Monday, October 18, 2004

Elena and Ashpenaz in the Countryside

This past weekend was my sister Ashpenaz's and my trip to the great south central area of Tennessee: Lynchburg, Winchester, Tullahoma, Belvidere, and Manchester. (Well, we only drove through Tullahoma and Manchester, so those don't really count.) She won the trip in a drawing at the Y. (She thought she was entering a contest to win the car, but it was actually to have a car available to her for this trip.)

Friday night Ashes picked up the white BMW X2 (read: small SUV), complete with sunroof and CD player (and large "Courtesy Loaner of BMW of Nashville" sticker on the back windshield... nice...). Saturday we drove southish to Shelbyville and hung a looey toward Lynchburg. We stayed in a little B&B in Lynchburg run by a very nice lady. Our room was the one with the two beds. (Yay!)

Saturday lunch took us to the Iron Kettle, a little dinerish place on the square in Lynchburg. Good greasy grub to be had. Then we window-shopped in the stores on the square. We skipped most of the stores with the Harley Davidson paraphenalia (of which Lynchburg has way more than its share). Checked into the B&B around 3:00 p.m. Discovered that Miss Mary Bobo's Restaurant only seats for a meal at 1:00 p.m., not at all on Sundays, and only by reservation. Well, there goes our gourmet Southern food dinner. Hrm...what to do? Well, we headed toward Tims Ford State Park. I got to drive the Beamer this time! Heehee!

After what seemed like FOREVER (which was only 20 min. probably), we got to the park, paid the fee, and walked a paved path to an overlook. Then we walked back and got directions to a marina where food was to be had. Drove to Holiday Landing and ate at the Blue Gill Grill. More greasy food. (Pretty good fried catfish. Excellent cheese spread for appetizer.)

We drove back to the B&B and just hung out. I watched Shallow Hal, and Ashes read Shopaholic & Sister. (I've yet to finish the book. Book review forthcoming.) I thought the movie was cute, if rather irreverent at times.

Sunday morning, we two heathens (heh-heh, we skipped church) went back to Tims Ford State Park to ride the hydro bikes. We rented the tandem one and pedaled out to the middle of the lake. My tushie is still smarting from the butt fatigue. It was good exercise, and it was a beautiful morning out on the lake. Sun shining on the water. Trees changing slowly to their fall colors, in muted tones of gold, orange, red, and brown.

We had the bikes for an hour but our knees, legs, and hineys couldn't last that long, so we pedaled back and jumped into the Beamer-mobile for the drive to Belvidere. We had our sights set on Falls Mill, a historic mill that used to produce all kinds of products but now is used to grind corn, wheat, and other grains. The mill is also a museum and gift shop. And the proprietors told us they do have weddings there on the grounds.

We got to Belvidere a little early, so we backtracked through Old Salem and then through Winchester and found a little bait shop place near some other creek or river or lake thingy. They sold hamburgers, thank goodness, so we didn't have to make do with our granola bars and peanut butter. The shop owner tried to give us directions back to Winchester that would also take us down the road that had all the restaurants (which we didn't need now that we had burger-ness in hand). He explained: "Hemena-hrm-how right turn, shemeny-sherba-sow left turn, blahdee-blah-blah 'nother right turn" and much more. (I think he was really telling us how to get to North Carolina.) Ashes and I looked at each other, thinking, "Didja get all that?" Of course not. We hopped into the Beamer and said, "Yeah, we'll just go back the way we came."

Falls Mill turned into the best part of the trip. Beautiful grounds. We took silly Glamour Shots style photos of each other with the upper falls as the backdrop. We toured the mill and museum, got to see the big wheel up close, and explored the grounds. Ivy and kudzu everywhere. It was like a hillbilly fairyland! (We discovered that the geographic name for this area of TN is the Highland Rim. Can'tcha just hear the bagpipes?)

I drove us from Belvidere to I-24 and on to Murfreesboro, where Ashes and I searched for rental properties for her and TexasStar. She and TS will continue to room together as they both finish their undergrad degrees. LittleBit, the resident four-legged furrball, may get booted off the "College Girl Island," since many landlords don't want kitties or puppies in their properties. Fortunately, Ashpenaz and TexasStar aren't that attached to the feline. Hrm....StarGazer, you want another kitty-cat daughter?

Notice that no Jack Daniels Distillery touring occurred. Ashes had her taste of the Jack in the Whiskey Raisin ice cream at the parlor on the square in Lynchburg, and we sampled some Jack Daniels hard candy in the general store. That was the extent of our Jack Daniels experience. I'm thinking the Natenicks are going to be disappointed, but oh well...

No real treasures were discovered on this trip, unless you want to count the numerous instances of roadkill, which in TN can be yours for the eating. It's legal. But eewww!!!

The trip did confirm that Ashpenaz is a city girl. CI-TY GIRL.


Nate said...

Why did you not take the tour??? HOLY CRAP MAN!!?? My mom even took the tour! Her dad used to get drunk and beat her with broom handle!

You don't get more anti-booze than my mom, and she had a blast!

You make your ci-ty girl friend sound like a self-absorbed little snob Darlin'. I hope that's not the case.

Elena said...

Nate, no...Ashpenaz (my SISTER) is not a snob. She just loves the big city, the bigger the better. She needs a city to have all the artsy and cultural things a big city usually has. Otherwise she feels stifled. It's not snobbery. Besides, she's too poor to be a snob. (She's working fulltime and is going back to school this Jan. to finish her bachelor's.)

I toured the distillery when I was six or seven years old. It was enjoyable, yes. I remember, very vividly, standing on tiptoe on the edge of a vat of hops to smell it and being almost "knocked out" by the aroma.

Nate said...

Artsy... now there's a term I pray is never applied to any of my kin.