Monday, April 30, 2018

A Motorcycle Ride Casey Jones House and Museum

Today was the Tuckasee Harley Ownership Group (HOG) Mystery Ride.  When we were all told that we were riding to Jackson, TN and the Casey Jones Museum we were very excited.  We have been through Jackson dozens of times but and never stopped at the Casey Jones site.  Like my better half, Terri said, its been on the bucket list for a while.  The sun was out, it's in the 70's it's going to be a good day to be on a motorcycle.

Spring in Tennessee is something to behold, the air is crisp and fresh, the trees are in the middle of leafing out. All is right in the world.  The ride to Jackson was a moment where the only place you wanted to be was on a motorcycle.  It's was a 3-hour ride to Jackson with a group of about 20 bikes.   
It was a great ride full of sweeping turners that were fun for a large group of riders.   Casey was forever immortalized by the song Ballad of Casey Jones.  Casey died doing what he loved best, being a railroad engineer. 

He died when he crashed his train into the rear of a stalled freight train on the track in Mississippi.  He had a perfect record of never having his train arrive behind schedule.  So when his passenger train left the station in Memphis over 75 minutes late, he knew he had time to make up.  Too bad, there was a freight train stalled on a blind corner, with the training reaching speeds of up to 75 MPH there was no time to stop. 

He did manage to warn all his passengers and reduce the train to 35 MPH before the crash, which saved everyone but him.  He was the only one to die on that fateful run.  He died in search of perfection, and there is a lesson in there for us motorcycle riders. 

Just like driving a train, us motorcyclist must know our limits and expect the unexpected.  We must never ride faster than the conditions allow and we must understand our distance limits.  An early stop for the evening might save your life. 

Sunday, April 1, 2018

John James Audubon State Park and Henderson Kentucky

It was spring break, and we were looking for an American Volksmarch Association (AVA) event close by.  We found a year-round event in Henderson, Kentucky, right across the river from Evansville, Indiana.  Riding the motorcycles was a little cold, so we drove up to Henderson. So it is now time to take a walk through history.

John James Audubon State Park is a great place to walk a few 5ks.  That's kilometers for all of you who need to become more familiar with the metric system.  There is a walk in the woods through the Park and one through downtown Henderson.  So 10Ks it is, and we're off.  After stopping for breakfast, we arrive around 9:30AM, with plenty of time to walk 10Ks.

Mr. Audubon, the famous 19th-century naturalist, lived in Henderson for 10 years before printing his seminal art book, The Birds of America.  What impressed us the most about the John James Audubon State Park was the Audubon Memorial Museum.  There was a $6 entrance fee for the Museum, but it was well worth it.  First, we saw a great film about Audubon's life and the building of the Museum.

The Museum contains artifacts from his life and drawings that were donated by his relatives.  Included are some of his original picture books.  The most impressive is his Elephant Book of The Birds of America.  Called an elephant book because it is so large.  Before today I knew very little about Audubon and his work; for me, this was a real educational experience.

After we walked around the Park, we stopped for lunch and headed downtown.  Henderson, at one time, was the wealthiest city in the world.  With more millionaires per capita than any other place in the world.  All due to dark-cured Tobacco.  This was until Britain imposed a Tariff, which wrecked the economy and almost destroyed the city.

When you walk through Henderson, Audubon's influence is everywhere. Many things are named after him, including the Park and many establishments downtown.  A lot of the walk is along the Ohio River.  It has that river town feel, slow and meandering.  The trail passes many stately houses.  Including the governor's homes, of which there are 4.

We finish the walk, and while reading more about Henderson, discover that WC Handy spent a decade here, joined a band, and the rest is history.  The father of the Blues has a festival here in the middle of June every year.

Well, it is time to head home; it was a great trip to Henderson, Kentucky.  After walking 10 kilometers and learning so much about this little city, I am much better at it and wonder why it took me so long to make it here.