Saturday, October 24, 2009

2008 10 18 Quincy to Tennessee: Old Stone Fort and Jack Daniel’s Distillery

Note: Sorry we've been offline so long and sorry if some of you came upon an 'under construction' post here. We are finding it challenging to find wireless access with enough bandwidth to load our pictures. Maybe 'MIFI' for Christmas ;-)

Sunday, Oct. 18th, the day after the funeral, we packed up and were on the road about lunchtime.

We stopped for the night at Fort Massac State Park, at the southern tip of Illinois.
We arrived at the same time they were ending their annual autumn Civil War re-enactment,. This event apparently draws up to 80,000 people and there was still a huge encampment set up. Unfortunately, in trying to find our way in to the campground, there were temporary roadblocks at the campground and we ended up in the middle of this event on a small one lane road. This is only the second time in all our travels that we had to unhook the toad to get turned around when we got off track. Luckily, a conservation officer nearby checked via radio to be sure we could find space in the campground and then assisted in traffic control so that Ken could negotiate turning around in a very tight space.

On Monday morning, we headed out around 8:30 am., arriving at our planned destination, Old Stone State Park,Tennessee by late afternoon. I had chosen this stop because of the archeological significance. It’s thought that the area was built as a sacred site of the ancient Woodland Indians in the area, back around 500BC. This campground also gave us a comfortable drive to and from Jack Daniel’s Distillery in Lynchburg, TN.

While only a few miles from the interstate, we now know that the bridge access to the campground is probably not something that should be attempted in a diesel motorhome.

Crossing the bridge to the campsite...tight squeeze!!

Note the 10T weight limit for 2 axles....hmmm....our bad!!!

On the way in we misread the sign as ok for us, 18 tons and we are about 14 tons. Paying closer attention once we were across we realized that for a dual axle vehicle like ours the limit was 10 tons. There was no other way in or out of the campground though so at that point we had to come back across.

View of the Duck River from Old Stone fort Campground

The Old Stone Fort is located between two forks of the Duck River.

Old Stone Fort Campsite

Since we were only staying for one night, we were not too picky on the site we chose. You’ll notice the firepit and table were behind the rig which we would not have liked except we didn’t plan to use them so not a problem.

Interesting wildflower we’d never encountered before

I took the dogs for a quick walk. There did not seem to be a campground host onsite but I did come across this plant which Ken and I couldn’t identify. We definitely need a more comprehensive wildflower and plant guide since this doesn’t appear in our wildflower or Audubon tree guide. Any reference guide recommendations would be much appreciated.
We quickly got back on the road, this time in the jeep, to make our way to Lynchburg. We met the forest ranger on the way out and paid our $20 fee. She said that with budgets as they are, Tennessee no longer honors the Golden Access Pass.

I drove to Lynchburg to give Ken a break from behind the wheel. Also gave him a chance to study the maps.

Cindy in front of Jack Daniel’s Visitor’s Center

Jack Daniel’s Distillery is easy to find, with the Visitor’s Center on the highway going in to town.

Jack Daniel's Visitor Center Interior

We enjoyed the various exhibits in the visitor’s center while waiting for the next tour to leave. There is a lot of ‘legend’ around Jack Daniel. For example, he was known to be quite a lady’s man, which is thought to be how the name came about ‘Gentleman Jack’. Also, the ‘No. 7’ label has no clear origin but again local lore ties it back to his romantic relationships.
The tour was especially enjoyable because of the tour guide who was a really great storyteller in his native Alabaman drawl.

Our guide demonstrating how to pour ‘2 fingers’ of Jack Daniel’s!

Ken with Jack in front of his famous spring

The ‘deadly’ safe.

Apparently Jack Daniel’s kicked it in frustration, broke his toe, got infection and died from the infection.

Notice the black fungus growing on the trees.

Supposedly you’ll see this anywhere there is a still in operation.

Unfortunately there are no ‘free samples’ at the distillery since it is actually in a dry county!!

The downtown Lynchburg square

After the tour we drove in to Lynchberg and had a late lunch/early dinner on the square. Had we more time we would have planned to do lunch as Miss Bobo’s Boarding House and perhaps will do that on another Tennessee visit when we are not under a strict schedule.
We decided to use Tuesday morning for exploring the sights at the park where we were staying, Old Stone Fort State Park, Tennessee

Entrance to old Stone Fort Museum

Cindy Along the old Stone Fort path

Ken getting a feel for the 50 acre open area at the center

Several deer followed us along the path

Some of the falls along the perimeter of the escarpment

We really enjoyed the 2-3 hours we spent exploring this area. The setting is so naturally beautiful, its easy to understand why the ancient tribes considered this sacred space.

We came back to the RV then and loaded up so that by 1pm, Tuesday we were on our way in to Alabama.

Hugs, C

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