Monday, April 27, 2015

The Barefoot Catamaran

The best snorkel trip ever.   Take this trip!!!!!!!  More follow in a feature story!!!!

Monday, April 13, 2015

Magnolia Manner: A Bed & Breakfast Lost in Time and to a Ghost

What a great motorcycle ride to Bolivar, TN, where we stayed at Magnolia Manor, a Historic House near Memphis, Tennessee.  Generals Grant and Sherman planned the Battle of Shiloh here. 

"Magnolia Manor was built by Judge Austin Miller in 1849. He was a prominent attorney and is credited with helping place the southern boundary of Tennessee so that Memphis was in Tennessee, not Mississippi. In fact, Austin Miller is mentioned by name in the Constitution of the State of Mississippi in article two as having established the northern boundary of that state. He also donated 20 acres of land in Tunica County, Mississippi, in 1848 for the county seat. The town was named Austin in honor of Judge Miller. 

"Magnolia Manor is a classic two-story Georgian Colonial designs. Each brick was hand made and sun-dried on the home site by slaves. It features fourteen-foot ceilings and thirteen-inch thick walls from the ground to the roof. There are four bedrooms in the main house and nine fireplaces. Two of the bedrooms are master suites, two full baths, and two half baths. The home also features double parlors. 
It was used as a Headquarters for the Union Army by Generals Logan, McPherson, Sherman, and Grant during the Civil war and it is believed to be the home in which these four Generals planned the battle of Shiloh. 

Three generations of the Miller family lived in the house until the 1970s. Charles Austin Miller, son of Judge Austin Miller, followed his father's footsteps to become a prominent attorney and later the Secretary of State of Tennessee. One of C.A. Miller's daughters, Lizzie Lea Miller, was also elected State Representative and the first woman in the history of Tennessee to achieve this. The house has since been owned by only two other families. It has operated as bed and breakfast since 1985 by Owner and Inn Keeper Elaine Cox. Governors, Celebrities, and even a Vice President have inquired about or stayed at Magnolia Manor." - Taken from the Web Site.

Once checking in and getting settled, we hung out in the back garden, listening to Elaine's husband Tom Cox tell stories about the house. Old Tom still smoking and drinking at age 90 looks healthier than most people half his age had some stories to tell. A Navy WWII Vet serving on the USS Philadelphia that took President Truman to the Potsdam Conference. There was another couple there staying in the guest cottage. Since all three were from Memphis, it was enlightening to hear them and Tom discuss Memphis history. Which in their minds is a City in decline.

One of the more interesting stories was Grant and Sherman planning the Battle of Shiloh for the Gentleman Parlor. Then Sherman making a comment that all southern women and children should be exterminated. Mrs. Miller, the lady of the house, overheard this and ran out of the house 
sobbing. General Grant, who was not too happy, made Sherman apologize to Mrs. Miller. Sherman was not pleased having to say he was sorry, scared the staircase railing, and later put his boot spurs on the dining room table. Those marks remain there today.

The more famous story is the ghost of Priscilla McNeil, a wealthy cousin of the Millers who died at age 18. Who supposedly roams the house late at night. Her Portrait hangs in the 1849 bedroom. The room across from where we stayed. Tom told us about a ghost hunter/psychic who came to the house. She can feel the presence of phantoms by feeling objects. There were about 6 people in the room when she touched a picture of the alleged ghost on the wall. When she moved the picture, a ghost-like image came out of the frame about two feet. Was there for 4-5 seconds. Scared everyone in the room, even him, he said.

Well, we made it through the night with no problems and no ghosts. It was quite the experience. We slept in the Judge Austin Miller master suite that has a 35,000 dollar bed, and it's own sitting parlor. We had the whole house upstairs of the house to ourselves. In the morning, we have an excellent pork chop egg, rice, biscuit, and gravy breakfast served at 9 am. After this, it was time to get back on the road; we need to see 7 counties before getting home to Clarksville.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

A Deployment to the Sinai: Jerusalem

While in the Army in 1992 stationed in the Sinai I got to travel a lot in Israel.  During my 9 months in Egypt on the Sinai Peninsula, I travel to Israel a half a dozen times.   The longest trip was a 10-day holy land trip where we visited all of the major biblical sites.   Spending 4 days in Jerusalem, Then going to the Dead Sea, Bethlehem, and the Sea of Galilee, just to name a few sites.  One of the highlights of the trip was a walk to Israeli National Museum where the Dead Sea scrolls are kept.

When in Jerusalem there was and still are actually multiple sites that promote the rising of Christ. There is much controversy over where it actually happened.   We went to the most popular tourist spot that has the cave and looks a lot like the picture everyone has in their mind. There is, even more, controversy about the actual crucifixion site. 

In the bigger picture, the Christian sites are a side show compared to the Jewish and Muslim sites and how they drive the ongoing conflict in the Middle East. Take the Wailing Wall supposedly part of the foundation of King David's destroyed temple. On the other side of the wall is the Dome of the Rock and al-Aqsa Mosque one on the most sacred sites in the Islamic faith where supposedly Mohamed ascended into heaven.    Understand this sits in the footprint of the old King David Temple the most sacred site in the Jewish faith.   Who many extremist in the Jewish faith believe that the Messiah will not return until this temple is rebuilt. Of course, the Dome of the Rock and al-Aqsa Mosque must be destroyed before this can happen.   

Jerusalem is the most militarized city in the world; soldiers everywhere, checkpoints to the different Quarters.  While there you could feel the tension in the air while passing from one-quarter to the next.  Of course, God is everywhere this is a given regardless of what you believe, but where the three major human interpretations fail him is in their lack of respect for our fellow man’s humanity and the differing flawed human interpretations. Which above all else teaches us to love our fellow man without the consideration of flawed interpretations or what some people call religion. 


Thursday, April 2, 2015

Chasing Tennessee Counties: The Capture of Island #10

I love riding a winding river road  This road has that smell of a river.  That Mississippi River smell is unique, it has that muddy river smell.  While riding these roads you can feel the river delta in your veins.   It gives you a special spirit or spice to your life.  

After making a wrong turn when leaving Union City we have to drive around Realfoot Lake through Hickman Kentucky to get to Tiptonville.  This is the county seat for Lake County.   We see the Historical Marker for the Battle for Island #10.  A lesser known civil war battle on the Mississippi River.

It's hard to imagine 25,000 soldier slogging it out in and around this area.  Riding a motorcycle on elevated roads through flooded fields it becomes clear warfare would have be near impossible on this Mississippi River plain.  With the capture of Island #10 the Union gain a little more control of the Mississippi River in 1862.

After getting some pictures at the Lake County Court House its time to head Dyersburg. The county seat of Dyer County to get another county under our belt,  We have 3 to go before we stop for the night,