Monday, March 23, 2015

Chasing Tennessee Counties: Covington to Clarksville

This Hog Chapter Directors Challenge is turning into a let us say a real challenge.  After riding 7 counties yesterday we woke up in Covington Tennessee to a light rain.  So we hurried and packed and ate breakfast before a big line of storms move in.  The rain was starting to pick up as we left the front of the hotel lobby.

It was a quick trip out of the hard rain once leaving Covington.  The second county seat we stop at is in the town of Alamo in Crockett County.  Of course named after Davy Crockett a defender of the Alamo.   Davy an adversary of Andrew Jackson was opposed to the Indian Removal Act (Trail of Tears), he was so disturbed by it, among other things, he decided to relocate to Texas. It can be said that Texas is the Son of Tennessee.  In addition to Davy Crockett; Sam Houston and Daniel Boone were also major players in the creation of Texas.

In addition to the history that can be learned at each county seat the popular architecture of the day is reflected in each county courthouse.  From the Greco-Roman of the Carroll County courthouse. To the Art Deco of Lauderdale County and the modern of Benton County, each courthouse has a uniqueness not know until riding up to it.

After eating lunch in Huntington it is a short ride across the Tennessee River and then north to Clarksville.  It is good to get home wash the bikes and be ready to roll out again, a new adventure awaits.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Chasing Tennessee Counties

The local Harley Davidson Hog Chapter has a directors challenge.  The person that rides to the most Tennessee County Seats gets a free service on his or her motorcycle.  You have to stop at the county courthouse to get a picture of your bike and the courthouse; or some kind of signage in the county square.

Last Saturday we rode the 6 counties around Clarksville. This weekend we are riding the 13 Northwestern Tennessee Counties. We are currently in Covington, TN about 50 miles north of Memphis after riding 7 counties today.   We will head back to Clarksville tomorrow stopping at 6 more.

After living in Tennessee for almost 25 years it is fun riding to all these small counties and seeing each of their courthouse squares. Every county has a surprise in it; some unique shop, different looking courthouse or historical facts. Will we get to all 95 by the end of the year? Who knows, but it will be fun trying.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Finishing up a Week in the Texas Hill Country

It has been a week of Good Barbecue, good sights, and cold weather.  We finish up the week with a trip to Enchanted Rock State Park, a trip to Fredericksburg, and the National Pacific War Museum.  It turned out to be a good week although the weather did not cooperate to the point where we could bring the motorcycles, with Texas having rain and temperatures 15 to 20 degrees below normal.

Did I mention the Barbecue, someone told Terri that we should go to Coopers Old Time Pit Barbecue Home of the big cop in Llano Texas.   This was a very unique place where they served the meat off of big outside pits.  You then took it inside where it was weighed and cut up as you decided on sides.  Then we ate on one of the big inside picnic tables.   It was an outstanding Texas Style Q.

After filling up on Texas Q we drove over to Enchanted Rock State Park and hiked up a 450 foot Granite uplift Mountain.  As we drove up we could see the steady stream of people making their way to the top against a grey Texas sky.   It was very strange standing on solid pink Granite.  The only thing I could think of was there were a lot of kitchen counters beneath me.

The next day we headed to Fredericksburg and the National Pacific War Museum.  This was the highlight of our trip.  An incredible overwhelming display that floods the senses with the sheer enormity of this theater of World War II.   Sometimes I feel that the European Theater overshadows and dominates the history of the war in our popular culture.  When the Japanese posed more of an immediate threat to the US homeland.

After lunch at the Ratskeller which was a great American German restaurant we made our way back to our home away from home in Lago Vista.   The next day was a short 14-hour drive back home to Tennessee.   It was good to get home and cross this part of Texas off the list.   A little disappointed that the weather did not cooperate and we didn't get to cruise motorcycle through the hill country of Texas.  Well, maybe next time.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

A Trip to the Hill Country of Texas LBJ Country

It has been snowing for a week in Tennessee and I'm sick of it.   But right after the latest snow storm it is an early spring break.  This is a trip we have planned for a while.   A booked condo in Largo Vista on the banks of Lake Travis just to the Northwest of Austin will be our base of operations.  A whole week of seeing other sights other than the inside our house in Tennessee will be refreshing.  We have cabin fever bad!

We leave on a late Friday morning hoping the roads would have thawed a little.  I takes us twice as long on snow covered roads to get to Interstate 40, but after that it is clear sailing to Little rock where we spend the night.  The next day it is a short trip to check in.  12 hour drive in all.

The first full day here we make tracks to Johnson City to the LBJ National Historic Parks to see the Boyhood home of Lyndon Baines Johnson our 36th President.  The Texas Hill Country provided a hard scrabble up bringing. Although he was a member of a prominent family, life was still hard and one of the nicest homes of the period reflected this.  No electricity no running water in the house.

After the Boyhood home we make the 14 mile trip west to see his ranch which was recently opened in 2007 for tours due to Lady Birds passing.  Lady Bird the much adored wife of our 36th President.  The ranch and house or the Texas White House as it was called by the press was spectacular.  Still a working cattle ranch with cattle that are descendants of LBJ's cattle.  They even had the oldest daughters Lucy's 18th birthday present a 65 Corvette Stingray.

He never forgot where he came from.  One of the hardest working presidents ever, sleeping 4 hours a night.  He worked hard for all Americans passing 1000 pieces of legislation that advanced average American lives.  From Medicare and medicaid; to rural electrification, then everything in between.  His biggest accomplishment being the landmark Civil Rights bill.  And although mostly forgotten clean air and water acts that made most rivers and lakes much cleaner than they were in the 1960's.  The Cumberland River near my home in Tennessee is 20 times cleaner.