Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Semper Fi Edwin Bearss

This past weekend, Fort Donelson National Battlefield, as part of their 150th celebrations, brought in the preeminent historian Edwin Bearss . . . Chief Historian Emeritus of the National Park Service.

He shut his eyes and then talked extemporaneously in detail for the next hour and forty-five minutes! And he did it with a booming voice. Asked if he needed a microphone, he stated that if he held a microphone he would start gyrating like Elvis Presley.

As we own several books by Bearss, Dudeboy got him to sign one of them . . . Forrest at Brice's Cross Roads. It is not often that one gets to meet a real legend. I only wish we could have toured a battlefield with him. And then all I would have had to do was shut my eyes (along with Bearss), listened to his resonant voice and been transported back to another time.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Hoptown Saturday Night

Hungry and tired as we were passing through Hoptown, the beacon-like neon sign of Ferrell's Hamburgers* drew us in like a moth to the flame. As we entered the tiny space we were greeted by a man with a booming voice serenading (harassing?) the other tightly packed customers. Finishing his song, he then started questioning the others, somewhat belligerently, about the price of chicken eggs. So, my first impressions of the establishment . . . a cramped, throw-back of a place that caters to the insane. I had a big smile on my face . . .

Only seven seats are available for the lucky few who get a front row view of the flurry of activity behind the counter. As for the food . . . it appears from what little I have read on "the internets" that people either love Ferrell's or hate it. We loved it!

* Start the video linked just after the 8 minute mark.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Apple Valley Hillbilly Gardens

On our way back from Paducah we stopped at the Apple Valley Hillbilly Garden & Toyland Roadside Attraction near Sharpe, Ky. It is like an unfocused Paradise Gardens (which isn't a complaint).

Cadillac Lawnmower Ranch

Inside the sensory-overload-inducing "Toyland."

"And now I would like to imitate the Elvis Presley . . ."

Baby Elvis in the manger . . .

"Wanted . . . chicken catcher"

Inside a building that was once the family store.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

A Walk in the Woods . . .

This weekend Dudeboy helped Vic and me lead a hike for a few friends to see some of the underrated natural sites of our area.

For scale, Dudeboy is about a third of the way up from the bottom of the photo, and to the left of the waterfall.

Dudeboy holding up an arch.

The beavers have been working over this tree . . . along with several others in the area.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012


Some people go to the beach for spring break . . . we went to Paducah! The impetus for the trip was to fulfill our promise to Mane to take her to the National Quilt Museum. Alas, they do not allow photography, so no pictures from there. But, here are some of the other sites we saw . . .

Mane in front of one the panels depicted on the extensive "Paducah Wall to Wall" flood wall mural.

This has been on my radar for some time . . . the grave-site of "A Man of Courage," John T. Scopes. Born and raised in Paducah, Scopes became famous/infamous for his role in the Scopes Monkey Trial. He went on to work in the oil business in Venezuela, Louisiana, and Texas.

Buried in the same cemetery as Scopes is the once famed and prolific author, humorist, and columnist Irvin S. Cobb. He is the author of one of my favorite "weird tales" called Fishhead. Click on the link and take the time to read this forgotten oddity. By the way, H.P. Lovecraft was very praising of Fishhead, and supposedly it was an inspiration for his own novella The Shadow Over Innsmouth.

The Lloyd Tilghman House and Civil War Museum was the last residence of Confederate Brigadier General Lloyd Tilghman. He was killed at the Battle of Champion Hill in Mississippi. There is a massive statue of Tilghman at the Vicksburg battlefield (there is also a statue of Tilghman in Paducah, which we visited as well). The tall building in the background on the right of the above photograph is the Irvin Cobb Hotel (now apartments for senior citizens). On a tip from Vic, we went into the lobby of this place. This place must have been amazing at one time. Every inch of the former lobby is covered with some kind of decoration. Good to see that it has survived, but it needs to be brought back to life. Click on the link above to see some pictures of the hotel.

The Tilghman house is also a really nice museum that pertains to the Jackson Purchase area in the Civil War. The exhibit pictured above relates the story of Nathan Bedford Forrest's raid on Paducah in March of 1864. Most of the places relating to the battle have been lost to time, including Fort Anderson which Forrest attacked (the convention center is located there now).

Captain Dudeboy guiding his barge up the Ohio River. This simulation is one of the exhibits at the River Heritage Museum.

Wacinton . . . "Hand chiseled from a local 56,000 pound Red Oak to honor the Chickasaw Indians who lived and hunted in this area until the Jackson Purchase, 1818." Not far from here is the well known Chief Paduke statue.

Just across the river in Illinois is the location of the Kincaid Mounds. These earthen mounds date to the Mississippian time period. There is an observation/information area, but access to the actual mounds is prohibited.

Our tourist photo-op at Metropolis, Illinois.

George Rogers Clark sentineled over the Ohio River at Fort Massac in Metropolis.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Day on Glover Creek

Dr. J was able to join Dudeboy and me on a beautiful Saturday down on Glover Creek.

Dudeboy sitting at the spot where I proposed to Dr. J all those years ago.

We are very grateful for our family "park."

Mane and Pa . . . soon to be 60 years.