Sunday, November 8, 2009

JUST A FALL RIDE

click on pictures to enlarge Today was a great day for a ride. The morning started out chilly but warmed up to at least seventy degrees by noon. James, a good friend , went with me to search out a lake that lays just off route 129 near Calderwood Lake. We did find the road but discovered it was posted as private property. I had high hopes that this might be that special out of the way place that no other people knew about. So goes my luck. I wanted to check out the old ferry landing that Alcoa used many years ago to move people across the Little Tennessee River to their exclusive club house on the other side. I've written about the club house and associated ferry in a previous blog entry. We turned off route 129 and followed a narrow strip of concrete road down the mountain toward the Calderwood Power plant. About half way down we noticed an old building on our left that was dilapidated and left to ruin. We would check it out on the way back. This road would lead to the ferry landing and to the little boat dock where Douglas and I have stopped on numerous occasions. There is a nice little picnic area at the location with benches. It's a beautiful place to visit. The island in the above picture is where Douglas and I found Shade (my black lab) one night when we were going by boat to camp there. The front of the boat touched the bank and Douglas started growling low. Then out from the thicket came Shade. She was really glad to see us. It seems that her previous owners took the time to drive her out to the island, remove her collar and put her ashore. Then they drove away. She was waiting patiently for them to return for her. But they weren't coming back. She was discarded. But, then came Douglas and me. And that's how that story went. Shade is part of my family now and forever. We grabbed a drink of water and went back to the old building. This property was probably a real jewel back in its day. The old building sits back from the road against the hill that rapidly becomes a mountain side. The road we are on, if followed to the left at the bottom, leads to the Calderwood Power facility which generates power for Alcoa Company. This road also coupled a community with old route 129 in the good ol days. When TVA confiscated, or took, or grabbed; I mean gained possession of the land through imminent domain, this old building came with it. I guess the community was flooded and is long gone under the currents. This building then became useless and relegated to its destiny of ruination. We walked up to investigate. Just what was this place. It didn't look like a church really. It was a church. It was the Calderwood Baptist Church. There is a plaque on the left side of the stair railing close to the ground. The stone work comprising the steps foyer is beautifully done. The roof has collapsed into the center of the building. What a shame to let this old beauty fall to the elements. These old places are history and I see them ignored every day. Soon all that will be left of them will be the imprints on the peoples minds who saw them and photographs. You can read the inscription that has been chiseled into the masonry above the door if you click on the photo to enlarge. We drove back to route 129 and followed it South to other points of interest. The Acoee River Gorge was beautiful as was the surrounding mountains we rode through. This was just a nice scenic ride with a friend. The unhurried pace was appreciated and a day was well spent riding on some of the most beautiful roads in East Tennessee. Below is a movie of me following James down such a road.