Sunday, May 29, 2011

Pickwick Dam, TN and Southaven, MS (suburb of Memphis, TN)

I got to Pickwick Landing State Park and started driving around the park.  I was a bit concerned because most of their sites are not even close to level.  I finally found one that I liked, but still used from 3 – 5 inches of leveling blocks on 3 tires.  Actually there was a more level site, but this was a nicer site.  I later walked around and found about 8 sites that I would try if I come back here.  If I do come back to this area, I would try this park first and if I couldn’t find a level site I would go across the river to Pickwick Dam TVA campground.  All their sites are level and fairly close to the water – most have a view.  But the sites are closer together.  Below is a picture of the lake from my hike in the park and a picture of trumpet honeysuckle.

I drove to Pinson Mounds State Archaeological park.  It was a bit of a drive, but it sounded interesting and it is.  It is really a preserve of prehistoric remains. 


Did you read that?  These mounds were constructed 1 – 300 A.D.!!

When I see how old it is, I always wonder about how they age something like this.  At one of the parks, I saw some information on how they use carbon dating and other methods, but I still wonder how accurate it is.  Regardless, the mounds are old! This park allows bikes on the trails, so just to be different I rode my bike. 

From Pickwick, my plans were to go to Memphis.  But I was hearing on the news about the floods along the Mississippi and tributaries.  I called the campground that I planned on going to and they said they were ok.  So I headed to Southaven, Mississippi.  It is just south of Memphis.  I was at the park during the crest of the Mississippi in Memphis.  While the news made it sound like all of Memphis was underwater, that was not the case.  Places close to the water were flooded, but most of the city was open.   This is a picture of some business close to downtown Memphis and the river. 

Above is a picture of the intersection of Beale St and Riverside Drive.  You can just make out the tops of the orange safety barrels.  In addition to the flood, I saw many news crews during my walk along the flooded river banks.

Below is a picture of CNN’s reporter, Rob Marciano, about to start a broadcast. 



While in Memphis, I went to the National Ornamental Metal Museum.  I thought it was just ok and found the gates to be the most interesting part of the museum.  There was a lot of detail in them.  Every “rosette” was different and made by different metalsmiths.  From flowers, to abstract designs, to hands holding a tea cup – very different.


One of the reasons I decided on Memphis was the zoo.  I had read that they had a great zoo and it is!! 

The Red Panda above found a tree branch that fit him just right.

I had seen Siamang Monkeys before, but I had never heard them howl.  I’m guessing you could hear these monkeys from a mile away. The picture above was taken during the middle of a howl.

From here, I had thought I would head to the North West corner of Tennessee, but the campground I had planned to stay at was closed due to the flood.  So I stayed in Memphis a few extra days before heading North to Columbus-Belmont State Park in Kentucky.   More on that in my next blog.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Manchester, TN

A quick update, before I get to what I did around Manchester.  As mentioned in my previous blog, I went back to look at the Mountain City Campground that I was at before the storms hit.  We had to wait until the tree was cut before we could leave so it was about 6:00 pm before we could get the car out of the garage.  We had heard that Mountain City had been hit pretty bad.  The campground where I was staying was hit, but the owners had already cleaned up quite a bit.  I couldn’t tell for sure if my RV would have been damaged if I would have stayed, but it looked like there were 3 6 – 8 inch limbs that were down in the trees surrounding my spot.  One RV did have damage and had a tarp over the roof.  I am very glad I left a few hours before the storm hit!!!  But the campground was lucky just down the road many trees were in half and building were damaged.

On my trip to Tennessee, I had to go a bit out of the way due to storm damage and several roads were closed.  I ended up going South and then turning back North up I-75.  Ringgold, GA was one of the towns that was hit by tornadoes.  The pictures below were taken from my car going down I-75 at the Ringgold exit.

Highway Signs --

Hotel --

It was amazing to see the damage and once again made me think about what I would do if a storm like this hit while I was in my RV.

I decided to stayed in Manchester, TN because it was central to several places I wanted to go.  I went to Chattanooga a couple of times and once on the way back I stopped at the National Cornbread festival.  (Note – I stopped there after my Weight Watcher meeting, so I would have time to work off the samples of cornbread I ate before my next meeting!)

Old Stone Fort Archaeological Park is an interesting place.  Not only is it a 2000+ year old Indian ceremonial site, but it has some beautiful scenery.  The Indians built mounds and walls that formed an enclosure that was more than 1 mile around.  The walls were a bit hard to photograph, you can’t really tell it is more than just a hill so I included the one with the sign!

Ringgold Falls is a waterfall that is on private property.  The people who own it are nice enough to allow people to walk to the falls.

Sewanee Natural Bridge was a neat little place.  It wasn’t a long hike, but a nice “bridge”.  Actually the trail took you across the top of it.

I also went to Foster falls and did a short hike.

Another place I went hiking was in Short Springs Natural Area.  I was looking forward to seeing Machine Falls and took a very steep trail down to see it.  Once I got down to the bottom I saw a sign that said Machine Falls 100 yards, but then I saw that I was going to have to walk through the creek to get to it.  I don’t know if that was normal or if it was because they have had so much rain.  Even though it was a tough trail down, I decided it wasn’t worth walking through the creek, so I headed back up.

From Manchester, I headed to Pickwick Landing State Park and then to Southaven, MS (just south of Memphis).