these mountains. But people cling onto what they struggled for with tenacity.