A Drive Across Southern Tennessee

We took a lovely drive today.  It was a picture-perfect day, except for the wind.  MaryEllen wanted to have a picnic, not on a table, but a real picnic with a blanket and everything.  So, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches were prepared, chips & hummus packed, patchwork quilt in the van, we were ready.  Well, all except the where to go part.  I thought a drive across Rt. 64 might be a good start.  John was summoned to get the map out of the car.  I was looking towards Chattanooga (how does one spell the name of that choo-choo?) and there seemed to be several natural areas where one might hike.  Off we went, hoping there would be signs down the road.   We went through Fayetteville, and beyond.  The children and I had never been that far down Rt. 64 before.  They saw the sign for Tim’s Ford State Park, but with the wind today a lake with a dam just didn’t seem like a good place to have a picnic.  On we went and did wonderfully until we came to Winchester.  We went off the beaten Rt. 64 path to actually drive through the town.   Was it anything like Winchester, VA where we had spent so much time?  No.  It was a typical Tennessee town, complete with a fancy building in the middle of a square.   On we pressed.  Suddenly we wondered if we were on Rt. 64 anymore.  It seemed to me that we should have gotten to Interstate 24 by now.  There was a small, but neat looking town called Cowan.  Then we saw two brown signs that pointed the way to natural areas.  “Shall we turn there,”  I asked, “or go on to Chattanooga?”  The answer was a resounding “Chattanooga!”  The minute we passed the turn-off, we saw a green sign that said “Chattanooga 57.”   Aaaahhhh 57 miles!!!  We had already been in the car nearly 2 hours.  We then decided to turn around and go explore the natural areas.  In order to turn around, I turned down this road that had some really neat looking, quaint little restaurants.  Soon we were coming upon this architecture that was  like nothing out of the south!   Is this a college?  It must be.  We passed an actual cathedral.   Were we suddenly transported to Europe or some big city?  Well, it was the University of the South.  (cousin Laura, you have got to see this place!!!)  Of course John had heard of this place before, apparently they have a decent football team.  “You know if Tom Brady (or was it one of the Manning brothers?   John is in bed so I can’t ask him right now, but he knew who) had accepted the scholarship from this college that he was offered, he would not only have been the quarter back here, but also a baseball pitcher.”  How does the child remember these things?  Anyway, we did turn around and headed down the road for a natural bridge.  When we got to this secluded little parking spot, it was at the edge of a cliff and the path was pretty well down.  (And there was no bathrooms!)  So, we decided once again to turn around.  I looked on the map and thought I would head onto Interstate 24 and head away from Chattanooga, go to Tullahoma and end up back at Tim’s Ford State park anyway.  We stopped just before we got on the interstate to a McDonald’s to us the restroom.  When I went back to get Charlotte out of her seat I noticed that she looked red and had a fever.  That explains why she didn’t eat her crackers.  Truth being told, my cold was feeling worse instead of better as well.   After the potty break I looked at the map again and noticed a “Stone Fort State Archaeological Park” near Manchester and decided to head there.   We did that.  After entering the park we came to a fork in the road.  The choices were picnic area one way or fort and museum the other.  Everyone had snacked enough that they were not hungry so we went to the museum.  It turns out this place is an old American Indian ceremonial ground.   The little museum was quite nice and we went up top to see some of the sights.  We were on the Duck River and at one point the Big Duck and the Little Duck Rivers meet.  There was a mile and a quarter trail, but it was not recommended for strollers.  I was not going to have Charlotte walk all that way and I certainly couldn’t carry her either.  So, we loaded back into the van and headed for the picnic area.  When we pulled into the parking lot the children noticed swings and a slide so they were very excited.   I found a lovely spot to place the blanket and proceeded to blow away get the food ready.  The chips and hummus were the favorites today!  MaryEllen was so excited to get a real picnic and James exclaimed that it was the best picnic we ever took!   I promised the children that we would be back there again to walk the trail.  On the way home I found a hands on children’s museum in Tullahoma that is covered by our family pass so that is one more reason to go back.    Unfortunately, I did not take a single picture despite charging my camera battery all night long.  As for this lovely spring-like weather, well it is coming to an end.  The cold front is moving in tonight and our low for this evening is expected to be the high for tomorrow.  It is storming here as I type with a lot of wind to go with it.  But, we sure did enjoy this beautiful weather while it lasted.

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One Response to “A Drive Across Southern Tennessee”

  1. Lor Says:

    Sometimes it’s fun to jump in the car with no destination in mind!

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