Tennessee, the good and the bad and recently the very sad…

Mike making friends:)

I hate hooking up in the rain, there’s the mud, then the wet feet and the cold but we got going early, no cat walking. We wanted to get to RV’s for Less as early as we could in case they could get working right away. I did forget about losing an hour going into Eastern time…sigh…another hour of my life lost arbitrarily! Ha! We pulled into North Knoxville just after midday. It took a few tries to get parked where they wanted us to but managed, always harder when there is an audience! At first they suggested a hotel but then saw we had cats (furbabies..ha!…their words) and said not to worry, they’d get us back on board as soon as they could. We shut the traveling mewberries into the front of the trailer and closed the door, Rocket hid immediately under the bedcovers, the other two hung out by the windows watching Mike flirt with the official greeters! The old dometic fridge came out quite easily but the new Whirlpool was stubborn and it didn’t help it was not exactly the dimensions that Lowes told RV’s for Less it was…

You have to love an RV dealer that has cats and dogs running around their grounds, real animal lovers. Four cats and two dogs wandered about, people let them in and out, fed them, called them, petted them. Miss Priss is the grande dame of the place, elderly and not a care in the world as she wanders about her property. There was a siamese cross, Gracie and an elderly very fluffy grey boy, Leo, who had things to do, then there was Cali. She definitely owned this place! At six months old fear wasn’t in her vocabulary! She was as bold as she is beautiful. Tried to climb on the trailer multiple times as the workers removed the fridge and shooed her off! She sat under it after that, she WAS the supervisor after all! Perhaps wanting to know how these Canadian cats traveled? Ha! An older Jack Russell cross followed everyone about-their dog at Rv’s for Less, but not their dog, she lives behind them (but they are NOT nice people! We were told stories in depth, didn’t feed the poor older girl and far worse things) but she comes here to eat and live most days:) and nights. She barked a few times our first night and Mike opened the front window and told her it was OK, and she went back to sleep. Gamora even let her sniff her tail, the dog killer herself!

They went right to work the next morning, we moved back to the truck cab, cats in front again. We were going to lose the top cabinet, which was fine as it only held napkins but then there were more snags. Apparently the specs Lowes had given them were off…enough that it would not go through the door, but fear not, they could put it in through the side window! We sat and watched from the truck through the windshield at the progress. At lunch break I went on the trailer and gave the mewberries some water and crunchies for their hardship, Rocket was still hiding. There was some sawing and banging so he wasn’t ready to come out and face the cat killers he said!

After lunch the insertion of the fridge was resumed. Window removed, many hands gathered together from office and shop as they gently handed it from the outside in with the forklifts help. Not much swearing;) this whole dealership is very very religious. The Billy Graham Rapid Response Team-Serving in Jesus’ name trailer was parked behind us, another one came into the lot while we were waiting. I was a little worried about our “alien” fish, hoping everyone had a sense of humour;) While the fridge was being installed another man was working on replacing the power cord reel cover as well as affixing a bracket under the backend to help with the back cap wiggle. It was a short term fix Karen, one of the owners said, “Ya’ll need to bring that back another time to get fixed properly, a 12 hour job!” Next trip we promised, another Fall! Mike’s friend Dave aka Pork, stopped by for a quick visit while we were waiting, he lives in Knoxville now, originally from Perth, nice to see a familiar face.

The fridge was also deeper than they were told so no ice maker, no problem we said, we didn’t want any extras, more to go wrong in my book. They managed to move the island 3/4″ to the right for clearance but then the table was hitting when the door side slide closed…I’d had the table out to refinish it in the Fall..”Why not chop an inch off the back of the table, if it slides out an inch less it won’t bother us!” I suggested. Perfect solution! Butch apologized profusely when he brought the table back, the painter’s tape they put on it to protect it had removed some of the awful shiny varnish I had applied, and planned on sanding off when we got back, “Not a problem!”I told him I’d planned on removing it all anyway! He came back later with a jar of laquer, he said I should try it, not so shiny. Very kind. At closing time they were 90% done and said they could finish up in the morning and we moved back on board to admire our shiny new cooling device. It was HUGE! Bigger than what we have at the house!

We took the cats out for a wander once everyone had gone home, They give you a key to their front gate to come and go as you need to after hours. Cali took a shining to Groot who was MOST disturbed by this! “How forward!” Groot exclaimed (he’s a bit of an old fashioned guy, we can’t sniff noises right off the bat, we must get to know each other first, he’s such a prude!) there was to be no playing! He had sniffing to do! “BORING!” Cali said and finally wandered off much to Groot’s relief! Groot may kick himself down the road for not making friends;) Hahahahaha!

Sunrise in Knoxville

In the morning after a few snags were worked out, inverter hook up and trim we were on our way by noon after settling up. They had estimated the time to relace the fridge on the quote and felt bad they had to charge us a little bit more as it hadn’t gone as smoothly as they’d expected, but they didn’t charge for half the time they did spend on it, very gracious generous people. We may not share the same beliefs but acknowledging good people is what we need to do more. Ken, the sales manager had taken a shine to our retro aquamarine mini fridge, we didn’t really need it so offered it to him at a reduced price and he was very happy. He’d sent pictures of it to his wife earlier and she loved it! He was busy that morning smoking ribs and pork in a huge portable smoker for a charity dinner behind the shop, it smelled amazing, “You could all stay!” I think our neighbours were planning to! A lovely couple next to us from “New Joursy”. Their trailer had been submerged in Hurricane Ida in Myrtle Beach, Florida and they were picking up a new one they had bought at RV’s for Less after the insurance paid out, “not until” he said winking! I joked with Mike that it was like living next door to Tony Soprano;) Apparently a lot of filming in that series had been done in the neighbourhood where this really nice guy, Dave lived, it was just the accent! Ha! Or was it? Ha! We opted to start North again, just under two hours NE was Warrior’s Path State Park, we’d stopped here on the way down and decided to resume our journey towards home!

They were also calling for some heavy rain so best not to be on the road for that. There was no one at the small park office when we arrived but I had an idea where we were going. I’d walked this upper part of the campground in the Spring, noting the few sites we could fit in. #85 was the only one. It was a tight turn but they’d added some new width with paving and some extra gravel to the inside of the road which made it easier! Great view down the river. Mike wasn’t impressed with my choice but there were only a few sites we can actually fit into, the spot where we had been before was booked, it was the weekend! I thought three nights here was a treat after RV’s for less urban setting. I had no idea the entire park would fill up! ha! Even on a rainy forecast!

Groot thought the leaves across from the trailer were fine for a nice long pee but just too many dogs he said, in almost every camper except the pop up one right beside us were dogs, both big and small, some campers had three, others had two…not funny Groot said as I told him to put his big boy pants on. His little sister Gamora would protect him! Ha!

There are trails along the lakeside, some a bit precarious after the rain, but the leaf covered forest floor was alive with small wildflowers. Red Deadnettle, Virginia Spring Beauties and Rue Rue Anemones. The lake, well, not really a lake but the Fort Patrick Henry is an 872 acre run-of-river reservoir, meaning water is passed through the reservoir without being stored long-term. It has two hydroelectric generating units at a large dam on the end. The huge towering trees, oaks and beech tree roots seems to be what holds the reservoir banks together, sometimes they win, sometimes mother nature does judging by the number of toppled trees in the water.

I tried to find some information on the geology of the area without much luck. The huge rock outcroppings that go diagonally up and down these hills are fascinating as well as the striation on the rocks by the edge of the reservoir, what caused those scratches and lines? Fossil pine needles a friend suggested! Who knows. I read that 22 families were “relocated” to flood this area:(

Given how full the park was I was surprised how quiet the trails are. Most are not small child friendly unless they want to fall into the reservoir over and over again, from heights at times! They are narrow, and after the rain, slick. I came across some new flowers and plants along the way. The small furled umbrellas when they emerge were Mayapple, American mandrake, wild mandrake or ground lemon and are widespread across most of the eastern United States and southeastern Canada. The unripe green fruit is toxic. The ripened yellow fruit is edible in small amounts, and sometimes made into jelly, though when consumed in large amounts the fruit is poisonous. The rhizome, foliage, and roots are also poisonous. Mayapple contains podophyllotoxin, which is highly toxic if consumed, but can be used as a topical medicine. Karen will want to know! happily I can inform her that the Eastern redbud blooming(the Cercis canadensis), a large deciduous shrub or small tree, native to eastern North America has flowers that can be eaten fresh or fried.
In some parts of southern Appalachia, green twigs from the eastern redbud are used as seasoning for wild game such as venison and opossum. Because of this, in these mountain areas the eastern redbud is sometimes known as the spicewood tree.
Native Americans consumed redbud flowers raw or boiled, and ate roasted seeds. Analysis of nutritional components in edible parts of eastern redbud reported that the flower extract contains anthocyanins, green developing seeds contained proanthocyanidin, and linolenic, α-linolenic, oleic and palmitic acids are present in seeds. So many plants! Inquiring minds want to know.

Saturday we had two trailer whip past us at least 30 mph…this is a SMALL tight road, they nearly creamed the front of the truck in their hurry and the camp host was right on their tail in his golf cart reading them the riot act AND that they’d booked a site too small for their trailer. It must be a tough job here in Tennessee, especially given their gun laws, one has to be careful.


Carrying Handguns
Tennessee does not require a permit to carry a firearm, whether openly or concealed. If you want to carry a gun openly or concealed in public in Tennessee, you don’t need a permit. As of July 1, 2021, Tennessee is a permit-less carry state.

Purchase of Firearms
Subject to some exceptions, it is unlawful to sell or transfer a handgun to any person who is intoxicated or who is prohibited from gun ownership under the law….duh????

Warriors Path State Park-a time for reflection at sunrise

Our three generational neighbours across the way had been watching their kids like hawks, now I know why! He was shaking his head in disbelief after they shot past, I went out to check our truck…missed it by “That” much he showed with his two fingers…nice folks. Their son in law had never met a “Canadian” before. He wondered if our license plates from “Ontario” was the capital of Canada….sigh….

While humans pose the most danger to anything in life there is an astounding amount of other toxic things growing in plain sight. I wondered if the parents of the kids who didn’t know where the capital of Canada was would know about the rest of the weird things right next to their trailers! Ha! While I was walking Rocket we spied, actually, he spied a millipede for me as we meandered through the deep layer of leaves! Toy! Müther! Toy…nope, very toxic! Apheloria virginiensis, the Black and Gold Flat millipede, is a large North American millipede. It is reported to secrete cyanide compounds as a defense. It is recommended that one wash hands after handling this organism as the toxic compounds it secretes are poisonous and can cause extreme irritation if rubbed in the eyes! Apheloria virginiensis serves as a host to the parasitic fungus Arthrophaga myriapodina, which causes infected individuals to climb to an elevated spot before death. Good thing I didn’t let Rocket play with it!

Across from the trailer at the base of a large oak were plants that looked like blooming pine cones, absolutely fascinating! Conopholis americana, the American cancer-root, bumeh or bear corn, is a perennial, non-photosynthesizing (or “achlorophyllous”) parasitic plant. It is parasitic on the roots of woody plants, especially oaks (genus Quercus) and beech (genus Fagus). The only part of the plant generally seen is the cone-shaped inflorescence, which appears above ground in spring. The plant is found growing on roots in wooded ravines in every state of the United States east of the Mississippi River. While widely distributed, it is uncommon. The suckers of the parasitic roots cause the formation of large rounded knobs on the roots of the host tree.

Then I found a beautiful flower….Cancer root and now Bloodroot? Sanguinaria canadensis is sometimes known as Canada puccoon, bloodwort, redroot, red puccoon, and black paste. In bloodroot, the juice is red and poisonous. Products made from sanguinaria extracts, such as black salve, are escharotic and can cause permanent disfiguring scarring.
Bloodroot is one of many plants whose seeds are spread by ants, a process called myrmecochory. The seeds have a fleshy organ called an elaiosome that attracts ants. The ants take the seeds to their nest, where they eat the elaiosomes, and put the seeds in their nest debris, where they are protected until they germinate. They also benefit from growing in a medium made richer by the ant nest debris.
Internal use is not recommended.
An overdose of bloodroot extract can cause vomiting and loss of consciousness
…will avoid but the roots can produce a dye as long as you don’t get it on your skin…once again, I will avoid it! 

Maybe speeding trailers and gun toting Tennesseans aren’t the most dangerous thing out there after all? Some would beg to differ with me after Monday’s shootings in Nashville…It is the guns…I saw the meme..what is wrong with this country? It breaks my heart to think of the insanity here, and at home. Some days I do think humanity is doomed, but as a senator said, guns aren’t the problem, we need more prayer in school…STFU…shut the fuck up….

That covers the good, and the bad…and the very very sad. We are ready to head home…stay tuned, a few states still to go! Saludos amigos ♥

Light and water-beautiful-Warriors Path State Park, Tennessee

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